Sunday, September 5, 2010

Evaluating personal safety risk while pet sitting

Maybe I’ve been watching too many crime shows, but I had a creepy experience last week, and scared myself out of helping my client with a problem. I sit here now and say “it was probably nothing,” but at the time, I trusted my gut and said no.

My clients had just moved into their new house, rebuilt after the 2007 fires. They’d only been there a week when they left for a three-week tour of Africa. The security company had my phone number, and I got a call one day.

The guy told me that the signals weren’t transmitting properly from the house, and he was afraid they wouldn’t get the alarm signal if someone broke in. I told him the system was arming and disarming fine, and I had just left there.

He wanted to meet me at the house, come inside and test the system. I didn’t feel good about that. At all. Meet a strange man, in a big empty house, alone, and no one knows I’m there with him? Not.

I looked up the company’s phone number, and sure enough, that was the number he had called from. He was probably legitimate; after all, he had my number and knew all about the house. Still…

On my next visit I ran into the builder, who was there doing some repairs with the garage door company. New construction always needs some tweaking, and the house was bustling with activity. I should have had Mr. Security Man meet me here now, I thought. I chatted with the builder, Scott, and he said the system seemed to be working fine, and he wouldn’t worry about it. 

Still paranoid, I asked my retired FBI agent-friend what he thought. Probably fine to meet the guy, he said. I was tempted to ask him to go with me.

In the end, I decided no, I wasn’t going to do it. It was only three more days before the client was due to return. I figured I’d risk a break-in before I’d risk my personal safety.

When they returned, I told the client about it. “No,” was her immediate reaction, “I’m glad you didn’t let him in. He came out and tested the alarms before we left.”

It was probably nothing; I probably would have been fine. Still…

When your gut instinct talks: listen.
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BestFitPetSit said...

I'm with you on this one. I am so nervous about "bad guys," I find myself making up scenarios when I'm in a dark patch or getting out of my car to go inside, or vice verse. There are a combo of experiences that bring these "stories" to my head when I'm out pet sitting, or just out in general. Crime T.V. is definitely part of it, but bad experiences, stories on the news and my dad telling me while growing up, "I'm not paranoid, everyone really is out to get me," all give me hypersensitive awareness of my surroundings. I listen to my gut, even if my mind is telling me I'm being ridiculous. My gut has never failed me, but my mind telling me not to listen to my gut has.

crispix67 said...

Always trust your gut. It seemed fishy to me reason he couldnt wait till the owners got back, since it was working fine.