About 3-1/2 years ago I started working as a caregiver for senior citizens. Since then I have had the privilege of assisting in the care of over 20 aging women and men. Some need simple companionship, some suffer from strokes or dementia and others need hospice care. I've done it all and although it's challenging at times it is also very rewarding. A year ago I started walking dogs for Wag!, which soon became walking dogs independently, and before I knew it, I ended up where I am now, taking care of dogs, cats, birds, horses, fish and even a tortoise. I walk, feed, transport, play with and pet sit various pets and I love every minute of it. They sometimes pull when they walk and I deal with an inordinate amount of poop on the daily, but that's pretty much the extent of the frustration I have with caring for pets.
Yesterday was an exceptionally frustrating day as a human caregiver, not completely at the fault of the client, and I was left very upset at the home where I am pet sitting, on the phone alternately with my best friend and my husband, glass of wine in my hand and a dog on either side of me, all of this finally calming me down and making me realize the world was in fact NOT coming to an end.
Today I decided to decompress. I left my phone in my fanny pack for all of my walks ( I had two 1-hour walks, five half-hour walks, a kitty feed and a vet transportation), which meant no pictures for the owners or Instagram. I also left my ear buds out, which meant no music, audio book or podcast. Instead, I listened to our feet on the ground, the wind in the air, the birds in the trees, the cars on the streets, the barking dogs and meowing cats and the occasional hello from the humans. I even enjoyed a free glass of lemonade and a chocolate chip cookie when I came upon a lemonade stand and I had no money to offer. Keeping my focus on just myself and my pups was rewarding for all of us.
I LOVE what I do. I walk into homes all day and I’m greeted with barks and jumps and shaky wines and energy that I feel all humans should greet me with. I spend 30 to 60 minutes outside for each walk, sloughing off negative energy and helping pups burn theirs. I play with horses and pigs, and I get smiles and waves from people walking by. There’s always somebody who wants to pet a dog. They are so therapeutic.
So I’m stressed. So I struggle sometimes. And I cry. But then I see the pets. My pets, clients’ pets, and random strangers’ pets. Please don’t take away the pets. Humans I can do without. I really need the animals.