Saturday, November 1, 2008

Your client's neighbors

You may get the creeps when you think your clients' neighbors are spying on you, but they can be your best friend too. When I see the neighbors looking at me curiously, I will introduce myself and give them my card. They’ll call if the dog gets out, the sprinklers break, a moving van shows up, or they see any unusual activity. Neighbors have helped me find the main shut-off valve when a water pipe broke, called the police when kids broke in and had a party, and caught and held a fence-jumping boxer for me.

One of my most interesting neighbor experiences happened when I arrived at a client’s house to find their elderly collie dead in the back yard. After calling the client and getting instructions, I discovered the dog was too heavy to move by myself. I wrapped it in trash bags and asked the guy next door to help me carry the body to the car. We got out front, and here comes the busybody from across the street, wanting to know just what I was taking from her friend’s house. I don’t know if she thought I’d murdered someone or was camouflaging the fine china, but she wasn’t going to let me get away with it. It was a light moment in an otherwise sad day. 

In spite of her nosiness, I appreciated the fact that she was paying attention. I'm sure she drives everyone nuts, peeking out through the curtains as they come and go about their daily business. But what if you were gone and she saw the door left hanging open? Or the dog was running loose? This happened to one client. Their house was burglarized, and their Great Pyrennes was running out in the street. Thanks to the "nosy" neighbor, the dog was returned home and the police were called in a timely manner. 

Those of you who think pet sitting sounds like fun, and an easy job, should take note here. It's a big responsibility to care for someone's home and pets. Do you know what to do?

The photo here is one of my favorites: Brandy, a toy poodle I cared for for over 8 years.

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