Sunday, November 1, 2009

Are you a morning person?

Are you temperamentally suited to be a pet sitter? Here’s something to think about.

I am not a morning person
I remember in college, lying in bed on a cold dark winter morning, swearing I would someday have a job where I could sleep until at least 7 am. Getting up when it was still dark left me tired and grouchy all day. It didn’t help that those were the party-hardy years, when I’d sleep until 11 am on a Saturday morning, when Grandma Johnson pounded me out of bed so I could eat lunch.

Being Midwesterners, Grandma and Grandpa always had their big meal of the day at noon, and I’d stagger to the dining room table for a huge steak dinner as soon as I woke up. We’d listen to Paul Harvey tell us The Rest of the Story on the radio while we ate. “Page two,” he would intone, and to the rustle of paper he’d begin one of his homespun stories while I choked down a giant t-bone. In my family, it wasn’t polite to leave food on your plate. As I finished I would add my steak bone to the “boneyard” where everyone’s leftover bones piled up and were eventually fed to the dogs. Then I’d go take a nap.

Grown-up life hasn’t made getting up any easier, and sleeping until 11 is a thing of the past. I’m still grateful if I can sleep until 7 am. As soon as it is light, the horses start fussing and the dogs start barking at them. Many mornings I stagger out to feed them at 5:30 or 6 am in the dark, and stumble beck to bed for another hour.

Pet sitter’s hours
This morning was the first time in awhile that I had to get up and do a pet sit at the crack of dawn, literally. With the time change last night, it was 6 am when I let Wrigley and Burbank out for their morning constitutional. We went for a long walk around the neighborhood; after their breakfast and before I put them in for the day.

It was a beautiful clear fall morning, and in the shadows of the hills by their house it was only 50 degrees. There is a nice trail through their neighborhood and I loved the light and the brisk air. We met a few walkers and no dogs. Their owners warned me that there are coyotes out every morning. We saw lots of droppings, but no coyotes. Last night’s trick-or-treaters probably had them cowering in their dens. The wilted yard decorations even looked scary in daylight. I decided against going back into the trails outside the tract. I’ve ridden my horse back in there and it gets pretty rugged.

It made me wonder why I don’t get up and out early every morning. It’s a great time to walk or ride. Once I’m out, I’m fine, it’s the getting up that hurts!

I cherish the mornings when I have no pet sits. Many dogs spend the night indoors, and I have to be there bright and early to let them out. I figure more than 12 hours indoors is too much to ask of even the most perfectly housetrained dog.

Now with the holidays approaching, I will have many early morning dog walking assignments and so will you. If you're not a morning person, find a way to reward yourself for your efforts to get up and at 'em. I usually treat myself to a soy latte on my way out on my rounds.

…and a nap every afternoon.

Photos above: Sherman the Vizsla knows the value of a good nap. Chester the Lab looks like I feel in the mornings.
© 2009 Terry Albert. All Rights Reserved.

1 comment:

Valerie Pegg said...

I don't really feel like a morning person while I'm still in bed, but once I get up and running, I feel great for the rest of the day! Especially if I can talk myself into a bit of yoga. That's hard to do at the crack of dawn, though! I like to treat myself to a chai tea latte. Yum!