The varied life of a pet-sitter is shown in the story below.

We have a regular pet-sit at a local smallholding.  This work has included a variety of animals that we need to look after in the time we have been employed there, from cats, ducks, rabbits, gerbils, to sheep with their ram and more lately piglets.

It was on a fairly normal Sunday at the farm when my daughter and I were heading towards the pigs to feed them, Charlotte suddenly said, “We appear to have more sheep than yesterday!” There, in front of our eyes were two very new born lambs, just hours old, nobody knew she was even pregnant!

This news started a series of events that show just how varied the life for a pet-sitter can be. The owners who were away in France told us, following the phone call to them, that ‘nature would have to take its course’, as they were powerless to do anything else.  The ewe would have to provide for her lambs and we would have to hope that any local foxes would stay away.

This whole situation then became even more difficult when on the Tuesday morning the ewe had become seriously infected with fly-strike and she had stopped feeding the two lambs.

We were now staring at a potential disaster, where we could easily lose all three animals.  These lambs were now going to need a four hourly feeding regime, something most farmers would not want to take on.

This story did have a happy/sad ending.  Sad, as the ewe did have to be destroyed as the fly-strike was very serious, and she had become so poorly very quickly.  Happy, as we did manage to re-home the new born lambs, who were by now very close to facing the end.  With no mother to feed them, they too would not have survived. What is satisfying for me is I know our actions of being there did go a long way into saving these two lambs, even though we were powerless to save the mother.

What this particular job has shown me, as a pet-sitter, is that animals on a ‘working farm’ have a life that is so very different from that of domestic pets.  For the farm animals life is much harder.  Yet, still when looking after them as a pet-sitter, you instinctively become very attached.

As a footnote: When we helped re-home these lambs, it was one of the most satisfying moments of my year, as they were literally minutes from being destroyed, if the lady who did take them had not come forward when she did. When the owners returned from France, they did manage to bring the lambs back home and are now both doing very well….a happy ending!