In a short note to her neighbors and, by extension her readers,. She writes: “It is my pleasure to offer my services to you and your pet–canine, feline, reptilian, avian, or otherwise–with the guarantee that, while I am with your companion, my top priorities are always safety, consistent quality of care, and lots and lots of affection!”
Early on, while slowly learning the tricks of the trade of taking care of other people’s pets, she admits (tongue-in-cheek): “It appeared that I was trainable, too.” And off she goes on a romp, or romps, plural, that will brighten your day, bring on some serious laughs, and make you feel better all over… Maybe…, because if you have the urge to become a professional pet nanny, be sure to read this book first.
After the challenging experience taking care of one set of critters (they were birds, though what she writes about it holds true for dogs, cats, and other pets, as well): “Little did I know,” she writes, “how indispensable this skill of managing the wilder and less-predictable aspects of the menagerie in my charge would prove. I’d leaped enthusiastically into the pet-care industry for the serenity, the simple joy, of spending my days in the company of animals. But my job, it would seem, was more about maintaining the illusion of control.” And, her sanity.
The author is not only a skilled dog-sitter, but also a gifted writer. I like her descriptions, such as the one about Baxter’–“a mixed breed six ways to Sunday that purportedly included traces of Rottweiler, some variety of shepherd, ditto for terrier, and maybe chow somewhere in there, which seemed dubious but for the dense-to-frizzy quality of his coat, and a faint purplish hue to his tongue.” Despite all that, he was as “cute as he could be at his advanced age and with the myriad end-of-life issues he struggled with,” including a breath that “could kill a dragon,” arthritis, deafness, and a bark that “sounded like a smoker’s cough.” But she loved looking after him!
The book title, ‘Sleeps with Dogs’, comes from the all too frequent requirement of some dog owners who insist that their Fidos to sleep in bed with her. Whoa-there now. Not so fast, for after what she writes about some of those experiences, you’ll wonder: Was it a good idea?
The titles of some of the chapters tell us a lot more about what to expect in this frisky read. Keep firm hold on that leash, for they include ‘Wolf Pack’, ‘The Farting Greyhound’, ‘Alpha Females’, ‘Bachelors’, ‘Desperate Measures’, and ‘No heroics’…
Sleeps with Dogs is unique and very funny, and after you gotten only a few paragraphs into the details you’ll appreciate how challenging pet sitting can really be.
Sleeps with Dogs: Tales of a Pet Nanny at the End of Her Leash By Lindsey Grant Berkeley, CA: Seal Press 2014 256 pages, 12 chapters ISBN 978.1.58005.547.5 (paperback) ISBN 978.1.58005.548.2 (ebook).
About Seal Press: “Seal Press was founded in 1976 to provide a forum for women writers and feminist issues. Since then, Seal has published groundbreaking books that represent the diverse voices and interests of women—their lives, literature, and concerns. Seal’s authors are radical and original thinkers, professionals with a distinct point of view, gutsy explorers, truth-tellers, and writers who engender laughter, tears, and rage. Seal Press published books with the goal of informing women’s lives. Based in Berkeley, California, Seal is a member of the Perseus Books Group. You can visit us at www.sealpress.com.” (Publisher’s blurb)