#Extract from The Trials and Tribulations of a Pet Sitter by @lauramarchant16 @rararesources #nonfiction


Today I have an extract from The Trials and Tribulations of a Pet Sitter for the 1 day blog blitz organised by Rachel’s Random Resources. 

First of all, here’s what the book is about…

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!

Purchase Links ~ Amazon UK | Amazon US

Extract

Mike and I had decided to bring a Golden Retriever puppy into our lives, she was to be called ‘Brece’. We  welcomed her into our home however we were completely caught off guard by how destructive and frankly aggressive she could be. Mike had never owned a dog before, the experience knocked him sideways. Brece had little respect for me but absolutely none for Mike…

Mike continued to bear the brunt of her bad behaviour. He must have deeply regretted the day our new boarder shacked up with us. Not knowing what had hit him, he said it was like living with a wild animal. In fact, he wasn’t too far off the mark; after all, dogs and wolves are 98% genetically identical, hence the dog evolves from wild animals. It takes careful training to domesticate a dog, and depending on the breed, some are easier to train than others. I had to agree with him though, she was rather wild. I also began to think we had been misled by some of the literature we had found when researching the breed. Everything we read pointed to the conclusion that Retrievers are lovely placid dogs, that will do anything to please their owner. I’m not sure what thoughts went through her fluffy head half the time, but I’m sure pleasing us wasn’t one of them!

Continuing to ignore our commands and preferring to concentrate on developing her horticultural skills, she became a dab hand around the garden. In a relative short space of time she had dug most of the plants out of the flower beds, leaving only a few robust shrubs intact but lots of nice new deep craters. I was proud of the few flowers we had managed to salvage, in particular my crop of hardy Agapanthus. This spectacular flower starts life as a green pod protruding from the end of a long thin stem. The pod gets bigger and bigger, then eventually metamorphoses into a beautiful blue flower, like a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis. I always looked forward to the flowers coming into bloom; unfortunately, so did Brece. She was also attracted by the beautiful vivid blue colour and usually proceeded to kindly separate the heads from the stems for me. The flowers took about six weeks to bloom, then thirty seconds for her to guillotine them!

Her digging was beginning to get out of control. She was regularly found excavating the lawns to the back of the house. As if by magic, two large holes suddenly appeared overnight by the living room back door, one on each side. The more we tried to fill in the holes, the harder Brece worked to dig them out again, as if it was some sort of manic game. She dug so far down that eventually the footings of the house became exposed. Naturally, we didn’t know how long her digging phase was going to last, but we hoped it would abate before the house started to subside.

Although still a puppy Brece was already quite a size and a force to be reckoned with, both strong and untrained, not a good combination. Visitors were frequently subjected to her rambunctious behaviour. She continually jumped up at people, almost knocking them off their feet when offering her overly enthusiastic greetings. Personally I preferred to think of her behaviour as boisterous as opposed to bad. She loved to see people and was unable to contain herself, always giving them a heartfelt chaotic welcome.  

Mike’s sister, Chloe, came to see us on a regular basis. One visit in particular sticks in my mind. It was summer, Brece was outside working on some finishing touches to her external renovations. A new hole had now appeared directly outside the back door, effectively joining up the two holes on either side. Although it was summer, it was a wet one. The previous weeks had provided heavy rainfall and a moat had effectively formed at the perimeter of the house. Access to the garden now entailed jumping across the moat to avoid falling in it, a drawbridge would not have gone amiss. Although still in the garden the sound of Mike opening the front door alerted Brece to the fact that we had a guest. From my vantage point in the lounge I could see both Chloe at the front door and Brece tending to her duties in the garden. Chloe was always well groomed and well-dressed, even when coming around to ours in full knowledge that we had a mad crazy pup in our midst. On this particular occasion she was wearing a pretty green dress and matching green shoes. In contrast Brece was covered from head to paw to tail in mud, not so well-dressed. The second I saw the state of her I tried to stop her getting to Chloe but it was too late; our mad dog was on a mission to reach the object of her attentions.

With the force of a baby ox she immediately proceeded to bulldoze her way through the opened door, into the living room and across the modest hall to greet Chloe, front of house. After leaving a splattering of mud on the floors and furnishings, she jumped up at Chloe and wiped her filthy paws all over her pristine green dress, before head-butting her in the eye. As Chloe reeled from the impact both her arms instinctively shot out to steady herself. Swaying like an aquatic plant, she nearly went down but somehow managed to regain her balance. Her left eye immediately began to swell and water profusely, causing her mascara to smudge. That poor woman, she had arrived at our house looking immaculate and left resembling a dishevelled green Alice Cooper. Thankfully Chloe took it all in good nature, even laughing as she left.’

About the Author

Laura Marchant was born in 1959 in the seaside resort of Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, England. Both her parents were born in the same town, so not exactly a family of intrepid travellers! 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’.

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