My parents gave me a plane ticket this year to go to Washington D.C. to see them during the holidays. However, they forgot I have two dogs. I had just recently moved to Kansas, where I am now, and so I have very few friends or know of anyone to come watch my dogs while I’m away. So I put my ad on Craigslist.com, and what a surprise this was.
At first, I had went searching for kennels and pet sitters online and found out that the prices were horrendous and impossible for me to pay. So I decided since I spend so much time on craigslist that I would put an ad out in the pet section to see if I could get someone to watch my dogs. I knew this might be a little risky but I was desperate and had met some decent people this why while fostering dogs.
After my initial ad was placed I received 26 replies. I skimmed through them trying to decide which would be best. There were teenagers trying to make extra money, and grandparents doing the same. I was waffling on the whole idea due to wanting to make sure my dogs were safe as well as my place. I received an email from a guy who supposedly worked in our criminal system, and another from a lady who fostered dogs and was breaking into the pet sitting business. I sent emails to both because they sounded safe. I asked both if they would mind meeting in a public place and different times. This way I was safe and could cut the meeting short if need be.
I met with the gentleman first and made sure I was at the meeting place early to watch him come in the door. This guy shows up, won’t look me in the eyes and kept asking me if my dogs were known for biting and that he didn’t care about me paying him just that the dogs didn’t bite. That first worried me because although I like to believe people are kind at heart, I am still a cynic. We had a very short meeting he never asked what kind of dogs I had or their personalities which again tipped me off to something being a little wrong. Then after completely avoiding my gaze through the conversation he just stood there. Eventually he asked if we were going to leave, I told him no that we were going to stay and show around for awhile. He nodded and slowly made his way to the door. He stood there staring at the racks by the door for 5 minutes at least and finally left. After he stepped out I called an acquaintance I had from work and had him show up and than walk me out.
My suspicion ended up being well founded once we walked out of the store and I got to my car the guy who I had met with half an hour before was standing in the freezing cold weather in an unlit nook by the store. I got into my car and left and nothing else happened. The next person I met with was a wonderful woman who had many dogs she fostered and even had a website I found for pet sitting. It just goes to show you on a website such as craigslist or online chat sites there are normal people, and others that are not well balanced. Also reminds everyone please be careful and safe when meeting someone from online you have never met before. Here is a checklist of things you need to do.
Meet in a public place, a store, coffee shop, or even a mall.
Get there early so that you cannot be caught walking into the store.
Do not leave with them.
Do not leave the store by yourself, have a guard or man inside help you out to your car.
Bring someone if possible.
If you cannot bring a person, make sure to have a call buddy, or someone that knows you will be calling at a specific time and has directions to call the police if you do not check in.
Research the person if possible.
Bring mace, pepper spray, or a pocket knife.
Remember they may sound wonderful just fine by phone or email that doesn’t mean they are.
Lastly always remember your elbow is the hardest part on your body use it to hurt that person if they try to hurt you.