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Pet Sitter Spotlight: Anthony Mucci, Daily Dog Walkers

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This is Day 2 of our 15-part Professional Pet Sitter Series.

On the surface, it may appear that our profession has us only forming strong bonds with the precious pets in our care.

While this is certainly a fact, many in our industry develop strong and meaningful friendships with the human client, too.

This is the case with today’s spotlight on Anthony Mucci, of Daily Dog Walkers and Pet Sitters in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Fair Warning: Have a box of tissues close by for this one.

The Personal Side of Pet Sitting

Anthony Mucci pet sitterWhen I started my pet sitting business back in 2008, it was all about the pets. I never gave much thought to the wonderful cast of characters that I would meet along my journey.

I have had the pleasure of meeting an author, a New York play and screen writer, a professional opera singer, an actress, professional athletes, doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs along with many fascinating people from around the world.

Many stand out in my mind but this story is about a particular English woman named Genevieve.

My pet sitting business was pretty new and I had recently acquired a client in an old part of town known as Sailboat Bend. The dog was Benjie and he was a wiry Jack Russell terrier. He was somewhat unstable and spent more time jumping rather than walking.

Upon returning from my walk with Benjie, I found a note on the windshield of my car. I could tell it was written by and elderly person. The note read

“Dear Sir if you have a moment would you kindly stop by my residence. There is a matter that I would like to discuss with you.”

It was signed ‘Genevieve’ and her address was written at the bottom.

My first thought was “some old bird is going to yell at me because Benjie pooped on her lawn.” I hesitated for a moment and then walked down to her house.

She lived in a quaint light blue cottage with gingerbread trim around the front peak. I unlatched the gate and knocked on the front door.

After what seemed like an eternity the door opened about 2 inches. “Oh you came. I wasn’t sure you would” she said to me in a surprised tone.

She opened the door the rest of the way and introduced herself as Genevieve. She invited me in and offered me a seat. She was dressed as if she were going out for the day. Later I found out that this was her normal daily attire.

I glanced around and it felt like I had stepped back in time. The cottage was furnished in a Victorian motif. Everything was old but in impeccable condition. It was June and the cottage was very hot. There was an oscillating fan on a table and every now and then I would catch a bit of the breeze.

Genevieve started to speak and for the first time I noticed that she had a British accent.

She cleared her throat “I have been watching you walking that scoundrel of a dog from down the way and I wanted to inquire if you are for hire?”

“Yes, of course” I replied “do you have a dog?”

Genevieve smiled warmly “yes, his name is Harry. I named him after Prince Harry. I will fetch him but beware he can be a bit of a bugger around gents.”

She excused herself and came back carrying the cutest little Westie. Harry was adorable and warmed up to me immediately.

Genevieve went on to tell me that her legs could no longer take her past the house next door and that Harry needed a proper walk. Since she was on a “widow’s pension” her finances only allowed for 2 days per week. She thought Tuesday and Friday morning would be best.

Weeks turned into years and our friendship grew.

Genevieve insisted that I call her Jenny. That is what the people she fancied called her. She called me Antony (no h).

Jenny shared stories of her husband, how they met, their life together and his slow painful death from “that bugging cancer.” They had one daughter who sadly passed on as well.

Jenny didn’t have a computer or television; she could not afford cable and never turned on the air conditioner. Her connection to the outside world was a little radio that sat on the end table next to the oscillating fan.

She would often ask “Antony what is going on in the world that would be of interest to me?”

I looked forward to Tuesday’s and Friday’s just as much as Jenny & Harry. She wanted Harry walked in the morning before it got too hot. I would usually stay and extra 10 or 15 minutes to visit with Jenny.

Every Christmas Jenny would give me a card with a crisp $5.00 bill inside and a note thanking me for caring for Harry.

Sadly this past summer Harry’s heath surpassed Jenny’s and it was time for him to cross over the rainbow bridge. Jenny asked if I would accompany her to the veterinarian’s office.

We drove in silence. Jenny held Harry on her lap gently petting his head.

We went into the room together. Jenny placed Harry’s little stuffed teddy bear between his front legs. She stayed for the first sedation shot but she did not have it in her to stay until the end. She didn’t want death to be her last memory of her precious boy.

I stayed with Harry until the end. He passed peacefully.

Jenny phoned me in early December and invited me over for high tea. When I arrived Jenny suggested we sit in the parlor. She had pulled out her best china tea cups and had a plate of biscuits on the coffee table. We drank tea and reminisced about Harry.

As I was leaving Jenny handed me a card. I didn’t open it until I got home. Enclosed were a crisp $5.00 bill and a heartfelt note thanking me for taking care of Harry.

She went on to thank me for being a kind soul and befriending an old lady.

Truth be told, the pleasure was all mine.

Over To You

Read More: Click 15 Professional Pet Sitters and Their Stories for all the featured pet professionals in our series.

I was in tears the first time I read this story, and am still choked up reading it again.

What I love most about Anthony’s story is how it shows we are not merely a hired hand to pour food in a bowl and let the dog out.

The impact of hiring a professional reaches much farther.

Imagine how Genevieve’s days would have been different had she just had a friend or relative pop over to walk Harry.

The professional pet sitter is an extraordinary person, full of complete love and care for all creatures.

Tell us, which human client has had a profound impact on you, your life, or your business? Who do you have a strong connection with? Was the friendship a complete surprise? What have you learned and taken from this relationship in your world?

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. . .

Josh Cary is a respected and well sought-after speaker and business consultant within the professional pet care industry. Since 2009, having grown his own pet sitting business, Josh provides his industry with the tools, support, and resources to build and maintain a thriving and respected pet business.

With a strong focus on digital marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and website development, Josh’s one mission is to help you Get Found First through a professional and effective website.

This Post Has 26 Comments

  1. Wow, anthony!!! What a truly heartwarming story. I enjoyed reading it and I could picture the whole seen in my head. Thank you for being such a kind person and helping not only the dog but the little old lady…truly heartwarming….

    1. Thank you Maureen. Funny Jenny did not seem old to me. I come from a rather “old” family. Jenny is 6 years younger than my Mother who will be 96 this year. Her sister just passed away last week at the age of 99.
      My Dad passed 7 years ago at the age of 90, He was the youngest of 7. I am also the youngest of 7. My oldest brother is 19 years older than me.

    2. Anthony’s story here puts into perspective one big universal truth about the business we are in… While we all do this because we love animals, I’m not sure any pet business could thrive long term when I hear things like “I dislike people so I became a pet sitter.”

      I always think “Well, until the pets can write their own checks, I think you’ll have to learn to like people a bit!” 🙂

  2. Oh my gosh, Anthony! Your story makes me like our profession even more!! Thank you for sharing your experience. It makes complete sense that relationships are created with pet parents – it goes to show our furry friends are a part of their family!

    1. This is a wonderful profession Tomika. I would imagine LA is very similar to where I live with respect to having thousands of people moving in and out every day. I have become a resource for many clients who have moved here and do not have any family or friends nearby.

      I recommend veterinarians, dog parks, pet friendly places to visit. Being the only other person with a key to their home I am put on the security system call list. I have been on the baby is due list. Most times I am called before their travel plans are made and even after the pets have passed I am still called to watch their home while they are away.

  3. Wow Antony! What a great story!! It sounds like it should be a made-for-TV-movie on the Hallmark Channel. Very well written and I was captivated till the very end. Thank you for sharing Jenny & Harry’s story so beautifully.

    1. I, too, “saw” the story unfold in a scene as I was reading it. Now, the big question… What actor do we get to play Anthony??!

  4. Oh my goodness Anthony!! I, too had tears…God bless you for befriending Genevieve! What an inspiration you are!

  5. Relationships are at the core of professional pet care. Anthony understands pets & their people & I believe it’s just one of many things that sets him apart. When you come from a place of true “service” you are bound to be successful……and besides that, you’re a fellow Buckeye! haha. We stick together.

    1. Yes Cynthia we are fellow Buckeye’s. We seem to be everywhere. Thank you for the kind words. I have been in the service arena my entire life. We were taught as children to help when we can.
      My mother loves to tell a story of when she any my dad first married 70 some years ago. The railroad tracks ran behind their house. The hobo’s as my mother called them, would jump off the train and my mother would feed them and let them wait in the yard until the next train arrived. She would always laugh and say “your father would get so mad at me.”

    1. Thank you Laura. I have had the good fortune of meeting many inspirational people throughout my life. I truly believe that people come into your life for a reason. You just need to pay attention.

  6. Amazing! I always say, Karma! What goes around comes around. Anthony, you were the highlight of Jenny’s day. I love stories like these. We can learn so much if we just stop and listen. Bravo Antony (without the h)!

  7. Touching post, Anthony! (Yes, with the H! :D) As I’ve always told folks, pet care is more than just
    playing with pets and watching them. It encompasses so many things—even caring for and companionship with fellow humans. It’s something that many people wouldn’t imagine. It reminds me of a radio show years ago where the host talked about seniors calling the numbers of home shopping channels late at night. They didn’t want to order anything. All they wanted was someone to talk to. And you were there for Jenny when she needed you. Blessings to you! 🙂

    1. Blessings to you as well Nancee. This profession certainly does encompass many things. It certainly helps to be a well rounded individual should you choose to start a pet sitting business.

  8. Nicely written, heartfelt story. This is why we at xcDogs help folks find pet sitters. We pet sitters can impact people’s worlds in a big way! Thank you for sharing this great story.

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