FEEL THE JOY! Get FREE TIPS on creating a life you'll love,
plus a free mp3 of our latest rap!

My Pet-Sitting Disaster: What I Lost and What I Found

When you agree to pet-sit for a friend, there are three basic assumptions to be made:

1) You will feed the pet.

2) You will keep the pet safe.

3) You will do your best to keep the pet alive until your friend returns.

No problem, right? Piece of cake, right?

So why was it that I managed to break 2 ½ of these rules within the first minute of pet-sitting a dog named Biscuit?  

photo: carol greenberg

When my friend and neighbor Barbara Stafford, the designer of this website, asked me look after Biscuit, I agreed immediately. It didn’t hurt that Biscuit was one of the cutest dogs I’d ever seen.

I swear to God, she looked just like a baby seal.

You know those flyers you get in the mail? The ones from wildlife organizations asking you to give them large amounts of money? And they put a photo of a baby seal on the flyer so you’ll fork over all your cash?

That’s what Biscuit looked like. A cute-as-a-button, wildlife-flyer-starring baby seal.

photo: carol greenberg

This baby seal had issues, though. She was on meds. Serious meds. If she didn’t take them regularly, she would die.

This didn’t intimidate me, though. I didn’t actually have to administer the meds to Biscuit. I just had to drop by and feed her. And tell her how cute she was.

I can still remember how excited I was the day I walked over to Barbara’s house for my first visit with Biscuit.

I was about to spend time with the cutest dog on the planet! How lucky was I?!

As it turned out, not so lucky.

Here’s how it went down:

I opened the door to Barbara’s house. There was Biscuit, right at the door!

It’s hard to describe what happened next, because it all happened so fast. But I’ll try.

The minute Biscuit saw me, she busted through the door and attempted to flee. Luckily, she had her collar on and I grabbed it. But the instant I grabbed her collar, she twisted her head in a freakish maneuver worthy of a professional escape artist.

(I found out later that her nickname was Houdini.)

Next thing I knew, I was holding Biscuit’s collar. Without Biscuit.

That’s right. The baby seal had escaped.

She was charging away from me faster than the wind. Actually, given Biscuit’s medical situation, it was more like the wind on meds. A foggy, disoriented, physically-fragile wind.

I tried to chase her down, but every time she saw me, she’d zoom in the other direction. Eventually, she ran through a wooded area behind our housing complex and disappeared altogether.

I freaked out. I’d lost the baby seal! I was officially the worst pet sitter in the world!

I tried calling Barbara, but she didn’t answer. I called animal rescue, but it turned out they didn’t make house calls anymore. I was on my own.

Oh, and did I mention that Biscuit wasn’t actually Barbara’s dog?!

Barbara was pet-sitting Biscuit for some friends. In other words, Biscuit had run away from a house that wasn’t hers. She was already disoriented from her meds, and now she was wandering around an unfamiliar neighborhood.

photo: Hai Linh Truong on flickr

This was bad.

I had managed to lose the beloved, medically-fragile pet of strangers! I didn’t even know them and I had ruined their lives!

After searching for Biscuit on foot for an hour, I decided to jump in my Prius and make a wider sweep. I drove around and around the neighborhood for severa more hours, asking everyone if they’d seen a white dog with the face of a baby seal.

No one had seen her.

Just when I was about to give up, my intuition told me to drive up a road about a half mile from Barbara’s house. Up, up, up the hill I drove.

No sign of Biscuit.

Once I got to the top of the hill, I got the hit that I should turn right, past a small school.

And there she was! Biscuit!

photo: carol greenberg

I couldn’t believe my eyes. What were the odds?! I’d found the baby seal!!

There was just one problem:

The baby seal wanted nothing to do with me.

Yes, I had found her, but I was the one she was fleeing from.

When I got out of the car to lure her to me, she bolted in the other direction. I’d even brought doggie treats in an effort to gain her affection, but Biscuit wasn’t having it.

As far as she was concerned, I was the cause of this whole mess. She had no interest in anything I was selling.

Eventually, we came to a standoff. Biscuit ran up a hill and I sat in my car, at the foot of the hill.

Now that I’d found her, I couldn’t leave.

I didn’t have a cell phone at the time, so there was no way to tell anyone where I was. All I could do was sit there.

So I did. It was me and the baby seal, sitting and staring at each other for over an hour.

Until, at last, Biscuit stood up.

What was she doing? Was she going to come over and sample some of my doggie treats? Was she going to apologize for her rash and foolish behavior? Was she going to burst into song about the plight of baby seals?

photo: michael r. perry on flickr

No. It was none of those things.

Instead, Biscuit wanted to walk. She wanted to walk down the road while I followed her in the car.

What a pretty pair we were. The baby seal and the Toyota Prius, trucking on down the road!

Biscuit walked down the street and turned left. I turned left with her. At the end of the road, she made another left. I did the same. When she turned right at the next street, I realized what she was doing.

She was walking back to Barbara’s house.

Yes, she was disoriented. Yes, she was on serious meds. Yes, she was being chased by a dog-treat-carrying, Prius-driving crazy person, but that didn’t mean Biscuit didn’t know her way home.

photo: carol greenberg

The rest of the story is a blur. I remember that Barbara showed up soon after. I remember that she – and Biscuit’s owners – were grateful I’d hunted her down.

I remember that Biscuit still wanted nothing to do with me.

But the main thing I remember about my Biscuit adventure was how good it felt not to give up. To follow my intuition. And to play a part in leading Biscuit home.

It’s how I feel about my spiritual path.

The consistency I bring to my meditation practice. The determination to look for positive aspects in my life. The power of following my intuition.

But it’s more than that.

So many times in my life, I’m Biscuit. I run from those things that would benefit me. I’m foggy and disoriented, wandering around in strange places.

But the Divine always finds me.

The Divine always comes to my side and coaxes me home.

photo: kelsey_lovefusionphoto on flickr

It’s been years since my little Biscuit adventure. Since then, Biscuit has passed to the Great Dog Park in the Sky. She lived a long and happy life, and I am grateful for the short amount of time I got to spend with her.

Even if she was running from me the whole time.

Whenever I think of Biscuit, or see a picture of a baby seal on a wildlife flyer, I remember our little adventure.

I remember that I can run, but I cannot hide.

I remember that no one and nothing are as tenacious as the Divine in holding my good for me.

And, most important, I remember that when chasing down a heavily-medicated baby seal, it pays to have patience.

The patience of the Divine.

When have you acted like Biscuit? How has the Divine been patient with you?

Did you like this post?
SUBSCRIBE TO THE BLOG!
Get Z and Melissa's insights on joyful living delivered to your inbox every week.
Did you like this post?
SUBSCRIBE TO THE BLOG!
Get Z and Melissa's insights on joyful living delivered to your inbox every week.

, , , , , , ,

14 Responses to My Pet-Sitting Disaster: What I Lost and What I Found

  1. Angelica Jayne Taggart January 8, 2013 at 6:52 am #

    Love this one — having been a dog sitter for many years – I can relate to how you got divine messages from your experiences with her —
    Blessings, Angelica

    • Z Egloff January 8, 2013 at 9:45 am #

      Hi Angelica!

      Ah, so you know the spiritual significance of being a pet sitter – I have a comrade! :)

      XOZ

  2. David January 8, 2013 at 7:21 am #

    Great story, with a lesson I (and maybe you) learned in Pacific Grove in the 1960’s. The Hilgards had a Carin Terrier which disappeared. Henry set out to find it. Day after day. House by house. Finally he finds the dog, who had been groomed to look like another breed. Persistence works even against long odds. I try to remember that.

    • Z Egloff January 8, 2013 at 9:44 am #

      Hi David!

      I don’t remember the Carin Terrier story, at least not consciously. I’m glad that Biscuit didn’t change appearance – that would have made my job even more difficult. Though given her Houdini-like nature, it wouldn’t have been surprising.

      Persistence is a great tool, useful in basically every circumstance.

      XOZ

  3. Simone January 8, 2013 at 8:27 am #

    What a great story. I love the analogy to the Divine. Once when I was really down and feeling alone I went shopping for some clothes. I was trying on this jacket. I slipped my hand into the pocket of the jacket and found the prayer, “Footsteps”. It was the Divine guiding and leading me back home.

    • Z Egloff January 8, 2013 at 9:41 am #

      Hi Simone,

      What a great story. I love all the different ways that the Divine manifests to remind us that we’re loved. You never know where it’s going to show up – in the pocket of a jacket, or in a fleeing dog named Houdini. Good stuff! :)

      XOZ

  4. Becka January 8, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

    Perfect timing for that post. Thank you so much for offering me some perspective. You’re the best, Z.

    • Z Egloff January 8, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

      Hi Becka!

      Yay for good timing! Glad that perspective was found. :)

      XOZ

  5. michael frank January 8, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

    bISCUIT WAS SPECIAL AND SO ARE YOU.:))

    • Z Egloff January 8, 2013 at 2:27 pm #

      Hi Michael!

      Biscuit was a special one, and she brought me home. :)

      XOZ

  6. Barbara Stafford January 8, 2013 at 6:36 pm #

    Thanks for this beautiful post on Biscuit, Z. You forgot to add, though, that the day she escaped a mountain lion had been sighted in our neighborhood. That’s how endangered our Baby Seal really was!

    You truly earned your Angel Wings the day you saved her — making it possible for her to go on to spread more years of love and joy. I know she’s doing doggie wheelies up in Dog Heaven to celebrate being the star of this post.

    • Z Egloff January 9, 2013 at 9:24 am #

      Hi Barbara!

      For some reason, I blocked out the mountain lion piece. Perhaps it was just too much to let in. Luckily, Biscuit and the lion did not cross paths. Or if they did, Biscuit charmed the lion with her baby seal aura.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I hope Biscuit enjoyed it as well! :)

      XOZ

  7. Michael February 15, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

    I have been pet sitting for a good number of years and have had some times where I was in full panic. I can really identify with what you were feeling. Thanks for your blog. I haven’t visited it for a long time but when I do, I always come away with a good message from the Divine.

    • Z Egloff February 19, 2013 at 10:23 am #

      Hi Michael,

      Who knew that pet sitting could be so challenging?! It sounds so benign, and yet it’s obviously full of challenges. I’m glad that I’m not the only one to experience this! :)

      Thanks for stopping by – great to have you here!

      XOZ

Website by Barbara Stafford