A day in the life of a pet sitter

This post will be useful for the aspiring pet sitter, or my friends and relatives that wonder what I do all day, and clients that ask “how do you do it?” with regard to tiring out their relentless doggo-maniacs.

Eric’s Pet Sitting provides walks, day care, and overnight stays for dogs that are members of the local dog parks. Most days, the syllabus of “Camp Ewald” or “Eric’s Boot Camp,” as some folks liked to call it, would be rendered thusly:

Ante Meridiem
5:58 – Wake up, put on the cargo shorts
6:00 – Feed Nitro, and overnighters Greta and Lily
6:15 – Drive over to Sam’s house, walk Sam for 30 min
7:00 – Remy and Finn are dropped off at my house
7:30 – Take Nitro, Remy, Finn, Greta, and Lily to the dog park
9:30 – Bring the pack back to my house
10:00 – Break (do the laundry, mow the yard, see a dentist, whatever)
11:00 – Drive to Bear’s house, walk Bear for 30 min

Post Meridiem
12:00 – Back to the dog park!
2:00 – Lunchtime for Eric
3:00 – Drive to Bailey’s house, walk Bailey for 30 min
4:00 – More dog park shenanigans! Remy and Finn are picked up from the park by six pm
6:00 – Return home with Nitro, Greta, and Lily
6:15 – Drive over to Sam’s house, walk Sam for 30 min
7:00 – Dinner for Nitro, Greta, and Lily – and rest for the night. Whew!

Remy enjoying a walk to the dog park

Secrets Revealed
Nitro got along with everyone. Pet sitters obviously need to be good with dogs, but when your dog loves everyone, it goes a LONG way. The feature photo for the day is Nitro and his Yorkie friend, Bean.

No crates. Day campers and overnights had the run of the house, and in case you were wondering, the “on the bed” record is 6 dogs (it was a thunderstorm).

Yes, I put 5 dogs in my car and drove them to the park 3x a day. It was awesome. Whenever I arrived and only 1 member was in the dog park, they were thrilled to have a pack to play with. After about 5 years, the Town caught on to me breaking the “only bring two dogs in the park” rule, but I still had my yard.

How do you feed 4 dogs? Stand in the middle to thwart any crossfire and put all 4 bowls down at once. You are in charge here. You can do it.

This schedule is typical for fair weather. During the summer heat, more hours were spent under the cool, sun-dappled canopy of oaks in my backyard.

So why didn’t I just keep all the dogs in my back yard all day? The predominant motive was that GOING SOMEWHERE is adrenalizing. Three trips to (and from) the dog park depletes heaps of that pesky and disagreeable furniture gnawing energy they very stubbornly store each night. Additionally, owners see you at the park, which does wonders on the business development front.

I kept up to 8 dogs per day and there are 4 membership dog parks in the area. The dogs love it when you mix it up. I would seldom go to the Raleigh dog parks due to a higher risk of incident or injury. Free non-membership dog parks open to the public inevitably leads to run-ins with anonymous and irresponsible dog owners.

I was booked solid for 5 years. Folks changed their schedule all the time, but having the house, doggie-door, and fenced yard ensured flexibility. After 5 years, I dialed it down to 4 dogs per day.

Owners that are chronically late picking up or dropping off become a challenge. You’ll either be late giving a relief walk, or they’ll hijack those skinny windows of time you need for chores or meals. Not necessarily an end of the world scenario, but when demand is high, and folks don’t respect your time, use your leverage!

Most owners cancel on rainy days, which prunes your average income, but it’s also nice to have a break now and again. There is usually one camper (REMY I’m looking at you) in your rotation that wants to play in the rain anyway. So, get out your galoshes and towels and go play in the rain. You’re hanging with the big dogs now!

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