My very first booking through Rover.com was with Maggie, the Dachshund. As I had only watched the dogs of friends and family, she was the first dog who was completely new to me. I picked her up from her home and she rode shotgun the whole way home, immediately making her feel like my co-pilot who would warn me of any dangers along the way.
She was challenging. She hated wet grass. It rained the week I had her.
She liked to pull on the leash. She saw a bird and slipped out of her harness and ran all the way back to my front door.
By no means was she easy, but it put things into perspective for me. To be a successful, careful dog sitter I needed to take extra steps to make sure the dog was comfortable, and safe in my home. I immediately got her a new (adjustable) harness, and started taking her to areas with trees where the grass beneath was somewhat dry. Success.
As an old lady, she mainly hung out under my desk at work, and sleeping could have been considered her favorite hobby. When her stay with me was over, her family was so thrilled with the photos I sent and could really tell Maggie had a nice time. A few months later, Maggie’s owner wrote to let me know she was unable to make it out of an illness and had passed away. Such a great sadness I felt. Not only did I feel sadness for Maggie’s owner, I felt sadness myself thinking back on the bond that was formed with her, and every other Rover dog I host.
As I took college classes with Oscar’s owner, I had seen photos of him for quite a while but had never met him until Michelle needed a dog sitter. Oscar was by far the largest dog I have hosted. A gentle giant of a Boxer he was a pleasure to have over with his dog-brother Beau. The two dogs were inseparable. On walks, they were side by side. On the couch, they were side by side. They even shared a crate. Since oscar was older, he mainly spent his time on the couch or resting. Gus grew very close to Oscar and often chose to share the same couch cushion as him. Oscar was a nice, warm cuddle buddy and Gus always loves a good snuggle.
After hearing of Oscars passing this week, it brought back the same sadness I experienced with Maggie. I thought of the special bond between Oscar and his owner and thought of how much Gus bonded with him as well.
Through dog sitting, I feel honored to be able to provide the same love and attention to dogs as they receive at home. If anything, I feel lucky that the owners choose me to share their dog with. I always form a bond with the dog no matter the challenges or frustrations I may experience and each and every dog has filled a special spot in my heart which, when their time comes, will be missed just as much as my own.