Meet the Critter Sitter | Georgian times

Blood is not the only characteristic of the family, not even of the species.

Linda Bradley, 52, also known as Critter Sitter, has been in contact with so many different species of animals over a long period of time, making her feel like they are all her relatives.

Bradley is a mobile animal care provider and ranch worker, not to be confused with a pet or house sitter, though his services include those options.

“However, I offer so much more than that when needed and needed,” Bradley said.

Originally born in Stillwater, Minnesota, Bradley moved around a lot during her childhood since her father was in the US Navy. She moved to Carrollton in October 2021 from Alpine, Calif., a “sweet, little country town” in San Diego County‘s Cuyamaca Mountains.

Bradley’s paternal grandparents gave her and her sister their first horse to share. They also gave his older brother his first goat and each of them had their own rabbit.

She and her siblings were dedicated members of 4-H groups that “became their escape and serenity away from home life.”

His brother raised goats and raised them occasionally as part of 4-H projects.

They were often in the barn, provided by her father, tending to their new pets.

“My dad made sure we had this in our lives from the moment we got the animals. As children, we were responsible for all of their care from day one. To feed them, take care of them and clean up, Bradley said.

While in California, Bradley worked and lived at an animal sanctuary as the main volunteer on-site animal care provider.

“That basically means I cared for over 300 resident animals day and night, 12-15 hours a day, seven days a week for the majority of the time I was there,” Bradley explained.

Her position was unpaid, but instead she received free accommodation for herself and her son, who was eight at the time, in exchange for the work and care she provided for the animals.

“I loved every minute,” Bradley said.

When she applied for the job at the animal shelter, she “wasn’t in a good position mentally.”

“I was completely shattered when I moved to the ranch,” Bradley said. “I soon realized that every animal that came to the ranch was also broken. They were all from San Diego County and were abused, neglected, or abandoned, just like me. I honestly think they knew and could feel that from my part.

Being able to relate to the animals she cared for in this way made it easier for them to adapt to working with each other.

“I can’t think of a [animal] all the while it didn’t end up trusting me after working with them for a short while,” Bradley said. “I strongly believe in giving them their time and space, and when they’re ready, they’ll let me know. I just watch and listen to their clues. I never “pushed” myself on it. I guess you could say the animals loved my broken pieces back together.

Bradley’s son, now 18, is preparing to graduate from high school and join the US Marines soon after. The two decided to move to Carrollton to start his business.

Bradley has family friends who moved to the area a few years ago who suggested it would be a nice place to try out his business.

“California is incredibly expensive, especially for a single mom,” Bradley said. “So we both decided to give it a try and see how it goes, so I can settle here before he leaves so he doesn’t worry about me and wonder if I’m okay. So far we are both really enjoying the area and my clients and their critters have been wonderful to me and I’m really happy with our decision.”

Even though Bradley resides in Carrollton, she also serves all of Carroll County and a few communities outside of the county when needed.

“It all depends on the jobs I’ve booked and where they are,” Bradley said.

Bradley’s routine changes daily when she is working, as it depends on the animal she is caring for that day. But she says she is “always busy” and “never bored”.

“I feed, water, clean water troughs, manure stalls, clean pens and corrals, groom, exercise, administer medications, first aid, minor vet recommended procedures, and most importantly, their gives love, time, attention and playtime,” Bradley said. . “If a water pipe breaks or freezes, I fix it. Anything can happen when you work with animals so I’m always prepared and I’m a problem solver so it works out well for me. If there’s something that needs to be done, cleaned up or fixed, I do it.”

She learned most of the skills she picked up working in the animal sanctuary, combined with owning pets since she was six years old. While at the animal shelter, she worked with the local vet and farrier to find out more.

“I never missed a day at the vet or the farrier during my entire time there,” Bradley said. “I looked forward to them because I love to learn, and both of them were very willing to teach me. I gained so much knowledge and I’m very grateful to them and their willingness and patience to teach me. I certainly wasn’t born knowing everything and I certainly won’t die knowing everything either, so my mind remains open to learning and knowing.

Bradley works with a wide range of animals in different categories like domestic, ranch, farm, farmed, exotic and even some wild animals.

She takes care of horses, pigs, goats, llamas, alpacas, camels, upland cattle, chickens, guinea fowl, rabbits, roosters, ducks, turkeys, dogs, cats, sheep, burros, donkeys, exotic birds and a herd of 32 wild mustangs plus a baby.

“I have to say the wild mustangs were my favorite,” Bradley said. “When I started, there were only five. By the time I left there were 32 people and a baby, all from the same case, so they were all related to each other. I can’t say much about the details except that they came from a case of hoarding on an Indian reservation. They were kept in his yard but had never been touched or had any human contact except when fed, which was by no means regular. They were all severely malnourished when they arrived at the sanctuary.

Bradley said the animals “taught him a lot.” She doesn’t offer classes because of the responsibility that comes with it, but would “love to share her experience with people” if she could.

“They make me smile and laugh all day, every day,” Bradley said. “That’s the honest truth of it all and that’s why I do what I do. They all bring joy and love into my life. They do so much more for me than I could ever do for them.