Before we built the Pet Cottages and Kitty Condos, there was “Home Alone House and Pet Sitting”. I eagerly opened this business in 1997, picturing myself quitting my day job in the very near future and having a thriving pet sitting business. I tend to be a glass half full type of person…
I called this blog misadventures in pet sitting for a reason. In the few short months I operated this business, so many strange things happened, through no fault of my own, that something was telling me it wasn’t to be. You’ll see why after reading some of my experiences, involving wild animals, robberies, and unexpected house guests. I hope you enjoy a laugh or two – I certainly did, all these years later, writing this post!
It was a dark and scary night. I was booked to do a few cat sitting visits in the country at a house set very far back off the main road. To say I was a little nervous would be an understatement. I should have known something was up when the owners told me to look for the key under the axe in the very creepy shed out back. I found the key and went tentatively inside, listening, for what, I do not know! While I was feeding the cats, I suddenly felt a swish of air and looked up to see I was getting dive-bombed by a bat! My first instinct was to run and hide in the bathroom (this wasn’t the first time this has happened to me), even though I knew bats are fairly harmless. After what seemed like a long time, I cracked the door open a bit, only to see him flying up and down the hallway. This seemed to go on forever. Finally, he came to rest somewhere. When I got up the nerve to leave, I saw him hanging upside down on a curtain rod! I tip toed past him and bolted for the door, my hands shaking as I tried to get the keys in the ignition. I could swear I was being watched the entire time I drove out the very long driveway.
Unexpected guests. Things were going well at a cat sitting job, but on my fourth visit, I found someone had been there and dead bolted the side door. Fortunately, I remembered the owner had told me the key I had also fit the front door which wasn’t dead bolted. Not hearing anyone in the house, I proceeded to do my job, as I took my pet sitting responsibilities very seriously. While getting the food ready, I was shocked to see the cats were using the kitchen sink as a litter pan, which was totally disgusting. I cleaned this up and went upstairs to clean their litter pan. As I went past one of the upstairs rooms, something moved out of the corner of my eye and I was shocked to see a couple in bed! You can imagine how quick I was out of that house, litter pan scooped or not!
A Call late at night. And then there was the frantic call from a security company at midnight one night. The alarm had gone off at one of the houses I was looking after. Having been awakened from a dead sleep, it took me a few minutes to understand that they wanted me to go and check out the problem, as it would be very expensive to send the police to a false alarm. I was flabbergasted, plus how did they know it was only a false alarm? However, again, taking my responsibilities as a house sitter very seriously (at $15 a visit, how could I not?) I dressed, dragged my complaining husband out of bed and went over to check out the problem, wishing I had some pepper spray with me. We got out together, thinking how this could go very wrong if someone was robbing the house, only to find a dead branch scraping the window, our culprit for a false alarm. Well, at least I saved someone some money, as I certainly didn’t make any extra that night.
So Sutton really does have a bad area. I was asked to do a dog sitting job in Sutton where the house was surrounded entirely by a tall wooden fence. The owner told me it was a bad area, but all I had to do was fill up the pet bowls outside each day, as the dogs had free access to the yard day and night. So it was a fairly easy job. I was driving to my last visit when I pulled up and saw the dogs running all over the road in front of the house and the gate to the property wide open. I was shocked! Fortunately, the dogs came when called and I managed to get the gate shut behind them, which had been hacked open and chips of wood were everywhere. Inside the property, there was shattered glass around the car from the window being smashed in. I quickly fed the pets and called the police who said they could do nothing, as I was not the owner. That made no sense to me – isn’t a break in a break in no matter who reports it? Just another reason to maybe call it quits on this pet sitting venture!
And, last but not least, the usual pet sitting perils. Keys and access codes. Of course there were times when people gave me the wrong key or didn’t leave the key where they said they would. Or gave me the wrong access code to their house. I still remember those pleading eyes from inside the house and how tempted I was to break a window to get to them.
With relief, I said good-bye to Home Alone House and Pet Sitters in 1998. It took a few more years, but I finally did quit that day job.
I hope you enjoyed my first post!