Pet Nanny

Today I met the Pet Lady. I know that’s her nickname because it’s her vanity license plate and I spotted her parked in front of another house in our neighborhood whilst running a couple of weeks ago. I stopped and took a picture of her car so I could call her later (not creepy at all). We’re preparing for family vacation and since mom and dad are obviously going with us, Junebug will be home alone.

Our feline friend is quite spoiled. She has a water fountain and an electronic feeder that dispenses her meals at certain times throughout the day. She tucks herself in bed with us, roams the house as she wishes depositing fur and sass where ever she goes and receives half a can of specialty food each day as a treat on a human plate. She really hates everyone except for me and Ray. Sometimes she hates us too. Whenever we had people watch her in the past, she hisses repeatedly and violently, or hides. Taking her to some pet spa or hotel is out of the question because the idea of her with other animals terrifies her and even me. Not only can she not handle it, neither can I because I’d spend the entire vacation worrying she’s getting beat up, she’s beating some other helpless cat up, working herself into a complete tizzy and refusing to eat or poop.

Without fail, when we return home from these trips away she makes sure we know she does not approve. She does one of the following things: poops in our bed, pukes in our bed, pukes on the floor in multiple locations, leaves a single turd on the floor just beside her litter box, some combination of the above or all of the above. We’ve tried shutting doors and she responds by scratching said door til the paint comes off and then puking somewhere else. The best part is I know she doesn’t even feel bad. I think she’s proud of it, actually.

So, anyway. By the time I got home from my run I was emotionally unprepared to call a stranger, so I texted the pet nanny instead. Said stranger, Susan, said she’d be happy to do a meet n’ greet with our fur baby and we picked today for the introduction.

*Pause to laugh too long and too loud at Susan’s misunderstanding that Junebug will greet her with anything other than a hiss.*

I was too busy worrying that she would think I was: 1. a slob 2. a psycho 3. a bad pet owner or 4. all of the above, to consider that she may be all of the above. Everyone gives complete strangers their cell phone number and home address, right?

*Pause to picture Keith Morrison shaking his head disapprovingly.*

I spent most of the morning tidying my house. I lovingly arranged the throw pillows and hid my tampons from the closet where I also store Junebug’s cat food and poop scoop. I mean, what pet nanny needs to know I use Tampax cardboard applicators? Super unprofessional of me, obviously. As the time approached for her to arrive, I realized I probably needed to put a bra on and a half marathon finisher hat to mask my grease-slicked head. At about ten minutes til her scheduled arrival it occurred to me she might kill me and steal either my jewelry or my cat. Or maybe she wasn’t a pet nanny at all. Perhaps that license plate was an intricate ploy to get unsuspecting housewives in the burbs to invite them over to meet their obese, asthmatic cats as a ruse to steal their anxiety meds and burn their houses down. I figured if I put on exercise clothes she’d at least think I’m somewhat in shape and the hat clearly shows that at one point I could run 13 miles. I texted my mom just to be sure she knew I’d invited a stranger to come over. At least then if she hadn’t heard from me by this evening she could come over and begin the Dateline episode introduction.

As soon as I saw Susan’s bright blonde curls, decorative boxer shorts and dog kennel t-shirt I breathed a sigh of relief. She even had business cards and index cards to file away tid-bits about June. Oddly, she didn’t ask her favorite color, snack or preferred bedtime essential oil diffuser blend. I handed the woman I’d known for six minutes a key to my house after she offered to check my mail and water my plants. She clearly isn’t a murderer if she would offer to be so very helpful. More odd: Junebug neither hissed nor fled while Susie Q was visiting. She remained completely unbothered sleeping under my desk. Perhaps she drugged her without me noticing, but she got the job either way. She also suggested we cover our bed with a plastic sheet to prevent puke and poop stains. I guess that’s why she’s the professional as I’d never thought of that. Rookie mistake.

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