Monday, August 23, 2010

A Day in the Life of a Dogsitter

Just how DID I become a “dogsitter”? An evolution, that’s what it was – never planned, it just sort of happened over time. I started doing it for my friends and word spread about how their dogs loved coming here. Eventually I came up with a day rate to supplement my income as a server, created a name for my business, got some cards printed and like magic. . . I no longer had to wait tables in Homer. In fact after 5 years, I am so busy that a social outing is no more than 3-4 hours. This is 24-7 job – there are no days off unless I plan them well in advance and find a substitute that is willing to sleep with dogs - essentially a like-minded person as nuts about canines as yours truly.

Like most people sometimes I wonder about the job I have selected. But, I do adore hanging out with dogs – they make me smile. In fact I was probably a cocker spaniel in another life. In this business most days are a complete howl, but other days can be exhausting and/or exasperating. Today was one of those “other” days.

Several dogs woke up at 6 AM and needed to go potty. Okay, I climb out of the dog-filled bed (sometimes a challenge), grab my robe; search for my flip-flops, and locate the contact solution that allows my eyes to open enough to get the doggies downstairs and out the door. On the way I see that someone was not able to hold it so I grab the bleach cleaner along with the paper towels and wipe it up on the fly. Since I am the pack leader they all wait for me. I run downstairs quickly to let the other nine out before they too pee their pants – or in this case, pee on the floor (thank goodness for laminate floors). And, for me personally - well I will just have to hold it for now.

Pampered housedogs do not particular like rain so they immediately put on the brakes when they see it is pouring outside. Okay, so I go out first and coax them onto the porch, where they would stay unless of course I go out to the grass with them. GAWD! As I stand in the pouring rain in my bathrobe they all scurry around finding the right “spot” to relieve their bladders. Finally everyone is finished and at the backdoor – obviously deciding they can hold the poop until the rain ceases a bit – fat chance. It’s a record rainy season here in Homer – we are going on 29 days of straight rain so wet dogs are the norm.

We are finally back inside – a pack of wet dogs and a drenched blonde anxious for her turn in the loo. Ahhhh, life is good. Before getting on with the canine breakfast regime I run upstairs to change out of my wet robe and into some real clothes – sweats. And there I see it, OMG. . . how could I have missed the smell and the size – the thought flashed through my head that maybe, just maybe I was getting desensitized. That’s a scary thought. In any event, one of the dogs obviously had a blowout sometime during the night – diarrhea. Back downstairs to get the bleach bucket – still in my robe. Sigh. . . .

Back up the stairs, followed by the herd. As I’m cleaning up poop, messy poop, lots of poop, I see Qimmiq, the yellow lab on the back deck, retching. Two large blobs of vomit hit the deck - thank goodness this is outside. Of course all the other dogs want to investigate to see if there is any undigested food in the pile. I get them inside and slam the back deck door leaving Qimmiq in the rain to make sure she is indeed done, while I finish cleaning up the poop pile that I somehow missed in my morning fog. That done, I go to the back deck and see that Qimmiq has eaten grass during her brief potty break outside, and that is why she has thrown up. She’s fine now and ready for breakfast. I clean that up and head back downstairs to trash all the evidence.

And what dear God, is THAT I see on the living room floor? An entire roll of shredded toilet paper all over in the short time I was cleaning??? Teeny, weenie, tiny pieces of paper everywhere that needs to be picked up. Grrrrr. . . Although tedious, this is so much better than cleaning up bodily fluids – I’m at my limit already today - one more pile of anything could indeed push me over the edge into a fit of hysteria.

I look at the clock – it is now 7:30 and the dogs still have to eat. Never mind, I am getting dressed first (I dream of a shower but know it is out of the question right now) – back upstairs I cautiously peer into the bedroom wary of finding yet another mess. Wheeew! Coast is clear, looks like I can get those sweats on now (who needs to go to the gym when I spend my days running up and down stairs?).

Finally it’s 8 AM and I am ready to start my real day. It’s been a long morning but I look around me at nine adorable little faces sitting in the kitchen waiting for me to make their oatmeal, peel the boiled eggs, cut up a banana and get their homemade Greek yogurt ready to eat. They clean their bowls, lick their lips and are now ready for their morning nap. I’m exhausted and ready for yoga practice to center myself for the rest of the day.

Like any job, some days are better than others. Life is as it should be at Tails-By-The-Bay Dog Camp – where a dogsitters job is never quite done! Oh, and did I mention how much I LUV my job? Namaste

“Observe the wonders as they occur around you.
Don’t claim them. Feel the artistry
moving through, and be silent.” – Rumi

1 comment:

  1. KAren - I am laughing my head off because that is exactly what I go through. And they are all so sweet you can't get mad and then they want to eat....Sometimes it is so bad that my pee is almost added to the mess since I can't stop moving until everyone else's needs are taken care of.

    Yesterday I stepped in one of the biggest piles of soft poop ever to be found in my house - barefoot. I don't even swear anymore.

    I love the dogs so much and yet some days I just want to sit down and cry. No one knows are really hard this job is - especially the way we do it - making sure everyone is loved, feels at home and is adored.