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  • Writer's pictureHolly

Surely, you can’t be serious

It’s an interesting thing to operate a pet sitting business. On the one hand, it’s literally puppies and kittens — on the other, it’s a bonafide business with all the trappings of overhead, insurance, licensing, taxes, and logistics. A lot of


woman with dog
Holly and her pal Iris

When people hear “pet sitter,” the thought bubble above their head fills with soft, warm, and cuddly baby animals, and they think, “I would do that for free!” There are, without doubt, moments like that. And those are the moments that recharge your soul and get you through the other realities of the profession.

Historically, pet sitting wasn’t an occupation. We’d put the cat outside and cross our fingers it’d still be around when we got home. And the dog would make do with a giant pile of food and a water bucket. Maybe a neighbor kid would stop by. But, thankfully, our pet’s station in life has skyrocketed to that of an equal family member.

But between that cuddly thought bubble and the historical afterthought of pet care, today’s sitters feel a bit like Rodney Dangerfield trying to get some respect.

There’s legit work to accomplish when we’re not experiencing thought-bubble nirvana. On a typical day, we handle countless *pounds* of poop/pee and clean up often unidentifiable messes, many of the explosive variety. There’s an excellent chance we step in poop, pee, puke, and any combination thereof. We get hissed at, growled at, and whiplashed on walks. We’re outside in subzero temps and 100-degree heat. When overnight sitting, we wake up at 3 am to a dog needing to go out and can’t remember what house or dog we’re with. It’s a luxury to sleep in our own bed and pet our own pets. If not for our scheduling software and Google Maps, we’d never know where we were or where we needed to go next.

To their core, animals have boundless happiness, optimism, and an eagerness for whatever awesomeness awaits them.

But the weird thing is, we love it. We love every pet. Few things are more rewarding than walking into a house and seeing the recognition and excitement fill a pet’s eyes when they haven’t seen you in weeks. To their core, animals have boundless happiness, optimism, and an eagerness for whatever awesomeness awaits them. That’s why we all have pets. They infuse us with those things. And those things are increasingly in short supply.

So I cannot imagine a better way to spend my days. It’s obnoxiously corny, but knowing and loving so many animals is a privilege. Someone recently asked me if I could do it over again, would I do my 25-year corporate career, or would I do pet sitting from the jump. I’ve since given that much thought during litterbox cleanings.

To love all these animals is easy. To be a small business owner is hard. I’ve always been able to love animals unconditionally. Still, those 25 years gave me the tools to successfully operate Oh, Fur Pet’s Sake so that the only thing our customers see is that thought bubble above their heads with soft, warm, and cuddly baby animals. So I guess everything happened in the proper order.

But we pet sitters are still working on that respect thing. I say as I straighten my invisible Rodney Dangerfield Tie.



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