Wednesday, March 8, 2006

National Professional Pet Babysitter's Week


Absent's first job, other than babysitting, McDonald's, and King Henry Apartments Cleaning-Check Slave, was as a Receptionist/Veterinary Assistant in a Veterinary office in my home town, the Iris Capital of the World. I got the job because I dated the Veterinarian's son, and the son was such a good guy that he felt badly that it didn't work out, and he convinced his parents to hire me to make it up to me.

I loved working there, but I wasn't a very good Veterinary Assistant. I hated that part. I would get sick during surgeries. I didn't have good reflexes during examinations, so I often got scratched, and I would cry every time we had to put an animal to sleep. But, I was a fairly good receptionist. I learned how to cheerfully say "no" when the situation merited it, how to explain office policies with the right amount of detail to get my own way, and how to get payment before services were rendered to ensure payment, all skills that I use to this day.

Many times while I worked at the Veterinary Clinic, I was asked to housesit/petsit for people I barely knew. My one qualification, they knew where I worked. And I was paid, I thought, ridiculous amounts of money to watch these animals. Once, I was paid $300 for one week. For one cat. And this was 10 years ago.

Well, of the times that I was asked to housesit/petsit, was for my high school AP US History teacher. Now, this teacher only knew me as "the Mormon girl that corrected him during the Joseph Smith lecture" and "the girl that argued with Senator Mark Hatfield when the television networks came to our school." (My one bold moment in high school.) I had to reintroduce myself while I was moving into their house. (His wife hired me.)

Mr. AP History Teacher (and beloved high school coach) and his wife were gone for two weeks. During the first week several things happened.

1) Almost half of the High School's football team, which was predicted to take the State Championship, decided to film themselves while they beat a mother possum to near death and then set fire to the poor animal. Then they showed in in their film class at school, assuming that no-one would tell. (And we wonder why football players have the reputation for being dumb.)

2) Those members of the team were suspended from playing at the State Championship.

3) Rumors spread around town that the team is going to "get back" at the school administration.

4) I found one of Mr. AP Teacher's cats dead on the back porch early on Thanksgiving morning.

Now, I had a pretty good imagination at that time (still do) and I have been accused of always assuming the worst in any given situation, (I am working on that) but, finding the cat dead on the porch freaked me out. Never mind that the cat was almost fifteen years old, it was one of the stormiest nights of the year, and I had heard it outside crying around 2am. I freaked out. (I know, I already said that.) I was sure that the football players had waited outside of Mr. AP History Teacher's house until they saw the cat and strangled it.

I took the cat into the office where I worked and made the doctor come done to the office to examine it, on Thanksgiving morning, to make sure it hadn't been murdered. He convinced me that it hadn't. Then, I had to wait another horrible week until AP History Teacher and his wife came home from their cruise to let them know their cat, and companion of fifteen years, had passed to the other side. Not my favorite-most-shining moment in life.

That was my last housesitting/petsitting experience, and probably not someone that I should put on my resume, if I ever decided to become a professional pet babysitter.

To all you professionals out there, hats off to you!

14 comments:

b said...

I watch my dad's high strung dauchsunds whenever he goes out of town, and I'm forever afraid that they'll die on my watch and I'll get blamed. I feel your pain, ams.

Absent-minded Secretary said...

If they ever die on you... take them to the vet quickly, and say they died there... then you appear attentive and responsible. ;)

LL said...

Or throw them in the pool and say they discovered a way past the apparently impenetrable safety fence.
That's not funny, LL. Why do you say these things?

Absent-minded Secretary said...

Dogs can swim... don't you like high strung dauchsunds, LL? ;)

LL said...

AMS, dogs apparently can't swim when they're massively overweight and seizing.
One of their dogs died that way. This led to the fence being put around the pool (which is still top on my list of stupidest things I've ever witnessed my step-mother talk my dad into).
Dachsunds are fine. It's the urge to feel something like sibling rivalry for these particular ones that is upsetting.

b said...

And of course, the fencing is that garish orange construction plastic stuff, 8 inches tall. I guess animals with 3 inch legs and 18 inch bodies can't jump over it.
And before you feel too bad about the dog deceased, keep in mind it was over 80 in dog years, was the mother of dozens, traveled extensively, was shamesely pampered, and was on more medications than the US can produce (they had to import from Canada). It led a very full life.

LL said...

Plus, she never really liked me. So she deserved it.

Absent-minded Secretary said...

Don't worry, I don't feel badly for the dog... if it did like LL, it was a bad dog.

b said...

ll: I don't think that the dog didn't like you, she was just depressed; she was the Eeyore of dauchsunds. She couldn't handle your efervesence.

By the by, remember me telling you that being more bubbly would land you a man? Was I right or was I right? Dodgers, don't you find her extremely bubbly?

LL said...

Don't you remember I told you that if I were any more bubbly, I'd be freakin' carbonated?
You just can't let it go.
AMS is pretty bubbly- especially when wearing salmon or lime green.

Absent-minded Secretary said...

My carbonated friend, you are much more bubbly than I, and always will be, and that is the way we like you.

I am wearing a color at work for the first time in three weeks.

LL said...

Is this indicative of celebration or merely the absence of mourning?

Or that your favorite black blouses are dirty because you're having a hard time finding Downy for Darks?

Or you got some new Clinique eye shadow and you wanted to wear something to compliment the shade?

Or you always get complimented in that color and you feel like getting a few today?

Vell, darlink, ju look fab-ulus!

Absent-minded Secretary said...

Laundry! You guessed it!

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