Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Too cute- photos and videos

I just couldn't resist this photo, even if it is out of focus. Maya and Millie the dachshunds, Izzy the toy poodle/chihuahua mix puppy, and Lucee the puggle relax at my house during the holidays. They are usually playing too hard to catch them standing still.

I have uploaded (to YouTube) a few videos of the big dogs playing. Recorded with my cell phone, the quality isn't too good, but you will see Junior the Pharaoh Hound (greyhound? whippet?) in constant motion, entertaining Casey the Giant Schnauzer, Chester, Tally and Portia the Labs. 

After 10 days here, Junior finally quit running and laid down for a few minutes with Tally. This lastest for less than a minute. Thank God for crates! At 10 months old, Junior is perpetual motion. 

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas morning for pet sitters

Very few people are in a hurry to leave the house this early on Christmas morning. As it begins to get light, families sit around the Christmas tree opening gifts and snuggling in their bathrobes, while I make my way down the quiet streets. Rush hour is suspended this morning, ladies and gentlemen, because the only people rushing are pet sitters.

After I drag myself out of bed at dawn to feed the 10 dogs staying at my house, (plus my four), two horses and two cats, I pour some strong coffee and head for the car to start my morning rounds. Each house I enter is quiet and kind of eerie- the Christmas tree is dark, the gifts have been taken to Grandma’s, and the pets are lonely and hungry for both attention and food.

As I make my rounds, I try to find a store where I can get my latte. It’s a treat I give myself to make up for having to work on Christmas. After a few stops, I will sometimes take a short nap on someone’s couch, usually with a lonely kitty perched on my hip. Each pet gets an extra holiday biscuit or treat.

Later in the day, a merciful friend has invited me to dinner. It’s a nice break on a dog-tiring day. I can’t drive 100 miles to see my brother and his family, so I enjoy my friends and their families, and head out after an hour or two stuffing myself with delicious food.

Once I have gone home and fed the animals, it’s out again for the evening pet sits. I’m lucky I don’t have to cope with snow here in San Diego. Isabella the baby puppy will need a late night potty break, and other dogs need to go out as late as possible, so it will be 9 pm or later when I get home on Christmas night.

But it’s not over. The holidays don’t end for me until January 5th when the last dog goes home, everyone’s kids are back in school, and 2009 is well under way. Then I will spend some time with my brother and his family, and take a good long winter’s nap.

Happy holidays, pet sitters! 

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pet Sitters: Are you ready for the holiday rush?

This photos is Emma (collie) and Onyx (a foster Lab) going for a Christmas Day walk on our street when I lived in Washington State. Brings back fond memories of cold winter days! Sometimes it was hard to get to my pet sitting clients' homes.

By Saturday you'll all be too busy to read this, so I thought I'd mention a few quick tips for pet sitters before the holiday rush is going full blast.

• Check the air in your tires, your oil, and any other maintenance your car may need. This is no time to get stranded. If it might snow, carry chains. Keep a bag of kitty litter in the car to use as "salt" on the road if your wheels are spinning on the ice. 

• Do your laundry and grocery shopping now. Plan ahead so you don't end up stopping for fast food every day, gaining weight, or snacking away your profits. 

• Do your Christmas shopping and mailing. You aren't going to have time next week.

• Be sure you have flashlight batteries, cell phone batteries, ice scraper, gloves, and pet sitting supplies on hand for when the weather gets bad. 

• Call all your clients and reconfirm their schedule.

You can't anticipate every little thing that will come up, but if you are prepared, the holiday rush won't be quite so frantic. Don't forget to take some time for yourself and your family!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Happy Holidays!

To all my clients, friends, readers, family and everyone who cares about animals: Thank you and I hope you have wonderful holiday with your loved ones, be they people or pets!

Shown here: Desi, my dachshund.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Recent blogs and gifts for your clients

Before I started my Dear Labby blog, I wrote some pet sitting posts for my Everything-Pets blog. Here are the links, in case you missed them:

And a poem, written by me: Polly the Pet Sitter

I hope you will enjoy them! Meanwhile, here is another of my recent paintings. I seem to be in an Australian Shepherd mood lately. Actually, there is a reason. I get a lot of requests for Aussie artwork. You can buy t-shirts with my art of Aussies and other breeds on them at http://www.helpingudders.com. A portion of your purchase helps homeless dogs.

Some less expensive gifts are available in my ebay store. I have over 50 dog, cat and horse note card designs and a some t-shirts and leash racks. If you buy gifts for your pet sitting clients, this may be just what you are looking for. 

And for that really special someone, a gift certificate for a custom pet portrait will bring tears to their eyes. Prices start at $125 for an 8 x 10 up to $300 for a 16 x 20. See my web site for complete details or contact me

Enough of the commercial message. I'll shut up now!