Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pet Sitting in DFW

So I had a big misadventure this month. I went out of town for 3 weeks, though I was planning on going out of town for a whole month. I had to come back early because my car was totaled in a flash flood. I will try to abstain from boring you with the details of my insurance debacles, at least until I can make it about living in DFW and figure out how to write something funny about it.

My wife and I own two cats. Both were given to us in a rescue type situation, which was a dumb move on my part. For future reference when a friend calls you to give you a kitten, if you want the kitten take it to the pound, surrender it, let the pound do all of its shots, fix it, cure its massive flea infestation, and then adopt it. I promise that its a hell of a lot cheaper than taking a ghetto vagabond cat which is probably disease ridden into your house.

My apartment is not the best. I live in Irving, which is already a kind of toilet to Dallas and Fort Worth (though is the biggest employer in the area strangely enough). I am not supposed to have the cats anyways because we haven't paid our ridiculously high pet deposit. I believe its $300 per pet. I am torn between feelings of "fuck that" and just an earthy terror at my own bills as compared to my income. The toilet doesn't work, it overflows if you look at it with poop in your belly, the apartment maintenance always does the same thing, plunge. We have two plungers next to the toilet, you'd think maybe we'd tried that already. The neighborhood is sketchy, my wife has been sexually harassed by the neighbor, but it is our home. We spend most of our time here, its important that it be as comfortable as possible so that we can recharge and recover here.

So in preparation for our long trip out of town we had a dilemma. We have two cats, and couldn't take them with us. I live in Irving, all of my friends live in other suburbs and very few of them have any incentive to make the 60 mile round trip to go check on our cats. So I decided to do the bourgeois thing and hire a pet sitter. A real pet sitter, not a neighbor or a buddy, but people who charge anywhere from $20-$40 a visit.

In fact I hired DFW Petsitting, at a little over $22 per visit, two visits per week for 3 weeks.

At first we were real happy with the decision. We were having trouble figuring out what to do with the cats. We had called one other large pet sitting service but she refused to do it unless we had her come every other day. That would have cost us almost $300.

DFW Pet Sitting seemed like a great alternative. They were willing to do our twice a week visits, which we knew from experience that the cats could be comfortable for that long with our pet equipment.

The owners father came to see us. His name was Sergei. He is Russian and was very charming. He had a Russian accent and asked us about our vacation. We told him we were going to Lubbock, TX. and he asked "Why? Feesheeng, Hunteeng?"

I responded by telling him that we had a lot of old friends there and he said,"AAAAH! Drreeenkeeeng!"

I loved that story. I loved Sergei. I even took down my weird Soviet propaganda down from the wall so as not offend him.

We stressed very much that we were squeamish about leaving the cats and that we would want to hear regularly how we were doing. We even made sure that we had his personal contact info, beyond the contact info for DFW Pet Sitting.

Then fast forward three weeks. We go to Lubbock, car gets totaled we come back. We had called Sergei, though he never called us, to check on the cats. He said they were great and not to worry.

When we unlock the door the house looks trashed. We had left it clean. The cats look like hell. One cat's fur has changed color, the other cat who has long hair had gook of some kind crusting his hair together.

I step into the house. I am immediately swarmed by fleas. By blood sucking little fleas. Not one or two. Not 10 or 12. But like a hundred. In mere moments my ankles and legs look like I have had chicken pox for a week. My wife gets swarmed too, we see that the cats are afraid of the carpet, which is swarming with fucking fleas.

Now its been three weeks. We have fogged the house three times. Covered the house in Boric Acid. Covered the cats in Frontline Plus. And finally the fleas seem to have gone.

Did you know fleas can give cats tapeworms? They can. They did. My cats had little white worms crawling around their shit before it was all said and done.

My cost to DFW Pet Sitting taken directly from my account: $118.

Could Sergei have called and let us know that the cats, hell, the house had a serious flea problem? Yep, and we would have come back and taken care of it before it got worse.

Did we call Sergei to make sure everything was okay? Yep, and he fucking lied.

The cost of cleaning up after the negligence that DFW Pet Sitting caused by not informing us about a serious problem in addition to what they charged us was another couple of hundred bucks in medicine for the cats, and gear to kill the fleas.

My wife and I had to wear OFF! inside the house for weeks.

So if you have to travel out of town, my advice is don't hire DFW Pet Sitting.

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