• Donna Ferrigno

The Toughest Part of My Job...

Updated: Mar 29

My morning started with a cup of coffee, the morning news and two sleepy dogs laying next to me wondering why I never sleep in.  Why?  Why don't I sleep in?  Well, I'm a pet sitter.  Pet sitters don't sleep in.  A topic for discussion at a later date.  It was Sunday and I had a couple of jobs to get to this morning.  Pups were waiting for me to walk them, feed them and tell me all about their night and whatever shananigans they got into. 

After I was done with my early morning visits, I came home.  I fed my girls, Buca and Zoey, who were patiently waiting for me.  Oh, and I fed myself, too.  As I was looking over the rest of my day, I heard my phone ding.  Ah...a text message.  I did not expect what was coming next.

It was from one of my clients.  Sadly, she wanted to let me know that they had to say goodbye to their beloved pet, Gidget.  As I was reading what was a pretty lengthy, detailed text, my eyes kept filling up with tears.  I knew I had to pull myself together and think of the right thing to say.  What is the right thing to say?  I stepped out onto my deck and took a few long, deep breathes and just let the tears flow.  I went back inside and amazingly my two pups came up to me.  I knelt down beside them and hugged them.  They knew.  They knew I was hurting and they comforted me.  Right there, unconditional love.

When I regained my composure, I replied to my client.  And, by the way, I hate using the word "client".  I always think of my clients as my extended family. I expressed my condolences, how much I loved her and how much she will be missed.  Having suffered the loss of my own pet, I fully understand the depth of emotions involved in such a loss.  I believe we, as animal lovers, understand each other and the pain we all go through during this difficult time.   

I've been in a somber mood all day.  Why did I decide to become a dog walker and pet sitter knowing that I will have to go through this kind of loss over and over?  I guess for the same reason I have two dogs of my own.  They give us so much joy and their love for us is unconditional.  When my fellow pet sitters checked in and asked how I was doing, I would get choked up and tear up again.  It's tough.  They get it.  We are not just dog walkers and pet sitters.  We love them.  We hurt when we lose them.  I am very fortunate to have an incredible group of pups to care for in my life.  They are all unique and special in their own way.  And with that comes love and attachment.  Anyone that truly knows me, knows my fur baby clients.  I talk about them as if they were my own pups.  So when my client suffers a loss, I suffer as well.  They were a part of my life too.  This is the toughest part of my job. 

Dedicated to Gidget...

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."

~ Anatole France

I am forever grateful to have known her and all the other fur babies that have crossed over the rainbow bridge.  They were all special to me and brought me great happiness. 

The loss of a beloved pet is one of the most difficult things we have to go through.  And as a pet sitter, it's even harder.  


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