Week #49: Pet Care

in Job Update

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself”    Josh Billings

“There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats”    Albert Schweitzer

Our Oliver Cat

As I’ve said before many times, animals are my healing agents–as they are for many people.  Especially dogs and cats since they are so readily available to love.  And I got to love several of them last week as I worked with two separate pet care businesses–and took a foray into my own pet care job.

I simply adore animals.  I have since I was a little girl and I crawled into the pen to help our golden retriever give birth–and then slept with them all that first night.  I cannot pass a dog or cat without feeling that sweet tenderness.  Frankly, they remind me of what is truly important in life–a very good reminder.

“We are a provider of dog training, dog walking, and pet-sitting services custom tailored for you and your pet’s lifestyle.”

The first pet professional I worked with was Stephanie Lenny of Steph and Ozzy Pet Care (http://stephandozzy.com/).  Steph has been caring for pets for 13 years, and is considered an “animal whisperer” according to her loyal customers.  The first step was to pick up the six dogs (to add to her two!) to take them on a pack walk.

      

Car full of dogs!                 Sam anxious to escape.

I was so impressed with Steph’s ability to handle a pack.  She is efficient, gentle, focused–and she knows each dog’s temperament and ability very well.  Before she takes dogs out in a pack, she works with each one separately to understand their comfort level.  In addition, she is an expert with fearful dogs (such as Lucky, the black and white one, above) and works with them on de-sensitivity training.  When Steph first met Lucky, she was terrified of noises, sudden movement and other dogs.  Now she is comfortable in a pack and tolerates scary things such as a jogger running toward her on the path.

Me with Bailey, Slim, Shotsie, Coco, Grizz and Sam.  We walked for 90 minutes at Tryon Creek State Park–and I definitely got more of a workout than they did!  Steph is much better at keeping everyone untangled!  But what bliss: hiking with dogs!!

Of course, Lucky melted my heartstrings.  She had been mistreated before being in her new family, and now she is learning how to be a happy dog! And that’s the adorable Ozzy (with his white mohawk) by her side.  Ozzy is Steph’s gentle dog who helps aggressive and fearful dogs calm down.

      

Loaded in the car for the ride home; thirsty Grizz getting his fill of water

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I also worked briefly with Jodi Olson of See Spot Run Dog Care.  Jodi is a bighearted bundle of energy, and as we picked up each dog for our walk, she greeted them with merry yells and hugs. She started her business walking one or two dogs, then word spread, and she now has been caring for dogs regularly for 11 years.  “The only complaint is that I have to say goodbye far too often.  I have lost little bits and pieces of my heart over the years.  Sadly, the life of a dog is all too short in my opinion.”   I told her about losing Brady recently, and she offered me this:   “How lucky I was to have had something that made saying goodbye so hard.”  

Jodi picking up Captain (a severely damaged “puppy-mill” dog who is slowly recovering) and Robin

         

Loading Poppy into car; Jodi’s darling kids, Abe and Agatha; Toulouse with his ball at the park; Jodi leading them to the trail.          One thing is certain: in order to care for multiple dogs, you have to have A LOT of energy and a high tolerance for chaos!

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After spending time observing the expert and compassionate dog care of Steph and Jodi, I embarked on my own “business”:  Linda’s Pet Care.   For the rest of the week, I cared for two dogs: Luna and Dutch, and two cats: Grace and Sam.

Luna, an elderly girl in dog years,  is owned by our dear neighbor, Marianne.  Luna was my charge for a week while Marianne was on a bike tour.  I massaged her, fed her, gave her treats, walked her, pooped her:), sang to her, cuddled with her and fell in love.

      

When I arrived, we always started with a full body massage!

   

We walked; she pooped and I bagged.

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 Next, our friend, Jason, who works long hours, asked me to walk his beautiful lab, Dutch, and break up the monotony of spending a long day alone.  I see Dutch in the neighborhood, and fondly refer to him as “Dutchie” because of his sweet temperament and happy puppy-ness.

Dutch first sat for a treat (even though he had enjoyed ripping up a paper he had found in the trash:)

         

First I had to figure out the choke collar; we set off down the stairs; Dutch peed:); we cuddled.  I fell in love.

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 My last charges of the week were Grace and Sam, beloved kitties of my friend, Rachel.  She is a physician and treks to conferences–and to see her parents in Boston or go camping with her husband, Steve.  Point being: my tiny pet care business over the years has consisted of caring for Grace and Sam when Rachel’s gone.

The incomparable Grace, aka “Miracle Kitty.”   Two years ago, Grace went missing–very traumatic for those of us who love her!  Rachel even hired an animal tracker and his tracking dog and we spent an afternoon running after them on the scent of Gracie–to no avail.  Rachel also hired an animal communicator who sensed that Grace had gotten stuck in a vehicle and now was in trouble.  Two long weeks went by, and we gave her up for lost.  One very dark and rainy morning, Rachel looked out her window and there was a skinny, drenched Gracie who had somehow found her way home.  Miracle kitty.

My job with Grace and Sam was to come over several times a day, feed them their special canned food, give them their kibble treats, clean the cat boxes and make sure the cat door was shut at night and they were safe and snug.  And, of course, to love them and keep them company.

Sammy is a scared boy, and the way to his heart is giving him a few kibbles (he also needs to watch his weight!).  So my trick is to shake the kibble jar to elicit rare, sweet ankle nuzzles from the elusive Sammy.

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Clearly, pet care is a great job for me.  I once told Rachel that she had got the right girl for the job because I am obsessed with making sure my furry friends’ every need is met–often!  Although I think it would be difficult to make a living doing this unless you had a very large business, I will continue to do pet care part time.  And the sweet thing is: I get as much love and care from “my” animals as I give to them.  The ideal “job.”

–Linda

  • yiha

    I think you should give this some more consideration. Clearly you have a passion for animals. Having your own business is gender and ageism free for the most part…yiha.