Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pennsylvania Nature

I can't seem to go a day without seeing beautiful animal babies everywhere. Most notably are the fawns, sometimes singly, sometimes in pairs, following their mothers around as they nibble on the abundant grass. I've tried taking some pictures, but I can't seem to get close enough to get good ones.
I'm seeing lots of turtles too, snapping turtles and red-eared sliders. The snapping turtles were laying eggs a week or so ago, which explains why they've been everywhere. I remember a few years ago seeing a gigantic snapper in the middle of the road. I didn't want her to get hit by a car, so I decided I'd help her across the road. At the time, I didn't know that snapping turtles have long necks and can reach almost all the way behind them. I thought I'd just gently lift her shell and help her across... Fortunately, something in me thought "maybe not a good idea". I tried to inch closer to her in the hopes that she'd move of her own accord, but she was fearless (unlike ME!) In the end, I realized there wasn't much I could do without putting myself in danger, or putting her in further danger, so I got back in my car, and sure enough, she started moseying to the side of the road. I'm glad I didn't act on my initial instinct to pick her up - after doing some research I saw that they have a vicious bite and it is definitely not recommended to mess with them at all.
I try to learn about all of the wildlife I encounter in my travels. That information always comes in handy.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Life of a Pet Sitter

June is a WONDERFUL time to be a pet sitter in Northeast PA! I thought I'd share a little bit of what I do, to give an idea of a pet sitter's typical day.

I wake up early every day, even if I don't have early morning pet sits. Today I didn't, so I spent the morning answering a few emails, and playing with my 2 pups, Loki and Fiona. Then it was time to head out!

My first sit was for a pack of dogs, all as different as dogs can be! they all got a potty break in their large fenced-in yard, and I spent time with each of them, to pet them, play with them, and make sure they were all doing well today. I see this gang frequently and I know them well - their little quirks and mannerisms, likes and dislikes! They are a joy to sit for because no 2 visits are the same, and they are so fun and affectionate.

From there I drove through beautiful wooded areas to my next sit, where I walk a pair of dogs separately. There is nothing like being out in the fresh air and sunshine with blue skies up above, and a good dog at your side. We take a nice long walk through the woods, it's beautiful. Today, one of the dogs took a long drink of water then jumped up to give me a big, wet kiss - lucky I had a towel handy! Pet sitters get used to that kind of thing, and learn to appreciate those signs of affection, even when they are kind of sloppy. After our walk, it's cuddle time, which both dogs really enjoy.

After that, I went to take care of a pair of Labrador puppies that are as cute as can be. Getting puppies outside to potty quickly is the name of the game here. Once they've relieved themselves and we clean up, it's PLAYTIME, and these pups love to play! I can't keep a straight face around them. They wrestle, and make squeaky growly noises, and they fall all over each other tangling up their legs. Their owners are already teaching them to sit, so I have them do a few "sits" for me, and praise them like crazy when they do. Because they're puppies, they get a second walk before I leave, so there's less mess for their mommy and daddy to come home to. It's hard to leave such a beautiful pair, but by the time I left today, they were fast asleep. Awww...

So there's a little slice of my life as a sitter. On days like today, when the weather is perfect and the pets I'm seeing are all friends to me, I think pet sitting is the best job in the world. (Keep reading this blog to find out what it's like to be a pet sitter in January!)