Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Shopping on Thanksgiving Day

I have a confession to make and it ain't pretty. I'm kind of jealous of the cashiers who have to work on Thanksgiving. Not because they're working -- I'm working, too. I'm jealous because they have a whole campaign of advocates that want them to be with family on Thanksgiving day. All day. I can't log in to Facebook without seeing one of my clients post "I'm not shopping on Thanksgiving because I believe in family!" Oh the irony. The very same people employ a pet sitter to come to their home twice on Thanksgiving day, once at breakfast and --yes!-- once at dinner time, to make sure their cat has one teaspoon of wet food mixed in with the dry food.

There are some huge differences between the cashier and the pet sitter, however. The pet sitter can always say no, risk losing a year round client, and deal with an adult sized temper tantrum. And most pet sitters, when they begin their job, know full well that they are getting into holiday work. Most importantly, we are with animals and not pushy customers.

If the client and the pet sitter both want to be with their families on the holiday, what is the solution? If pets are a part of the family, shouldn't they be loved on Thanksgiving, too?

Here's what I do. I no longer take new clients on holidays. It's not worth the time, energy, and even extra holiday charges to accommodate someone on Thanksgiving who will only call me again at Christmas. This usually means that I pet sit a handful long-standing clients whom I know and love on Thanksgiving day. The rough spot is that they still need me to care for their pets during meal times i.e. breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The clients I turned down are sure to find someone brand new and starting out who needs the money and clientele badly enough to help.

Here's what you can do. Be mindful of your request. Tell your pet sitter to shave a few minutes of the visit and schedule it around their family time. Can your cat just get dry food once that day and skip the one teaspoon of wet food? Can your pet sitter drop by as late as 10 pm on the way to Black Friday midnight madness? Give lots of notice. I ask for holiday reservations by October. Don't be that person who throws a fit because one week before Christmas I can only promise you one visit per day. Tip your pet sitter well. I'm talking like a 20 spot on top of the holiday charge please. Then next year when you call, you'll get a call back!

And finally, please post this as your Facebook status and take the pledge by leaving a comment below:

No? Oh well it was worth a try.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

"You must be in such good shape ..."

No, not really.

Aside from "How many dogs can you walk at one time?" the question perpetuated by Hollywood and apparently Manhattan (answer: 3, I live in neither of those places), the second most popular supposition is "You must be in really good shape."

I mean ... Ok I have 8 to 10 visits a day. Some of them, especially in the summer and around the holidays, are cats. No, I don't walk the cats. I scoop their litter and feed them. (That's the third most frequent question. Cue the Scarecrow's musical number).

Other days, yes, it is not uncommon for me to walk 10 miles or more. It depends on which dogs I have, every day is different. If the dog is elderly, stubborn, or a puppy, we're prolly not getting very far. No matter who I'm walking, we need to stop for potty, to smell stuff, and say hello to people and pooches. It's not cardio or anything.

Dog walkers, while we may have lower blood pressure and better tans, still need to exercise. Some of us even struggle with our weight. We like to come home and binge on chips, salsa, and reality television just like you people. For me, personally, I follow a plant based diet and try to jog approximately 8k and hit the yoga mat once a week each. The jogging increases in the spring and fall. If I'm crazy busy at work, then I don't have to beat myself up about not exercising. And, awesomely, I can sometimes turn my last walk of the day into a jog. Why the last walk? Because sweaty dreads itch and I need to get home and shower STAT.

Now, let's all do some sun salutations.