Lessons Learned from House & Dog-Sitting

Lessons Learned from House & Dog-Sitting

Tess Wilson
Apr 15, 2011

Getting into a rut — whether in fashion or romance or house-keeping — is never a good thing. I've been fortunate to score some house-&-dog-sitting gigs lately (yes, I now have 4 jobs, for those of you keeping track — getting by in San Francisco is no joke!), and living at other people's homes has helped me break some habits and see things in a new light…

Wash Your Hands Everytime You Come Home When dogs play in the park, they invariably put super-gross things in their mouths (let's not discuss it), or put things in their mouths that other dogs have gnawed after having really gross things in their mouths. Just gross. Add to that the inevitable...clean-up, and you will want to wash your hands before you touch anything. (Don't get me wrong- I constantly pet and humbly accept kisses on the hand from these sweet dogs. I'm not scared of their germs, but they're the ones I love. Who knows what's going on with stranger-dogs!) Anyway, I tend to be pretty cavalier about germs in general, but then I saw a guy on the bus doing something so gross (let's really not discuss it), and then touch the handrail that I was about to touch, and it dawned on me: I really should wash my hands every time I get home. Yes. Ewww.
Always Leave The House Nice & Neat Though my house-sitting hosts/clients won't be suddenly popping in (flights from Prague don't just get in days early, and they know I'm actually living here so they would give me notice), I want the house to be tidy each and every time I leave. It just feels…respectful, and makes coming home so much nicer. And, it only takes a few minutes! Usually I scurry around and straighten up after I've put on my jacket, and ta-da, it's suddenly neat! Time to start doing the same at my own apartment, instead of thinking, 'Oh, I'm sure someone will do the dishes and tidy up eventually'. I live alone.
Always Keep The House Nice & Neat As mentioned above, my hosts aren't just going to show up, but friends or neighbors or colleagues might stop by and I would be absolutely mortified if they saw a mess! So I clean as I go, straightening behind myself as I go from room to room, only ever having one meal's worth of dishes in the sink. And the thing I'm learning is, if you never leave a mess, there will never be a mess! Huh!
Get a Pet, Stat For crying out loud, I'm going to miss these dogs at the end of the week. They greet me with wiggling and kisses every time I get home (even if I just ran to the store), hang out with me, sleep on either side of the bed (on the floor), wake me in the morning by nuzzling their head on the pillow next to mine, and are constant sweetness. I love my ferns, but…
Pets Are a Lot of Work I'm so grateful for all my dog-sitting experiences because I've longed for a dog for so long, but never knew what it was like to actually have one. Even beautifully trained dogs like these need a lot of attention, many walks each day (often at hours I consider to be sleeping-time only), and care and worry. And the whole coming-home-straight-from-work-everyday thing was a real eye-opener! I can't just wander off somewhere on a whim and get home whenever. There are puppies waiting!

Images: Engraved pewter keys fom Rare Device, Found My Animal leash via Design*Sponge

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