But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. Matthew 13:16 (NIV)

 

You may or may not notice it, but I’ve been MIA on the blogosphere for quite some time—for a good reason.

Well, not quite so good, in fact.

I had to deal with a set of then-mysterious health challenges.

Continue reading

The cat’s out of the bag, and the fur is flying in this ADD-addled adventure for all ages

 

The Secret Life of Pets reviewFrom the vantage point of professional pet care providers, The Secret Life of Pets probably makes the case for daily pet sitting services given the behind-closed-doors, high-rise hijinks of its fluffy, feathery, and scaly cast of characters while their owners are out for work. Continue reading

I bring the latest incidents to your attention now that it’s high season for vacation as pet parents are in a mad rush to find a pet sitter or house sitter to take care of their precious nonhuman family members and possessions. Continue reading

Writing and dog walking.

(Or litter box cleaning, for that matter.)

Never the twain shall meet—or so I thought.

Literary arts are very much a natural extension or complement of performing arts. When I was more heavily involved in music many years ago, a great deal of my prose and poetry revolved around and were inspired by music. For a long time, I fancied being a lyricist and a music journalist. I had the opportunity to flex my creative muscles by having my works distributed in school literary publications and on an online indie music magazine.

As much as I love pets, having been surrounded by them since conception, I never thought I’d write about them on a fairly regular basis.

Enter PetSittingOlogy, a digital marketing agency and a continuing education hub for pet care professionals. Aside from training in pet-related skills, keeping abreast of tech trends is included in the mix, covering web design, web development (including WordPress development), SEO, social media, graphic design, and web content curation and creation.

In early 2015, PetSittingOlogy began a storytelling project to get professional pet sitters to jump on the blogging bandwagon by documenting their various memorable experiences on the job as infotainment for pet parents, current and prospective clients, and the general public. As one of the fifteen story contributors featured in the project, I also took on the task of editing the collection of stories, which has been proven quite massive at approximately 16,000 words. I had to put it on the back burner.

In true Renaissance/multipotentialite fashion, I zigzag through different interests and career paths, and the pet industry was the point of reentry into one of my lifelong interests—wordsmithing. My writing habit became intermittent a few years after college graduation. I managed to revive it for a while, only to almost quit cold turkey again. But writing has always been in my DNA. My active involvement in the dynamic PetSittingOlogy community helped me get back on track.

In the process of ramping up into professional writing, particularly for the online media, I’m culling early materials, creating new projects, and revisiting and repurposing some clips—one of which is the PetSittingOlogy story collection—while lending an editing hand for the group’s seven-day blog challenge at the time of writing. Due to time, energy, and budget constraints, I’ve decided to work on the excerpts of the collection posted here, pared down to about 6,000 words.

Represented in this abridged story compilation are sunny walks in the park, snuggles galore, unlikely heartwarming friendships and encounters, blood, sweat, tears, and yes, pee and poo as well—all in a day’s work. This is the real (poop) scoop behind what really happens in the normal operations of pet care professionals.

One of the blogging projects in the PetSittingOlogy community is what we jokingly refer to as OOB (out-of-the-box)—selected monthly topics that are not directly related to pet care and ownership but may be of interest to pet guardians or pet fanciers ranging from hot vacation spots to a guide on the proper care and feeding of Ewoks for animal-loving Star Wars freaks out there. (May the furs be with us!)

After all, if you look closely enough, everything is related. Nothing is an isolated incident. There is a common thread that I weave throughout my entire blog. I explore the intersections of the arts, spirituality, health and wellness, philosophy, and everything else including the kitchen sink under the sun with the animal world.

Without further a-doo (pardon the pet bathroom joke!), listen to and/or read the story excerpts below. You’re in for a treat. (Yet another pet pun right there? You bet!)

Share far and wide with everyone you know!

PSO story excerpts

Read the script here: PSO story excerpts

Voiceover talent: Becca Shepherd (happybex @ Fiverr)

I’ve covered the nuts and bolts of pet sitting rates and more things that are factored into the cost of pet sitting, but here is yet another popular question my furry crew, my colleagues, and I have to field:

Are pet sitting rates flexible?

The short answer: yes and no. Continue reading

I’ve discussed the whats and whys of pet sitting rates on another post.

Here are some more.

There are many ways sitters set prices on pet services—per visit, per calendar day, per hour, per pet (or additional pet beyond a certain number of pets covered under standard rates), and a combination of any of those. For example, base price range varies widely across the country at $18-$25 per visit between 30 to 45 minutes and $60-$85 per overnight stay, usually between 10 to 12 hours, excluding daytime visit(s). If employees are involved, expect to pay more. In my case, I have an all-inclusive overnight/daytime stay package, and some households are charged more than my base rates because of heavier workload.

The obvious ways to determine pricing are regional cost of living, overhead, experience, training, and many others. Last but definitely not least, the value sitters place on their services. How much do you think they’re worth? How much do they think they’re worth? That is the most important factor. Worth or value correlates to the level of the sitter’s level of confidence in his or her performance. Would you hire someone who really knows his or her stuff or someone who just sort of tries to wing it? I’m sure you won’t take this lightly because I know you want your critter family and your property well cared for. Continue reading

Dear Miki The TabbyDear (Miki the) Tabby: How much does pet sitting cost?

Miki is back with me to answer the number one million-dollar question all pet sitters get from people right off the bat:

How much do you charge?

Take a look at my list of standard/base rates for overnight/live-in pet sitting and cat and critter sitting daily visits in Redlands and surrounding areas. I’d love to give you an exact amount, but I can’t give it to you unless you tell me what needs to be done specifically. What I can tell you is that it depends on the workload. One size does not fit all.

Sure, you can always ask your friend, relative, or some kid off Craigslist to save a few bucks. But do you just trust anyone who gains access to your property and takes the responsibility to care for your critter family members? You may be rudely surprised by what these folks can do, and then some!

So a better question to ask yourself is “what’s the value of quality pet sitting?”

To avoid sticker shock, here are things that you need to bear in mind: Continue reading

Tanka on Animal Reiki Workshop

Meditation: on higher ground

hold on to the roots

rock steady—easy does it!

ground (zero) control

toss and turn and let it burn

let’s return to center stage

This is my second week of learning to let it be, let go, and let God.

Funnily, the exercise started with a string of minor annoyances, big enough to rattle my usual excitable, anxiety-prone, hyperactive mind. Enter the earth and sky meditation, based on the common grounding technique of visualizing light and energy from above, flooding our entire being from head to toe, crown to root—roots from the base of our spine reaching deep into the earth, locking us in a stable, firm, unshakable position—and filling our heart center, radiating everywhere to animals in need of peace and healing. Without any pressure or expectation, we invite them to take as much or as little energy—or none at all—as they wish. Trust between us and the animals is established, resulting in an effective Reiki treatment, even if we don’t immediately sense anything at first. It’s the moment for us to let them take the lead in this energetic two-step. Continue reading

Animal Reiki Workshop assignment 1

INTRO

This is a five-part series corresponding to five weeks of the Animal Reiki Workshop, for which I signed up in a short while after the fact after Boston, a fellow pet sitter/friend’s pit bull, was suddenly struck with immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA). I wanted to help in some way after learning that natural approaches have been used successfully to treat various diseases, including autoimmune disorders. I had already wanted to sign up for the workshop for quite some time, so the timing was spot on.

Reiki, literally translated as spiritual energy or spiritual life force, is a Japanese holistic healing system incorporating touch and meditation. Used to treat both humans, animals, and even situations, it promotes balance, relaxation, pain relief, and stress reduction among many others. Continue reading