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Kari Kells, Road Worrier (Signs Of My Worrier Tendencies)

I was recently talking with someone about how new clients can tell, almost immediately, that I’m a worrier. Some people find it reassuring to discover this quality in their pet sitter, while others just think it’s quirky.

Below is a partial list of (amusing?) signs that I am, indeed, a full-blown Worrier Princess.

  • Before I visit a house for the first time, I ask if knocking or ringing the doorbell will startle the dog or cat. I want to give animals every opportunity to meet me without the usual “OMG – there’s a stranger here” anxiety.
  • I’m anxious if I assume people get home as planned because accidents happen. That’s why I ask folks to send me a quick text message, email, or voicemail to let me know that they’re safe at home.
  • My medical ID tag includes contact info for my Plan B person.
  • I have a Plan B person AND a Plan C person.
  • My own emergency contacts also have contact info for my Plan B person because I want to make sure my Plan B kicks in as soon as possible if there’s an emergency.
  • Veterinarians of my clients are programmed into my cell phone because I don’t want to have to fumble around looking for a phone number in an emergency when every second might count.
  • Maps showing each of my clients’ vet clinics are printed out and always with me in my bag of supplies because although I might pass by it every now and then, I might not be thinking clearly in an emergency.
  • I confirm a few days before I make my first visit. It’s my safety net to make sure no visits fall through the cracks. My theory is that if clients don’t hear from me in advance, they’ll contact me.
  • My clients don’t get to play unattended with toys that pose strangulation or choking hazards. (Like strings or items small enough to swallow.)
  • I always do a head count before I leave a house because I worry that someone might have gotten closed in a closet or cabinet, fell out of a window, or perhaps slipped outside unnoticed when I was taking out garbage. Yeah, this can add to the time I’m there – I’ve spent as much as an hour looking for several very shy cats in one home. But I’d rather spend time doing that, than spend time worrying that a hidden cat might be injured or sick.
  • I rattle doors after I lock them because I worry that I might not have locked or closed them securely.
  • If windows are left open, I always make sure the open crack is too small for a pet to fall out of if they push on the screen. (When I was in my 20s, my cats Meek and Snicklefritz were chasing each other around the house and at one point Snicklefritz hopped onto a windowsill, leaned against the screen, and both he and the screen fell out onto the ground! As an indoor-only cat, he was totally disoriented. Luckily this was on a ground floor and I caught him before he ran into the busy arterial street.)
  • I like having emergency contacts for my clients. If someone does not return as planned and I can’t reach them, I like knowing I can call one of their emergency contacts to find out if something has happened and how they want me to proceed with pet care.
  • My contract includes details about what would happen if someone didn’t come home and never contacted me again.
  • My key storage system protects people as much as I can possibly manage.
  • In addition to having a calendar with me that names of each house I will visit that day, I also write down each house after I visit it so if there’s an emergency and my Plan B person has to step in, she knows which houses I’ve already visited that day.
  • I pay close attention when I do “doody duty”, making sure I catch any signs of whether their waste smells or looks abnormal or whether their appetite or thirst has changed. It’s not uncommon for my clients to get email or text messages from me saying that I’m keeping a close on the poo because of things like, for example, it looking a little more yellow, dry, and compressed than usual.
  • The book bag I carry with me is placed in front of my feet when opening doors at houses where indoor-only, escape artists live because I would completely freak out if someone got outside when they shouldn’t have! If they’re allowed to eat treats and they like treats, I also usually offer treats when I enter so they look forward to having me step inside to greet them and so they realize they’d miss out on treats if they weren’t there when I came in.
  • I run water from each working faucet and flush each working toilet at least once per week when people are gone for long periods because I don’t want the plumbing to suffer from lack of use. As a homeowner, I learned that whole “suffer from lack of use” thing the hard way.

If you’ve noticed even more worrier tendencies in me, add them in a comment below for our amusement. ‘-)

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2 comments to Kari Kells, Road Worrier (Signs Of My Worrier Tendencies)

  • Here’s another one: I turn off my phone when I’m visiting shy animals who might be startled by hearing it ring. It leads to games of phone tag, but I’d rather play that game than startle someone who’s shy.

  • And another one… If I visit homes while I’m sick, I wear latex gloves and a dust mask. I also carry a nontoxic antimicrobial (colloidal silver-based) cleaner with me for washing my hands and surfaces I touch or breathe on.

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