Monday, October 3, 2011

Housesitter Extraordinaire

For a little extra money, I house/pet sit. It started when I was sixteen, and my cousin was going out of town so she gave me one of her jobs. Ten years later, I have a bunch of regulars and get referred out all the time. I read somewhere that one of the biggest reasons people don't go on vacations is because of their pets. That's where I come in. I love animals. People can tell I love animals and that is why they feel comfortable leaving me alone in their houses with them. It's like a mini vacation, with responsibility. Not that I haven't had bad experiences, but for the most part it's easy money. And people pay big to make sure their pets are taken care of. I've made about $500 in the last three months. The most animals I've ever taken care of at one time was ten, including three horses. This whole family went out of town at once. Three houses. Fortunately for me they all lived on or around the same street. So I took care of two dogs, two cats and three horses at one house, two dogs at another and one dog at the last one. I stayed at the house with the horses. The first night, I was sitting on the couch watching TV and I look out the window and there's a horse looking at me. I think I jumped about three feet. Thank God I know how to put a lead on a horse. Then the dogs at the second house got out and took off. They were gone a whole day and I was told they do this sometimes and eventually come home. They did but I have to tell you, I was so scared. Then the horses got out again. All of them. I had to call a friend to help me get a hold of them all. She did not know how to put a lead on a horse and is only five feet tall. She was a little intimidated. I just told her to stand her ground and don't show fear because they are smart. She did and was amazed in the end she actually got a lead on the horse. It was incredibly funny watching her trying to yell at a horse. I found out where the break in the electric fence was and fixed it. That was an extremely stressful weekend. One of my biggest fears is having an animal die on me. I have watched many, many animals that were very close to the end. Only one has died on me. A Zebra Finch. I didn't know what to do so I wrapped him up in a paper towel and put him in a ziplock and put him in the freezer. I left a note and the lady called me and told me not to worry he was old. One time a little dog tricked me into giving him a treat every time he came in and gained two pounds in two weeks, a lot for a little dog. His owners were my bosses at the time and they teased me about it all the time. I guess he couldn't jump up on the couch, he was so heavy. This weekend I was house sitting for a new lady for the first time. She is a RN and she works with my best friend Milly. She left to visit her son in So. Cal. As she was showing me around her house, she mentioned that she had a small mouse problem but she was pretty sure that she had gotten them all. She had two mouse traps out. Everything went fine the first couple nights. She has a shih tzu and a beagle-lab mix. In the middle of the third night, Barney the shih tzu, started barking and woke me up. In my experience, dogs often bark at nothing in the middle of the night. I looked around the house didn't see anything and went back to sleep. In the morning, I found one of the traps had caught a mouse. A very large mouse. I'm not a fan of mouse traps. I feel they are inhumane but it's not my house, not my decision. I tossed the body in the woods and threw the trap away because it had blood all over it. Last night I was cleaning up and I noticed the other trap had sprung but not caught anything. I reset it. I heard it go off right before I fell asleep last night. I felt horrible. I know that mice are considered vermin but I still feel bad for the little guys. As I mentioned before I have always had cats. Whenever we had a mouse problem, the cat would take care of it. That doesn’t make me feel as bad because it’s the natural instincts of an animal. But I had killed this mouse. I drifted into a restless sleep around one in the morning. When I woke up around five thirty this morning, very early for me, I heard shuffling around in the room I was in. Both the dogs were in the bed with me and completely asleep. My blood turned cold. I knew it was a mouse. I also knew I wasn’t going to get back to sleep. I looked at the sleeping, useless dogs and woke them up. Then I heard scurrying in the kitchen. As I turned the corner from the bedroom to the kitchen I saw a GIANT rat. Dogs did nothing, I screamed and ran to the bedroom got all my stuff, threw it in my car and sat there a minute. I knew I had to go back in because the dogs were outside and I needed to let them back in. I decided it probably ran away and was hiding after I screamed. I gathered some clothes for the day, let the dogs back in and ran to the bathroom. I took the fastest shower ever and got dressed. Got the dogs in the designated room. And left a note. " I think I saw a rat this morning." I was at work two hours early. I hope the dogs will be ok. Seriously, it was huge! She comes home today. I’m waiting for the call. I’m going to tell her to get a cat.

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