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Monday, April 30, 2012

Fun facts about peoples buildings. I am a big fan of jobs in a highrise.  I have made friends with the front desk folks at quite a few buildings in this city.  At one in particular, a gentleman at a front desk decided we were on a "kiss hello" level out of nowhere last year!  It was out of a Seinfeld episode.  I didn't know what to do but try to avoid it, he will follow my head turn.  Love the guy, but i will admit it's a bit awkward....  and what can you say?? Stop being friendly? Don't touch me please?  Hugs are ok but nothing else?  It's a touchy subject.  Luckily there is only one that does this. 

Some front desk attendants who don't even look up when you come into a building and seem to "make themselves scarce" while they are in the middle of their shift.
For example:
Picking up food at a nearby restaurant
Having a cigarette...out back..
Taking a VERY long time in the bathroom with no note stating when you will be back

Mostly I have had excellent luck with everyone and they have even proven to be great references! The only thing that makes me uncomfortable is when I enter very fancy buildings and the uniformed doormen literally RUSH and  scramble to open both sets of doors for me. I know this is their job, and if they are standing at the door I can deal, but when they are chatting and not paying attention, I am perfectly capable of opening doors.  Plus I am in pet sitting gear smelling of animal walking into a ritzy highrise.  It just strikes me as unnecessary.  I don't live there, I don't expect this service, and I find myself telling them that they don't have to do this for me and thanking them profusely. 

Here is a sign of a fancy place in this city.  When you go into the Trash Room on the designated floor and on the actual chute it says this:

NEW KITTEN UPDATE!  They are doing great!!!  They are seeming to be about 4 weeks old now.  Their teeny tiny teeth are coming in and with some coaxing they are eating on their own.  They love to sleep in a bundle of fuzzy kitten love when they are not seeking shelter under their mom.  About another month and they will be ready for new homes!! Mom is tolerating me playing with them as long as she is not touching them.  Hopefully she will warm up a bit once they are weaned.  They are just so stinkin cute, and the all gray boy is such a pudge! :)

Insanely busy weekend! Holiday busy!  I can't complain about the business, but I can complain about the migraine that I had.  I was in an advil or tylenol haze for most of the weekend.  I did however get to see some dogs that I haven't seen in a while.  Doc for instance I haven't seen since the summer and when I entered their house (his house) he looked at me quizzically until I said his name.  Then he bounded down the stairs and showered me with kisses all over my face (and slipped me the tongue! ew) We went to the park where he barked incessantly at the leaves on the trees... if I pulled one down for him to sniff, he ate it.  Silly guy.

I had to say farewell to my buddy Sukes and her mom who are leaving this great city of Philadelphia to head out to more beautiful parts of the country!  I will miss them!

Friday, April 27, 2012

What an insanely busy and odd day.  The trash men didn't take all of our trash, again.  Had to call the streets department, again.  First trip missed 2 buses, walked over to give the cat medicine and she spit her pink, cherry flavored antibiotic all over me.  Afterwards I went to CVS to pick up the pill version of this medication for her, it was $51.  The vet at Penn said it shouldn't be too expensive... yeah....  I know they will reimburse me, but still.  That's alot of money for an antibiotic! 

Afterwards I went to feed mom cat and kittens (who got so big!!!) , meet a new client, and start my day of many many dogs and cats.  While walking down Bainbridge, I kicked something soft and something told me to look back.  It was a bird :( Ugh, poor thing! I knocked the wind out of it!  I picked it up and took it over to QVAH because I had 3 dogs to walk and cats to feed.  It is in a cage there recovering and hopefully being able to fly away by now.  Why do these things only happen to me?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I am watching this poor cat Misha who is just under 2 years old with an autoimmune disease.  She just got 2 blood transfusions because her red cell count was very low and now her parents are on vacation worried sick.  He grandmother is there with her feeding her and sleeping with her, but i get to be the mean lady that comes in twice a day to medicate her. Poor kid, no cat likes bubblegum flavored liquid antibiotics.  :( 

I was there bright and early in the rain,  then went to cat # 2, then Whole Foods for delicious oatmeal.  At the oatmeal station was a nice older man (late 60's/early 70's) who pointed out that they had a spoon today as well as the ladle.  The spoon made it easier and it was there because he made a stink about the ladle being inefficient and causing spillage.  As he is saying this, hot oatmeal falls on my hand and I say "Hey look, you are correct." He then offers to lick it off....  Nice man became "Creepy Whole Foods Guy."  He quickly said he was joking, but then started talking about the woman who sued McDonalds for the hot coffee spilling in her "private parts."  Come on, this is before 9:30 am! I can only tolerate so much.  This teaches me not to use the spoon now because I don't know what he may have done with it. Why do the crazies always flock to me??

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

As a continuation of Elsie.... yesterday I was there at lunch and she grabbed her purple squeaky hippo and told me she wanted to play. Yes, she told me.

So I am throwing it and she is bringing it back, and then I go to throw it through the kitchen out back and I end up hitting and breaking a wine glass on the counter! :( The odd part was that it was like a carnival game.  I couldn't do that again if I tried! It was sitting right next to another wine glass that remained untouched!  Plus some other bottles on the counter were unharmed as well (figures they were the plastic ones).  The immediate guilt from both Elsie and I was palpable.  I cleaned up my mess and she went and sat quietly in the corner furthest from the incident. Sigh... even though they were very understanding, I still feel horrible!

Monday, April 23, 2012

What a weird day!  On my first walk I found $7 on the street around the corner from my house!  First I saw a $5 bill, then a $1 bill, then ANOTHER $1!  I have had dreams like this for years!  Seriously, where I keep finding money on the ground bill by bill - but this time I was fully awake.  So crazy!  In the midst of me trying to reach for the money, one of the dogs tripped on a random shopping cart and magically got out of her harness! This is the second time this has happened (2 different dogs) since Saturday!  I have never had this happen before and both times I nearly had a heart attack!  Luckily they are great dogs who listen to me, so I was able to rectify the situation immediately.  

Anyway, this extreme weather change has me all screwy.  I'm exhausted and now cold and wanting to just sleep.  Have to meet a new client at 5:45 - perhaps a nap is needed before then.

Oh, my buddy Elsie had her 1st birthday!  I can't believe how quickly time has passed, I still remember when she was 8 weeks!

Baby Elsie

Grown up Elsie

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Rainy day fun with wet dogs!  I smell like a bag of fritos.  Not much to say about this weekend, except the one dog that I had all weekend was a pleasure.  The only odd thing is that the neighbor across the street comes out EVERY TIME I go to take her out.  He used to really creep me out, well, he still does, but a bit less.  I don't know if he is bored, or told to watch me, or just wants to chat....  He gives the dog treats all the time which is nice, but I feel like it's just very odd to see him come out of his house to chat with me at EVERY visit.  Even on a rainy day like today!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Yesterday was up there in one of those days that was so bad I didn't even feel the urge to write.  Started out ok.... fluids went well, etc... then I went to go rescue my big boy from the cleaners.  When I got there, the cleaners hadn't gotten there yet.  I got Stanley ready to go out and then they came as we were going to leave. (He really does not care for them) So the plan was to be out for a half hour.  I was going to meet up with a friend and her dog but Stan the man decided he didn't want to walk.  When he puts the brakes on, I can literally hang at the end of the leash with my whole body weight (picture a water skier) I bribed him with treats and he got further and did his business but he was being so stubborn.  I don't know why! :( All he wants to do is cuddle, which is fine, but he always wants to walk too!  I get him home and settled - go to spend some time with my friend who I haven't seen in ages and then head to the rest of my dogs.

By this time it's about 1pm and I haven't eaten anything except for a protein bar that morning.  I head to the first dog who ALSO did not want to walk (but is much smaller) and we did our thing.  I don't want people to see me as the dog walker who drags dogs down the street against their will.  Ugh :(

I then have to head back up north to the next dog.  By this time I am thinking food is needed and I stop to get a crappy sandwich at WAWA because it's quick. Definitely not my first choice.  I get to the next house to find the gate locked.  The gate is never locked, I have no key.  I have to step up onto the flower bed next door and lean over the fence to unlock it, all while trying not to look like a burglar, and finally get in.  I am texting the owner all of this as it is happening just in case she gets weird phone calls.  Then some neighbor sticks his head over the gate and says, "You have a flat tire again!" I didn't know he was speaking to me, so I turned around and he repeated himself.  I said "I don't live here." He says, "You don't??" I tell him I am their dog walker, but I will relay the message.  He just walks away... yeah... And for the record, the woman who lives there is a tall blond.  I am a short brunette.  Not sure how we could be confused...

Post walk, I have to medicate a cat nearby.  He gets a 1/4 of a small white pill in goat cheese.  She has a container of goat cheese crumbles to make it easier.  Do you know what happens when you drop 1/4 of a small white pill into a container of goat cheese crumbles??!!  It is lost forever.  Ugh!  Had to get another pill... yada yada yada... this day was just not going my way.  I get home, still have 3 more dogs to walk on my street.  Get them taken care of.  Pees, poops, excitement.

I finally get home home, a friend stops by, we are talking for a while, and then I get a phone call telling me that my elderly neighbor (who was a very close friend to me) passed away yesterday. I don't even remember my friend leaving my house.  I cried, I bought crap at Ross that I didn't really NEED, I cried more, forced dinner in me and fell asleep.  I can only hope that today is better.  I am still quite down in the dumps, but I will get some good dog hugs later this afternoon by this fine lady:

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


 For a slow day I am exhausted!  Today was the day we tackled the ferocious cat for a nail trim and matt shaving.  Valium is needed (beforehand for her, afterwards for her mom and I)  For a cat with such an innocent face, she really packs a punch and knows how to strike with her super sharp claws!  This is the 3rd or 4th time we have done this, one or both of us usually ends up bleeding at some point.  It takes 2 grown women, prozac, valium, 2 towels, and one strong grip to get this cat to sit still.  At one point there was blood dripping from both of our hands and we didn't even know who it was coming from!  We did however get everything done because we are not quitters!  (Yay Marci!)

It took all of the energy I had for the day though and now all washed and band-aided up, I need a nap.... and perhaps some chocolate.

Miss Innocent :)

Monday, April 16, 2012

This time of year in the Queen Village/Bella Vista area, the dreaded insects come round.  Yes, I'm talking about ANTS!  In swarms!  It never fails, every year when it gets warm I not only have them in my own house, but in my clients houses too!  There is no avoiding it! I don't know where they come from!  They leave as quickly as they come, it's a true mystery!  In my house they enter through 2 different parts of my kitchen, sometimes a part in my living room, and last year it was in my bathroom!  I have a thing with bugs.  I hate spiders, I hate roaches, I hate most dark colored (especially large) bugs.  If they are green or pretty colors I don't seem to mind them as much. A grasshopper, a praying mantis, a caterpillar, a ladybug - these are all acceptable.  My main issue is bugs in swarms.  Can't handle it.  I'm getting better with the ant swarm, but that's it. 

About 2 years ago I was at a cats house where the ants retaliated and actually started crawling up my feet!  Unacceptable!!!  I kill you, you leave me alone.  I can't tell you how many times I gave gone to a food bowl and jumped 5 ft. in the air when seeing a swarm of ants devouring the cat food inside.  I can think of at least 10 houses off of the top of my head that this has happened.  Let me also point out that none of these houses are dirty AT ALL.  No clutter, no filth, no insect invites of any kind.  They just show up!  Uninvited!  No RSVP! No Warning! I suppose it's better than the roaches I had to deal with in West Philly.. but these poor cats and dogs are scared to eat due to the vermin!  They walk to the food bowl with trepidation, and who can blame them?

Yesterday ants came out of nowhere and I had to provide a picnic for 2 cats on their dining room table after drowning and garbage-disposal-ing the ants in their food.  They seemed quite content to eat where the rest of the family eats.

I spent some time with the babies and their mom yesterday morning.  They have tripled in size!  3 fuzzy boys, cute as can be!  They are doing great, mom cat is a great mom but not so friendly with the humans. 

Here is their first pic and then updated pics.  Don't mind the pics of Tami and I - it was early Sunday morning.  We are lacking sleep and makeup free and very tired! :)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

So I had to feed and medicate a cat yesterday that I was a little nervous about.  She has a VERY innocent face, however she doesn't like strangers.  Usually when I visit there is hissing, swatting, etc.  First issue was a miscommunication about the keys. They were left for me at a shop, but I went to the wrong shop.  They looked at me like I had 4 heads, and then after calling the owner realized it was the other shop on the other side of her apartment.  Confusing when someone lives equidistant between 2 places that have tea :)

So I go up to the apartment, get the food/water/litter situated and then comes the syringe of medication.  I find the little lady upstairs on the bed and I am talking to her calmly as I come closer and closer.  She gives me little girly cat noises, but no hissing!  I get closer with the syringe to let her sniff it.  She starts to lick it!  Yay!  So I stick it IN her mouth a little bit and she just opened her mouth as if I were giving her a treat and ate it!  Licked her lips as if to say, "Yum! Nom nom nom.." No hissing!  No anger!   I was surprised and thrilled at this moment we had!
Afterwards I was taken out on a lovely bday girly day filled with lunch, mani/pedi action, and Marshalls. (Our kind of day!) My nails look AWESOME and now when I gave a cat her pills today it just looked better sticking my finger so far back in her mouth ;)

I also spent the evening and morning with my pal Brylie.  Poor kid, I just kept waking her up!  She got some good cuddle time in this morning though :)

Friday, April 13, 2012

A lovely Friday - great weather, happy animals, Friday the 13th....

I ran into a past client who I haven't seen in AGES with her newly adopted bull terrier.  Now, normally this breed is not one of my favorites, however Murray is AMAZING.  Great personality, very sweet, very handsome, playful, who could ask for anything more?  I'm so happy that they found this dog!  Their last dog that I watched lived a very long life and was as sweet as could be.  What I remember most about her is that when we finally found that spot for her to poop on our walk, she would bound away relieved and happy (ears bouncing) immediately afterwards.  This is a photo that I snagged of the new kid in the family.

I also have to say that I am turning Mike into an excellent cat restrainer!  He has had to hold a certain fluffy diabetic kid for me numerous times so that I can draw blood for a glucose point and he is excellent at it.  Perhaps he missed his calling....

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I must pardon the venting from last night.  It had nothing to do with my current clients, just a conversation that I had recently which brought up negative memories.  Being in the service industry is tough.  You cannot please everyone no matter how hard you try.  I learned this the hard way working at the vet, but it also applied to bartending, waitressing, and even the pet sitting.  Someone will always be unhappy, even it is one person out of 100, but that one persons dissatisfaction will haunt me continuously because I tend to take things very personally.  Even if I know that I did nothing wrong, I want to make everyone happy - especially my clients!  It is something to work on I know, but working the front desk at an animal hospital is like a firing range.  You get abused for 10 hours a day by the public and then go home to stew.  It takes a lot out of you and it takes years to overcome that feeling of helplessness.  You are doing all that you can for these people, following protocols, listening to personal problems, helping as much as humanly possible, and somehow you still get shit on.  Is there a problem with wanting respect from people when you are respecting them?  Truth be told, I am still jaded from this experience and probably will be for quite a while.  I have piles of ridiculous stories in my brain.  Some of them, I can finally laugh at.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I have been watching my large cat friend Bugsy who is VERY talkative.  And no t just meowing, more like warbling full sentences.  His mom was coming back today and I swear he was asking me when she was coming back while giving me the "You're not my mom" look.

He loves to drink out of people cups, play with teeny mice, and eat :) He has a large stature, but when he was up at about 26 lbs he was not as agile on the spiral steps.  Sometimes if I nap on his couch, I wake up with him sleeping at my head :)
I keep getting calls from people who don't seem to understand what I do.  I do not board cats and dogs at my house.  You would be surprised at how many people request this.  Not only is there a HUGE chance of getting animals dumped here, I cannot house any free roaming animals with all of my cats who happen to hate dogs.  (Except for Max, he loves everyone and everything)  I am going to have to figure out how to re-word my advertisements so that this is clear.  I will take small caged rodents or reptiles, but that is it.

People also need to be clear on what it is that they want from me as a pet sitter.  I hate to vent, but on occasion it is needed.  I have had a few high maintenance clients who will remain nameless (they are also not clients anymore) who expect me to be a maid, a therapist, a gopher, AND a pet sitter.  I don't get paid enough for that!  I am there to feed, medicate, pick up poop, change water, and give love.  I have no problem watering plants and taking in mail.  What I DO have a problem with is people expecting me to be as anal as they are with certain aspects of the house.  Don't get me wrong, I don't leave a mess behind me, but when someone sends you a text asking why you didn't wipe the place mat after feeding the wet food and wondering why the sink wasn't SPOTLESS when they came home... that's a bit much.  I am not there to clean your house.  I will clean up any bodily fluid that comes from your animal, even if I spill some wet food and make a mess, of course I wipe it up.  I just cannot be expected to act exactly as you do in your house!  When I come over, I expect enough food, enough litter, bags, medication, etc.  I should not have to go shopping for you.  If something runs out unexpectedly I don't mind, but I am on foot.  The last thing I feel like doing is lugging litter around the city.  Again, I am there to make sure your pet is happy and healthy and taken care of properly.    When you text me for an update every hour on the hour and want constant pics, it consumes my life.  I send texts and pics all the time, but maybe once a day.

 Many people don't seem to understand that their pets behave differently when they are not around.  They don't eat the same, they don't walk the same, they don't sleep the same, they are a bit more anxious.  Usually dogs that are bad with owners are great with me.  It's all relative and I wish people would understand this.  I don't want to be made to feel like I'm doing something wrong when in fact, I am doing nothing wrong. I take it very personally.  This is my business, pretty much my life.  I love these animals as if they were my own.  Sometimes things just get very frustrating when I am being micromanaged from afar.
Passover, Easter, my birthday... it has been a busy weekend trying to have a life as well as take care of the animals.  Oddly, I was busier on Saturday than I was on Easter Sunday, and I TRIED to take on as little as possible for my birthday on Monday.  Sometimes a gal just needs a break. 

For the week before Easter I was the "mom" to Bella while her family was on vacation.  She is so stinking cute but always steals my sleeping spot on the couch! We have even raced for it, and if I get there first she gets mad.  She will sneak in to the sweet spot when I leave the house and it's so cute I can't get mad.  Once she ate the skin off 2 small drums and now I fear for any instrument in their house.  Thank god she didn't touch the guitar.

In MY spot on my pillow

So on my birthday I was accompanied by Mike on a few dog visits, one of them being Shane.  Mike stayed in the car around the corner, but Shane LOVES cars.  I have had to pull him away from jumping in strange cars on walks.  Mike rolled the window down to say hello and this 80+ lb golden retriever nearly jumped through the window.  In the house next to the car was a cat sleeping in the window next to an owl statue.  He was just as excited to jump at the cat.  Today we went back over that same route.  No Mike AND no cat.  He stopped and just kept eagerly looking from the window to the street and no one else was there but me ;( Poor disappointed kid.

For the past 24 hours I was helping out a friend by keeping her cat in my spare bathroom while her house got exterminated.  The rule was no one was allowed in there except for the cat.  She has such an innocent face, and so many extra toes, but she is so mean to everyone except for her parents :( I would stick my head in and talk to her... she would reply with hissing :(

We also have a new member of the family here.  A birthday reptile if you will.  His name is Sigmund Frog because he always has a very distinguished look on his face.  We were contemplating putting a small couch with an end table in his tank.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

It's been crazy!  Those kittens are back with mom, nursing away, and one of them has opened his eyes already!  I will be helping to socialize them an a couple of weeks ;)

First, I have to report that my cuddle buggy Neuman has passed away.  My heart goes out to his parents for trying everything to keep him around.  Although I only knew him for a short time, I fell for his gentle ways and sweet face immediately.  He will be greatly missed.  Big hugs go out to his family.
R.I.P Neuman


Thursday, April 5, 2012


I have been since for about  a week now - slowly but surely getting better.  It was one hell of a cold and I was downright loopy on Advil Cold and Sinus.  I swear, I can't take adult medications!  My body doesn't react well.  Next time I am sticking with Triaminic orange.  Nothing wrong with being 30 and taking kids meds right?

I had an EXCELLENT support system to help get the dogs walked and cats fed while under the weather.  Mike or Terry escorted me many places and walked dogs, picked up poo, and made sure I got from point A to point B without passing out in the street somewhere. :)  Many thanks to them!

Yesterday was absolutely insane, as I had way too much on my plate.  I have an accountant helping me with taxes now that I have the business and this poor man is so patient.  I am CLUELESS when it comes to this stuff. I walked a dog before I  met with him for most of the morning yesterday.  After he left me with my list of duties (info he needed, places to call, etc) - I ran over to my first cat which I was late for.  I spoke to the owner on the way informing her that I was running late and she told me that a cat had kittens under a car on her street and could I take a look and assess?  She was planning on trapping them when she got home.  I found the mom and kittens and tried to see what we were dealing with.

Four kittens, 1 mom, alot of drama.  She was very unfriendly and protective, refusing to come out from under the car.  It turned into nearly 2 hours of neighbors (and myself) trying to get these cats.  One guy had 2 dogs, and we thought if we brought the dogs to the one side of the car, the cat would come out the other side.  We were wrong.  The cat came out and went after the dogs!  One was ready to fight, and the other (much bigger) one ran away down the street in fear.  We had towels, brooms, gardening gloves, it was quite a spectacle.  Construction workers kept walking by scaring the mom cat and we asked them to cross the street so as not to scare her and they smiled, ignored us, and walked by.  They only spoke Espanol.

Somehow we maneuvered everyone and I got the 4 kittens in the carrier, then hoping mom would get in with them.  She first chose eating a can of tuna over the babies, then went in, grabbed one, and took off.  UGH!!!  At this point we were nearing hour 2 and I had dogs to walk that I was late for, etc.  We had to go.  So I took the remaining 3 kittens home and I am bottle feeding them.  THey are still trying to trap the mom and the one kitten, I hope they can... but at least we can save these guys and adopt them out.  What a morning it was!!!!  Apparently I am a sucker and too nice.  To a fault.  I can't resist these faces!!!