As a kid I dreamed of owning a horse. In high school and college I was able to take weekly riding lessons but it wasn’t until well after graduation when I moved to California as an adult, my dream came true and I found my first horse!
His name was Clark Kent- a retired racehorse with knobby knees, a shaggy coat, and a tongue that hung over the bit. He was being used as a school horse but he wasn’t anyone’s favorite mount because he was hard to ride.
I turned him into an athlete again. We rode the hills every day and his condition improved, we took lessons, entered shows – even got some ribbons. His coat gleamed from all the carrots I fed him and his daily brushing. From the day that I got him, he was never “just a school horse” again. We continued training and competing in hunter/jumper shows and then on to dressage.
We were best buddies. After riding for hours, my dog and I would visit him again at supper time to give him some attention and a few treats. Clark brought me so many wonderful experiences, friendships and memories. It was a happy time in my life. I will always be grateful that I took my passion as far as I could. When I had to leave Clark behind, I found him the perfect place to live out the rest of his life.
I donated him to the Elk’s Rehabilitation Clinic where he was able to be the mount in a therapeutic riding program. True to his name, his mild manners made him a top choice among many other riders for years to come. As for me, I am still a crazy horse lady.
I’m curious. When you leave your home, what do you tell your pets? Do you linger over them, tell them you hate to leave and will return soon? Do you leave them with kisses, pats on the head, and kind words? Do you just say – “Gotta go!” and dash out the door?
I asked my pet sitter colleagues this question and received a vast range of responses. Some were short and to the point, others were quite elaborate. Here are some of my favorite responses:
“I love you guys. I’ll be back soon.” But when I am going away for a long trip, I find closing the door for the “last” time agonizing. I never want to leave them and drag it out until the last minute.
When I leave, I choose one to be in charge. This duty rotates. Today when I left, I said, “Rocky, you have the honor.”
I give my dogs treats and put them in their room, feed and love on my two cats and they go to their room. I tell them all “I’ll be back guys!” My husband tells them I’m cheating on all of them!
I have six dogs and four cats. I always tell them I love them and add, “No wild parties.”
“Be good puppers. Mommy will be back soon, I love you.”
“I’ve only got cats, but they get “Bye babies! I’ll see you later!” And kisses/pets for each kitty if I can find them.
“I’ll see you soon my handsome man… Mom has to go to work now, so that you can live like the little king that you are.”
I tell my little fuzzy nuggets that I love you and will see them soon. The scaly and shelled guys get the same thing. My dogs go to work with me, but when I leave in the morning, I say “Bye cats! Bye birdies! Bye rats! I love you all.”
I just tell mine I’ll be right back…and they tell me if they had a nickel for every time they heard that, they would be rich.
Mommy loves you, but I have to go to work now, I will be back soon. Doesn’t matter if I am gone an hour or 8 hours, they are excited when I return.
I have a puppy and we’re working on isolation distress, so I give Kongs (which also happens when I am not leaving so no association) and I head out without a fuss. I also don’t make a big deal about my return, even though I can’t wait to pick her up and snuggle.
I have five dogs. I usually tell them daddy is going to make some money to keep them in the lifestyle they have become accustomed to. I’ll be back soon.
What I discovered in my pet sitter science research is we pay attention. We talk to them, pet them, give them treats, assure them we will be back and tell them that we love them. We like to leave them on a positive note. And when we are caring for our clients’ pets we tell them when we will be back and wish them a nice day. Often we add, “Be good.”