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The Christmas holiday season is a very busy time for pet sitters. I was running all over to nearby Dallas neighborhoods to serve breakfast, take pups on walks, serve lunch and then serve dinner.
On Christmas Eve at approximately 10:50am, through all this chaos that is my schedule, my big brother send me a texts asking me if I have time to run by BWC, a photo lab that I use a lot, to pick up a $100 gift card for his daughter and to know if I could cover it until he could pay me back. I asked in return if he even knew if BWC was open on Christmas Eve. Come to find, they close at noon and I told him that I probably wouldn’t be able to make it over there before they close. He said it was cool and not to worry about it.
Here’s the thing though- when it comes to my big brother asking me to do favors I always want to be able to do them for him. He does so much for me that seriously it is the least I can do to try and do what he asks. After all it was Christmas and if it’s something for my neice then I definitely wanted to try and complete this mission.
A few moments later, I text him back that Christmas miracles can happen. I let him know that I’d be able to get down there to pick it up for him and thankfully, to my generous clients, I’d be able to cover the $100 bucks from the tips I’ve received.
So I’m at the lab purchasing a $100 gift certificate for my niece. Their gift certificates are designed to kind of look like checks. So you write the name of the person in the “Pay to the Order Of” line and write in the amount, etc, etc. So I just wrote in my niece’s name because that’s who I was told it was for and wrote in the amount of $100. I was very happy that I was able to do this for my big brother and in turn for my niece.
And now it is Christmas day and I was fortunate enough to have a couple of hours to come to the house and spend time with my family. I came home just in time for presents. My niece hands me a white envelope with my name written on it. I was not expecting anything for Christmas because I could not afford to buy presents for anyone really. Well, I open up this crisp, white envelope and it’s the gift certificate. I turn to my brother and say, “Hey! You wrote my name on the envelope but this is the gift certificate for Jenny.” He then proceeds to explain to me that he tricked me into buying my own Christmas present with my own money. The whole time on Christmas Eve day, he is texting his daughter and letting her know that he thinks he may have succeeded in getting me to buy my own gift and with my own money.
With everyone around on Christmas Day, this caused hugh amounts of laughter. Everybody is teasing my big brother calling him a genius and teasing me calling me a dope. It was quite hilarious! And actually was an awesome gift. It was from my big brother, my niece and her husband.
A few days later, my big brother paid me back the $100 dollars that I used from my own wallet to buy my own gift. Making memories!
11/18/13, 3:30 PM
She greeted me outside of her house and I judged her immediately even before I got out of my car. She was overweight. She was wearing a light blue t-shirt, denim walking shorts, and red house slippers that had holes in them. I say to myself, “Oh geez…” I have arrived for a meet and greet for pet care services that she arranged for over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Once I am out of the car she says hello and asks me if I am from the agency. I tell her yes and I tell her my name. She tells me that her house is a mess and she apologizes for that. She then tells me that she a recovering hoarder and then I begin to get apprehensive.
Never have I ever walked into a situation like that. It was not my immediate thought that someone with 8 cats would be a hoarder. She tells me that she is grateful that I didn’t just turn around and leave. To be honest, I had no idea what to do. I was stuck in my tracks. I decided to calmly gather the details for this service all the while wondering if I would be able to do the service at all. So many times throughout the meeting did I want to get up and leave just to get some fresh air. So many times did I want to make an excuse to exit so I could call my superior and ask what I should do. I was just at a loss.
An hour later and my breathing beginning to labor, the meeting was over. I got into my car, drove away from her house and started to cry. I just felt so incredibly sorry for this woman and her pets. I have no idea what her home looked like at it’s worst, but it was pretty bad when I got there. I wondered what trauma she endured that led her to this spot in her life. I called my boss in tears. My boss gave me an out if I wanted to take it but like I said, this woman was just so grateful that I didn’t run away screaming that I couldn’t NOT do the service. I want to go through with it not only to make sure these poor cats are taken care of but also because I don’t want to disappoint this woman.
I don’t know anything about hoarding, but I do believe this woman is in the recovery process. I do not think that if this woman were still hoarding that she would call in for pet services. I do not think that this woman would even leave her house no matter how much she would like to be with her family for the holiday. I think that she would feel most safe in her home, in her mess.
I am hoping that her home will be much improved by the time I return this week to begin service. I am going to get some strong protective masks and force myself through it. I pray that it will be better, not only for the benefit of her animals but most importantly for the benefit of her. Besides it is Thanksgiving.
Meeting this woman once has changed me. Well, maybe not changed me but certainly renewed my capacity for human compassion. We all go through terrible times and we all struggle at some point in our lives. It is how we handle it and how to act on it that can decide a certain fate for ourselves. I am proud that no matter my struggles, I am able to get up out of bed everyday and feel a certain degree of happiness. I am grateful that I have a super strong support system. It also reminded me to not be so judgmental. Each of us has a cross to bear and we should not criticize how another is handling it just because that would not be our way. Instead, may we should offer help in any form.
Remember to be kind, be generous and be good.