I’ve been petsitting as a full-on sidejob (instead of just here & there) for about a year now, and it has had some unexpected happy side effects.
I noticed, I think it’s been good for me – I feel like I have something of my own. I have a flourishing petsitting business. I am a well-reviewed petsitter.
I do good work at my other job – and it’s a wonderful job that I absolutely love being at – but I think something personal is somewhat lost in its distance & officeness. I know I have one of the keener eyes for detail, but still, I’m mostly autonomous – I come in, I do my work, a couple times I’m told “Good catch!”. And I feel mostly replacable (though quite protective of my accounts – it doesn’t take much for me to consider something “my baby” and needing my sole attention – a control issue I’ll eventually have to work on dedicatedly) – but it is an office job after all. And it’s remote, so I sometimes only exchange a few words a day with my coworkers.
As a petsitter people are talking directly with me. They’re reviewing facts and details I provide about myself, and they are choosing me as their sitter for their dog. And when they come back, they are giving me a review.
And people are saying my updates are helpful, that they were never worried with their dog under my watch, that my questions showed that I cared. It’s a giant confidence boost to do & run something myself and return a good service to people.
Petsitting also revealed a giant hole – sat-for dogs received more petting, more outside time, more play than my own, dearly-beloved, dog did.
A little less than a year later, I’ve finally rectified that! And as an INFP, that genuine-ness feels good.
Guest dog or not, Doggo is going on 2 walks a day, getting copious outside time, play when he wants it, and more concentrated attention. It doesn’t change when we have another dog over, and I feel so good about that. I didn’t realize what I was missing – but I knew for the last several years something didn’t feel right.
Since January, while learning how to train leash reactivity, I’ve also learned some things about how to make his life better overall. I’ve switched to positive reinforcement only (most of the time – I still slip up). I’ve seen a dramatic change and I love not believing I need the tool of negative reinforcement (versus what I’ve been told since we adopted him).
Since January, we’ve also increased his heart medicine, given him a dental, and got his nails at a better length – so I don’t know what it is, but ….
EVERY morning now, Doggo is out of bed. He used to wait for me to get up. This morning he walked over, thonked his head on my shoulder, playfully nudged my elbow, and then under my ribs, like trying to push me out of bed.
This dude is ready to start his day, every day!
In my last post, I said he was barking less. That is not the case any more. xD But he is learning *when* to bark and how to find other things to do instead. But I also learned something from a pet owner who said “I’d expect nothing less” when I said that at drop off Doggo would be barking again. “Terriers are like that” she said, and I had a *brain explosion* moment. My dog isn’t just oddly aggressive AND friendly? This is a terrier thing? He’s being normal for his mix of breed??
It’s exciting seeing both Doggo and I have something special come from petsitting and having the chance to learn so much on the way. It’s great seeing him make friends, and be able to trust his repeat buddies more each time they come.
No matter the reason, I’m glad Doggo’s uncovered a new zest for life (which is crazy at 12 years old!). It’s exciting to see us both flourish in confidence and to also see us enjoying life together more, because we’re actually doing more, together. And I don’t feel so scared if something goes sideways while we try new things (like leash reactivity, grumbling at other dogs, barking at roomies) because I can now work on any issues that arise without sacrificing my principles – armed with sliced carrots, and reassurance we can tackle any issue. 🙂
Honestly, when they asked “do we have any writers/aspiring writers in the group?” and I said, “Sorta?” (because I have 3-5 half-story ideas that I’ve never been quite able to give up or yet finish xD and plus this blog 🙂 <3) I had no idea that one day we’d have physical copies of the book we wrote in print with a commissioned-80’s reminiscent-professional cover! :0 I was just focused on turning in my piece on time. xD