Friday, June 27, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
Saturday, June 21, 2008
You think it’d be easy; just feed the fish, right? Generally, yes it is that simple. But pet sitting follows Murphy’s Law: whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. Here’s some fish tank care tips for pet sitters.
First off, if the water level goes down, in many geographical areas you can’t just pour in some tap water and be done with it. There is enough chlorine in tap water to kill fish, so your client may leave you some chlorine neutralizer (Ask about it during your consultation). Add the neutralizer every time you add water.
I walked in the client’s bedroom and saw the water level was down to half in the five gallon tank. Wow, that evaporated quickly, I thought. But it had been really hot, so I just refilled it. On my next visit, the next day, the tank was half full again. It dawned on me the tank was leaking, but I felt no wetness on the table or on the edges. The carpet, however, was soaked. I finally decided that the pressure of the water broke a seal on the tank, and it would drain only so far and then when the pressure was relieved, it stopped leaking. So at least it wouldn’t go completely dry and kill the fish.
But, the pump wasn’t getting any water, and it could burn up and start a fire. I unplugged the pump and light and moved the tank into the bathtub, where it could leak to its heart’s content. Beach towels from the cupboard soaked up water from the carpet, and a fan helped it dry. I envisioned a moldy musty smell when the owners returned. I called them, and they didn’t want me to leave a window open, so the fan was the best solution.
The fish were fine in half a tank for a few days, and more important, the house was safe from further damage.
Trust me, these things only happen when your clients leave home.
More is not necessarily better. The number one cause of death in pet fish is overfeeding (so the fish vet tells me). So be stingy with the food. One client actually had a constipated beta (Siamese Fighting Fish). I am not making this up! He had been over fed, and several days of fasting resulted in a complete recovery. Who knew…
The painting with this article is mine, entitled "Koi." It was done in watercolor and colored pencil. Limited edition prints are available for sale. Contact me. Visit my web site to view more of my art.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Since I am a writer, I was struck by inspiration today. A good friend sent me a book, Mrs. Twitter the Animal Sitter. Well, it is a cute story, but the author clearly doesn't know a thing about pet sitting! But that is part of its charm. My friend's kids loved this story growing up, which got me to thinking. I can do better than that ( I think). So here it is. Note it is copyrighted, so please don't reproduce without my permission.
Polly the pet sitter from Poway
Takes care of two dogs, a cat and a horse.
When she goes out walking
People start talking,
Because the critters go with her of course!
The dogs are in front
The horse in the rear,
The cat in her arms ‘cause he must.
Miss Polly, by golly
Gets dragged down the gully
As the dogs chase a bunny and fuss.
They start out again,
This small group of friends,
The cat is now riding the horse.
The horse sees a snake,
And everyone shakes.
They call out the whole police force!
The cops come right over,
And say “Hello, Rover,”
And each of the dogs wags his tail.
“Where’s this big snake?
Or was this a mistake?”
As they listen to Polly’s sad tale.
The cat is so brave,
It’s his turn to save
Miss Polly who feeds him so well.
“The snake’s right here,
Up the tree in the air,
I found him with my sense of smell!”
These pets are so smart,
The cops all go home
The snake in a bag in a cart.
Polly says “Golly,
I’ll take you all with me,
Whenever I go for a walk."
So the dogs are in front,
And the horse in the rear,
The cat on his back
Trying to steer.
Polly walks them all home
Never more will they roam
They’re happy they’re back
Safe and sound.
A pet sitter’s job
Is fun all around
But sometimes it’s not what you think.
A simple walk ‘round the corner
And on down the street,
Brings surprises before you can blink!
© 2008 Not to be reproduced without author's permission
Monday, June 16, 2008
Ark. city releases shelter dogs into forest
Mayor James Valley ordered the dogs to be taken to an area called Storm Creek, part of the national forest. There is a small group of concerned citizens in Helena who keep an eye on the municipal dog facility. Dogs are kept in pens as part of the city sanitation dept. under filthy deplorable conditions. They were ordered to improve conditions, such as feed clean and water daily. Separate aggressive dogs, etc. That had not been done so the mayor ordered the sanitation workers to dump the dogs.
A group of concerned citizens pleaded with the mayor not to take this drastic action. They said give us a few hours to make alternate arrangements. He ignored them.
Some of the dogs were rounded up. Others were shot and killed by locals. Others are still missing. Some of the dogs are sick. Obviously others are scared and hungry.
The reporter said the mayor has stonewalled issues regarding the dog shelter. He refuses to put items on the agenda so that city council members aren't informed. Money isn't an issue either. There's half a million dollar reserve fund available to make improvements that he;wont allocate for the dogs. Cats weren't mentioned at all. I surmise they don't count at all.
The paper, the Daily World, already covered the story (the title above is a link to the story), and plans a follow up.
If anyone is interested in protesting this action, please call Mayor James Valley at: 870-572-3421, cell 870-817-4035.
Letters to the editor can be sent to: Randy Hogan at: email@example.com
I never knew much about Doxies until the past few years. If you aren't acquainted with one, you are in for a treat. When I was doing rescue (of homeless dogs) our Dachshund rep showed up at our annual picnic with her doxies. We had a trick contest, and she stated that it would be a great trick if her dogs didn't bite anyone...
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
I have finally decided to start a blog, and hope you will stop by often to enjoy what I have to say. This is my chance to hone my writing skills, and I hope your chance to learn from and enjoy my stories. Here are some subjects you will hear about in the coming weeks:
• My artwork: Pet portraits, which encompasses paintings, drawings, logos, t-shirt designs, and trophy packages for dog shows. I also paint subjects other than pets from time to time, and will share those with you here.
• Pet sitting and pet care: I may start a separate blog for my pet sitting business, but here I will concentrate on the fun side, not the business side of caring for pets.
• My writing: Although I have been a writer throughout my career, only recently have I returned to focusing on this aspect in a big way. Watch for my first book, Your Happy Healthy Pet: Basset Hound, which will be published by Howell Books in November, 2008. More about that later!
• My pets: Bonnie, a sheltie, is the little cutie you see at the top of this page. She came from a puppy mill in Texas, and I adopted her from Southland Sheltie Rescue almost four years ago with Lily, her littermate, or maybe her mom. A blog is a good excuse to write about my own animals and my experiences with them. And there have been a LOT of them over the years. More about that later too.
• The bigger picture: There is more going on in the world of animals than just my little universe, and occasionally I will address a topic with an editorial opinion that i hope will get you thinking, and taking action on behalf of our animal friends.