by Joan Morell
In every pet sitter’s life in the midst of happy times, a little rain must fall, but sometimes it feels like a monsoon…This monsoon has been going on for over a year now. Here is my story.
As I watch Hank Jr. and Otis snooze on the living room floor, listing to their breath and snoring brings much sadness. On the wall is a picture of LeRoy Brown, those soulful eyes watching me, photos of him and his family and…his ashes. I look at him and say, LeRoy, I miss you, we all miss you. He responds, I miss you, I miss everyone. LeRoy, who will bring me your stuffed Pooh at night when I’m sleeping to keep me company? The sadness deepens.
I’m writing this because I need to tell my story, my story about being a pet sitter, about being an animal lover and the attachment that forms with every animal I encounter. I need to tell this story so that some of my sorrow leaves my heart. To me, they aren’t just pets; they are family, my family.
It has been a challenging and heartbreaking year. Last October (2015) started a long chain of messages from clients telling me that their pet had passed. I read these messages and part of me goes with them, my heart aches. You may think that it’s just a pet and well Joan, it’s not even yours. Well I have this to say about “it’s only a pet”. They are not just a pet, they are part of my extended family and I cherish every moment we spend together. I love and adore them just as I love and adore my dog Guinness. They greet me and love me just like Guinness does, I am part of them and they are a part of me. This is why I love what I do, I get to share their lives and enjoy their company. But with that love and compassion, there is the downside of saying goodbye as they make their transition to the Rainbow Bridge. When that transition happens, a part of me goes with them.
Yes, The Rainbow Bridge, that special place in heaven. Do I believe in the Rainbow Bridge? Absolutely, every fiber of my being knows this place exists, I know that Einstein is waiting for me at the Bridge, his body whole and forever young. I believe this Bridge exists because of the unconditional love given to us freely by our pets. They are rewarded with a beautiful place for them to wait for us when their time on earth is complete, only then will we make the journey to heaven. Oh yes, I believe and sometimes it is the only thing that keeps me going when an animal passes, I know I will definitely see them again. When I take my last breath and leave this earthly existence, this is exactly where I am going to land. I will arrive with a tennis ball in one hand and an endless bag of treats in the other. I hope to see them all, I hope to see my sweet Einstein, LeRoy Brown, Jack, Buddy and all the beloved pets I have cared for and loved, and I hope to see the stuffed Pooh again.
I may be a sentimental old fool and I am sure that most people think I am. I’m OK with that because I have been loved by a dog (and maybe two cats) and that makes it worth it.
Don’t be sad, we will meet again. Having a loved pet leave this earth takes a piece of us with them but they also open our hearts so that we can love another. I won’t stop loving all the animals that are in my life, it’s who I am. To all my clients, thank you for sharing your extended family with me. Being part of this makes my heart sing.
Can blog posts have epilogues? Well this one does. I wrote this post in the afternoon of September 4, 2016. I had one more overnight visit with Hank and Otis to do that evening. I opened the door to see my happy pups and both Hank and Otis were there to greet me. This was odd because Hank usually takes his own sweet time to get to the door because he is snoring so loudly that he doesn’t hear me come in. The beautiful thing about this exuberant greeting was not only did they both greet me, Otis greeted me with a stuffed toy, Hank behind him smiling at me. Is this OK Joan, we picked it just for you? It’s perfect boys, absolutely perfect. I hugged them both and buried my face in their fur, absolutely perfect.
I am still sad for the loss but the love I feel lives on. It’s been over 10 years since Einstein passed and I think about him often and I wonder when we will meet again. It was Einstein who saved me from myself and I honor him for that. It’s the purest of love that comes from our pets, that true unconditional love. I hope someday I can live up to it and be the person my dog thinks I am.
by: Joan Morell
One morning I was walking Duke and we passed a boarding kennel/daycare facility. It was 7:00am and they dogs were barking like crazy, I’m guessing it was breakfast. Duke and I were outside the facility, walking by and the loud barking annoyed us both. I can only imagine how the neighbors felt; this boarding facility is in the middle of a residential neighborhood.
When I lived in Ohio, I worked in a boarding facility. What I noticed is that some dogs enjoyed the drama and ciaos and had no trouble blending their barks to the chorus of “Who Let the Dogs Out”. However, most were either completely unresponsive or absolutely freaked out and shaking. One golden retriever, Sophie, was so horrified by the experience that she would lay in the same spot and not eat, drink or potty. It broke my heart the first time I met her and I had discussed it with the veterinarian who had the facility on his property. His response, “oh she is always like that.” I asked if the owners were aware of her situation, he told me that they were OK with it. Well, I wasn’t. I did everything I could to try and make her stay at the kennel better but no such luck.
If you read my post about why I became a pet sitter it was for this reason. Some pets love hanging out with other dogs and love the noise an craziness, some pets are not at all happy in an environment that is noisy and unpredictable. While Sophie had many stays at the boarding facility over the few years that I worked there, I knew she was not a good candidate in boarding so. I knew this about Guinness and I kept him out of them.
There are numerous benefits in hiring a professional pet sitter in addition to keeping pets in familiar surroundings. A professional pet sitter has a presence in your home and it doesn’t look like you are traveling, we pick up mail, take trash out, rotate blinds and lighting. We also check your home for water leaks, damage from storms or any other disasters that may occur.
If your pet is not a happy boarding camper, consider hiring a professional pet sitter to take care of your beloved pets. We at InDogNito Pet Care provide a safe and affordable alternative to kennels and boarding. The last thing you should worry about while you are away is the comfort of your pet or rushing home to pick them up from the kennel. They will be home waiting for you.
Give us a call at (303) 919-2472 or visit us on the web to review our services and rates at www.indognitopetcare.com/services-and-rates.
by: Joan Morell
Help, I’m leaving for vacation and my neighbor can’t watch my pets!
Owning a pet sitting business, I hear this all too often. I get frantic phone calls and emails from people who are ready to go out of town and are in desperate need of a pet sitter because their friend, neighbor, family has told them that something came up and well, they can’t watch Fido. What do you do, you didn’t purchase vacation insurance and you are set to lose $3000.
My first suggestion to remedy this issue is to plan for your pet care in the same manner that you plan your vacation, and make your pet plan a priority. In fact, your best solution is to find a pet sitter even before you make plans to head out of town. Planning for your pet care well before you are on vacation elevates stress so you can focus on that spectacular trip to Telluride, (yes I’m writing this from my room in Telluride). The marvelous thing about us pet sitters is that once we have all of your information and keys, you can head out of town any time without worrying if Aunt Cricket will be available or worse back out at the last minute. If you are a client of InDogNito Pet Care you can even book your service through our Existing Clients link on the website. Within one day, your service is booked, an invoice for service is sent and poof you are done. How is that for peace of mind?
My job as the owner if InDogNito Pet Care is to make your life easier for you and your pets so you can enjoy that spectacular Alaskan Cruise or that special trip to visit your folks in Ohio. That will probably be my next adventure, and yes visiting my folks is ALWAYS and adventure.
So with all that said, give us a shout and we will head on out. Oh and if Aunt Cricket backs out, stick her with the pet sitting bill!
For more information about our services or to set up a meet and greet with your pets please visit our services and rates page at www.indognitopetcare.com/services-and-rates or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
by: Joan Morell
This is a great question because the answer has changed a few times since I purchased my pet sitting business in February 2012 and yet they all still apply to my business and my career change.
Through a course of life changing career paths I found myself as a certified groomer, obedience instructor and healing touch for animal’s practitioner, and most recently owning a successful pet sitting business. There is also a dog bakery, Black Dog Bakehouse that is in the works too!
Those of you who know me know that I have a degree in Computer Science which I received in 1989 and was laid off from my contract position with the Department of Defense in 2001. It was then that I realized that I didn’t want to go back, back to being what I liked to call myself, the “Token Broad”. Yes, the woman in a ‘mans’ field and usually the only woman in the systems department, the minority quota.
In January of 2001, I saw a Use Your Life award episode on Oprah where Bonnie Bergan received an award for her work with at risk teens. These teens trained dogs that would eventually become service dogs, and with an 85% success rate, I was hooked. I wrote a fake resignation letter to my company a few hours after that episode and dated it for April 30, 2001, my contract terminated April 15th, 2001. The deal was done and I was off to explore my true desire…dogs. Be careful what you put in writing folks, someone is always watching. I think that even without that fake letter my I knew my life would change forever.
It was a long year, being unemployed and planning for my future. I tried to open a self-service dog wash but with the tragic events of 9/11 that wasn’t happening. That didn’t stop me from moving forward, I put my business idea on the back burner and kept moving. My first stop on this path was to become a certified obedience instructor and a groomer and I was off and running. Debt was piling up but I knew that my day was coming. A few moves and a few bends in the road, well they were more like circles, I am here, in beautiful Colorado working towards my goal.
After a few months in Colorado and being without a dog for almost 5 years, I adopted a shy lab from Safe Harbor Lab Rescue named Tally who I immediately renamed Guinness, which he picked himself. I don’t get it either, but he has answered to that name without any retraining since the day I picked him up from his foster parents.
About 6 months into our relationship, I had to travel to San Francisco for a few days and I had a friend watch Guinness. Needless to say, I was highly disappointed in that my instructions weren’t followed. I didn’t find this out until a woman I had never met said “Hello, you must be Guinness’ Mom.” “Um, do I know you?” “No, but I saw a picture of you and Guinness.” I was freaked! I asked my friend and he said she came by the house while I walked Guinness. My instructions were, #1 please don’t walk him, I’m still working on his leash issues and #2 please don’t have anyone over, he gets freaked with strangers. I was done with that nonsense. What was I going to do if I had to travel again? I found a kennel close by with great reviews and so I had them take care of Guinness for 2 nights while I was traveling. They are a great facility and were very attentive to his needs but told me that Guinness was not happy with anything, he wouldn’t play with other dogs and would just hang out by himself. My heart sank, that was really the final travel plans I had, unless I took Guinness with me.
Not long after Guinness failed at boarding, I met someone who was an in home pet sitter. A what? I had no idea that these types of people existed and hey, this may be the answer for Guinness. I pet sat for him on a few occasions and about a year later a local pet sitting went up for sale and poof, I’m a pet sitter.
Since that first day, owning my own pet sitting business has changed so many things. I was able to quit grooming which was another goal of mine and I have pet sitters that can help with Guinness at my home if I need to travel. About 3 months into the business, I thought about that ‘friend’ who watched Guinness so many years ago who didn’t follow my instructions and jeopardized the safety of Guinness. One of my business goals that has never changed is to give pet parents peace of mind when it comes to their pets and their home. I want to provide a safe environment for pets and share my love of animals with everyone.