Thursday, June 15, 2017

What to Look for in a Pet-Sitter

I just had a lovely vacation--without my dogs. I love vacations with my dogs, too, of course, but once in a while it really is good to take a break, and I took a two-week trip, which I haven't done in years. I was able to do that only because I have the most trustworthy, capable pet-sitter on the planet. It's no fun to go away and worry--but I never worry when their gal is on the job. They literally love her as much as they love me.

What do you need in a pet-sitter? You need someone you can trust to be practical and use her head in every situation. My brain goes to worst-case scenarios like earthquakes: I know that Dawn would get everyone out safely with food and water and be in touch with me as soon as possible. Tommy had a health thing going on just before I left (because they are always healthy till you're going out of town!), and though he seemed fine, he had a little relapse, and she was watching him carefully and knew to reach out to me and see if he should go to the vet--and she took him (which is no fun with him).

Your pets would love life to be as usual as possible: meals at normal times, walks as scheduled, dog beds in the regular spots, no wild parties happening while their parents are away. If they could tell you, they would ask for someone to live at your place and be a substitute mama. What can also work really well is the dog going to the sitter's place so he's still in a home situation. I could never board my dogs; it would be too big a change for them and no way would I not worry--about dog fights and canine flu and lack of attention and the foreign environment.

Pet-sitters should take a Pet First-Aid/CPR course. They should have lots of actual experience with animals! These days, there is an app for everything, but I wouldn't want someone I've never even met to walk my dogs! I've met "sitters" who let a three-pound puppy bounce around the car--and out--with no harness or collar and who don't know when and what the dog is eating! Your job, in addition, is to leave comprehensive instructions and emergency numbers to keep things as usual and safe as possible. Just knowing you say, "Wait," before going out the door with the dog can keep a dog from running away when the sitter is there!

They love you unconditionally, and they're your kids: give them the best. Do I have staff people for pet-sitting and dog walking? You bet! :-) But we book early....

Have a great trip!

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