DOG SITTING IS NO WALK IN THE PARK...What You MUST LEARN BeFore Offering Your Services
By Katy Cable-TWR /A 4 min read
Ahhhhhh the holidays... Not only the most wonderful time of year but also, when it comes to travel, the busiest. If you’re staying home and love pets, you may be considering making some serious cash by offering your services for dogs staying “HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS!”
You’re probably thinking it’s easy money and how hard can it be walking a dog and setting out a bowl of food. Before you agree and add pet sitting to your Google calendar, be advised! Today’s pets are the new royalty and you’re more likely to see dogs in strollers and toddlers on leashes. A pet sitter is often required to be a highly skilled professional accommodating incredible demands.
Even a seasoned pet-sitter may be shocked at the efforts involved in caring for a pampered pooch these days. Take my recent experience for example:
Nothing could have excited me more than to receive a call to pet sit for a certain celebrity pup while her parents went away on business. The rates they offered were 3xs more than I would’ve considered charging for even the most difficult dog. And honestly, I would’ve considered paying THEM to watch this darling, healthy, FAMOUS, 4 year-old pug, Petunia.* I thought I’d hit the pet-sitting Lotto and was about to embark on the easiest “JOB” I’d ever had!
As I sat down with Petunia’s millennial pet parents* to review the schedule, I realized pet sitting today is anything but a simple “walk in the park!”
Petunia * is a princess and lives a pug life that’s beyond reach for 90% of most humans much less dogs. This pug’s wardrobe, grooming, nutrition and health-care budget rivals a competitive athlete. Her parent’s would saw off an arm before they’d dream of using a pet-sitting service or boarding facility. After careful vetting and extensive research, they reached out to ME!
With over 1 million social media followers, sponsors and major endorsements, Petunia isn’t just a pet, she’s a regular “PUG-lebrity.” Her Instagram alone has nearly 250K users that don’t want to miss her latest outfit, treat or adventure. I had to laugh at the fact I offer pet parents tips that will save them a rent payment in vet bills and I’m lucky to get a follow. -And that’s probably someone only interested in me trying their new health supplements.
Petunia’s schedule included everything but leisurely dog day afternoons. Her jam-packed itinerary made my mom-ager duties for my daughter’s professional acting career look laid-back. Here’s a look at my daily “pet-sitting” regimen:
Dearest Nanny Katy, Thank you for watching our baby! You know how difficult it is for us to leave her😭 Please text or call if you have any questions or need anything!”🎁❤️❤️😘😘
7:00AM PETUNIA GOES OUT FOR HER AM POTTY
Please ONLY use the lawn on the corner, (it’s NOT treated with chemicals.) After she goes bring her home for breakfast. Please use the hypoallergenic paw wipes by the door and clean her since her allergies are awful this time of year.
7:30AM PETUNIA’S BREAKFAST IS IN THE FRIDGE
Remove her evening meal from the freezer and let it thaw in the fridge.
Petunia is a very sensitive pug and her RAW, homemade diet is delivered each week Her meals consist of free-range turkey with a purée of sweet potatoes, kale, green-lipped mussels and a cocktail of vitamins and minerals. It seemed excessive for anyone not battling a life-threatening disease much less a healthy dog, but just one look at Petunia and you could see the results. A glistening soft coat, sparkling white teeth, a lean muscular body, bright eyes and remarkable disposition.
Petunia attacked her breakfast like a fight dog. Her head didn’t rise from the bowl until it had been licked so clean, it looked like it had just come out of the dishwasher. It was like a pig at the trough, snorting and slurping. This was an Instagram moment if ever there was one. When her face finally emerged from the ultra clean bowl, half her meal was buried deep into the folds of her darling wrinkles on her face. I laughed hysterically while giving her an after-breakfast facial.
12 NOON-1:00PM PETUNIA’S WALK IN THE PARK (Leashes/sweaters/coats in the closet) Stop by the La Croissant on the corner where Petunia gets a treat.
A walk in the park was anything but. It took me nearly 40 minutes just to select the perfect ensemble. -Oh the choices! “Sweaters, and collars and leashes OH MY!”
It was too much! I finally chose a fall-colored, bedazzled argyle sweater with a matching beret and scarf. A lovely understated LV harness with matching leash and Petunia was perfected poised for the park. I, on the other hand, had to up my game since ripped sweats, old Converse kicks and a baseball cap would’ve had someone quickly reporting Petunia stolen by a hobo.
First stop was a darling French Bistro on the corner. Petunia is a regular and they always have a treat for her. Today’s seasonal snack was an organic pumpkin biscuit baked with coconut flour. I grabbed a turmeric, chai latte which ended up all over my shirt as petunia darted for another biscuit. As unfortunate as my spill was, it was ridiculous to think I could've managed a latte while also shooting IG’s of Petunia. Everywhere she went people recognized her and wanted to pet and snap a selfie with her. It was so wonderful to see how she brightened everyone’s day. -Including mine. Watching her prance down the street with her head held high and her cute little double-curled tail filled me with joy.
1:00-3:00PM SOCIAL MEDIA UPDATES
Please tag the outfits, sponsors, and pics with the list on the desk. I have left some fun hashtags and ideas. I admire your creativity but ask that you please stick to the list since we don’t want to go “off brand”!
This put me in a panic! Instagram isn’t a fun hobby but a JOB! My pictures were average at best and the videos were atrocious. Lots of bad footage of my shoes and the sidewalk. Thank God there was a library ready to go and I just had to select a few things I liked. I spent the next 2 hours going through Petunia’s scroll, 💕💕💕pics and responding with kind endearments until my eyes were bleeding. And I still hadn’t made but a small dent in the staggering number of comments.
By 3:00pm, It looked like Santa’s workshop on Christmas Eve. The entire living room was filled to the brim with the day’s delivery of products for Petunia. Hopefully she would try them, use them, love them and give them a shout-out on social media. In addition, her fans sent new products and everything from artwork to exquisite one-of-a-kind jewelry.
Petunia’s afternoon/evenings were filled with a variety of “Yappy-Hours” events, premieres, grooming appointments and yes, DOGA (-yoga for dogs.)
6:00PM DINNER/FACE-TIME CALL. Please call us after Petunia finishes her dinner. We don’t want her to feel abandoned.
ABANDONED????!!!! That was a laugh! Petunia was far FAR too busy. That dog got round-the-clock love and attention every waking (and snoring) second. My husband on the other hand, DID feel completely abandoned! He thought I’d lost my mind jumping through all these hoops and didn’t for the life of him understand how people could go to such lengths for a “DOG” -Until he learned the annual income Petunia brings in.
8:00PM PETUNIA GOES FOR HER EVENING POTTY ON THE CORNER. Again, wipe her paws when she returns home.
8:30-9:00PM BRUSH PETUNIA’S TEETH/GIVE HER A MASSAGE WITH CBD OIL. She loves cuddling in bed and should fall asleep immediately.
I was so exhausted adhering to Petunia’s schedule I literally forgot to brush my own teeth. Petunia shares a bed with her mommy and daddy and she wasted no time attaching herself to me like Velcro. I was amazed how cramped a king-sized bed can be when a 17lb Pug is always underfoot. The entire night was filled with interrupted sleep. Petunia’s snoring was so loud, not only did she keep me from getting any sleep, occasionally she’d wake HERSELF UP out of a deep sleep. .
By day four I was out of gas and ready to drop from exhaustion. I badly underestimated the stamina it takes looking after a high-profile pug. Thankfully Petunia’s parents were returning home.
The second they walked through the door, Petunia sprinted over to them crying and squealing as if she’d been left alone inside a cardboard box all week. She was so excited to be reunited with her family, I didn’t get so much as a goodbye.
Don’t get me wrong, I had an unforgettable time watching Petunia and I really miss her, but I was seriously delusional about the demands of pet sitting these days. And while Petunia is far from the norm of a typical pet -sitting gig, I want to warn you, the requirements can be anything BUT a cake-walk job!
So, pet sitting may be the perfect way to earn some much-needed cash this holiday season, just be prepared that it may not be the simple walk in the park you’re expecting. -Especially if it’s a pampered, celebrity pet!
*names and details have been changed to protect privacy
🐾Katy Cable is a former actress appearing in “Back To The Future” and starring in the TV series: “Safe At Home” & “ Fired Up!” In addition to her dog health & lifestyle blog/vlog: The Weekly Runt, (https://www.weeklyrunt.com/) she’s a contributing writer to numerous publications including Thrive Global, & The Huffington Post. Cable lives at the beach with her husband, Rick and her rescue Pug, Olive.🐾