MY OWN KIDS
As Chief Executive Officer of Patty's Pampered Pet Sitting, I have long supported rescues, fosters, and appropriate adoptions for animals.
In August 1992, following Hurricane Andrew, I adopted three Japanese Chins (Howie, Missy, Lizzie) who had been displaced. '
Sassy the Yorkie was later adopted as a result of her first parents both ending up in nursing homes.
Doogie, my Chihuahua, was adopted as the result of a hoarding situation which resulted in boarding at an Idaho shelter. The staff could not handle him. I am the only one who Doogie ever trusted completely, and he accompanied me to sleepovers whenever possible.
Dawson, my White Shepherd, was adopted after being displaced following Hurricane Jeanne.
These are some of the several dogs, cats, bunnies, hamsters, that I have adopted over time.
The following scenario involves the first pet that I took care of professionally; an Irish Setter hearing guide dog:
"On one occasion a fire started across the street from my residence. There was no way for me to drive the thirty miles home before the fire consumed the area. Upon learning that my neighborhood was being evacuated, Patty left to rescue her charge from certain death. Unable to drive within three miles of the fire, she went on foot until she was able to release my dog and get him to safety." -Beverly Barger
Patty's Pampered Pet Sitting has long been involved in both the handling and aftermath of crises. For one, hurricanes represent a serious threat to customers with both their pets and homes.
In 1999, with the formation of Hurricane Floyd (which was originally intended as a tropical storm and quickly threatened Florida three times) I tracked 23 miles one-way three times a day for almost a week because one home with pet parents refused to allow the pets to be brought to my home. It was advised that the pet parents not return sooner, because the roads were so treacherous. My car was required to be parked a few streets over, and it became necessary to go by foot.
ALL of the hurricanes required preparations at the customer homes;
including bringing in lawn furniture, shutting off refrigerators, ensuring that the main circuit breakers were completely off. It also meant that traffic lights would not be functioning as normal. Sometime during the storms, both the power and cellphone towers were completely out. This required complete trust from the customers that their precious kids would continue to be taken care of in the manner to which they were accustomed. Following the storms, I was required to give a preliminary assessment to the customers of house damage; even when the news was not good. This meant extraordinary communication skills, since customers were not able to see any damage firsthand. It also sometimes required being able to communicate with repair services on customers' behalf. This included climbing into a customer's home through a window.
In 2004, Patty's Pampered Pet Sitting served as a mini Emergency Operating Center (EOC) for pets during four intense hurricanes and resulting spin-off tornadoes in central Florida...Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne. This marked the first time that four hurricanes happened in one state during one season since 1886 (in Texas). There were 50 pets brought into my house during those four storms including several dogs, cats, and a bird; and customers had authorized this, since the house was expected to withstand hurricane-strength winds (the shingles were later taken by a spin-off tornado). One cat required intravenous feeding with both assistance and a flashlight; and this cat was brought to the house as a result of the vet's office being evacuated for the storm. All safety precautions were taken; and organizational skills were extremely important. Everyone survived. I was in contact with customers, Humane Society, and local radio station WMMB (the latter remained on the air almost the entire time by use of a back-up generator).
The following year, in 2005, Katrina hit Louisiana hard. My agency had decided to have a fundraising party; having barely recuperated from the four storms. It took a few years for either area to be functional. Guests were asked to bring pet donations. The monetary donations were not only enough to put gas in the large van heading to that area, but also to provide money for the rescue groups there. The items donated were enough to not only fill the van, but also to contribute to the local shelter.
Another crisis that impacted the entire country occurred in 2001.
I received a frantic call from a customer in New Jersey asking that the television be turned on as quickly as possible. Neither the customer nor myself could believe what was being witnessed. The customer needed reassurance that her kids would continue to be well taken care of until she could return; with no idea how long that would take with the flights being rescheduled.
Two years later, in 2003, saw the world's second largest blackout in history. I was in constant contact with customers in New York; who needed reassurance that their six cats were doing well beyond the scheduled time, and that they would continue to be cared for until the customers returned home safely.
Other emergencies were just as focused on customers. I was called into the home of an existing customer who had been rushed to the hospital as a result of a stroke. Nobody else had a key to the home. There were three cats waiting for both food and attention. Her sister was called in New York to settle the customer's affairs so that they could sell the house and move. I remained with the customer until everything was settled, including visiting the customer in the hospital.
Another customer was likewise brought to the hospital, which required visiting the home of two cats who needed food and attention. Not only were the cats continuously cared for, but I took the extra step of visiting the customer in the hospital and serving as a patient advocate when the customer was unable to do so. This same customer was later gone for about a month with the passing of her dad. During that time not only was the house maintained, but at the request of the customer the bills were paid through her account.
There was also a senior customer who admitted that she needed medical attention, but was reluctant to go by way of ambulance. I took the initiative under the circumstances, I stayed with the customer on a metal stool in the hospital for the majority of the evening, reviewing the questionnaire as best as possible. The customer sent me home to get some sleep. I continued to watch the customer's cat until she arrived home from the hospital.
STAY SAFE PHOENIX METRO!
The first home I cared for in the Phoenix area involved two Black Labs who needed to be visited four times a day. Then there was the home involving sleepovers with two Pitties, for which I woke up at 4 am because of a tornado threat. Compared with what had already been experienced in Florida, after looking out the window, it became a matter of readjusting sleeping positions. I am thankful that I am able to provide my service to this community.
Patty's Pampered Pet Sitting