In this post we want to focus on the relationship au pair/animals. But what animals are we talking about? Well both pets and wild animals! Let’s analyze them together.
AU PAIR AND PETS
Let’s start by underlining that taking care of pets is not an au pair responsibility.
They can’t force you to walk the dog, clean after it, or stay home with it. If they ask you, unless you are agree with it, they should pay you extra money. Taking care of a pet is a big responsibility and often families have any sort of animal: cats, dogs, fishes, guinea pigs, etc.. So before finalizing any match, make sure you know what responsibilities you have towards the pet in order to have zero surprises once there.
To many au pairs that didn’t ask happened to arrive in the family, and maybe during winter, even while it was snowing, they had to go walk the dog. However that wasn’t just an exception, it was the routine! So we can’t complain.AU PAIR AND WILD ANIMALS
United States are very wide and there are lots of different animals species than in your home country. If we have phobias (spiders, snakes, scorpions, etc) before matching, is better to ask if and what kind of wild animals exist where your host family lives, but mostly if you are going to deal with them.
Usually the most dangerous/terrifying animals are in central states like Texas or Arizona and even if these areas have a low population density, there are families searching for au pairs. Spending a year dealing with your phobias is very bad and stressful, so is better to ask some more questions other than end with a bad rematch. To make you understand better, here a conversation with a girl that had that problem.
“I live in an area with a lot of poisonous spiders, tarantulas, scorpions and snakes. I’m terrified of everything those things!!
My hostmum told me that whenever I find them around our house, I have to kill them (with spray, a shoe or whatever I find). The only time she would come home from work to help me would be If I find a rattlesnake-otherwise I have to deal with them by myself. I haven’t found anything yet, but living close to the Sonoran desert the chance to is high that it’s going to change soon.
Of course it’s my priority to keep the kids safe, but I just don’t feel like I’m mentally ready to smash a freaking wolf spider with my shoe!
So, can she force me to do that? Is she allowed to send me to rematch because of that?”
“oh god I feel your pain. Had to deal with a snake my first month when I got there.
Well…if she doesn’t “force” you, what else would you do? I mean if something like that is getting somehow into the house, wouldn’t you be more relieved to kill it instead of “living in fear”?
I don’t think she would send anyone into rematch because of something like that.”
“That’s what I mean, I’m afraid that she feels like I can’t keep the kids safe. I would just prefer to get the kids out of the house until she comes home, and let her kill it. But she said it would be to hard to find whatever got in the house later. Of course I would be relieved If it’s dead, but I get goosebumps when I see tarantulas on TV, I don’t think I could even be able to get close enough to them!”
“Maybe get a spray, so you don’t have to get too close?”
“I don’t think she’ ll send you to rematch if you don’t kill the beast. For me I’ d say I’ll better kill now so it won’t get into my bed later and I think I ‘d get used to it after a few spider smashes.”
“If you have venomous animals around the house, like rattlesnakes you better stay the hell away! I don’t know where you come from, but no matter what snake you find around your house, that snake is gonna be a lot faster then you. DO NOT try to kill venomous animals on your own! Don’t walk up to any animals that could bite you . Call 911. There are parts of the country that have Venom Patrol that will come out and help you if you need them. As someone who have a lot of experience and knowledge of snakes (long story) I’m telling you, stay away. A rattle snake have enough venom in it’s body to kill a grown human with no trouble at all and it will bite you if you threaten it. Not to mention that they have heat vision, and will see you long before you see it. Do yourself a favor and tell your hostmom that you don’t want to touch the animals at all, no matter what kind they are and stay safe.
I mean kill the spiders and the scorpions in the house if you can do it in a safe way for yourself, but stay away from all the snakes. Venomous or not”
“Did you know you had to do this before you matched with this family? Do you have any neighbors living nearby who you can call or give you advise?”
“My hostmum told me not to deal with the snakes, but that would be the only reason for her to come home. Unfortunatly I don’t know any of the people living around the house. The next AuPair lives 20 min away and is as scared as I am. I live in Arizona, close to Mexico”
“Well, find like a broom or something and keep handy in the house, so that you can kill spiders and stuff on a distance and doesn’t risk actually touching the animals.”
“My suggestion would be to take a glass or a can and put it over the spider or whatever, that’s a good way to trap it until somebody comes home that will take it outside or kill it. I found a small snake once in my family room, it must have come in from the garage. My son took it outside. We are in the semi-desert here in Denver. Yes, the hot parts of the USA do have a lot of bugs, mosquitos and other critters.”
“Oh well I don’t know how they are big, but here, in Italy I sometimes use a vacuum cleaner so it captures the spiders and I stay far from them. And after it is not my business to clean the vacuum cleaner when it is full!”
“You can browse youtube and find pretty good examples of how to deal with scorpions, spiders and other things safely. As already mentioned, do not try to deal with snakes on your own, call for help.”
Remember to ask all possible questions before matching. Here you can read our useful questions to ask the family and in case you can suggest some more in the comments.
Susa & Mapu