Combining online work and pet care

One thing I’ve always wondered about is those of us who are working online, I’m curious as to what type of work you do and how do you work it in around animal care, especially if you have to have video calls with clients etc? I find cat sits generally better if I know I’ll be on a lot of video calls as they’re generally quieter. I once did a cat sit a few years ago where the cat joined in with an online fitness class I was doing. He didn’t leave my side for the entire duration of the class and was happily swishing his tail throughout. :heart_eyes_cat:Would love to hear your stories if you’d like to share…!

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Luckily we don’t have too much client interaction - bookkeeper and programmer. BUT we do have calls, sometimes very important calls and you are 100% correct, some dogs are very yappy and it does add stress that they’ll be barking like crazy during a call. Luckily for us the calls and the yappy dogs don’t often coincide. On a (un)related note: we’re the renovation attractors :rofl: it seems wherever we go, there’s some renovation work happening close by, adding to the noise!

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Ah there’s nothing worse than when a dog starts growling and barking at something it’s heard outside right when you’re on an important call. Been there many a time so cat sits tend to work better for me now to keep background noise to a minimum. I once looked after a gorgeous retriever but he howled like a wolf any time it heard an ambulance or fire engine, even in the distance!

There must be a fair bit of renovation work going on all over the place these days. The last sit I did, the next door neighbour was doing the place up so there was constant drilling, hammering plus banging of doors with tradesmen going in and out. It was quite hard to focus and get much work done. I was once on a sit a couple of years ago where an owner sprung some ‘unexpected’ renovation work on me while they were away. No mention of this prior to the sit starting of course. I definitely could’ve done without that. Never again!

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I work at a university (but off campus) - never had any problems with online meetings - the dogs always join in :slight_smile:

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Cats love yoga, particularly.

When I was more or less a full-time THSitter (2018-screech! March 2020), I was freelancing. I had regular clients through past work connections. For the most part, it worked out fine, though when I was on deadline and working long hours, I didn’t get to explore the cities/areas as I’d have liked. Actually, my first non-US sit was in the center of Lisbon caring for a darling old kitty. The hours worked out well. I’d finish my work and head out for late night dinner and music.

I had one very time- and labor-intensive sit and it just so happened that I had no work during that time. At the time, I said that it was a good thing I wasn’t working b/c there was no way I could have done all that the PPs required PLUS my paid work!

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When I started my current, full-time job, I was on a long-term sit. My new boss saw the very organized white board calendar beside me and complimented me on it. I didn’t really respond.

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I am doing translations and copywriting, roughly 15-20h/week, no calls, so easy to schedule my office time around the pet’s needs

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Thank uou for saying that renovation work in the home is not something you want to be a part of. My own family became angry as I was to mind their dog but I did not want to responsible for workers in/ out. Anyone else have that experience? They are not speaking to me now. They were going overseas and I am in the USA.

I work from home as a virtual assistant for mental health practices. I have rarely had an issue but go to a different area if on a video call where the pet might be an issue.

I teach English to non-native speakers via zoom so my students are used to seeing different backgrounds behind me.

It makes for great conversation as I can bring in some different vocabulary in a relaxed manner when talking about the cat(s). This lovely lady was one of the student favorites as she seemed to be paying attention to what they were saying (even though she was blind so could not see any movement on the screen!)

Cats who I regularly sit for are quite clever, when they see me putting on my headset they know I’ll be sitting there for a while, prime lap/nap time.

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It’s one thing taking responsibility for a pet but I think being asked to oversee various tradesmen in addition to that is quite a lot to expect of anyone.

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That’s good you’ve found a solution like that. Usually, the animals would follow me if I took myself off to a different part of the house!

That cat looks adorable and so focused. Top student right there! :laughing:

Yes, they’re pretty clever. When they can sense you’re going to be in one place for a while, they know it’s time to get settled and snuggle in.

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I always have earphones on when on a call - it reduces the amount of ambient noise that gets picked up and also helps me focus on the conversation, if it’s 1-2-1 or otherwise very involved meeting. If it’s one of those where I can blend with the crowd - webinar or a wider meeting that doesn’t require my input, I switch off my camera and mic after the introductions and just listen to it while doing something else.

Like @Andrew (Hi there fellow HE professional!) I work for a uni. My work is hybrid with roughly 20/80 campus/remote ratio , and I tend to housesit when I don’t have anything on that requires me being present on campus.

There is a lot of writing involved and sometimes it’s a blessing: I just came back from a gig on a houseboat with a couple of dogs that needed walking every 3 hours and slept a lot in between - it suited me perfectly, as I was busy writing a bid at the time and didn’t feel upset not being able to see much in the neighborhood (mind you, the house itself was different and really good fun). This wouldn’t work with the farm dogs I sat a few weeks back - they were used to being out a lot, so I had to build my schedule around that.

I’m now training myself to use dictation software, as it’s quicker than typing and can save a lot of time (when it works well). My personal challenge is I’m not a native speaker, so it works best for me when I proofread as I go along.

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We’ve worked remotely (part-time self employed) ever since we became full-time house sitters and nomadic travellers almost a decade ago, firstly as online English teachers (even our adult Chinese students loved the pets being part of the lessons so that was no problem :slight_smile: ), then on our own website/magazine which didn’t really involve much external video interaction, and now also helping out part-time here in the forum for THS as a CM. I guess I’ve been incredibly fortunate that my most recent work from home involves everything to do with house and pet sitting so happily no-one minds when the pets get involved. Usually a cat strolling across the keyboard.

I’m quite interested though as to how many who WFH have to really manage pet activity when they are in meetings - given the number of people with pets, have they become an acceptable addition to the calls you make - do colleagues find it acceptable?

We’ve definitely changed our focus - returning to more working hours through the pandemic has meant our approach to looking after homes and pets has changed. As a couple it’s of course much easier, but that wasn’t why we became sitters… for one of us to walk the dogs and the other to sit by a computer - we like to enjoy the pets together. The pets still need to come first, so for us at the moment gone are the days of lots of pets and livestock… now we generally sit one dog only or cats… I’ll never tire of cats helping me work !! This is manageable for us with a flexible routine and of course the pets are natural stress relievers!!

This is a great question @Chatsetchiens … thank you for contributing to the community discussions!

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I second that … thank you @Chatsetchiens

I’ve worked remotely since the 70’s and combining working from home with family, furry or human and life in general is something I’ve managed and adapted to, I’m sure many agree that’s what we do, working remotely or otherwise.

Meetings have always been a part of remote working, and before the internet there was just the telephone and I believe it is far easier now.

We have the ability to schedule, even be away from the home to take calls, walking the dog for instance, whereas in the past the phone would just ring and the meeting was “in progress” … and before the introduction of hand held’s we were literally “tied” to the phone. Video calls are a way of life and as we are talking mostly to animal lovers they are often more interested in seeing the pet we’re caring for than us and they are often a great icebreaker.

When it comes to WFH and sitting, cats are less demanding in terms of being away from the home and “unavailable” as @Vanessa-ForumCMgr has said but for me dogs help my life work balance too … they need my attention and literally make me leave my devices to get fresh air, exercise and a different perspective on my day.

I’m also selective in the dogs I care for and do many repeat sits with furry best friends whom I know very well. I would find it harder, time and commitment, to care for a puppy or a highly active dog needing long and frequent walks, or those living in an apartment with no outside space, unless my husband was sitting with me then all of the aforementioned is manageable.

We need be honest, know our limitations, the complexities of the work we do, the demands placed upon us and what time we have to dedicate to any sit arrangement.

The pets in our care and the quality of that care really does need to come first so that everyone enjoys and benefits from the experience.

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Most of my video calls while on a sit is to employees so it’s fine. I do a few video chats with business owners who have found it funny to suddenly see a cat paw, whiskers or tail in shot!

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Teaching English online while cat sitting regularly involves cats walking across the keyboard or across your lap. But the best one was Dandy who got up on the table for cuddles while exposing his rear end to the camera. Great source of hilarity!

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Great tip about the headphones reducing background noise. You’ve reminded me to look into dictation software so thank you!

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That would get everybody chuckling away without a doubt. Brilliant!!! :joy_cat:

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