How pet sitting enhanced my life
When I started my pet sitting business, "Precious Pets", I never would have imagined how much being a pet sitter would enhance my life.
Little did I know how much the pets and people I would encounter during these years would improve my life and help me grow not only as a professional business person but as a human being.
I wish I had counted all the pets I cared for over the years, but there were many: dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, turtles, fish, a couple of frogs, chickens, hamsters, gerbils, and I even had a small flock of sheep on my roster for a summer. Each taught me something. Each gave me joy and intrigued me with their behaviors and little unique personalities.
Every day was different and never boring. I always knew that animals were smart, but after knowing so many of them, I can honestly say that they are downright brilliant. They are intuitive. They are compassionate. They are uninhibited and honest. They are hysterically funny. They give unconditional love.
Unlike going to work and encountering a sour-faced boss with a matching attitude on any given day, with pet sitting I encountered wagging tails, kitty kisses, interesting comments and happy chirps from silly parrots. Almost all of them were happy to see me. (Every pet sitter has the occasional pet that is anti-social and crabby and those are usually in the cat category, but they too are intriguing and appreciative of good care even though they may not show it!) The pets were more than grateful for the love I gave them, as well as the meals, playtimes, and walks.
Unbeknownst to me, their kindnesses towards me helped me find more joy in my life. My days were happier. I looked forward to seeing my furry, feathery, and sometimes scaly friends. Their unconditional love was healing and brought me peace.
Pet sitting also gave me opportunities to meet people I would never have otherwise met. Primarily, pet owners. I met people from all walks of life, of various professions, from various countries and heritages. I had some great conversations over the years, and I hope I positively impacted their lives as much as they did mine.
Clients were often appreciative of my pet care advice and of the stellar care I always aimed to provide for their pets. I quickly realized that the field of pet sitting was a gift from God. It opened my world in ways I never would have imagined.
Since I joined NAPPS (National Association of Professional Pet Sitters) right from the get-go, I had instant colleagues from around the country who were more than happy to befriend me and offer me their business and pet care advice. I ended up being on their Board of Directors for about six years and was on their committee to revamp their national certification program. These opportunities opened more knowledge to me as well as connections with vets and other knowledgeable people around the country. I also ran their conference opening night networking sessions for a few years and doing that gave me so much joy! I love giving seminars and doing icebreakers (skills I learned when being a Catholic Youth Minister). In addition, the conferences were held in different parts of the country so I had travel opportunities too.
I am still in touch with some people around the country and many of my former clients are still in touch with me too. I still get Christmas cards with familiar furry faces or will get notes and calls from people notifying me that their sweet precious pet passed away, and so we mourn and reminisce together about that sweet pet's gifts to us.
From a business perspective, pet sitting gave me great experience in marketing, bookkeeping, customer service, organizing, and planning. It was the happiest "job" I ever had and it never really felt like a job. It was a passion and a ministry and truly, as one of my other posts explains, it was a Lifestyle business.
There is a saying I once heard that said when we give of ourselves we actually receive more than we give, and in many ways that is what happened to me in pet sitting. I tried to be the best in this field in my area and I truly treated each pet with as much love as if they were my own, and I tried to treat each client with the utmost respect. I am a much better person now because of pet sitting than I was before.
If you are thinking of becoming a pet sitter, know that joy will be ahead - if you plan things carefully and focus on customer service and giving the best care you possibly can give. I'm not saying there won't be challenging times, but for me, overwhelmingly there was much more joy and satisfaction, plus the freedom of being my own boss was just the best.