Recently I stumbled on a New York Times article about Brian Ferrell, a house sitter in Hollywood. The article mentioned some of the perks of housesitting and of course some of the shenanigans that ensued. Considering Brian’s antics, I clearly take house sitting a wee bit more seriously than he does. Or perhaps I am just more subdued.
Like Brian, I have had my share of book-worthy anecdotes, “learning experiences” and glorious perks in my years as a house and pet sitter. From the awful to the embarrassing, to the unbelievable, I am happy to have survived my earlier “amateur” years in this business.
Maybe not yet in Hollywood, but I too have had the pleasure of staying in some fantastic homes during the past several years. It sounds glamorous and it is. “If you have any laundry or ironing that needs to be done the cleaning staff come on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays.” said one client as she showed me their laundry room. I pet sat for them for years and never once had the cleaning staff do my laundry. I’ve been doing my laundry since birth basically and I was afraid I’d morph into a spoiled diva without the proper “grounding” that only doing laundry can provide. At least I keep telling myself that. Ha.
The closest I came to pet sitting for a celebrity was when I pet sat a few times for a local news anchor before she moved out of state. I still remember the day I met her at her house - it was strange to meet her in person; I thought she would be taller. During my stays I couldn’t quite get used to being greeted by the huge mirror in her hall - it made me grateful that I didn’t have to care that much about my daily appearance like she did. At the end of one stay I packed up and left and I inadvertently locked her out the day she returned from her trip just hours before she was supposed to be on the nightly news. She finally did get into her house in time and there is more to that story but you’ll have to wait for the book.
The main thing though is the pets - are they well adjusted? Cool? Calm? Spastic? Friendly? Vicious? Anxious? I’d be lying if I said I prefer only the wealthy or high profile clients I get. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. There is something to be said for cool pets and cozy homes. As much as I’d like to believe that all animals are amazing no matter what, it is just not true. I have had some difficult animals to care for over the years and it is usually the dealbreaker in the client relationship.
I remember years ago I had one client whose dog, Scooby, a labrador-mixed breed would get anxious when the owner was away and he would have terrible diarrhea the first few days of my stays. Several trips of theirs and several days spent chiseling Scooby’s diarrhea off of their tile/rugs/carpet I finally decided that $35 per night (or any amount for that matter) was just not going to cut it. I felt really bad for Scooby and bad for his owner but surely there had to be a better solution.
There are many ways pet sitting is surprising, exciting, rewarding and also challenging. No matter if you are in Hollywood or Austin or Albuquerque there are adventures to be had and great stories to be told. And they will…
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