Mike and I worked some interesting jobs recently. Unfortunately, there were no openings for a golden greeter.
Luckily for Honey, we found a great pet sitter.
It Takes A Village (To Build A Boat Show)
We arrived in Annapolis at the beginning of September to work putting together the annual sailboat and powerboat shows.
Mike was part of the water crew who helped to build the floating docks that would be moved into place in downtown Annapolis and allow access to all the boats (250 boats at the sailboat show; 400 at the powerboat show) on site (check out cool video of the crew moving docks to let sailboats out so power boats could move in).
I worked on the land crew, directing traffic and helping vendors move their trailered boats and accessories onto site.
We both worked long days and earned a bit of overtime.
On days that we left the boat at 6:15 a.m. and didn’t get home until after 7:00 p.m., what would Honey do?
Our dismal failure to get Honey to “go potty” on the boat told us she could wait until we got home. But should she?
Maybe a pet sitter could keep her company and a break from the boat.
But could we find a pet sitter able to lift her into the cockpit and get her safely off the boat whether at high tide or low?
Finding The Best Sitter
I started my search on the internet.
Annapolis has tons of dog daycare, pet sitters, dog walkers, and kennels.
While I’m sure Honey would enjoy socializing with other dogs and new people at a dog day care, none started at 6:00 a.m. And I can’t even imagine adding a 3-4 mile walk each way on top of a busy and physical day of work.
And while I’m sure any number of the pet sitters and dog walkers would normally be a great fit, I didn’t see anything that led me to believe any of them were boat savvy.
In my mind’s eye, I saw both Honey and a dog walker falling off the narrow finger pier where our boat was docked and not being able to get out of the water until help came along.
No. Just no.
Finally, I got the brainstorm to ask the dock master of the marina hosting us if she knew of any boat-friendly dog walkers or pet sitters. And luckily she did.
The Nautical Pet Sitter
Our marina was part of a large apartment complex. And Dena, the dock master, knew of a tenant who walked dogs. She even had boat experience.
When I met Blaise, I discovered she had been a racing sailor. So she would certainly not be intimidated by a rocking boat and would know how to handle lines to get the boat close enough to the dock to get Honey on and off.
And she was strong enough to lift 50 pounds of love and fluff into the cockpit.
Best of all, she was a dog lover with a big dash of common sense. By the time we finished talking, I became convinced Blaise would probably be a better caretaker for Honey than we were.
What Did Honey Think
During the long weeks working the boat show, Honey was a little clingy. She had gotten used to having us all on board together most days.
But maybe she was just trying to make us feel like she missed us.
On one of my day’s off, I ran into Blaise walking her own dog. She invited me and Honey to join her and some other tenants sitting on their patio.
Apparently Honey knew our “neighbors” already. Because she pulled me up the hill to the apartment where her friends had a container of treats waiting for her.
My dog knew more people at the marina/apartment complex than I did.
I think finding a pet sitter to feed Honey and give her exercise off the boat was important. But giving her a chance to socialize with other people was crucial.
Honey needs company. And Blaise was an important part of us being able to work the boat show without neglecting Honey.
In fact, I’ve come to realize there are lots of great reasons to hire a pet sitter.
Love Your Dog, Hire A Pet Sitter
When we traveled to Panama for a month several years ago, hiring a pet sitter was the obvious choice.
But our experience in Annapolis has gotten me thinking of other times pet lovers might find it useful to hire a sitter for a short term.
Staying In A Hotel
Many “pet-friendly” hotels don’t allow you to leave your dog unattended in the room.
As long as you’re vacationing in a place that welcomes dogs nearly everywhere, you might want to find a local pet sitter to stay with your pup while you’re out and about.
When we traveled to a family funeral earlier this year, we were lucky to find a hotel that allowed Honey to stay alone in our room. But if that had not been an option, I would definitely have looked for a local pet sitter.
When Your Work Schedule Changes
If you’ve ever had your pup bark at you for dinner an hour early after daylight savings ends, you know they’re creatures of habit.
If a new job has you working a different schedule, a pet sitter might help you transition to a new schedule gradually with less stress to you and your dog.
Even a temporary change, like seasonal overtime, might be a good reason to hire a sitter.
You’ve Adopted A New Dog
Since the United States does not offer paid family leave for parents of children, I won’t hold my breath for companies accepting adopting a dog as a legitimate absence.
But bonding with a new dog is important. And a dog from a shelter or some types of rescue might need more time to adapt to home life. Why not hire a pet sitter to ease the transition for both of you?
You Have A Puppy
When Honey was a youngster, I took her to work with me in her crate. It made house training swift and reliable (something I somewhat regret now that I’d like her to learn to relieve herself on the boat).
If you want to potty train a puppy perfectly, find a pet sitter to help with those midday breaks.
Your Dog Is A Social Butterfly
Generally dogs prefer to be with their humans. Heck, I suspect cats do too. They just wouldn’t be caught dead admitting it.
For Honey, boat life is ideal because she always knows where we are and we’re usually together.
For dogs that are particularly sociable, a human break in the middle of the day might break up a lonely day.
Your Dog Is High-Energy
Yes, most dogs sleep a large part of the day. But that doesn’t mean that some dogs don’t need to work their brains or bodies on a more regular basis.
An energetic dog walker or dog day care might be just the solution for your high-energy pup.
If You Love Your Dog…
We love our dogs. So we do all kinds of things to make them happy.
I’m very thankful we were able to find a great pet sitter who could handle the weird situation of us being on a boat.
Maybe you should start thinking of how you’d find the perfect pet sitter if you ever need one.
Your Turn: Have you ever used a pet sitter, dog walker, or dog day care? Was it a good experience?