I am very happy to be welcoming Laura Marchant to Novel Kicks today and the blog tour for her book, Trials and Tribulations of a Pet Sitter
Hilarious and heart warming true stories of a Pet Sitter.
Laura takes us on her journey describing the immense joy that the animals have brought into her life. But it’s not all fun and games. With sometimes as many as ten dogs around her home, things can get a tad hectic. Not to forget the every day challenges faced in keeping the pets happy and safe when out walking. Luckily she is not alone in her quest; her unusually dominant Golden Retriever ‘Brece’ is always by her side. Brece earns her keep by convincingly playing the part of the alpha female, ensuring harmony amongst the pack.
At times, the responsibility that Laura faces becomes overwhelming. She may think she has everything covered but that hand of fate could quite easily swoop down, creating havoc for her and the dogs. Laura has endured many close calls and teetered on the precipice of disaster may a time. The longer she continues with her pet sitting enterprise, the more likely hood that total disaster will actually strike. Is she tempting fate?
Laura Marchant is the Bridget Jones of the pet sitting world!
Laura has shared an extract from her book today so find that comfy seat, grab that cup of tea, and enjoy.
***** beginning of extract*****
This is an extract from a third of the way into the book. Here I start to write about ‘the gang’, a selection of my daily regulars that I walk. I pick 5 dogs to talk about in detail. (some of whom are pictured on the front page). This section is about Rocky, a young, crazy out of control English Pointer, but never the less, a dog that I love.
Picking up Rocky was an arduous task and that was just the prelude to the walk. Putting the leash on him did not abate his excitement, in fact, it exacerbated it, as he knew he was one step closer to his walk and freedom. Once trussed up we made our way to the front door. Trying to lock it behind me whilst keeping hold of the uncontrollable animal was an incredibly difficult task, but with gritted determination, I just about managed it. Outside the house, door successfully locked he then hoicked me all the way down the drive to where his chariot awaited. He pulled with such force that I literally thought that my arms would be wrenched out of their sockets. It took every ounce of strength in my body to hang onto that dog. If he managed to escape from his lead, it was a given that he would run onto the busy road, that would be it, we were dicing with death.
By now I had managed to get him leashed, out of the house, locked the door, before being whisked all the way down the driveway. God! I must have been completely mad in those early days. All I had to do now was get him in the boot of the car; this part was a breeze. He was more than happy to jump into the dog-mobile, he knew next stop was the beach. Whilst I sat in the driver’s seat I usually took a couple of minutes to compose myself. After checking out my new cuts, bruises and jarred joints I was ready to drive off to our destination. It was always a stressful journey. Having Rocky in the boot of my car was like having a wild Gazelle travelling with us. He remained on his perpetual trampoline but added a touch of strident hollering and squealing to help us along on our way. Once finally at our destination, the beast was unleashed. This was what he had been waiting for: now his fun could begin.
Hurling himself out of the boot, he charged off to do his own thing. There was no way I could keep him on the lead, anything I did to try to hang on to him was ineffectual, as was berating him. With no choice in the matter, I just had to let him go and wait with the other dogs by the sea wall while he charged around.
My wandering minstrel was now free and on a mission to cover as much ground as physically possible in an hour. He ran far out to sea, making it difficult for me to keep track of him. Calling him back was useless, his recall was dubious, well non-existent. I watched him as he disappeared into a black dot on the horizon and hoped he would stop before he got to the Isle of Man. The black dot eventually vanished. Even though Brad had assured me that Rocky always came back, this moment was always a worry. By this time we had usually attracted unwanted attention from others passing by. I imagined the onlookers to be thinking; “How the hell is she going to get that dog back? Let’s just hang around and see what happens.” I always wished they would go on their way, their attentions just exacerbated matters for me. I kept my eyes peeled on the horizon, until the black dot reappeared and started to get bigger. After about fifteen minutes of having his fill of tearing around the landscape, much to my relief and the entertainment of his audience, he finally made his way back. Without appearing to look for me he always seemed to know the precise spot where he had left us.
Once reunited, he was incredibly happy to see me again, loyally jumping up again as if it was the first time he had seen me that day. Now that he had let off some steam, we were then able to start the walk. It was an hour of Nirvana for him, but an hour was just not enough exercise for a working dog such as Rocky.
Walking Rocky was a bittersweet experience. On the one hand, I was always scared stiff that he wouldn’t come back to me. But then it was so lovely to watch him running around enjoying his freedom, when he was in sight. Observing a Pointer run is an awesome sight, with their long gangly legs they move with an elegant gallop, in a similar way to a stallion. An Olympian of a dog.
All things considered and taking account of how out of control he was, we didn’t seem to get into too many scrapes with other dogs or indeed their owners. I would have expected the odd;
”You should have that dog on a lead.”
Fortunately, this never happened. Other people and dog walkers alike all seemed to be fond of Rocky, he really was a spectacle to be admired. In fact, we only ever had one altercation and that was when a Golden Retriever had a bit of a go at him. Rocky was being his usual pest, wanting to play, but play was not on the agenda for the Retriever. Presumably Rocky thought the dog was Brece and was excited to see her, sadly it was a case of mistaken identity as she was at home at the time. The Retriever was rapidly becoming irritated at Rocky’s invitation to play and eventually snapped at him. Nothing serious, just a warning.
Although Rocky wasn’t physically hurt in any way, he seemed to be emotionally wounded. It was as though he couldn’t understand why the other dog had been so unfriendly towards him, he would never be so unpleasant towards another dog. He had such a pitiful confused look on his face, it was all so alien to him. Not for long though, he was soon off on his next adventure.
*****end of extract*****
About Laura Marchant…
As a child Laura and her siblings were fortunate enough to own shares in the families pets. Unbeknown to Laura at the time, her love for the animals formed the blueprint for a large part of her life.
In 2011 she finally found her vocation, and in the comfort of her own home, set up a pet boarding business.
For the next 7 years she shared her abode with a pack of dogs. A lot of this time was spent watching over the animals and observing their behaviour, which in turn inspired her to write her first novel ‘Trials and Tribulations of a Pet Sitter’.