(I realize that this post has nothing to do with skin care, but being a pet sitter has been a part of who I am for the last 12 years and I felt compelled to write down my feelings. I hope you enjoy it.)
I’ve been reflecting lately on the ending of the dog boarding chapter of my life. After 12 years and hundreds of dogs coming and going through my house, I have this to say:
Dogs are funny. They’re like toddlers each with their own special brand of quirks and idiosyncrasies. My tile and carpet have endured the onslaught of pee, poop, vomit, slobber, occasional blood splatter and, wait for it, semen from an amorous Beagle who ejaculated after humping another dog. I have lost untold amounts of sleep due to barking dogs, anxious dogs that miss their owners and from the ever-popular cuddling dogs that contort your body into positions only a pretzel could appreciate.
Virtually every piece of furniture I own has claw marks, chew marks or just broken from dogs rough housing. I love the rain especially around the Holidays. Unfortunately, that’s when I boarded several dogs and they love playing in the mud and muck and think it’s funny to continue their hijinks inside the home leaving their paw prints all over my house. Oh, the joys of Christmas!
With every dog boarder, there inevitably is a fight between the dogs sometimes leaving scratches, bites and blood giving you the opportunity to take a drive to the vet to patch them up. I’ve had the pleasure of taking 4 dogs to the vet on Christmas Eve because one of them got into some medication and I didn’t know which one, so we all spent the night at the vet as a precaution.
I’ve had dogs escape and practically give me a heart attack and all the while they’re having a great time sniffing around the neighborhood. Losing a dog is a pet sitters worst nightmare! Luckily, no dogs were ever hurt or lost.
With all this being said, was it worth it? Yes! There is a beautiful upside to being a pet sitter.
Dogs were there the night my own little Nikki dog had a seizure in the middle of the night and we had to put her to sleep. They were there when both of my parents died nine months apart from each other. They were there when I got separated and eventually divorced. They have been there to comfort me through all of life’s heartaches. They never judge. They only love.
When I walk through the door I am welcomed with so much love it makes me feel like I’m the most important person in the world. They have loved me unconditionally even when things got nasty. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve held a dog close to give me the solace I needed when times got rough. There is nothing in my world that can take the place of that. Chilling out with a dog sleeping on your chest is pure joy.
Without dogs in my life I would have never helped build Fido Field Dog Park in Folsom and met some of the nicest and funniest people I’ve ever met. We had a blast every Saturday getting our hands dirty and joking around. I would have missed out on all my dog park trips getting to know the regulars. It’s kind of like a family both for the humans and the dogs. It just fills my heart to see them run free and have fun with each other. I will miss the dog park more than I can say. It brings tears to my eyes knowing that I won’t be a part of that community any more.
I will surely miss the wonderful dog owners I have met throughout the years. We have an unspoken connection made from the love we both share for their dogs. Being a pet sitter or dog boarder is an immense responsibility. It has always amazed me how much trust the owners have given me to watch their pets some of which are like children to them. It has made me extremely humble and I truly consider it a privilege that I have never taken lightly. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the trust that you bestowed on me.
Lastly, my heart is heavy and sad to have to say good-bye to the dogs themselves. They drove me crazy while keeping me sane at the same time. It’s hard to say good-bye, but sometimes life has other plans for us and we must follow its lead. I’m so very grateful to have had them in my life. Each one of them will always have a place in my heart that I’ll carry to my last days on Earth.
For all those dogs that are playing at the Rainbow Bridge, I hope you have fun with my little Nikki dog. She’s the beautiful Cocker Spaniel with long ears that fly in the wind when she runs.
Thank you for the love, thank you for your comfort and thank you for filling my life with so much joy. I will miss you terribly and love you all! Good-bye sweet peas.