People Really, Really Love Their Pets

Becoming a pet sitter/dog walker has been a sweet, eye opening experience

Amber Fraley

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Photo by Billy Pasco on Unsplash

Last year I embarked on a new career — in addition to being a writer and freelance journalist, I started working for a dog-walking-slash-pet-sitting service and it has truly been both eye-opening, and a delight.

At our house, we provide our pets with all the basics, but I had no idea how many expensive gadgets are out there to make life easier for you and your pets. Many people have pet fountains now — we do as well — though ours is a mid-priced plastic fountain. But I’ve learned there are fancy futuristic stainless steel fountains with multiple filters and LCD lights for modern homes, and elegant ceramic fountains for those whose decors are more traditional. Fountains start at about $25, but you can spend as much as $100 and up for the nicest ones.

At one house, the dogs have their own pen they can escape into to eat and drink because a toddler lives there and the owners don’t want her getting into the dogs’ food or water. The dogs wear sensors on their collars, and when they get near the pen, a dog door automatically slides up with a mechanical whirring sound. There are futuristic food bowls that only open for the correct pet wearing the correct sensor — this is usually to keep one or more pets from eating the others’ food — which is a problem in many homes. There are programmable, automatic feeders that drop kibble at the correct times of day.

Some people free-feed their pets dry food, which means if you see an empty bowl, you fill it. Others have intricate food-time rituals:

Otis and Luna must be separated during mealtime or Luna steals all of Otis’ food. You can feed Luna in the kitchen and shut Otis in the bathroom. He’ll bark when he’s finished. Otis gets half a can of Canine Cuisine, while Luna gets a whole can of Feline Feast.

Otis did, in fact, bark from behind the closed bathroom door when he was finished with his dinner. There are frequently instructions about various pets being fed in various rooms or spots in the kitchen. One home with three cats I occasionally visit has us feed one cat on the kitchen counter, one cat on the kitchen floor, and the third cat out in the living room. Cats may be fed on…

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Amber Fraley

Writing about abortion rights, mental illness, trauma, narcissistic abuse & survival, politics. Journalist, novelist, wife, mom, Kansan, repro rights activist.