January 12, 2015 – Sometimes we live life on the edge as pet sitters. Even when we think we’re doing everything possible to stay safe…life happens. Fast.

Playing it Safe

Safety starts before we leave our homes and we keep a watchful eye at every call. We’re more in tune with the weather than meteorologists and have boots for every kind of walking condition…dry road, trail, rain, torrential rain (higher up the leg!), mud, snow, and cleats for ice.

There’s very little room for groceries in the car because the back seat has a hammock or barrier to stop dogs from rocketing from the back seat to the front and there’s a pile of towels to keep the dogs dry and chill-free. The trunk is filled with harnesses and leashes and first aid kits and a blanket. Oh…and a spare pair of boots, shoes, jacket, hat, gloves…

We take first aid courses and canine self defense (to keep both us and the dog we’re with safe.) And many of us have backgrounds as vet techs or trainers.

We prepare ourselves with as much information from the client as we can get about health and behavior and the funny little things that make Sparky or Max tick.

And Yet…We Teeter on the Edge

Yes – accidents and aggressive attacks by loose dogs can happen. Fortunately they’re seldom and with a watchful eye, avoided. Most often, while we watch for the big problems, though, we miss out on the little ones…

Such as having your nose broken when you bend down just as the dog decides to get up. (Beware if you’re a Golden Retriever lover…they have super hard heads!)

Or falling into a ditch full of snow up to your thighs because you didn’t know it was there and the dog walked over the top nice-and-easy. (They have zero patience for you, BTW. Expect eye rolls. You’re panicking and they’re counting down how many minutes of their walk you’re wasting!)

Then there’s the old but ever popular…pole wrap. This is when one dog walks on one side of a hydro pole and the other dog jaunts down the other side…all at a good pace…on ice…leaving you sliding into a face-plant on the metal or steel post. And you’d think that would be the embarrassing part, wouldn’t you? But no. The worst part is realizing your arms don’t quite make it all the way around so you can’t hand-off a leash to the other hand and free yourself. And the motorists going by give you a flirty little wave or horn-tap to show you’ve brightened their day.

But the trophy goes to my husband Les today. After barely seeing the cat we look after at one client’s home (we’ve mentioned this one before), she pops out for a head scratch from him now. Today she was even friendlier, in her effort to get a little higher for more attention, she bounced up, front leg extended, and swatted him in the lip…and managed to hook it from the inside. (He must have had his mouth open chatting away at the time.) So he spent the rest of his day with a fat lip and a good slice inside it where the nail ripped through.

They never teach us about the wild side of pet sitting in any courses!

So along with our regular dog walks today, that was day 12 of our 365.

Until next time…try to stay off the edge and be safe out there!