On a Mission Fall 2018

One thing most people don’t know about me is that I used to be a professional pet sitter for over 20 years. For some reason, it seems longer. In all those years, there is one story that stands out in my mind and a great lesson learned. It’s entitled: A Mission of No Return and I dedicate this to all the pet sitters out there! Mike is a dog I’ll never forget. My story begins when my friend Robin gave me a pet sitting cus- tomer referral. It was a gal from her office and she was going on a cruise with her family and needed a pet sitter. Well, that’s me! They left me in charge of their cat (which was no problem) and their 16-year-old deaf and blind mixed-breed ter- rier, Mike. I thought he too would be an easy one, but he was more unforgettable than easy! On an afternoon before the big snow storm hit, my customers left on their cruise to a nice, warm tropical location. When they left that afternoon there wasn’t much snow, the real blast arrived right before my first scheduled visit. By the time I reached their house, which was out-in-the-coun- try, the snow drifts were high in many places. Fortunately, the driveway didn’t drift and I was able to pull my car in without any problem. However, the snow had drifted on the walk and stairs leading to their front door. All I had was their front door key. Snow was up over my knees on the stair path and even higher on both sides of the stairs, making it almost impossible to walk. With their house on a hill with lots of stairs and lots of drifts to overcome, I trudged upward slowly and fell many times, but was determined to make it. “Carolyn, you can do this! Carolyn, you can do this!” I kept repeating to myself. Hav- ing to crawl the last few feet, I reached the top and made it to the front door! Although my fin- gers were numb, I did manage to unlock the door. Completely out-of-breath, I stopped to gather my wits about me. Then I went to the kitchen where I found Mike and touched him lightly so he knew I was there. Mike could see just enough to know where the door was and I fastened him onto his chain, right outside the back door. I proceeded to check on the cat. She was skittish, but was fine. I scooped her litter box, made sure she had fresh water and food. Per the customer instructions before leaving from the first visit, I was to retrieve the garage door opener from their SUV in the garage so I wouldn’t have to use the front door key again un- til the last visit. I was so happy I didn’t have to A Mission of No Return by CAROLYN HAYES 34 | FALL 2018 ON A MISSION womenonamission.net