Note: My mom Nancy flew from Wisconsin to San Diego to take care of our four pets while Josh and I went to Maui. We are so lucky she did this for us! This is a post she wrote about her “experience” or what a typical day of pet sitting our crew looked like. Visit her blog Nancy's Point where she writes about breast cancer, grief and also dogs!
When dear daughter and dear son-in-law visited over the holidays and mentioned they were planning a February Maui trip and then went on to inquire about my interest in pet sitting while they were vacationing, I jumped at the chance.
Dear hubby and I refer to all our children’s pets as our grandchildren, so how could I say, no?
If you think it’s odd a person (meaning me) would contemplate flying from Wisconsin to California to take care of some dear pets, you don’t know my family.
I’m back home now reflecting on my experience, and I thought it’d be fun to write a blog post about it. It’s a nice break from blogging about cancer chaos and fallout, right?
When your home includes four pets as my daughter’s does (two dogs and two cats), taking care of their needs can feel like a full-time job, especially when one is an active Weimaraner pup and the other three are seniors.
During my stay, I often thought, wow, how in the world does dear daughter get her work done?
Basically, the answer is … routines.
Thank you for being so organized, Lindsay, and for leaving me all those detailed schedules and instructions. I guess you didn’t inherit your organizing skills from me.
Here’s what a typical day of pet sitting four lovable California critters was like:
(The pets include cats Beamer & Scout, senior dog Ace and Weimaraner pup Remy.)
5:45 a.m. – Rise and shine!
Actually, it was still dark.
Upon my rising, stumbling around while getting dressed and appearing from the bedroom, all four pets demanded to be fed, and they had no intention of waiting around for meal service.
Scout the cat, being the slowest eater of the crew, got fed first. He needed time and privacy, which meant a closed door on the cats’ bedroom (yes, they have their own room).
Next, it was senior mutt Ace’s turn as he moves a bit slow these days and doesn’t like to be hurried either. He ate in the main bathroom ‘cuz he also required (and deserved) an undisturbed eating space. The third one to eat was cat Beamer who by that point was feeling a bit put out for being forced to wait so long. Beamer devoured all his meals in the kitchen.
Last, but not least, it was the pup, Remy’s turn. By then, he was feeling quite impatient, but was required to further wait while I put on my shoes and then gathered my jacket, phone, cap, dog leash with pinch collar and doggy-poo bags. Once released from his kennel and finally allowed to attack his breakfast, he wasted no time, gobbling it up in less than a minute. He didn’t understand the meaning of slow down, boy.
6:00 (yeah, all the above only took 15 minutes!)
Remy and I headed out for our first walk of the day; he was last to eat, after all, so for this he was first. The cool, clean morning air and gorgeous sunrises reminded me daily why morning walks are the best walks.
Upon returning, it was Ace’s turn, of course. Such a good boy for waiting, Ace. And gosh, I do love leisurely strolls with a senior dog. Puppies are wonderful, but there is something extra special about an old dog.
7:00 – Coffee time for me.
I needed some!
8:00- 11:00 – Lindsay, you’ve got the dogs’ morning routine down really well. Impressive.
Remarkably both dogs napped on and off for major chunks of the mornings, but only if I separated them, otherwise Remy continuously bugged Ace who understandably, much preferred to keep to himself and be left alone. Who could blame him?
I had breakfast, did chores around the house, checked email, blogged and got stuff done. I was impressed with (and surprised by) what I was able to accomplish during the quiet chunks.
11:15 – Time for noon walks
Boy, Remy was raring to go again!
As usual, Ace patiently waited for his turn.
12:30 – Back home.
Lunch time for me and more quiet time for Ace and quiet time (if I was lucky) mixed with supervised playtime for Remy. Luckily the apartment was puppy-proofed nicely, so it wasn’t too often I had to figure out how to coax the pup to drop something he wasn’t supposed to have. (Sorry about that chewed book, Josh. And the broken bowl, too. Oops.) The cats appeared at that point to check on the lunch situation, especially the eating-machine, Beamer.
More work time for me during Remy’s quiet moments. I actually got quite a bit done. Thanks, Remy.
4:00 – Remy and I headed out for walk #3, our longest of the day.
The primary mission of walk #3 was to tire out said pup so the evening would go more smoothly (hopefully) for all of us. Tired pup equals a better-behaved pup.
Upon return, yep you guessed it, Ace’s turn. What a patient, boy.
5:00 – Woohoo, dinner time!
Dinner bell for all four animals. They were so excited and who could blame them, right? Meal times are the best times for all of us, are they not?
With Remy tired out (okay, kenneled), it was finally time for my shower and then dinner without animal interruptions. Well, of course, Beamer was there checking to see what was on my plate or possibly on the floor.
After dinner, Remy was allowed out of his kennel for the evening and offered appropriate stuff (not my hands, elbows, socks, shoes, towels, pillows, books, etc) to chew on. Evenings included TV time and Remy supervision time, special doting on Ace time, phone calls time and before I knew it, final doggy-potty-break-for-the-day time.
9:00 – Bedtime at last!
All animals (except Ace, of course) tucked in and kenneled. Morning meals were dispensed in bowls at bedtime to eliminate some of the morning chaos ahead.
Thought about reading, but never did ‘cuz I was exhausted! Lights out instead. Whew, what a day.
First of all, pet sitting is hard work. I have so much respect for those who do this for a living. Lots of people think this line of work is a snap, but they know not of what they speak.
Second, puppies are challenging! Well, duh, right? When you haven’t had one in a while, you sorta forget how much work is involved. And patience. A one-year-old Weimaraner is not unlike a toddler, just sayin’.
A senior dog with special needs (think cone, daily meds, itchy skin sores, achy joints) requires an extra dose of love, which I was more than happy to dispense, along with his meds.
Cats are relatively easy, but still they have needs, too. And the eating-machine feline of the family provides his own set of unique challenges. (No food can be left unattended anywhere at any time. Ever).
Lastly, I love California, in short doses anyway. Great weather. (What’s a little rain?) No snow. No winter coat. No gloves. No stocking hat. No boots. Dogs and dog walkers everywhere. And I do mean everywhere. The ocean. Dog beaches. (Didn’t take Remy there this visit. I know my limits). Sidewalks. (Why aren’t there sidewalks where I live?) Surrounded by Democrats.
I could get used to these things.
So, will I be back for more?
You bet I will.
Have you done any pet sitting? What does a typical day of pet sitting look like for you?
Thank you, Mom, for watching our pets! We are so lucky!
Make sure to visit my mom's blog Nancy's Point.