Looking back at what I’d written I thought, “This is a strange first post for a new pet sitting blog.” But it’s what was on my mind. The death of a beloved pet leaves a big hole for a long time. I’ve been through it several times lately with grieving pet sitting clients, so I’m going to indulge myself by jotting down a little of what I’m feeling. For those folks who don’t get it, who think it’s “just a dog” or “only a cat”, this post may not be for you. Please be patient and try to understand that, to us, it is NOT just a pet. It’s family.
“I hold it true whate’er befall;
I feel it when I sorrow most;
‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.”
–Alfred, Lord Tennyson
‘Tis better to have loved and lost…” Or is it? I have to admit I sometimes wonder. Hurting over the loss of my own cherished dog, I’ve said (and meant it), “I am NEVER doing this again.” Add to that the sadness I feel when a client’s pet dies. As a pet sitter, I meet—and fall in love with—so many adorable animals. I’m with them all the time, some of them daily. I watch them grow up, and I watch them grow old. I get attached. Their time seems so short. And when things are really sad, I wonder if it’s worth it.
But puppy antics are a great cure for the blues. I give medicine that eases the aching joints of an geriatric pet, then drive to a meet and greet with a new client who just brought home a tiny puppy. I give a treat to elderly Midnight, not knowing it will be the last time. Then I go walk Zula, who is just bouncing into the prime of her life. If that doesn’t cheer you up, better check your pulse! And I’m starting to get puppy fever. It’s been a long time since I had a puppy. Time does its healing work. I’m starting to think I’m ready.
Being deeply involved with pets and their people is a huge part of being a great pet sitter. On the downside, it means we’re going to get our hearts hurt far more often than we might otherwise. But it also means we get to see more happy tail wags, more toothy doggie grins, and more puppy love than most people will experience in a lifetime. So, yeah, I guess I’d have to say Tennyson had it right.