I’ve been a pet sitter working with animals and Very Important Pets for over five years, having used them to look after my dog Ziggy and deciding it would be a fun way to have some other dogs to look after.
Being a dog sitter is hugely rewarding job as you get to look after some amazing dogs. All are different with their own characters. My own dog Ziggy loves having new dogs come to stay and I think having another dog in the house helps them settle in quicker.
At first they can be a little upset when their owners leave, however I usually take them out for a long walk straight away so they can get use to me and after that they seem to really settle well. Often it seems they only remember their owners when they turn up to pick them up! This is reassuring for the owners as they wouldn’t want to think of their dog pining for them when they are away.
The first two I looked after were Molly and Monty, a Yorkshire Terrier (female) and Maltese (male). They were really sweet dogs and acted a bit like a married couple with Monty always looking out for his little pal. They both had quite long hair and had to have it tied up at the front every day in a hair band! Molly even came with her own carry bag as sometimes I’d have to carry her. She had fallen off a bed some time ago and had hurt her legs, hence not being able to walk too far or too long.
On the complete other end of the scale was Solomon, a beautiful Mastiff boy. His owners were getting married so I had him over a weekend. He really was a gentle giant. My dog Ziggy loved playing with him and they spent much of the weekend racing around the garden together.
A big favourite of ours was Pookie, a four month old Cockapoo when I first looked after her. A fabulous little dog and after doing several sits for her she almost felt like one of the family. Another favourite was Charlie the Cocker Spaniel. Again only a young boy when we started to look after him and I did several sits with him. He has a fondness for ducks so often he would try to swim round and round a lake near me trying to catch them, which of course he never managed to do.
I actually ended up adopting Charlie as his owner had a change in circumstances and she needed to re-home him. It was lovely of her to think of me first and give me the option to take him – which we did! She had to have him flown in to Heathrow from Belfast and to see him come out in his crate on a pallet in the cargo area is a sight I’ll never forget. Needless to say he wasn’t in the least bit traumatised by the flight and instantly recognised us. Aren’t dogs amazing!
He remembered our house and was very happy to be back with his pal Ziggy. I keep in touch with his previous owner and send her pictures of him every now and then, and she always sends a box full of doggie treats at Christmas. Now dogs have two friends to play with when I do a sit!
By Karin Jones, A Pet Sitter in Surrey