What to look for in a pet sitter or dog walker

Birds, Cats, Dogs, Education, Small animals, Tips for Owners

Volunteering in CyprusI started my professional journey as Pet Sitter & Dog Walker in August 2011. It was suggested to me by somebody who had asked me to pet sit their two cats as they were going on a working holiday to India. They knew I already had experience working alongside animals since I was quite young. As I took up the baton I made sure I did everything possible to make sure their cats were as comfortable as possible. The client was fabulous showing me the ropes on making sure they had enough food, they left veterinary details and their cards out for me if anything should happen (which it never did). The lady showed me each individual room in her home and where the clean bedding was and even kindly let me use their computer, if I needed to do any work relating to my business.

After they returned from their holiday they were so pleased with how I had looked after their lovely felines and their home was safe that as a bonus, they had written a lovely recommendation for me and that started the ball rolling for me to starting up and continue moving with my business, Connect-2yourpet.

I often hear on the grapevine from clients various stories about their past Pet Sitters or Dog Walkers they have used and the different way they work. Each professional is individual and bring in different strengths, skills and insights to what they can bring to the client and their fur baby to make them feel as comfortable as possible. I always find it helpful if you and your professional Pet Sitter have that ‘click’ and you get on well together and treat each other with respect and courtesy.

When you are first looking for a professional and you have contacted them, explained your circumstances and needs and have included how many animals you have and have booked your consultation meeting at an agreed date and that day finally arrives, you’ve kindly pushed down that button on the kettle, whilst your lovely Dog Walker or Pet Sitter is in your lounge making friends with your fur baby and you ask yourself, ‘Help! ‘Now what?’

As a professional Pet Sitter and Dog Walker I make it easier for everybody by bringing along a folder with all my credentials, Insurance details, DBS form and typed references from all the past Dog Walking/Pet Sitting jobs I have done and some extra information about events and activities on what I took part in for fundraising for animals just for extra brownie points! Over the last 9 years I think I must have looked after up to 200 animals.

All of this information will show that I am committed to animal welfare and love to care about animals. For golden oldies like me who have been in the business for a long while, I have looked after a range of pets from your scruffy but cute rescue pooch to a bearded dragon who had a partial liking to blueberries! You can expect a wealth of experience; we have seen it all, dealt with all different types of scenarios including funny as well as the emergencies. We have been entrusted with different types of animal characters from your not so friendly Chihuahua to the cat who was so flirty you begin to wander why you didn’t fall in love with him sooner!

If you decide to take on board a Pet Sitter who has been in the business for only six months, I would say give them a chance. They need to build up their profile and long term clients. It will help grow their reputation, experience and confidence and also build up the animal’s trust and create a strong bond between them both that is vital for rescued pets. Further down the line if there are no problems, you can then help spread the word and help and support a local business in your community.

Okay, so where did we get to? Oh yes chatting over that cup of tea…you have discovered your professional Pet Sitter have run their business over an X amount of months or years.

Well here are a few handy questions. I am sure you might well think of others to add onto this list:-

  1. How long have they had a Pet Sitting/Dog Walking business for?
  2. Do they offer their services 365 days a year?
  3. Is your Pet Sitter/Dog Walker insured?
  4. Do they have animal qualifications and/or animal welfare experience?
  5. Have they acquired a First Aid certificate and is it in date?
  6. Have they joined a membership or affiliated with an association in their field?
  7. Do they have a website or on social media?
  8. Are you comfortable with your Pet Sitter staying in your home and sleeping in your boudoir? Or somewhere else?
  9. Will you provide food for them?
  10. How will a situation be handled if your pet passes away whilst you’re not there?

Once you meet your Pet Sitter/Dog Walker, the tables will be turned and they will be asking you some questions also. There will be some form filling to write out too and I try to restrict my forms to six only. It may sound a lot but they will need all the details about your animal you have entrusted them to look after. So whatever you have told them that is what they will be going on.

Make sure you cater for a good hour and a half for this. If it is easier they can always email you them for you to fill out so they are ready for them to look at. It cuts down on time so they can spend more time getting to know your pet.

So there you have it…that cuppa was nice wasn’t it? The Bourbons have disappeared off the plate and you can now be fully assured you have hired the right person to do the job by going through your checklist and rest assured that hiring the right professional gives you peace of mind and that you will feel more in control by asking for the right information.

Volunteering in Cyprus

By Jude Dickinson

I am an experienced professional Dog Walker and Pet Sitter and run my own business Connect-2yourpet which has been successfully running for 7 years.

I am a qualified Reiki Master and have been running my own healing clinic and Relax HAOK9 Canine Massage business. I decided to place these skills and love of animals to become an Animal Healer with the Healing Animals Organisation and currently visit European animal sanctuaries including Bologna, Italy, and Cyprus with the Healing Animals Organisation.

I am listed on Holistic Pet Directory, so check me out here and get in touch, I would love to work with you and your pets. I look forward to hearing from you.

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