It Takes a Village

Correna and CeeCee Marie

Some of you have emailed me to ask what we do with the Fearsome Four when we go out of town?

Well, since we have rescues that have various fears, we don’t like putting them in a stressful kennel situation.

We have a great pet nanny and house sitter who comes to Our Little House for the duration of our trip.

Correna has become a very trusted and valuable member of Our Little House community.

I hired her as a research and writing intern in 2008, the summer she graduated from our local high school. I was a little afraid at first, as The Fearsome Four can be a little overwhelming, but I needn’t have worried, Correna loves animals and she took to the dogs right away.

As we got to know each other better, Correna told me she had pets all of her life and like our Fearsome Four, all of hers were rescues.

“We joke about our home being an animal refuge, because the sick, the lost, the abandoned, and the forgotten always seem to find their way to our house,” Correna said.

Correna has saved kittens, puppies and even a parrot. She has numerous pets right now, but sent me photos of two of her beloved pets.


Skeeter is a German Shepherd mix. Her family heard him being thrown from a moving car when he was a puppy. Correna said he yelped when he hit the ground. They put food next to a trailer where the puppy hid for a few days, but it wasn’t long before the dog became hers. “It used to be a battle of wills to get him to come inside at night, but now, as an old man, he spends most of his time sprawled out on his giant pillow next to the window,” Correna says.

CeeCee Marie, the dog pictured with Correna, joined their household in 2005. She was found huddled under their car in their driveway.

When we first moved to Our Little House, my aunt’s friend started up a pet nanny and house sitting service. We used her a few times, but she became too busy.

“How about Correna?” I asked Dale one weekend I needed to be out of town for work. I wouldn’t have let just any teenager watch the Fearsome Four, but Correna had proved herself trustworthy in my business and I knew she loved animals.

We haven’t used the professional pet nanny since.

It truly takes a village – not to raise kids in this case – but to keep Our Little House running and everydog happy.

Do you have someone who is a trusted person to help you take care of your home, pets or kids?

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12 Responses

  1. MarthaandMe says:

    We have a reciprocal arrangement with my parents. When they are out of town, their dogs come here and when we leave, our dogs go there. My parents are gone a lot though, so this means we often have a pack of 4 dogs here – all goldens.

  2. olivia says:

    I used to work for a strawberry farmer and his wife. After the last of their beloved Irish setters died, the wife took up pet sitting. She adored anmals and they lived on the most beautiful farm. Some of the pets that she looked after never wanted to leave because they had such a great time! They were always excited to come back.

    A few years ago I fell and broke my arm while visiting my son one evening. My husband and younger kids were away and I had to stay in hospital for a few days for surgery so my son and his gf came out to the house and picked up “Oliver Beagle”, our beagle, who stayed with them for a few days and ran a total racket the whole time he was there!! He ate like a king, was walked every time he opened his eyes, was petted and adored and so on. He wasn’t particularly happy to come back home to “Mom” who adored him but did NOT spoil him.

    • Too funny on the spoiling, Olivia! I’ve thought about pet sitting, but really don’t want to leave my own! 🙂

    • Kim says:

      My sister’s going through a “life transition” period and living with my folks here in town. She’s more than happy to care for our dog when we must leave– usually the dog comes to her house, since she has a dog of her own to care for. Works great for us! About once a year, we have to use a kennel– I never feel good about it; we call it “doggy jail” even though the vet’s office is full of wonderful employees who love on the dogs.

      • Kim, If I had to use a kennel, it would be the vet’s office, if possible. We’ve used those fancy pet motels in the past, but I really wasn’t pleased with that either. Now, if we can’t get our nanny, we just don’t go. 🙂 I’ve even missed a beloved family member’s funeral because the other professional pet nanny was booked and we hadn’t met Correna yet.

    • Phillis Godwin says:

      Awesome story!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. V Schoenwald says:

    I have pet/house sitted for many years. I worked for several vets in town with very critical condition pets that needed 24/7 care, and having rescues, it just fell into place that I have been asked to sit for people. I usually am very fussy about sitting for people, who they are and if they have been referred by the vets or my house sitting clients. Where I live, people are not good at paying, especially the very well to do…
    I up hold a trust and responsibility with my people since they leave the house and pets in my hands, and have had a few moments with bad weather,(tornado damage, wind, hail, and some plumbing problems, but I have managed to save things, and came through with flying colors, but it has been a challange. Home/pet sitting is based on trust and total responsibility on your part and with the ones who live everything in your trust. Pick well your sitter.

  4. Alexandra, I found Correna by calling the local high school and speaking with the English teacher. At the time, I was looking for a research/writing assistant. We did hit the jackpot! My business fell off, so I’m glad we’ve still been able to hire her for pet/housesitting every once in awhile. Anyway, maybe you have a high school or community college there you could call if you’re looking for someone to help out with the B&B every once in awhile.

  5. Alexandra says:

    Glad you have Correna. We have no one like that. My parents used to have someone who lived in our cottage for free and would help out if ever needed or even if not needed. They became very attached to this person, as if she were a daughter when I lived in France, so many miles away.