Choosing a Pet Sitter

choosing-a-pet-sitterBy Ellen Elko 
Article Reprinted by permission from the editor
World of Westchase Pet Pages Feb 2004
(chris to add pictures)

With hectic schedules and full-time jobs, more pet owners are relying on pet-sitters to help with the everyday needs of their cats and dogs. Pet-sitting is one of the fastest growing businesses in our country and new pet-sitters seem to be popping up monthly around Westchase. Whether you are considering a pet-sitter to help with your pet on a daily basis or during a business trip or vacation, there are several quality standards you should look for when deciding on a sitter.

As with anyone providing services in your home, a qualified pet-sitter should be bonded and insured and have documentation stating these requirements. The sitter should also provide written literature describing their services as well as their fees. These services and fees should be provided in a clearly written service contract that is individualized to each client.

Another sign of a good sitter is his or her desire to learn as much about your pet (s) as possible before the first assignment. A home visit should be scheduled for the sitter to meet the pets and receive any specific instructions from the owner. Also, the locations of such items as leashes, food, snacks and needed medications should be clearly defined. Your vet’s phone number should also be kept on hand and the owner should understand who the pet-sitter would use for any emergency vet visit should the need arise.

When asked what to look for when hiring a pet-sitter, Miriam Lindley, owner of a local pet sitting company, said: “Look for a sitter who loves your pets as much as you do.” Along with the basic qualifications, Miriam’s recommendation is all too important. The initial meeting with the pet-sitter should help you get a good feel as to whether this is someone whom you want to take care of your pets. It is also a good idea to ask for references and check those given.

With three pets of my own, I rely on Miriam to visit my home during the work week to help with my pets. The sitter’s daily visit gives me peace of mind knowing that my animals are comfortable throughout the long work day. It also gives the animals the comfort of knowing they will have the scheduled opportunity to relieve themselves and receive their little treat for being good dogs. Animals love routine and a pet-sitter helps provide the necessary structure a well-behaved pet needs.
Due to my own hectic schedule, I forgot to let Miriam know that I would be working from home on a day I had previously asked Miriam to stop by. Miriam arrived and didn't even know I was in the house. As soon as the dogs heard her voice, they ran with tails wagging to the door to greet her. That was the best reference a pet sitter could have received and the only one I needed!

Ellen is owned by 2 Greyhounds