How I Became a Pet Sitter
The most important thing to understand about human memory is how flawed it is. I can't remember the exact date of when I first pet sat but I remember the events around it. My wife had a horse show scheduled and couldn't do a few visits for one of her clients. Lara had become a pet sitter almost immediately after moving to Fairfax, Virginia to live with me. She had found the job posting while looking on Virginia Equestrian for horse jobs. She had grown up on a dairy farm and didn't like being away from animals.
My background with animals is far less extensive than Lara's and amounts to we had a few dogs when I was growing up. Three to be precise. The particular dag she needed coverage for was a retired seeing eye dog and while the company she worked for would normally use one of their sitters they didn't have anyone because I believe it was Easter Weekend and everyone else was either already booked or out of town with family so Lara volunteered me.
This big bear of a Chocolate Lab was by far one of the easiest dogs there was to walk. While he was my first official pet sit he was also a regular client after that and when it was time for his time on this planet to be up his owners called us and let us come say our goodbyes. To this day I still get sad thinking about him. He was such a gentle and loving fellow and it truly is a shame that our pets can't stay with us forever.
After his visits I started to think about the job I was at and how little I liked doing it and how much fun walking dogs would be. The pay for the 15 minute visit wasn't bad and as I thought about it and started to do the math in my head I could see that I could make a living doing this and so we contacted the company and told them I'd be interested in joining up full time. It is also important to note that one of the owner's of the company had a friend that ran business in Silver Spring, Maryland and they were in need o a CNC programmer. Knowing that I did this he offered me this connection and was absolutely shocked when I turned it down to work for him and walk dogs because I'd be making a third as much as I would have but the thing was I hated to construction industry. Still to this day I'm not completely over the mental state that clients are combative and adversarial and looking for any excuse to sue you.
I enjoyed walking dogs and the pay wasn't as important as my happiness plus with the dog walking and pet sitting I wouldn't have to commute to Silver Spring. That to me was a huge plus. Can we really put a price tag on our sanity? Can you imagine commuting from Fairfax, Virginia to Silver Spring, Maryland everyday? I don't think I would have made it a week in that job. I may not be walking dogs and pet sitting in Fairfax anymore but I'm still walking dogs and pet sitting.
After the interview which I feel like was possibly one of the worst interviews of all time as I admitted how depressed my current job was making me and how much I just wanted to be doing anything else. Lara is truly the only reason I was ever even able to be given the opportunity to pet sit. I often wonder if I'd even hire myself as I was then. I was clearly someone not in a good place mentally and my only prior animal experience were the four dogs I'd lived with in my life time and Carly virtually took care of us vs us taking care of him (that might be a story for another time), but since Lara was one of their best sitters they gave me a chance.
Understand also at this time I'd just returned from a baseball trip to San Francisco and was dealing with a stress fracture in my foot. It was terribly painful and not the best condition to be in when starting a job with walking in the title. Before I was officially hired I had to pass a working interview which involved meeting one of their senior sitters at 5:00 AM in Leesburg to accompany him on a few visits. I walked one big and very well behaved German Shepard and assisted on a couple other visits. He then walked me through the online scheduling system they used and sent me on my way home, and that was it. I was now a dog walker/pet sitter, and while that is the day I got the job I think a lot more had to happen to truly make me a pet sitter but those are all stories for a later time.