De-tails! That’s what petsitting is all about |

De-tails! That’s what petsitting is all about

Fried rice
Heidi Rice
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

“Excuse me, but I do believe we’re on vacation, little Miss I-Can’t-Tear-Myself-Away-From-the-Computer,” Husband-Head admonished the other night. “What in the world is so important that you’re working on?”

I motioned him to be quiet while I finished typing the final paragraph.

“These are the instructions for the sitter on how to take care of the pets while we’re away,” I said rolling my eyes at him. “This is very important stuff.”

We were about to leave to Wisconsin on a trip to visit his family.

Husband-Head watched as the printer spitted out three pages of instructions and raised an eyebrow.

“It’s two DOGS for the love of Pete!” he said, shaking his head. “And a CAT. They eat…they go to the bathroom…they sleep. What the hell is so complicated about that? It’s not like you have to read to them or play a game of Candyland…”

Oh no grasshopper, I thought to myself. You are so wrong.

OK, so maybe we don’t play board games with them or discuss world news and politics. But we do get excited about getting a new rawhide “chewy,” playing tug with a stuffed toy that’s been fished out of the toy chest and waiting for “carrot and bean.”

“What in the world is ‘carrot and bean’?” Husband-Head demanded to know as he read through the instructions. “It sounds like a bad cartoon.”

It’s the phrase I use when I go to give the dogs a treat from the refrigerator.

“Who wants CARROT and BEAN?” I’ll ask and we all get really excited ” the dogs furiously wagging their tails and tapping their feet while I do a little Paula Abdul dance routine.

I started giving them veggies instead of the regular dog treats because the vet insisted that they had to lose weight.

Weber will only eat mini carrots and Wyatt will only eat French-style green beans.

So, to explain all this to the pet sitter, I felt it necessary to write it all down in explicit detail, even though she had already come to the house a couple days prior so I could show her around.

But as I wrote down the instructions, it occurred even to me that we were, ummm, a little anal about our pets.

For example, just explaining how to feed them took up one page.

“Each dog has their own spoon to mix up their food and their own monogrammed cloth napkin so you can dab their mouths after they finish eating,” I wrote.

I continued on explaining at exactly what time they got their turkey frank, the precise time dinner was to be served and to expect them both to sleep in bed with her.

“You know, the nurses had fewer instructions than this when changing shifts while I was in the hospital,” Husband-Head said in disbelief as he continued to read.

When the sitter came over shortly before we were about to leave, I handed her the instructions and had her read them in case she had any questions.

She did.

“Do I have to, like, wipe their rear ends after they do their business?” she asked with a raised eyebrow when she was finished.

OK, those aren’t the exact words she used ” hers were a little more graphic, but this is a family newspaper.

It was at that point that I decided not to mention the pet’s bottled water in the pantry.

“I had no idea you spoiled the dogs like this while I’m at work,” Huband-Head said in disbelief. ” I think I’m going to start calling you ‘Leona.'”

Referring, of course, to Leona Helmsley, the famous late billionaire who left $12 million to her beloved little white Maltese dog named Trouble.

As we got ready to head out the door, I spent several minutes mugging on each pooch and trying to explain that we would be “right back.”

Husband-Head and the sitter exchanged glances.

“You can’t be right back if we don’t ever leave,” Husband-Head said impatiently.

I tried to rack my brain to think if there was anything I’d forgotten to tell the sitter.

“I don’t think so,” she said, holding the three pages of instructions, waiting for us to leave already.

But as we drove away, I did remember one more thing.

“What if she forgets to kiss them goodnight?”

Husband-Head just cranked up the radio …

Heidi Rice is a staff reporter for the Post Independent. Her column appears every Friday. Visit her website at

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User


See more