Several years ago, as I was on an intro meeting with then new clients, Tim and Cathy – one of their cats – Willy – swooshed by me. I was there to meet Willy and his two catmates, Tabitha and Missy. Cathy told me as we saw Willy swooshing by “that’s probably the only time you’ll see Willy.”
And she was right – for a while.
The first few times I visited Willy, Missy and Tabitha – Missy and Willy were happy to hide under the bed or in a closet or behind a couch. I was happy with that, as long as I could find them – I didn’t pressure them to come out.
Time went by and after a series of vacations and visits, Willy started to wait for me on the stairs as I walked in the door. But still, if I got too close – he would run.
Maybe after a year or so, the day came – Willy allowed me to get close enough for a sniff and a pet! And then it was all down hill from there.
Soon, he was greeting me at the door, rubbing through my legs, waiting for a petting on each of my visits.
It was the highlight of my pet sitting career.
This past weekend I had a similar experience with a new client’s dog named Stanley.
Stanley is a mix breed, some pit in him – rescued. He has some trust issues and he doesn’t care for men. That’s OK – I’m not a man.
My first meeting with Stanley and his dogmate, Dobby went well. His owners Patrick and Leslie told me how to approach Stanley and to only let him sniff me and to never pet him going in over his head, only under his chin.
Then they went away. And Stanley was nervous and scared. And he barked the whole time on the outside of the backdoor that he could get through from the doggie door.
That was last month.
This past weekend, I was charged with caring for Stanley and Dobby again (and their cats and birds too – my kind of house!).
And it started again – Stanley was nervous of me and barked the whole time.
But on the third day – maybe it was the cold, maybe he trusted me – he gave me a sniff as I was filling his water bowl. I slowly went over to a chair and he followed me – and he let me pet him. And then he rested his head in my lap.
And it was Heaven.
The rest of the weekend was so wonderful – no more barking (I’m sure the neighbors appreciated that too). Lots and lots of petting. Lots of following me around, especially when I was feeding the cats and let him lick the can.
When you make friends with an easy pet – it is fabulous. When you make friends with a nervous pet – – it is humbling.
PS – I tried to get a picture of Stanley today to share – – but he’s still nervous about the camera. We’ll work on that. But trust me when I say – he’s a real beauty.