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Pet People

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Great News for Pet People.....and My Pet Guilt


For those of you who get the print version of The Leaf-Chronicle, you might have noticed the news about the redesign of the paper and the new communities news section that's coming. That section will be part of my new job duties starting in a few weeks. One of the things we are starting is a "Me and My Pet" online slide show for readers' favorite pet photos! Pictures of you and your pets or just your pets alone. I am not sure when it it will be up and running, but it will be soon! You can send as many pictures as you want; just send each photo in a separate e-mail, with the pictures no bigger than 1MB. E-mail to: community@theleafchronicle.com with "community pet photo" in the subject line. In the email body identify who is in the photo and your name and phone in case we need to reach you.

This will be a GREAT way for us to share all of our pet photos with each other and others. Of course, I'll still be posting pictures here too, to go along with our conversations and topics.

More news: I now work nights, but in a week or so, will be going to day shift, with various hours. So I will have to readjust my entire body clock and life once again, and I will probably be a mess for awhile until all the changes at work take place. So bear with me! I will also be dealing with pet parent guilt, as it's been several years since I've had to leave the dogs home all day by themselves. I actually like working nights, because they are alone for only a couple of hours until The Boss gets home. The cats I don't worry about, as they are more independent.

The dogs will be outside now while we are at work, as we don't have a pet door for the dogs and The Boss won't put one in, for several reasons and a bone of contention with me. But that's for another day's griping! LOL. We have a fenced yard (and a lock on the gate) and a huge covered deck with three dog houses that each have a cushion and soft cushion cover. There is a plug-in water bowl to prevent freezing. The Boss says THEY WILL BE FINE, but of course, I worry. It's cold. It will be hot. They like being outside to run and bark at squirrels, and we live in the country so there is no worry about disturbing neighbors. I'm just afraid Scooter would be too wound up if left inside all day. Tramp and Penny stayed outside when I worked full-time days before, but as I get older I worry more.

I wanted to get a heat pad for the dog houses, but the ones I saw were EXPENSIVE. I think I'll use the microwave heat disc instead if I think they need heat, but the deck is on the south side so the sun keeps things warm. Picture above is of Penny in a dog house on the deck. I can't believe she's been gone almost 6 years.

So, how do any working pet parents deal with these issues? The guilt? The worry? Or am I just nuts, as The Boss thinks? (I'm sure Dragon boy agrees!)

posted by Sandy at 1/28/2007 01:57:00 PM

20 Comments:

Blogger Stacey said...

Well, I do feel guilty sometimes about leaving my babies home alone all day. It's usually about 9 1/2 hours from the time I leave in the morning until the time the hubby gets home in the afternoon. We leave the dogs inside.

Hubby has tried to persuade me to leave them out in nice weather, but I just can't. I used to years ago, but came home more than once to find them outside the yard, with the gates still closed. My old boy, Reb, is terrified of thunder and fireworks and other similar loud noises, and he will find a way to break out of the yard if he is outside when any of these things happen. Unlike Sandy, I live on an extremely busy road in town, so the thought of them getting out of the fence scares me to death. So, inside they stay.

They have the run of the house during the day, and don't generally get into anything. I leave the TV on for them, usually on the SciFi channel (they like space and fantasy shows), so they have voices to keep them company during the day. Not to mention the three cats. Only once or twice have they had an accident inside, and that was really our fault as we didn't come straight home from work to let them out to potty.

Sunday, January 28, 2007 3:24:00 PM  
Blogger Skeeter said...

You are not alone with pet guilt! I have passed on vacations and even a job opportunity in England due to having pets. Upon arrival in England, pets are quarantined. I could not put my baby in jail for 6 months so we past on the offer. The pets have to be thought of with almost every choice we make in this house.

I live in the country and stay at home most of the time as the hubby brings home the bacon in this house. I always say goodbye to my girls, Sheba and Cheetah before we head to town for errands and whatnot. On days I get that “where are you going mommy” sad look, they get a treat to tide them over from my absence. I know they will eat the treat, lick paws then take a nap.

Cats are much easier then dogs to leave but if I had a dog, I would have a small one that would be trained to go with me when possible. We wanted a small dog when my beloved 16 year old yellow tabby died but these two black furry babies wondered up from the woods looking for a home within 4 months of his passing and won me over. The cats travel with us at times but only when I know they must go. Cheetah the needy baby does not travel well and therefore it is best to leave them at home with lots of food, water and extra liter boxes and the watchful eye of our neighbor. We watch her horse’s cat and dog in return so that works out best for all. When we return, the girls are happy to see us and don’t act any different then if we had just been outside doing yard work! But the following day, they will not let me out of their sight! So I do feel a bit of guilt even when I am with them after a 3-day weekend away!

I even feel guilt at times when I am in the yard and they are sitting in the window watching me as I play (yard work) in the yard. They look so sad wanting to come outside with me and at times give me a sad meow but I know their life is best staying inside. Especially now with coyotes wandering through our yard… guilt is something I have to deal with but they are my babies and they rely on me so I will always worry about “am I doing right by them”…

Sunday, January 28, 2007 4:17:00 PM  
Blogger dragon said...

Sandy I think it will be great that the Leaf-Chronicle is redesigning the paper. I hope they will have more news stories on Clarksville and the surrounding area. I feel that there are a lot of stories in and around Clarksville that are not told. I like the title Me and My Pet. I have a pet I hope makes it on there.

The paper and the new communities news section that's coming, I have a suggestion. You can write about me, Yes Dragon boy. How I help these pet fanatics cope with their fanaticism, and to bring them into a normal life. No picture please.

Sandy the puppies will have a nice time in the great out doors of your fence and locked backyard. It will be their big adventure.

If you want a little extra warmth in the doghouse you (or should I say the Boss) could put a low watt light in the doghouse. The puppies shouldn’t really need it. But if it makes Sandy feel better, then it will make the Boss feel better. The dogs don’t need it. Remember, they have those nice, warm coats.

Sunday, January 28, 2007 4:27:00 PM  
Blogger Sandy Britt said...

Currently the dogs stay inside, but as I said, They are only alone 2-3 hours until The Boss gets home. I too leave on the TV, but they like Hallmark (Little House on the Prarie, Bonanza). Animal Planet is a no-no because Scooter goes ape and jumps at the TV when he sees dogs!

Welcome Skeeter! I know all about how England is, as I used to be in the Air Force and worked in air passenger service. The Boss and I haven't taken a vacation in 6 years, as our pet sitter who stayed here watching them moved.

I have left the dogs in the yard, even Scooter, when gone all day and they are fine, but I still worry. But I worry when they are IN the house too, because I think, like we talked about before, "What if there was a fire?" They couldn't get out! So either way I guess we're going to worry.

And Dragon boy, maybe one day when all of us meet with our pets, we can expose you and do a story in the paper. You can turn your back. :)

Sunday, January 28, 2007 5:06:00 PM  
Blogger Daisylouu said...

Hmmm, Sandra, you sound an awful lot like your mother....worry, worry, worry....what if? what if? what if?

The mutts will be fine.

Sunday, January 28, 2007 5:18:00 PM  
Blogger Sandy Britt said...

I know. I guess we all get worse as we get older. I admit it! But I also feel guilty that I don't give them enough attention, as I am much busier now that I am working full time. Plus both Zoe and Peanut are getting older. Zoe is almost 11.

Oh, and Daisy, I can say that sometimes we BOTH are getting more like Mom--more than either care to admit!

Sunday, January 28, 2007 5:23:00 PM  
Blogger jdt said...

I completely understand pet guilt. I feel terrible when we have to be gone long hours. Luckily for me, we recently bought a house less than a mile from my office, so now I am able to come home at lunch if I feel the dogs need to go out. Since we have the 4 little poms, I ma not comfortable leaving them outside all day, not to mention our oldest Abby climbs our fence if something scares her. I discovered Abby's special talent one year near 4th of July when neighbors set off fireworks, Abby climbed right over the fence and spent a night away from home. I have never cried and been so worried in my life. For us, my husband's work schedule goes one month he is on days and the next month he is on nights, and so on. As much as I miss him when he is on nights, I feel so much better knowing he is home during the day. I have a huge fear of our house burning down and the dogs dying that I prefer someone being home during the day. I am so obsessed with this fear, I unplug all small appliances before I leave everyday. (My husband tells me this is irrational, but I just can't help it.) Every morning before I leave for work, I be sure to give all the dogs a milkbone and tell them Mommy loves them and then they are kept in the kitchem. Our boys are really bad about spraying around the house so they have to stay in the kitchen when we aren't home, don't worry our kitchen is huge and they have food, toys, water and a doggy couch. The past two weeks a friend of my husband's has been staying with us, so he is at our house during the day. Our youngest absolutely hates to be confined in the kitchen, so as soon as I leave, she knows our friend is asleep in the guest bedroom so she makes these pitifule whining sounds until he gets up. He ends up sleeping on our couch with four dogs on him in the mornings. I always call around 11:30 to check on the babies.

I also understand about vacations, my mom has been on me for years to take a vacation, but I just don't want to leave the dogs behind and it is hard to find a travel destination that doesn't mind four pomeranians. I have boarded them in the past when it was absolutely necessary, but Abby always comes home with stress diahhrea and I think the staff gets tired of me calling 2-3 times a day while they are boarded to check up on them. I know I am an obsessed pet mom!

Sunday, January 28, 2007 8:02:00 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

I have serious pet guilt. I kennel everyone when we leave. Oscar knows the morning routine and when it's time to get in the kennel he starts shaking. Oscar has separation anxiety so bad that I have to kennel him with Stella. He has destroyed 2 kennels because he wanted out. This has been an issue of contention lately because I want to be a stay at home wife and take care of my family. So every morning I feel even guiltier that I have to leave them. Then I call Hubby on the way to work so he knows just how guilty I feel. (Might as well remind him why) Mattie likes her kennel and I will sometimes find her in it just sleeping. I am so worried that they will get into something and I won't be there to help them. That’s why we kennel. They are only kenneled about 5 hours a day between the times I leave in the morning and when Hubby gets home. So we all go for a walk on when I get home and on the weekends we go to the park and to Petsmart to get a treat. I guess I try to over compensate for the time I am away.

Sunday, January 28, 2007 9:22:00 PM  
Blogger Sandy Britt said...

Adrienne,do you have a room you could confine Oscar to while your gone so you don't have to crate him if he gets so upset? A room where you could put stuff up that they won't get into? Or, did you ever try giving him the medicines they now have for separation anxiety? Though 5 hours a day isn't long, as dogs do sleep a lot.

As to vacations: I prefer having someone stay here, which it's hard to find, though I know there are great pet sitting services in town that will come and care for your pets a few times a day (or as much as you want) when you are gone, even bringing in your mail and watering plants. I know lots of people who use this service and I would too, though because I live so far out of town it would be harder for me. I really wouldn't mind taking the dogs to a boarding place, but the cats would be a different story, because a cat owners know, cats don't like change. I know Catfish especially would be traumatized because he's such a scaredly cat. I've pet sat at a friends house, and The Boss held down things here while I was away caring for others. Nah, he's not so bad. Of course, who knows how the pets are being neglected while I'm gone! LOL

Monday, January 29, 2007 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

Oh My Gosh, you guys all make me feel better about being so obsessed over my girls. Jon thinks I am the only one this bad, he has got to see what you have written.
We too have had to pass on vacations and going places, even to parties and short time away from home. I try to get a sitter if we go overnight anywhere. I ahve a dear friend that stays with the girls when possoble. Don't know what I'd do withoout Charlene since she is a animal lover like all of us and treats her babies like people too. I can relax when she is here with them.
A couple of weeks ago we had to go to Murfreesboro to baby sit our grand kids overnight and it was all I could do to go because Charlene was out of town and I don't have anyone else I can trust to stay with them. As I've mentioned to you all before I am freaked over the thught of a fire and I worry about break ins that might let them out even though we keep our security system on 24/7, even when we are home. I even worry that if thre was a fire the firemen might miss one of the girls in spite of the sticker telling them how many we have and I worry they might run away if the firemen did get them out. I too unplug small apliances when I go out. I'm even afraid to use my crock pots when I'm out of the house. On days when I can I even turn my heat off and worry when it's too cold to do that. I really am obsessed! But I don't care, my babies safety mean more than anything else. It feels so good to hear other people are as bad as me. Ok Dragon now you can make fun of me if you want, I can deal with it.

Monday, January 29, 2007 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger Stacey said...

Gals, I can vouch for the awesome-ness of professional pet sitters. Early on in the blog, I posted about how wonderful my sitters are. I don't know if all of you were around then or not. You don't have to endure the guilt of boarding, and you don't have to worry constantly about whether or not the person tending to your pets is trustworthy.

They come to your home several times daily (as many times as you want to pay for), for walks, feeding, medication giving, litter box cleaning, and best of all--ATTENTION!! They truly do "love your pets when you have to leave them". They also water plants if you have them, bring in your mail and paper, turn lights on and off, raise and lower your blinds, and just about anything else you could want them to do. They will take your pet to the vet if (God forbid) something happens, or if someone gets sick while you are away. They will call you if there is the slightest change in a pet's behaviour.

I can honestly say that my parents drove 8 hours to come and stay with my pets many years ago so that I could go to Pennsylvania to see the ex's family. Otherwise, I don't think I would have gone. So, YES, I understand all these concerns that each of you have. I am the same way. But, my pet sitters give me the peace of mind to travel and not once give a thought to the well being of my babies. It's not cheap, but to me, the freedom it gives me is more than worth it.

Monday, January 29, 2007 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger jdt said...

If you don't mind me asking, who are your pet sitter's? I really would prefer to have a pet sitter and leave my dogs in their own environment if I am going to have to leave them behind.

Monday, January 29, 2007 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger Stacey said...

My pet sitters are Cumberland Pet Sitting Service, 931-552-2938. They are fabulous. I've been a client for about 10 years, and have nothing but great things to say about them.

Monday, January 29, 2007 2:22:00 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

Stacey, I am so glad to have heaerd from someone who ahs used them pesonally. I called them once for information but ended up not needing them becasue my friens came here. Now that gives me a option when she can't help me again. Thanks for letting us know!

Monday, January 29, 2007 3:04:00 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

Sandy, I have tried to leave Oscar in the dog room where the kennels are with the door closed. The other dogs and usually the cat are all in there as well so he’s not alone. When we lived in Colorado, he would get so upset that he dug at the carpet under the door and shredded it and clawed and chewed the lower half of the door. Thankfully we owned the house. He was almost 5 months old when we got him, so I think it has to do with being taken away from his parents at an older age. Since we live in an apartment now, I can't trust him to leave him out. I worry that he will destroy something that we won't be able to fix. He is so bad that even if I leave to walk to the dumpster in the parking lot, he will howl and bark at the door. The only time we leave him out loose is if we are home. He doesn't bark when we are gone all day, I asked the neighbors. I was afraid they would complain. I just feel so bad for him, but he has to go in the kennel. I don't know what else to do. I hate to have to give him meds for something like this, but I would if I absolutely had too.

Monday, January 29, 2007 4:24:00 PM  
Blogger Sandy Britt said...

I think you should really try meds; he would be so much less stressed. Think of it this way: humans and animals take medicine for all kinds of things. I had dogs on Rimydil for arthritis, for thyroid. Scooter takes meds for seizures. Separation anxiety is a real "affliction" of a sort, no different than people takings meds for depression or PMS or anxiety or whatever. It's also no different than if a dog has to have medicine for his heart or anything else. Why don't you talk to your vet about it? If it doesn't help you can always stop.

I know the woman who runs Cumberland Pet Sitting; she's owned the business for years and she's also the director of the Humane Society and involved with animal rescue and education and welfare. She has LOTS of cats, though she was raised with dogs and even studied dog and wolf behavior, so your babies would be in good hands.

Monday, January 29, 2007 6:31:00 PM  
Blogger Stacey said...

Yes, Sandy, I actually was going to post a little more detail about the pet sitters, but I was at work and had to run. Even though I've used them for so many years, I've only had a handful of sitters. She tends to get really quality people that work for her, and they stay. One lady that sat for me for a long time was an active volunteer for the Humane Society, and she was just the best. You just knew from the way she talked on the phone and the notes she would write for me while I was gone--she just ADORED my babies. It was SO SAD when she moved out of state. It broke all our hearts. She left me a message on my machine at home and started to cry talking about how much she would miss taking care of my children for me. :(

The fact that the owner is so involved in the local animal rescue community was what sold me on trying them in the first place. I figured this was a person that spends her time and energy helping abandoned and neglected animals. It seemed only logical to me that she would have the highest expectations for people she employed to go into her client's homes and take care of their animals.

Generally, except for unexpected things, you would have the same sitter each time you need one. And, you have the chance to bring the sitter into your home to meet her (I've never had a guy) and to introduce her to your babies yourself. That was another thing that really impressed me.

Gee, I should be getting a commission here! I know I sound like a commercial, but I feel so strongly about the value of using a sitter, that I just can't help myself. I still MISS my babies when I'm gone, but I don't WORRY about them anymore. Truly, the peace of mind is amazing. Both for you and your pets. They are allowed to stay in their comfort zone, in their HOME. They aren't shipped off to jail (isn't that what a kennel is if you board them??).

So, that's my story. Pam or JDT (is it Jennifer?), if you have specific questions about sitters, I'll answer them the best I can based on my personal experience.

Monday, January 29, 2007 9:10:00 PM  
Blogger jdt said...

Yes, jdt is Jennifer, but you can all call me jen...I really appreciate you sharing the information about the pet sitters, I will definitely consider it the next time we decide to go anywhere...maybe we can try a weekend trial run before we actually take a real vacation...

Monday, January 29, 2007 10:01:00 PM  
Blogger Skeeter said...

Cumberland Pet Sitting is the service my mom uses for her 3 babies as well. One of her babies is a special needs gal that requires medicine. I have tried to give the pills to Miss Priss, but with no luck. The service seems to have no trouble getting the pills down her ornery throat!

Stacey, are you my mom posting here? I told her about this site soon after I discovered it. She said she read until her neck got sore! Anyway, I swear she has said the same thing almost word for word about having the same sitter each time you need one. And also about loosing a long time sitter to a move a while back!

Mom has nothing but good things to say about them! If I lived there, I would be secure in using them as well. Do ya think they would drive 6 hours to sit for my two babies when my neighbor is not available?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007 12:25:00 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

Stacey, Again thank you so much. The lady I talked to that time I called sounded very nice and like a true pet lover. I am so glad to know I do have another opteion I can trust. I didn't know she was the director of the Human e Society. I'm know Amy the assistant director but she is the only one I talk to from there. This is all good to know.
Adrienne, I too hate the idea of giving my girls meds but you know if you really need to then I don't think it is all that bad. I will give mine meds if I ever really have to.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007 8:15:00 AM  

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Pet People

Sandy Britt, an animal welfare advocate and volunteer with Clarksville rescue organizations, takes care of three dogs: Zoe, Scooter and Peanut; two cats: Catfish and Tarzan; and one husband, Glen, and according to him she takes care of them in that order.
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