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About Amy Jo....

 

animal books, animal stories, Amy Jo, animal story, Pet Sitter, pet sitter, dog, cat, books book, story

 

Amy & Joey

       

Amy & Doris

 

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Why I am a Critter Sitter 

The alarm was blaring, hurting my ears.  As I escaped to the front of the house, two police officers walked up to me, "Who are you?" the taller one asked.

"I am the critter sitter," I responded, smiling.

They looked at each other oddly.  "You're a critter sitter?"

     "Yes," was the only response I could muster up.  I explained why the alarm was tripped.

     Satisfied, they walked away but I heard one of them say, "Imagine, she's a critter sitter," and they laughed.

From that day on, I began to study, research, log, and feel exactly WHY I AM A CRITTER SITTER.

ANIMAL PEOPLE, an upscale boutique and grooming salon in Boca Raton, Florida, was ahead of its time in some ways.  It was such a fun store for people and pets.  We had fashion shows for pets, Halloween parties in which pets and their owners were dressed in costumes, and many other fun activities.  We even did a benefit show at the Polo Club.  We were in the newspaper at least nine times and my partner, Rose, was interviewed on TV. It pains me to this day that it didn't survive.

Often my business partner and I meet former customers. They tell us how much they miss our store.  The larger stores present some of the same activities we used to do.  Their adoption programs are important because they help so many critters find good homes.

Being semi-retired after Animal People, I finished a novel I had been working on for several years.  I am hoping to get it published, no easy feat these days.  I needed exercise and decided to walk with a friend and her two dogs.  At least it got me out and away from my novel in progress.

Kathryn, the president and CEO of Critter Sitter Inc., persuaded me to walk and earn.  Let me add that I met Kathryn in the beginning phases of Animal People.  We worked to mutually develop our businesses. She fortunately has gone on to have a very successful business, as did our former groomer.  It is a great feeling to know that Rose and I have been instrumental in aiding these two women in the development of their businesses.

And so my critter sitting career began with two daily accounts, an apricot Mini-Poodle named Poupee and a large Siberian Husky named Amoroso--quite a dichotomy.  It was fun.  They became my substitute for Starsky, my dog.  I treated them like they were my very own.  Their owners knew and appreciated this, which gave me a feeling of accomplishment.

After a while, I started to pick up more clients, earn more money and still have the flexibility of my time, which I treasure.  The thought of doing a nine-to-five job frightens me.  I have been fortunate most of my life to be entrepreneurial.

As I got busier, I walked more dogs, and I picked up more poop.

              We always clean up after our dogs as a professional courtesy to the neighbors in the area and it is the law.  To me, personally, this shows respect for my neighbors and their property.  It is not pleasant but certainly needs to be done.  As far as the cats' litter boxes, I made it fun (if that is at all possible) by pretending I was panning for gold.  (An old memory!)

Perhaps I was going through people withdrawal.  I had always been around a lot of people; or perhaps it was due to the daily activity of Animal People.  I missed the store.  In retrospect, I was depressed.  I was questioning why I was animal sitting and not doing more with my life.

Our society judges not who we are as a person and our good deeds, but what we do, how we dress and look, and what we have materially.  In the past in Europe, it was considered rude to ask what a person does for a living.  Truthfully, I don't know if this has changed since we have become a global economy.

Most of my life, I have not been concerned with what others thought of me or my actions; however I began to see a pattern of looks and behavior when someone asked me what I did for a living.  People seemed to regard me in a different manner as soon as I responded, "I'm a critter sitter."  It was as if a critter sitter was mindless, lazy, and could not do anything else.  I saw it each time someone asked me.  I could tell by their face and reactions what kind of person they were.  If they were true animal people, then the wonderful stories flowed and there was an immediate connection.

Needless to say, our clients do not feel this way.  After all, we are in charge of their pets (most consider them family members) and their homes.  I even spoke to a therapist friend about my feelings.  She explained, "There is no better charge than to care for God's helpless creatures as they are here for us to learn love, joy, nurturing, and how to understand and accept death."`

For those of you who do not know the many duties of a critter sitter, I would like to list them in no particular order of importance; don't hold your breath...

We:

¨              Walk

¨              Pet clean-up

¨              Feed

¨              Enlist Hurricane procedures

¨              Pick up poop

¨              Speak with upset owners

¨              Scoop and change litter boxes

¨              Pick up mail

¨              Give medication, including shots

¨              Put out trash

¨              Brush

¨              Bring in newspaper

¨              Play

¨              Water plants

¨              Love

¨              Take messages

¨              Pet

¨              Respond to any crisis which arises

animal books, animal stories, Amy Jo, animal story, Pet Sitter, pet sitter, dog, cat, books book, storyOvernight visits are a different scenario altogether. 

We do whatever is necessary for pets while they are in our care.  We drive in all weather, including hurricanes, and all traffic (including intercostal bridges and trains).  Holidays and weekends are the busiest.  Some sitters have 10 to 18 stops a day. And walking in the hot summer heat of Florida is no picnic!  We do not, however, clean the house only that which pertains to the pets.

Besides being a growing industry, up 763 percent in the last years, it is rewarding emotionally, spiritually, and financially.  Each sitter is a sub-contractor, in charge of her own clients with Kathryn and the office overseeing and helping when necessary.  There are many blessings and many perks.  The people I meet are wonderful.  Animal people are different! Some homes are spectacular and some are comfortable.  I see how differently people live and how most pets are pampered and sadly some are not.  I have made many good friends. I accompanied one of my clients, Kathy, and her cats, Tia and Hobie Cat, to their impressive home in Colorado. I have cried with clients who lost their “pals.” The experiences I have had are memorable, emotional and certainly entertaining.  Due to a lifestyle change, I am presently doing only overnight jobs for five clients.  When I need a “fur-fix,” it is then I am grateful that I am a Critter Sitter! 

amy@talesofacrittersitter.com

 
 

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