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Top Ten Things Not To Do When Petsitting for Friends

Here is the 48th installment of Ten Top Lists of What Not to Do by Marie Ann Bailey of 1WriteWay at and John W. Howell of Fiction Favorites at These lists are simu-published on our blogs each Monday. We hope you enjoy.

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Downloaded from Google Images

10.  When petsitting your friends’ dog Buster, do not think that running circles in the backyard for five minutes will be adequate exercise.  If you do, at best, Buster will be obedient enough to come back inside when you call and thus you will be none the wiser regarding Buster’s pent-up energy nor his overactive bladder.  At worst, Buster will refuse to come in  and proceed to chase you in circles until you drop from exhaustion or are rescued by a sympatric neighbor whichever comes first..

9.  When petsitting your friends’ dog Molly, do not think that while taking Molly for a walk, her friendly and amiable behavior will extend to other dogs.  If you do, at best, you’ll have enough upper body strength to keep her from tangling with another dog that is (fortunately for you) leashed to a post in the neighbor’s front yard.  At worst, you’ll get tangled up and hauled by Molly stopping only when, the other dog is inches from your face, with the neighbor calling the police because of your inability to control the dog..

8.  When petsitting your friends’ dog Jake, do not forget to bring plastic bags with you when you take Jake on a walk.  If you do forget, at best, Jake will wait until you are in your friends’ front yard before deciding to do number 2 in front of countless witnesses.  At worst, he will pick the most pristine lawn (with the sign Keep Off) in the neighborhood and promptly do number 2 in full view of the owner and you will have to make apologies and promises as you run back to your friends’ house to retrieve the plastic bags and then take a long walk of shame to return and clean up.

7.  When petsitting your friends’ dog Bella, do not think you can be late for a visit without dire consequences.  If you are late for a visit, at best, Bella will only give you a dirty look when you finally arrive and let her out to do her “business.”  At worst, there will be more than a dirty look waiting for you when you finally show up and your friends will ask  you where to send the multiple carpet cleaning bills.

6.  When petsitting your friends’ dog Hugo and taking him for a walk in a local park, do not think you can ignore the posted leash laws and allow Hugo to run without a leash in the hope that he tires himself out fast and you can go home sooner.  At best, you’ll get dirty looks from the other dog walkers who chose to obey the law as well as a dirty dog because Hugo found a small pool of muddy water to play in.  At worst, Hugo will take off like a rocket and you will spend hours searching to no avail and then panicking over what to tell your friends only to arrive back at the house in the dark and find Hugo, happy and tired, waiting for you on the front steps along with the animal control officer who followed him there.

5.  When petsitting your friends’ cat Princess, do not forget to check the litter box at every visit.  If you do forget, at best, Princess will be resourceful enough to find unsoiled spots and allow your nose to alert you to the need to clean the box.  At worst, Princess will decide to teach you a lesson and leave you a surprise or two  shaped like a Tootsie Roll just inside the front door which you will find under your first step..

4.  When petsitting your friends’ cat Tom and seeing that they have a harness and leash for him, do not think taking Tom on a walk will be one way to avoid it needing the litter box (and thus you having to clean it).  If you do take Tom on a walk, at best, Tom will spend most of the time lounging in a square of sunshine and be loath to move unless you pick him up and carry him back home.  At worst, Tom will see another cat and set off to chase it with unexpected strength, pulling your shoulder out of its socket in the process.

3.  When petsitting your friends’ cat, do not think the cat’s nickname—PsychoKitty—is actually a term of endearment and you can caress her to your heart’s content.  At best, PsychoKitty will tolerate your petting and you will know enough to stop when you hear a low growl.  At worst, you ignore the low growl and quickly find yourself in a situation at the ER where several doctors are required to convince PsychoKitty to release your arm.

2.  When petsitting your friends’ cat Milo, do not ignore your friends’ warning that Milo likes to rub against people’s legs when he’s hungry.  If you do, at best, you’ll just find it takes longer to get to the kitchen since you have to navigate around Milo’s paws as he loops in and around your legs.  At worst, you step on Milo’s paws causing him to emit a banshee-like yowl and you to trip over your own feet, resulting in a face plant on the tiled kitchen floor.

1.  When petsitting your friends’ cat Ruby, do not forget your friends’ warning that Ruby likes to lurk on the top of bookcases.  If you do, at best, you’ll simply have a few panicked hours of thinking Ruby had gotten out of the house before you finally see her at the top of a bookcase, her eyes mere slits of boredom.  At worst, after hours of a panicked search, Ruby will finally make herself known by jumping from the bookcase onto your shoulders, causing you to make face plant on the hardwood floor, where you lie for several minutes convinced you heard Ruby laugh as she ran off of you and jumped back onto the bookcase.

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Marie A Bailey

Writer, blogger, knitter, cat lover, and introvert.

17 replies

    1. That’s funny. One of my friends does have a cat that we all call PsychoKitty … I keep expecting her to pull a Linda Blair and swivel her head around 😉


  1. It has been a long time since I’ve had a dog, as I’ve lived a pretty nomadic life, but I love them — cats, too, but that I’m allergic to them, and they know it. Maybe I need to find a friend with a great dog to visit! I’ll take this advice under consideration.


  2. Loved this made me smile from ear to ear!!

    Pets, we can’t live with them, we can’t live without them, lol 🙂


  3. Good Morning Marie. Great list. I am not sure I could ever leave my pets with a sitter. They are way too cleaver and would probably stage a coup while I was gone. Wait! If they took over they would have to take care of me . . . hum. Let me think about that.


  4. From someone who lives in a multicultural household: Make sure everyone in your home views your friend’s pet as a pet and not as a delicacy. Or you got some ‘splainin’ to do when your friend comes back to pick Fluffy up.


  5. Thankfully, none of these apply to me! One – I’ve never petsat (is that a word?!) and two – Latvia is a free-for-all when it comes to dogs!


    1. I’ve only petsat (we’ll make it a word) a few times, but a number of the items on the list pretty well describe my experiences. Especially with dogs. Whenever I pet sit my friends’ dog, I’m reminded of why I don’t have a dog 😉


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