Being a Pet Sitter; is it much different to being a Baby Sitter?!
I was out on a little shopping spree the other day, and as the cashier was scanning through my final 'necessities' I put my hand in my bag to pay for the damage. What came out of my bag was not a wad of cash, (which would have been great, may I add) neither was it my well loved, but very well used purse, but a handful of doggy poop bags. That's right, Poo bags. As a dog lover and owner, it seems they appear to materialise from every coat pocket and bag I own. In every colour, scent, shape and size. Not only that, I seem to carry an array of treats that would set any pooches tail a-wagging, just last week I was rooting around in my bag for my phone and pulled out some half chewed raw hide type specimen.
In a similar situation, a work colleague of mine delved into the depths of her bag looking for something the other day, and pulled out a number of baby related items; namely a few dummy's, toys to keep children entertained and a pack of baby wipes. There was no use for these things in our office, (although aren't baby wipes the most useful invention EVER?!). It got me thinking. Like a babysitter or mum you need to be as prepared as possible for your pet guest. You are entrusted with someone elses beloved Pet and no one wants responsible for dog poop fines, runaway dogs or at the worst, pet injuries. To be a responsible sitter and walker, I like to feel prepared for whatever my Pet Guest throws at me, and to ensure they are as happy as can be until their parents are back. Below I have given a low down on what I carry with me, to ensure I am fully prepped for my Pet guest
- Poop Bags- Everyone with dog friends should have these on them AT ALL TIMES! Take a few; that fresh air can often work wonders on the pooches bowels, so don't let them trick you with them pooping once- they are known to 'go' a number of times. And even if you don't need them, you could help a fellow owner out if they get stuck without one!
- Hand Sanitiser - For those germ conscious, an extra bit of security that the poo bags don't offer! And let's face it, no one likes to stop for a coffee on a walk thinking about the little 'present' they just picked up.
- Tennis Balls - If your Pet's owner permits you to walk their pooch off lead, tennis balls are a wicked way to tired them out whilst working those biceps of yours.
- Treats - Again, if the owner permits, a treat can go a hell of a long way in bribing your pet guest to show off skills to the other owners in the park. Just make sure you know all about the pets dietry requirements before giving them anything, and ask the owners permission!
- Weather appropriate clothes- Okay, so as the fellow English know, the only way you can be 'fully prepared' for our weather is to basically pack your whole wardrobe. As our weather always changes quickly and unexpectedly. I always keep 3 items in my boot; Wellies, Waterproofs and Warm clothes. This way I can ensure that I can at least keep slightly drier and not freeze to death slowly being swallowed by a mud swamp...
- Towels- Talking of swamps, if you are transporting your pet guest in a vehicle, it is worth bringing an old blanket or towel to wipe them down with or you potentially have the contents of the park all over your car, or worse re-decorating the owners house with mud!
- Plasters-You may have a little nipper or a Jumping Jack Russ on your hands, or perhaps you have made a terrible decision on what shoes to wear and have ended up with burning blisters. Either way, you won't get very far with an excitable dog if you have to cut the walk short. Always carry plasters, just in case.
- Water- For yourself and your paw pal! Lots of parks and cafes have water available for thirsty pooches, but bring some just incase, all that running around makes for thirsty work!
- Spare lead - I have about 15 spare leads, as you never know when you'll need one. I once had a client who I arrived at their house for a walk, to realise he was half way to his holiday destination-with the leads in the back of his van, not a great start to walking two 15+ stone Rottweilers. They are also great to have on hand, if you have a pup who likes to chew through leads as their pup pastime.
- Phone charger - If you are going to be spending the day with someones pet, it's great to ensure you have your phone with all their details stored, in case of an emergency. Always make sure your phone is charged in case your pet parent needs to contact you, and so you can pupdate with cute pics for reassurance!
When I go out to someones house, or for a walk, it takes preparation and careful planning. I do often feel like I am Packing a Changing bag for a baby! Whether it be spare nappies or poo bags, Raisins or Rawhide. What do you Pawshakers think?