Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Holy water for pets: pet sitters get strange requests

And you thought you spoiled your dogs:

I suppose the weirdest request I've ever received was from the client who provided london broil and organic butter for her Lhasa Apso. I was to cook the meat and drizzle melted butter over it. Then cut it into bite sized pieces and hand feed it to him. Ming was 18 years old, and couldn't find the food without help. So it wasn't as weird as you might think! He also got a tablespoon of Haagen Das ice cream before bedtime every night.

Feeding raw and home-cooked diets is always a challenge. By the time you are done mixing all the ingredients and pills and supplements, it's quite a concoction. And every owner does it differently. And sometimes every dog in the household gets a different recipe.

I once cared for a bullmastiff that I had to "put to bed" every night. Literally. The dog would go to her plush pillow and lie down. I would pull her blankie over her and give her a cookie and say goodnight.

Above: Pet portrait that I painted of Ming as an old man.

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© 2010 Terry Albert. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Dog-sitting by Draw the Dog

My gang is famous! Jim George, an ex-Disney animator, featured my group in his daily Draw the Dog cartoon last week. He put a new twist on the term dog-sitting! I got a kick out his portrayal of the evil shelties, Lily and Bonnie, along with two of my clients' dogs, Tally the Lab and Twyla the Cavalier. He was way too accurate with the couch... one of the comments on his site pointed out that this is why they call it FURniture.

To watch the image "draw" itself, click here  Jim is a fantastic cartoonist and has done some great art for dog rescue groups, which I profiled several months ago in my Everything-Pets blog

Here's the photo I sent jim. His assistant, Bruce, emailed me and said I win the award for submitting the most photos! Who knows, maybe one day another of my canine friends will appear in Draw the Dog. Meanwhile, go to Jim's website and sign up to have his funnies emailed to you each day. I always get a good laugh to start my morning. 
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© 2010 Terry Albert. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Pet sitter perks: Garage Sales!

Saturday morning pet sits are fun for me, because I get to stop at garage sales along my route. I am visiting different parts of town every weekend, and explore neighborhoods in Poway that most people never see. You know how it is; we go where we go–the grocery store, school, library and post office– and never take the side streets along the way.

So every weekend I see different streets, and a garage sale sign usually tempts me to detour off my beaten path. The hardest part is resisting temptation, but lately I’ve made some wonderful finds. You might not agree!

My big $3 purchase for the yard was Carlos the turkey. Made from a tractor seat and other miscellaneous parts, he really is a creation by a modern day genius. The owner told me they bought it at a garage sale in Texas. I don’t usually buy knickknacks, but a friend who was moving unloaded a zillion different gnomes, statues and gazing balls recently, and they all appeared in my succulent garden one afternoon. I was hooked, and Carlos was a natural addition to the collection.

He is named after another Carlos who belongs to my friend Gunilla who runs a pet rescue and sanctuary in Rancho Santa Fe. I adopted Honey from her, and her Carlos is a big hit with all the visitors. He even made the local news recently.

Pet sitting a turkey
Have you ever taken care of a turkey? They are tough! One of my neighbors thought he was buying baby chicks for the kids for Easter and ended up with three very nasty huge turkeys in the back yard. I had to throw food into the pen; you didn’t dare go in there. Another turkey I met was so pretty I decided to take his picture. Well, he didn’t like the flash from my camera, and I spent the rest of my visit being chased and getting my butt pecked. 

My next garage sale find
On Friday, a lady was doing an advance day for her garage sale, so I got in early for the good stuff. I picked up this Mexican made table for $5 and I love it. It has so much personality (So does Rylee, the goldendoodle who is investigating my latest purchase). You can't see it, but there are hobnails on the top. This one goes in the living room.

And my favorite purchase
You have to get to garage sales early, and on my pet sitting rounds, I am often on the road by 7 am to let dogs out that have been in all night. This sale was right around the corner, and I nabbed this windmill with the horse on top. Who could resist? Someday my toys are going to outnumber plants. The skull hanging on the windmill is one my collie Emma brought home one day from the neighbor’s. They had butchered their cow and thrown the head over the fence. Gross, yes, but 10 years later, it looks rather nice up there, don’t you think?

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© 2010 Terry Albert. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

4th of July and pets

The following email and photos say it all. I received this from one of my clients this morning, and it breaks my heart. PLEASE keep your animals indoors tomorrow. Don't let this happen to your beloved family member.

Dear family and friends,
We had to say goodbye to our beloved, sweet Lily last night.  She was frightened by the fireworks and started to run.  Tragically she was hit by a car.  We would so much appreciate a prayer for our girls who are so very sad for our loss.
Jeff, Aimee, Emma, Madelynne & Goldie

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© 2010 Terry Albert. All Rights Reserved.