Adventures In Pet Sitting
Posted by Carol on January 17, 2008
Since I left my pharmaceutical job a few years ago, I have had several part time jobs to earn some money to help out with household expenses, yet be able to be home with my children most of the time.
One of the jobs I had until about a year ago was pet sitting. I took care of cats, dogs, fish, hamsters, and birds. Most of my clients were simply going out of town and needed someone to care for their pets while they were away. I also had several dogs who were “regulars” that I would walk every day around noon while their owners were at work.
There was Arturo, the 150 pound Saint Bernard who moved at glacial speed. Especially if the temperature soared above 58 degrees. He also had a very sensitive digestive system, so I always made sure not to be standing behind him, ever - just in case.
Then there was Bernie, a little beagle mix who had been abused by a previous owner so badly that he needed to wear a diaper in the house and had a funny little way of walking in zig-zags all over the neighborhood.
Every once in a while, I got to walk Moose. I felt sooooo cool when I got to walk Moose. He was a beautiful brindle boxer and 90 pounds of solid muscle. Since his owners had taken him through obedience school, he was very well behaved on a leash, yet he looked so tough. I felt very safe walking Moose through the extremely dangerous country club community where he lived. You never know when an angry mob of golfers might attack.
One weekend, I was going to be taking care of a couple of cats that lived in a townhouse. The family had given me the “tour” and instructions. During the day. With plenty of light.
It was after dark when I got there on Friday night, the first night I would be caring for the cats. In one hand, I had the key the owners had provided me, and in my other hand was the alarm code for their security system. When I unlocked the door and flipped the light switch, nothing happened. I stumbled around in the dark desperately trying to find any light source that I could. I eventually found my way to the kitchen and tried to read by the light of the microwave, which turned out to be non-existent.
I knew that I had 60 seconds to punch in the code before the alarm would go off, and the police would be called. In my growing panic, I actually thought these people were so cheap frugal, that they had purposely turned off the power to their townhouse to save a few bucks. What I didn’t know was that the entire complex was having a black out.
By now the alarm was blaring and my heart was beating out of my chest. It wasn’t that I was afraid there were some deranged golfers waiting to ambush me, but I was completely disoriented from the total blackness and piercing noise and I couldn’t for the life of me understand why there was no light. I was bumping into walls and tripping over baby gates trying to find any source of light I could. But because the noise was unbearable, I had to get out of there, so I stumbled my way back to the front door and stepped outside.
Once away from the incredible noise, I was able to figure out that if I went to my car, I could read the alarm code with that light. I read the code and decided that I was going back in. Those cats needed to be fed and, darn it, I was going to feed them!
However, by the time I disarmed the security system, I was still shaking like a leaf and decided that the cats looked liked they could stand to miss a meal. I still was not thinking clearly and decided that rather than wait for the police to come and take me away, I just wanted to go home like, RIGHT NOW! And so I started driving home.
With every minute that took me farther from the fiasco and every mile that brought me closer to home my heart rate slowly returned to normal and I began to regain my composure. I realized that the police were, in fact, on their way and they would assume that there had been an intruder or at least an attempted break-in. They would probably contact the owners of the townhouse and their weekend away would be ruined. I couldn’t let that happen. I decided then and there that if I passed a police car on the way home, I would follow him back to the townhouse and turn myself in.
However, I didn’t see any police on my way home, so I did the next best thing. I turned myself in over the phone. I explained what had happened – that I was a pet sitter who set off the security alarm and couldn’t see to enter the code in time. When I was able to give them the correct address of the townhouse, they knew I was telling the truth and thanked me for calling. It was then they told me that there had been a black out in that neighborhood and that a police car had been dispatched to the townhouse, but they would be calling him back to the station. No need to arrest any housewives that night.
All my fears about being taken away in handcuffs, finger printed, spending the night in jail – as if my husband wouldn’t have come to post bail (he would, wouldn’t he?) and having my name in the police blotter of our local paper were for nothing.
One of the things I have learned in my walk with the Lord is that most of the things I worry about never happen. Or if they do, they’re not as bad as I thought they would be. If I’m not careful, I let my thoughts spiral downward into despair rather than turning them over to the Lord.
II Timothy 1:7 tells us, “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (NKJV)
Lord, help me to claim Your promise of freedom from fear by trusting in You and not giving in to a spirit of worry.
Now I need to go take a golden retriever and a cute little shih-tzu for a walk.
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