Monday, 16 November 2020

Book Blitz and Extract: Trials and Tribulations Of A Pet Sitter by Laura Marchant

Trials and Tribulations of a Pet Sitter by Laura Marchant

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!

Amazon UK               Amazon US

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 their personalities in detail. (some of whom are pictured on the front page). This section is about Hendrix; brown Springer Spaniel as featured on the front cover.

Hendrix and Wasabi, my dynamic duo, the two of them are best buddies, they absolutely adore being in each other’s company. It is such a joy to watch them in their play, their happiness is incredibly infectious. On the dunes, they play chase, and hide and seek. But Hendrix's favourite trick is ambushing his mate. Running ahead of the pack he takes cover lying in wait until Wasabi catches up. Whilst Wasabi is looking for his buddy, Hendrix then strategically picks his moment and pounces on him. Hendrix has his combat manoeuvres off to a fine art and always manages to startle his buddy by catching him off guard.

Amongst all his positive attributes there is one slight negative, which happens when we come to the end of every single walk. Not wanting his fun to come to an end, Hendrix jumps up on top of a dune taking the higher ground, he refuses point blank to move off it and get into the car, all the while looking at me with his indomitable stare.

When I see that look in his eyes I know I am going to have a job getting him into the car. In the past, it was relatively easy to coax him down off his castle with the aid of treats. But being a smart little fellow he quickly learned that if he took the treat, I would truss him up. He wasn’t going to fall into that trap again. Instead he sits alone on his dune looking at me defiantly through his teddy bear glass eyes, refusing the treats. As the treats clearly weren’t working, I moved on to random sticks that were lying around. Again, the sticks worked for a while, but they too had a lifespan. It didn’t take long for him to realise the treats had been exchanged for sticks.

Once the sticks failed, I moved on to his beloved ball. Diligently dropping it near to me, in the hope that while he was trying to catch the ball, I could catch him. Again, this worked initially but not for long, in the end he had become immune to my entire repertoire of deceptions, more creativity on my part was required. I suppose his reluctance to get in the car is quite amusing, but when short of time or on a hot day with dogs slowly baking inside the car, the humorous side of the situation eludes me.

It was the end of one of our morning walks, Hendrix was being his usual stubborn self, sat on a dune and refusing point black to get into to the car. I doubt a fillet steak would have persuaded him. To make matters worse, he suddenly caught sight of a man with a ball launch who was at the far end of the car park and worryingly, close to a busy road. On a mission, he surged towards the irresistible sight in front of his eyes. Panicking at this point, the awful scenario of him running out into the road flashed through my head. I needed a new trick up my sleeve to stop him running towards the road, and it had to work. There was absolutely no point in drawing on any of my old tricks, they weren’t going to cut the mustard, an original fool proof plan was called for. Then suddenly and instinctively, without a second thought I flung myself onto the ground, and started flailing around, making mock painful yelling noises. I surprised myself.

Lying on the ground still yelling, I prayed Hendrix’s pack instinct would kick in and that his concern would outweigh his desire for the ball. From the corner of my eye, I could see that he had stopped dead in his tracks, he was standing stationary, clearly in two minds as to what he should do, ball or me? I kept still, motionless, it was imperative to keep up the charade, if he saw me move, he may think I was okay, then resume his quest to get to the ball. But he’s a clever little chap, would he be fooled by my ruse? Thankfully he was, his curiosity got the better of him. Still rigid and lying on the ground I could see that he was skulking back towards me, head bent and sniffing the ground. He approached me and gently started to sniff my face, with that I quickly sat up, grabbed him by the collar, and managed to leash him. Thank God my desperate trick worked. It was a great relief but also acutely embarrassing once I realised that my little drama had attracted the attention of a couple of onlookers, who were presumably wondering what the hell I was doing and asked me if I was okay. I refer to this as my 'last resort' stunt and prefer not to have to draw on it unless in dire straits, it’s my least favourite of all tricks.

Gradually, I learned that the best and least embarrassing way to catch Hendrix was to pretend we were going back on the beach for another walk. He likes this idea, so off we go on our faux walk. After a couple of minutes when his guard is down, I then have a chance to catch him and rein the little ragamuffin back in. Heading back to the car I feel relieved, but also slightly mean that I have tricked him, robbing him of further fun.’

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'.