Can you walk my turtle?
Updated: May 10
I received an inquiry call one day from a lovely lady who had several pets - a Westie, two parakeets, some fish in an aquarium on the kitchen counter, an outside goldfish pond, and a turtle. We had a great phone call and scheduled a Meet and Greet appointment.
At the Meet and Greet, I gathered all the necessary information about each pet's needs. I asked more questions about the goldfish pond because that was something that was new to me. Pet sitters should never be shy about asking questions. There are many different types of pets and unless the sitter is also a Veterinarian, chances are there will always be questions that need to be asked.
I had previously cared for a couple of turtles, and this lady gave me great information about her pet turtle, Henry. He was small - maybe 4" in length and lived in a low turtle bowl. There was a rock in the middle of the bowl for Henry to climb on, and the turtle bowl was kept smack dab in the middle of their kitchen table, near to the birds' cage. The birds, she said, loved to watch the turtle.
I was a little surprised and confused when, at the end of the Meet and Greet, she asked, "Oh, and can you walk my turtle? Henry loves his walks."
Hmmm....walk a turtle? Immediately I pictured a little harness or a little collar with a leash and taking him outside in the driveway for a walk. A smile of confusion and curiosity came across my face, and I said "Sure, but can you tell me how to walk a turtle?".
At the moment, she realized how silly her question sounded, but then she went on to explain how to lift him out of his watery home and where to place him on the floor. She said not to take my eyes off of him because he can scoot around fast and he is easy to lose - "especially under the couch". She said to let him walk around for ten minutes or so.
At each pet visit when all my other tasks were done and all the other pets were content, I'd approach Henry, talk to him, and then I'd gently get him out and put him on the floor. And yes, he could move pretty fast when he wanted to so a close watch was necessary. The parakeets would carry on and chirp louder whenever Henry was free on the floor. It was quite the entertainment for them as much as it was fun for Henry.
As the days went by, and I'd walk in the door, Henry would climb up on his rock and would stretch his little neck up, look at me, and wait for his walk. I swear that after a few days I could see enthusiasm and anticipation in his eyes as he waited for his turn for attention and freedom, and once his little feet touched the floor he joyfully scooted around and explored.
"Can you walk my turtle?" is just one of the many interesting questions I received from my clients. New experiences such as walking turtles are the little joys that come with having a professional pet sitting business.
Next week's post: "Will you pray with our dog?"