Anyone with a busy internship schedule understands the time and hard work put into these opportunities. Even during the summer, these internships—combined with classes, extracurricular activities, and other obligations—leave very little time remaining in BIMS students’ schedules, to look for a job that fits around your availability.
However, my luck came in the form of a Facebook post and pushed me into some form of an entrepreneurial venture I had never imagined—pet sitting!
My neighborhood’s community Facebook page has proved to be an efficient source for advertising yourself and your experiences. One day, a neighbor posted to our page asking for someone to care for their two dogs while they were away on vacation. Immediately, I was intrigued. Taking care of cute dogs and getting paid to do so? It can’t get much better than that!
Throughout the summer, I was able to fit in multiple families at a time. I quickly formed a routine of waking up early before my internship to attend to the various dogs. In the evening, I would return to the route of dogs I cared for. The days were long and often tiring, but the dogs made it all worth it.
I pet sat for more than 20 families during a few months. Typically, the dogs were friendly and energetic; they would welcome treats as warmly as they welcomed me. That is, until I met a black and white whippet named Gracie. She has a Border Collie-mix sister named Daisy, who was Gracie’s polar opposite, personality wise. Daisy was the first to greet me at the door and the first to beg for love and attention. Gracie was naturally scared of everything, particularly strangers. I knew I would have a hard time getting through to her, but I never realized how it would affect me.
The first few days I cared for Gracie, I spent hours sitting outside of her hiding place (her kennel) and slowly feeding her small pieces of treats. I thought I could lure her out of her kennel with food and show her I wouldn’t hurt her once she emerged. Every time I thought she trusted me, I would reach out to her, but she would quickly dart back inside. After days of doing this, I was at a loss of what to do. I could see deep inside her was a happy, playful dog; yet, I just wasn’t sure how to let her know she could show that side to me.
Finally, the treats and my patience won her over. It started with a few pats on the head, until eventually Gracie was jumping up and down on me, wanting me to play with her. Gracie’s trust in me meant so much more than I had anticipated that it would. In fact, Gracie reminded me of why I love animals so much. Once you prove they can trust you, they’ll love you forever.
Last summer, I gained great experience in animal handling and care. I had expected to learn about animals during my internship at a small animal hospital. Yet, I never knew I could learn so much about animals by simply caring for them.
More importantly, I didn’t know how much I could learn about myself.