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Barbara A. - Lots of cuddling, lots of love!

Evanston, IL

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Barbara A. provides

Home Sitting

from $35 per night
90% response rate Sitter responds to most requests within 24 hours
Under 12 hours Sitter responds in under 12 hours
20% of stays Sitter rarely sends photos through Rover
About Barbara A.:

"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.

How long have you been a dog lover? Tell us about your history with dogs.

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.

What would you like to know about a dog before sitting him or her? Do you have any breed preferences?

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.

Do you have reliable transportation in the event of an emergency?

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.

Are you comfortable administering medication?

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.

How much time do you plan on spending with my dog each day?

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.

Where will my dog sleep?

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.

Where will you take my dog on walks? Tell me about it.

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!

Additional Information
Location: Evanston, IL 60202
Home Type: Apartment
Children at location?: No
Num. of Spaces: 2
Cancellation Policy: Moderate
Acceptable Dog Sizes:
  • Small (0 - 15lbs)
  • Medium (15 - 40lbs)
  • Large (40 - 100lbs)
  • Giant (100lbs and above)
  • Accepts puppies

Loading Stay Photos

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Scout

Age: not provided
Weight: 30 lbs.
Breed: Beagle

Digger

Age: not provided
Weight: 38 lbs.
Breed:

49 Reviews

Susan I.

September 23

Beth R.

September 18

Two night stay for our dog with Barbara. Great experience!

THERESA L.

April 7

Barbara was so sweet and loving to our little Sage and Sage was so well taken cared of for the 9 days that we were gone. Thank you!

Anne W.

March 31

Barbara was able to accommodate me last minute and took excellent car elf my little guy! He came hope happy and well exercised, and she gave me updates while he was there. I definitely plan on using her in the future when I need to go out of town!

Maria K.

February 18

Our dog Teddy has stayed with Barbara a couple of times, and it's been great. She's wonderful with him and always sends a lot of feedback during his stay, which is great for us. Highly recommended!

Karen M.

January 12

PAMELA C.

January 6

Mary E.

January 1

Our dog was extremely well tended. Barbara makes every attempt to keep the dog's routine - helping to eliminate stress. She seems to really enjoy the dogs and it was a comfort to know that ours was in a safe and comfortable environment.

Barbara T.

December 6

Barbara took care of my dog Ellie for three days and I couldn't be happier. Ellie loved her time with Barbara and came home well cared for and quite happy. She is an older dog (at least ten years) and Barbara gave her lots of attention. I really appreciate the conscientious care that Barbara gave to Ellie. I will definitely bring Ellie back for a stay!

Steve P.

October 29

Our Yorkie Mia enjoyed another stay with Barbara and the boys. We never worry about her while in Barbara's care.

Testimonials

Doug S.

May 27

Jane M.

August 30

Eileen B.

September 19
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