One of my favorite things about pet sitting is I never know which of my furry friends owner’s will ask me to visit them. I may get a call, a text, an email, or, sometimes, I run into an owner at the grocery store or the gas station and they let me know when they’re going away. It’s always exciting to look at my calendar each month to see who I’m scheduled to visit. A lot of times, that booking has been in there for months just waiting for the time to come, so sometimes I really don’t remember who’s coming up because I scheduled them in six months ago, or, in some cases, even a year prior.
As I look at my calendar for the next month and a half, though, it’s blank. And I had to do this on purpose, unfortunately. While I am in need of what’s coming, I am sad that I can’t visit any of my fuzzy buddies. You see, I have to have spine surgery. Since I’ve been dealing with this issue for the past 18 months and have had just about enough of pain, I need this time off.
I have been pet sitting year-round since 2016, and this is the longest intentional break I’ve had. I know that my boy Waffles will be happy to see me for six straight weeks, but I would bet that as a kitten, he won’t really spend any more time with me than he does now (which is to say, when he’s tired and I happen to be nearby).
I will be missing out on the three cats who wake me up at 5 a.m. with chin nips and loud meows. I will not see the other three cats who also wake me up early by sitting on my head or purring so loudly I can’t hear my alarm. I will miss my furry black buddy who comes in as soon as my alarm goes off and lies down next to me so I can’t get up until he feels like it. I’ll miss the pretty kitty girl who sleeps in the bedroom with me at night and curls right up next to me when it’s about time to wake up. I will miss the chow mix at my feet, the two cats on my head – I think I’m seeing a trend with these cats – and the many others who I normally spend time with at some point in the early spring.
What I won’t miss is the constant pain. I won’t miss the fear that I won’t be able to walk that dog as far as I’d like, or as far as I think she deserves, because I have to sit down every 100 feet to rest. I won’t miss having to turn down my Belgian Malinois friend because he needs to be on a leash, and my back won’t let me be at the other end of it right now.
While I’m not happy I have to take such a long break, I am happy that on the other side of it, I’ll be able to do my dream job as I think I should – ready to say yes, up for two mile romps in the woods, being able to scoop eight litter boxes without having to take a 10-minute break between each one.
I know this is what I need to do, but it won’t be much fun, and I know I’ll miss all of my furry friends, but I’ll be back, and better than ever!
(Sarah Caton owns All Paws Pet Sitting, which serves all of Lincoln County.)