Monday, January 21, 2013

A Beautiful Day At The Beach

We did not want to let this beautiful weather we are having get away without a trip to the beach.  We went to Cronkite beach again.  We were lucky to go at a time when it was not as busy as before, because most people were at home watching the 49s beat Atlanta.  We took a radio with us so we could hear it while we enjoyed the waves, the sun, the people, dogs playing, and we got a special treat.  There was a group of 5 or 6 dolphins playing very close to the shore's edge.  I wished we had binoculars to see them up close, because I have never seen dolphins off the shore of CA.  They passed by the whole length of the beach, and then took a course out around the rocks.  It was a wonderful site to see.  It was so nice to watch their rhythm of coming up out of the water and dipping back down below the surface as a group effort.  I wish they would have come closer.  I so wanted to swim out to them and join in their frolicing. 

This time at the beach, Rosie did not get bitten.  Her wound from the last bite has just finished healing.  We watched any dogs who came close and let their owners know we were being cautious and didn't want a repeat of the last trip.  It was a much calmer day, since, like I said, there were fewer dogs, fewer people, and the tide was out a little further this time.  We could walk the whole length of the beach this time.  Last time, the waves were so much higher, making less room for people to play at the water's edge.  We had to keep Rosie from getting in the water as far as she usually likes to splash.  I didn't get in at all.  The waves were just too rough this time.  My friend sat on a log to listen to his game while Rosie and I went off to play and walk.  I found a heart shaped rock to add to my collection.  Rosie ran ahead of me, smiling and jumping, and investigating.  She loves our trips to the beach.  When we got to the farthest edge that we could safely walk to, Rosie started worrying about her daddy.  She loves me, but she worries that her daddy might not be where we left him when we walked away.  He wasn't in sight.  She took off running as fast as she could to get to him, but half way down the beach she started worrying about leaving me behind.  She turned around to run back to me to see if I was ok.  I told her I was, so she turned around again and headed back for her daddy.  When she saw me coming, she ran to me again.  Rosie suffers from separation anxiety.  She wants her mommy and daddy to be together with her, or at least have both of us in sight.  Once she could see both of us again, she was ok with walking along the beach with me again, going the other direction to see what we could find that way.  That is when my friend looked out and saw the dolphins.  What a wonderful end to a beautiful, sunny, warm winter day.  We came home with a very tired, happy puppy dog.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Trying To Keep Up In The Pet Sitting World

I started pet sitting, because I could no longer teach, so I needed to find something else that would bring me as much joy and fulfillment as teaching children to read.  I found my answer fairly quickly after working in a veterinarian's office for a short time.  I saw the need for quality pet care in people's homes.  I was asked if I would come over for a weekend stay with a client or two.  I have always had my own pets, and I loved what I was doing at the vet's office, working as the receptionist.  I had full client and patient contact all day long.  Although there were sad times when someone had to make the hard to decision to let their pet cross over the Rainbow Bridge, it was mostly a great place to work, with a very caring and compassionate staff that I felt proud to be a part of. 

Once I was settled in this area, I decided to post an ad on craigslist to see what kind of response I would get.  I didn't have to wait long to hear from someone.  Since I was going to be staying in my prospective client's home, they did a background check on me, because I was not bonded or insured.  I still am not.  I believe in old fashioned things called trust and honesty, and integrity.  No amount of money can buy those.  So I started with one client.  I kept posting my ad and before you knew it, I had more clients.  I learned all kinds of things about being a good pet sitter along the way, and I learned how to choose the right pets to watch.  Not everyone is a match for you, and you are not a match for everyone.  There are all kinds of reasons, but it comes down to matching personalities, and whether you feel you will be able to satisfy the client.  Once I started boarding at home, this is where it became even more important to me and the client to be a match.  If a client decides not to use me for their pet sitter, I really do not know why they didn't choose me.  Maybe they didn't like my fee, or maybe they didn't like my house.  I did live where some dogs who are groomed regularly would enjoy playing, but their owners would not enjoy them getting dirty in the country.  I felt sorry for those little dogs.  They wanted to play in the dirt the same as any other dog, but they had to stay all clean with every hair in its place.

Now that I can no longer board pets, my client list has dwindled significantly, while, at the same time,  the number of people getting into the pet sitting business has boomed.  A lot of people decided that pet sitting was an easy way to make money.  I wish they would find something else to do.  Very few of these people stay around long.  After a client uses them one time, and they want to use them again, the people are no longer in business, and the client has to start all over to find a pet sitter again.  I have been around since 2007.  I don't plan on going anywhere soon.  I am here for you around the clock, every day, all year long. 

There are more and more pet sitting brokers, as I call them, out there to make a buck off of pet owners who do not know how to sift through the mountains of potential sitters.  They want to help match a client to a pet sitter.  There is a fee involved, of course, for both sides, and the broker does not want a person bypassing their services and hiring the pet sitter directly.  They try to scare the client by telling them that if they think for themselves the worst possible scenario might occur, and they will not be able to help them if it does.

I have a clientele who are out there wating for me to be able to board at home again. Why not go to their homes?   Not everyone wants a pet sitter coming into their private space.  I do not blame them.  It does take a lot of trust to let a stranger come into your home.  I am a pet sitter, and I do not know if I would allow a stranger in my own home.  I have discussed this before.  It is hard to trust that the pet sitter is not a snoop, or a thief, or just won't do the job they  were hired to do, or maybe the client feels like they have to clean their home up for the pet sitter, and they just don't have the time or energy to do this.    I was almost able to board pets again, but I did not get the place I wanted to rent.  The realtor would not budge on their rule that I had to prove I made 3 times the rent.  I couldn't prove that, so they refused to rent to me.  I was really sad, because it was almost right by where I lived before, only this time I would have been on the top of the hill in the sun and in the middle of an apple orchard.  I would get to see Mt. Saint Helena out of my window, and, once again, walk into Ragle Park through the back way.  I guess it wasn't meant to be.

In the meantime, it really bothers me that people have found a way to scare potential clients from thinking for themselves just so they can make money off of them.  I have pet sat for people I have never met, because the people could tell just from talking to me on the phone that I love poochie woochies and kitty cats so much that I would never mistreat them, or let anything bad happen to them.  I may not get as many clients, but I am not going to play the broker game that makes people afraid to think for themselves like they used to be able to do in the old days.  I know we live in a different world, but I still believe in my old fashioned ways of good Christian values that I was raised on.  So, if you want a good, reliable pet sitter who will come to your home to take care of your four legged children and your home, contact me.  I will always be here for you at no extra fee.  I am open to all questions, background checks, reference checks, or whatever you need to make you see that I am the best pet sitter for you.  NO MIDDLEMAN NECESSARY.  I believe you are still smart enough to make your own decisions about your pets and their needs, no matter how much our world has changed, or how busy you have become.

Good Day To You All.  Punkie

Monday, January 14, 2013

Happy 2013

Today it is Monday, January 14th, 2013.  I had to look on my computer to figure out what the date was.  I have been so busy since the last day I wrote. 
That day, I got on an airplane and went back home to visit my family for the first time in 7 years.  7 years ago was when I had to bury my mother.  It has taken all of these years to be able to go home again and face the fact that she wouldn't be in her house waiting for me to walk through the door and call out to her to find out where she was in the house.  It was good to see the rest of my family though, even though it was a short stay. 
I have been pet sitting for the last 5 years to keep myself busy and not think about how much I miss my mom every day.  I love this path I have chosen for myself.  I only wish I could find a landlord who will let me board at home again.  I have a lot of clients waiting for me to be able to watch their pets at my home, because it is more convenient for them, and for me.  I loved having poochie woochies coming over for doggy daycare, and taking all of my charges for walks in Ragle Park on the long trails in the back.  I thought I was finally going to get to rent a place that would let me do this, but they wanted me to jump through hoops to prove I could afford to rent the place they had available.  I couldn't jump high enough, so I had to let the place go.
In the meantime, I was very busy pet sitting at people's homes.  These were long time clients who use me on a regular basis.  Two mommies had to get together to see if it would work out to share me, the nanny, for their boys.  They agreed to meet each other and let their boys meet.  It worked out, so I didn't have to miss out on caring for either one of them.    One mommy had been quicker than the other when it came to making reservations.  That's why I try to emphasize making reservations as soon as you know what your dates are.  I am glad it worked out for all of us.  I love both poochie woochies so much.  I didn't want to have to turn one down.
I was also busy watching kitty cats in another town for a week, and making dog walking visits back in Petaluma for a new poochie woochie named Diablo, so I was busy in Sebastopol, Santa Rosa, and Petaluma throughout the holidays.  After 21 days in a row and 4 or 5 houses I was running between, I pet sat for another favorite client this weekend.  She had thought I had gone out of business.  I assured her that I had not, so she let me watch her poochie woochie again.  I had missed her so much.  I brought her out to the cattle ranch to visit Rosie for the day.  They had missed each other a great deal.  They had a wonderful country walk together, and we all laid out in the sun, enjoying the warming rays.
We did manage to celebrate Christmas and New Year's through all of this traveling around.  Our little critters loved their toys.  Rosie got all kinds of animals with squeakers to destroy.  One had strings on it, but it had a tire at the end of it that squeaked, so I thought it would be ok to buy, but it wasn't.  Within a couple of minutes, Rosie had chewed through that rope, and shredded it all over the floor.  I think I have cautioned about buying any toy with these string ropes on them.  A dog like Rosie bites through them and the strings get caught in their teeth, and sometimes choking them.  I will not buy a toy with those string ropes again.   The kitties got all kinds of feathery things to bat at and a laser light to chase.  They need the exercise now that there are not many gophers, or mice to chase and kill outside. 
On New Year's Day we went out to Rodeo Beach, or what I have called Cronkite Beach before.  We started out having a nice day, but my poor Rosie got attacked by a Rotweiller puppy, and once he started attacking her, other dogs took on the pack mentality and started charging her, as well.  We were able to get everyone separated.  The guy who owned the rotweiller asked if Rosise was ok.   We thought she was until we got her home.  That's when we found a hole on her behind that should have had at least 2 stitches, but it was too late for stitches by the time we found the hole.  This is the second time my poor Rosie has been attacked for no reason.  People with aggressive dogs need to keep them on a leash at all times.  These experiences are making me more leary of strange dogs on the beach. 
I'm still working on the fish's present.  They need a bigger tank, but we don't have much room for one,so we are going to have to do some rearranging and then find just the right size.Speaking of fish, I don't know if I ever told the story of our Blue Eyes.  He is a shubunkin, which looks like a fancy gold fish with fancy colors and fancier tails and fins.  Well, we noticed that poor Blue Eyes was starting to get tumors all over his top fin.  We were worried that we were going to lose him soon.  But we had gotten some new fish in the tank.  They started nibbling on the tumors here and there.  One day we noticed that all of the tumors were gone, but also, something else happened to Blue Eyes.  He changed from being a very colorful fish to being all white.  I have a picture of him with all of his colors.  I will have to take a picture of him being all white, and then I will add the pictures to this post side by side.  It is amazing.  We are not sure what happened, but we are glad that Blue Eyes is still with us.  He is at least 6 years old now.
I hope all is well with you and your furry friends so far in this new year.  I am sorry I am not getitng the new place, but I won't give up.  Somewhere out there, there has to be someone who will rent to me.  Keep your good wishes and positive thoughts coming towards that goal.  It will happen.
Good Day for now.  Enjoy all of this beautiful sunshine, even if it is a little chilly.  I am a midwest girl, so i can take the cold.  This is nothing compared to what January is usually like back there.  I will take the 20's or 30's any day over -0 in the midwest in a normal January.
Happy New Year To You All and God Bless
Punkie and Rosie