Pet Sitting 101 – Mia Comes To Visit

Nothing will chase the Adirondack-vacation-blues away faster than a 3 month old puppy!  We’ve been pet sitting since yesterday afternoon when Mia’s family dropped her off.  She arrived with 1) a crate well-stocked with a favorite toy and treat inside with comfy padding to lay on 2) an x-pen and 3) a large bag filled with puppy treats,  dog food,  and paperwork.

The paperwork is standard stuff.  Copies of shot records and an outline of a typical day for Mia — what time she gets up, when she eats, goes outside to play and for walks,  has quiet time and eventually goes to bed at night.   More important than all of this, is the brief note that I asked the owner to write that gives me the authority to handle any and all medical emergencies that might come up while Mia is staying with us.   Not that anything is going to happen.  But.  It’s an excellent safety precaution and one that I’ve used with my own animals for years.

The last thing you want to do when you leave your pets in someone else’s care is to tie their hands if they need to make life-saving decisions on your behalf.

The first order of business was to introduce Mia to all of our dogs.  One at a time and in an environment that the humans controlled.  Mia weighs all of 5-8 pounds.  Our smallest dog weighs in at 18 pounds (this would be Tessa),  with our largest, Jasper, weighing in at over 160 pounds.

God bless leashes and fenced yards!

We got Mia out of her crate and hooked into her very tiny harness and leash so that Danielle or Nicole  (the two very smart and loving girls who adore Mia) could walk her up my driveway, through the garage into my very large, fenced backyard.   Mia had a lot of smells to investigate and, after plopping herself down to take a look at where she was, she put her nose to the ground and got busy.

Fifteen minutes later,  I went inside, slipped a leash on my 13 year old whippet, Josephine,  and brought her outside.   Of our three dogs,  her medium size and easy disposition made her a good first introduction for Mia.  Slack leashes so that both dogs could check each other out.  Tessa was next up after Josephine went inside.

Tessa  came out at warp speed with her hackles up and her tail wagging.  I had her hold a sit a good distance from Mia before we let the dogs get too close.   They did get nose-to-nose for a short while as I thought about the best way to introduce Mia to Jasper.

At 160 pounds,  Jasper’s a lot of dog for a young puppy that hasn’t had a lot of exposure with other dogs to meet.  Jasper’s saving grace is that he will typically do what well-socialized Great Danes are known for when they meet puppies .  He “gentles down.”  Which means he puts himself into a long down and holds himself very still.

Escorting Tessa back inside,  I had my husband get Jasper and take him into our front yard.  Opening the gate leading from the back yard to the front,  I had Mia’s owner coax Mia through the opening.   At Mia’s own pace,  she got to come up to Jasper and check him out.   Over the years,  most of the puppies in our neighborhood have been introduced to Jasper this way.  It’s an amazingly touching scene to witness.  Jasper’s head is easily bigger than those tiny puppy bodies!

When it seemed to be time for the next step,  Mia and her owner headed to the back yard with my husband and Jasper following along behind.

Jasper stood and Mia got to wander around underneath him.   When she raised herself up on her two back legs so that she could bat at his muzzle with her tiny front paws,  I knew we’d achieved a good round of first introductions.

And,  Mia had joined our pack!

We’ll have photos for the next couple of posts, so stay tuned for those.  And, if you’ve got a pet nanny story of your own,  please use the comment box below to share it! [gplus count=”true” size=”Medium” ]


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