"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." ---Anatole France
About this sitter:
I returned to the Chicago area several years ago from Berkeley and have just moved to a lovely apartment in Evanston. It's in a dog-friendly building, in a dog-friendly neighborhood and -- best of all -- it's near the wonderful Evanston dog beach!
I studied at several universities here and abroad (my dog Fido spent a year in Europe with me!) and my degrees are from UC Berkeley. I taught at a few universities, with periods of time working as a journalist in between, before returning to Chicago. I work as a part-time editor and I'm happy and excited to be focusing on studying and playing cello again.
I've loved dogs forever! I still remember the German short-haired pointer we had for just a short time when I was about four, and my concern and sadness when he left us. When I was in sixth grade, my father arrived home one wintry night with a tiny miniature poodle puppy we had been longing for for such a long time. I don't think I had ever before felt so excited. Pepe was the first dog I loved.
George came into my life when I was in my twenties. He used to spend his days on the Berkeley campus when I was there: visiting friends, swimming in the creek, doing whatever dogs do to keep busy, until it was time to go home. Fido followed George and me home a few times when Fido was very young, and George was in the last year of his life, and soon Fido was part of our family. He spent a year in Europe with me! He was the perfect little traveler, and the most perfect best friend that I could imagine being with.
I met Mugri one day when I was out for a walk with Fido, who was already nine or ten. Mugri was especially gentle and caring and loving to Fido at the end of Fido's life. When Fido died I adopted Jake -- my "wild child" -- from the Humane Society. He was very special, too; I liked his independent streak, though at the same time I knew he would definitely be a challenge! Cody joined Mugri, Jake and me the next year. He had spent the first three years of his life with a homeless couple, sleeping in doorways and in parks, and took to his new, comfy life in our happy family immediately.
Scoutie joined Mugri and me here three years ago and learned a lot about being a good dog from Mugri in the year they spent together before Mugri died. I adopted wonderful Digger in January, having seen his picture at Petfinders' site. I had known for a while that I wanted to give a senior doggy a wonderful home and huge amount of love in his last years.
Finally, for about two years I walked dogs at the SF SPCA. Actually, sometimes we didn't walk at all; if there was a dog who was frightened or shy I would sit on the floor, gently talking to him, until little by little, he trusted me and would let me pet him. There's a personal reason why I wanted to volunteer there. When George died, I was inconsolable. My vet urged me to go to a "Pet Loss" group that the SPCA had every month. I was very grateful for that help, and wanted to give something back in return. It seemed that the best way to do that was to give love to the dogs who were there while they waited for families.
I'd mostly like to know all the special little things that make him or her feel happy; all those little rituals that dogs like so much; all the places they especially like to be scratched or petted; all the quirky little things that make each of our pets so special. As for me, I've had and loved dogs with wildly varying temperaments. And as for my dogs, Scout is a good-hearted little guy who's very adaptable and friendly. And Digger, the senior dog I just adopted, is gentle, sweet, always content, and likes everybody -- dogs and humans alike.
The breed of your dog doesn't matter to me at all. We had a miniature poodle when I was little, but all my dogs (until Scout, that is) have been large mixed breed dogs who were from shelters or were homeless. Scout, Digger and I welcome your best friend, whatever he or she looks like!
Also, I want to mention that senior doggies are very, very welcome. I know you might hesitate to leave your very old dog, but I have cared for three of my own dogs in their senior years -- and that's not counting my Digger, who's 13 or 14 and whom I adopted from Petfinder nearly two years ago.
And two "guests" would be welcome, too, if everybody gets along.
Yes, I do. And in case of an emergency evenings and weekends, we'd go to "Blue Pearl" (formerly "Animal 911") in Skokie. I've been there twice in the past.
I am very comfortable administering medication. I've of course taken care of stitches, broken bones, post-surgical needs (for example when Jake had to have his eye removed), and have often given pills. I've never given a dog injections, but would be happy to have you teach me.
If your dog is happiest when surrounded by dogs and caring people -- in
particular a person who will be there to love and talk to and pet him
almost constantly, I know that he or she would feel calm and comfy and
happy being part of our family.
Obviously, Scout and Diggie are here all the time, but I'm also home much
of the time. I've left university teaching, and work at home as a part-time editor. Most importantly, in the last few years I've made the decision to return to -- and focus on -- studying and playing cello. When I'm gone, I'm usually at music-related things, and I try to practice several hours a day. I practice in the bright sunny bedroom where we sleep. And of course the dogs are always with me there, on the bed. It seems, in fact, that for about half of our waking hours, we're all within about six feet of each other!
Also, I'd be very happy to give you updates by phone, or to send you daily
emails letting you know how your best friend is doing.
We all sleep on the bed! Though several months ago Diggie started to like sleeping on the floor -- on an old sleeping bag -- when it's time to turn the light off. Your doggy will be welcome to share the bed, of course, if that's where he or she likes to be. There's also a dog bed in the bedroom, and in the living room there are two more. Everyone is allowed on the furniture, though Scout kind of takes over the rest of the sofa if I'm lying there reading. Most important is that your best friend feels at home! If he or she has a special bed, we'll put it in a place of honor, that is, the spot he or she would like best.
We go on LOTS of long walks. Our new apartment in southeast Evanston is in a lovely residential area, with tree-lined streets and lots of other dogs to greet when we're out for a walk. If you have a large dog who enjoys bounding across open spaces, we could go on excursions to the magnificent Evanston dog beach, too!