Babysitting cats and dogs isn’t all fun and games.
It can be scary.
Especially at night, when Lindsey Perriello sometimes has to walk dogs through places that aren’t well lit or necessarily safe. She worries that loose dogs will try to attack them or people will come up to her and ask her if they can pet the dogs.
“There are people who work the night shift, and they need their dog to go out late at night. We’ve got to go out in the middle of the night. You’re walking in the dark,” she said.
“I don’t think people understand, we don’t just go over to somebody’s house and play with dogs and cats all day. It’s some serious work,” she added.
Perriello is the owner of Lindsey’s Dog Walking and In-Home Visits in Lower Burrell. She and her four employees provide in-home pet sitting and dog walking services.
They will play and cuddle with your animals, take them out to use the bathroom, walk them, feed them, give them water, give them treats and administer medications.
They also will spend the night at your house with them.
“We are there to make the dogs as comfortable as possible. The cats. Whatever pet we’re watching. We’ll do whatever they ask, no matter how crazy,” said Perriello, 36, of Lower Burrell.
The business mostly watches cats and dogs but has taken care of other animals such as fish and hamsters. It also provides services for two donkeys and a goat.
The pets all have their own distinct traits and personalities.
One dog in particular, Sidney, is enamoured with the Investigation Discovery television channel. It has to be left on whenever the employees leave a visit.
“He just likes investigation stories,” Perriello said.
Sidney also gets treats whenever he comes inside, and the number depends on the weather. If it’s sunny, he gets one treat. If it’s raining, he gets two, and if it’s snowing, he gets three.
“This is real. I’m not kidding,” Perriello said.
In addition to pet sitting, employees will do small household tasks such as bringing in the mail or watering plants at no extra charge.
A woman asked Perriello once to water her plants when she was on vacation. During the initial visit, the woman had 10 plants.
When Perriello went back, she had 79.
“She accumulated 69 more plants. I stood there and counted them all. I had to rub my eyes and look again because I just couldn’t handle it,” she said.
The employees care about the animals and think of them as their own. All are trained in pet first aid and CPR and know they have to be able to respond to any situation in a moment’s notice. Being a pet sitter is a 24/7 job.
“We’re out in the morning, out at night, out in the middle of the night because dogs need care all hours of the day,” Perriello said. “You can’t leave them. You have to get there. You can’t call off.”
Perriello became quite fond of Jade, a beagle basset hound mix who lived in Tarentum. She watched Jade and Jade’s dog siblings every day for over a year and half.
When Jade died in August, Perriello took it hard.
“Going into the house the next day and not seeing her, but taking care of the other dogs … That was hard. It’s like losing your own dog,” Perriello said.
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