Finding the PAWfect Dog Sitter

Finding the PAWfect Dog Sitter

We leave for a three-week holiday in a fortnight, and our current dog sitter needed to cancel due to a family issue.  That’s fine, but it’s left us scrambling to find a replacement.  And it has made us think about the process of finding the PERFECT dog sitter for our Missy.

As a mother of three, who are all in their thirties, childcare in the eighties and nineties was, fortunately, covered by grandparents or friends.  There was a brief time when the two sons went to private day care, once a week for six hours. The lady lived four houses down our street and was highly recommended by other neighbours.  So, we didn’t have to do the soul-searching we’re now doing in finding someone to live-in and look after our precious pooch.  And to be perfectly frank, I was so sleep-deprived with two boys under three years of age I think I’d have handed them over to the first person who knocked on the door, and looked half-way decent.  I probably won’t be nominated as ‘Mother of the Year” for that confession!  Luckily the kids were safe and have grown up well, despite having me as their mother!  And they even regularly hand over their offspring for me to babysit, so I can’t be all that bad!

However, finding a surrogate pawrent is totally another thing, altogether.  Yes, there are numerous websites where you can put up an advert with the dates you are away and have people respond, from all over the world, to look after your house and pet or pets; goldfish, ferrets and even reptiles included!  It’s just a HUGE task sifting through the websites, trying to find the best ones, and asking the question to friends, colleagues and family who may have used them, which are the best to use.  That was where the problem began.  Along with the recommendations, we received horror stories and all the reasons under the sun for not leaving our home or pet in the hands of virtual strangers.  These are things of which nightmares are made.  Or, at the very least, it’s left us feeling incredibly guilty for having a life and going away, with many have us believing we should surrender ourselves to the RSPCA as neglectful parents!  Note to self:  sometimes it’s best not to ask the opinion of others!

So, the search goes on.  We finally decided on two websites.  One charges an annual fee for offering the service of matching potential sitters to clients, so we’re hoping it is money well spent.  I spent a long time writing our profile, uploading pictures of the house and dog, selling us as wonderful pawrents to a fantastic dog.  It took all my writing skills to make it sound incredible and I hoped I hadn’t overdone it so that we’d return home to find our chosen sitter subsequently ensconced in our home, with him or her, or even they, having taken over as the home owner and pawrent to Missy.  Or worse still, the house empty and our dog gone!  We have great neighbours so will be asking them to keep an eye on things.

I woke this morning to several replies.  P-i-C and I carefully scanned their profiles, looking at the photos to see if they looked like psychopaths (we do watch Criminal Minds and Bones so have some background on what that kind of person would be like!) or dog nappers (no TV programs we’ve found that could help us there, though we have watched Dog Whisperer on occasion!).  One was a local lady (as in Western Australian), around our age and retired who had excellent references from others for whom she had house sat.  The other was from Germany.  Yes, those questions are spinning through our minds too:  Does she know it’s a long way to come?  Who pays for her airfare?  Have we enough time to teach Missy the necessary commands in German?  Or should that be; Have we enough time to learn the commands in German before teaching Missy?  These are serious considerations, and nothing in our combined 127 years on this earth had prepared us for making this choice!

For the moment we’re stepping back, and taking time out to consider our options.  Plus, it’s the AFL Grand Final, and it would be un-Australian of us not to be watching it.  Sorry Missy, you’ve had your morning walk, you’ve been fed and you’re sleeping (read that as loudly snoring) on the lounge, so I’m sure, given that we’ve still 336 hours till we leave, we can take three hours from this mammoth task to recuperate and watch a little TV.  You will be well looked after, spoilt rotten even, while we’re away and we will return; that we promise.

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