Q. What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A. My advice would be to please allow enough time for a detailed consultation. This way a customer can get a good sense of the pet sitter, see how they interact with the pet, and go over all instructions carefully. It puts everyone's mind at ease.
If possible (I know it's not always!) try not to wait until the day before you leave town to meet the sitter. So far it hasn't happened, but I always wonder what the customer would have done if they didn't want to choose me!
Q. Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?
A. I have high standards for how I care for animals--I take my time at each visit to ensure all pets have their needs met to keep them happy and healthy. I double check everything including home care instructions. I also make sure to give pets lots of loving personal attention. Pet owners will receive updates about their pets' activities and well-being as frequently as they instruct at the consultation.
Pet health and safety are the most important aspects of caring for someone else's best friend. Sure, I give them cuddles and talk to them, but the main objective is to keep them safe and be there for them in case of emergency. I review my Red Cross training frequently, carry a first aid kit, and have good common sense.
Q. What do you like most about your job?
A. Funny you should ask! I just recently made a top 25 list for fun of reasons I love pet sitting more than any other career. Here are a few:
1. When I talk about work, itís not complaining. I go on and on in the same manner, but nothing is negative. Iím surprised I have the need to talk about my day extensively when itís all about the great time I had.
2. I spend time with animals! I open the door and someone is excited about going out for a walk and I feel the same way. Letís go! That is the best feeling one can have at work, in my experience.
3. Sometimes I make a good human friend. Who knew? We can talk about all kinds of subjects that arenít pets.
4. I helpósometimes more than I plan. Iím human in charge and the pets come first. Thatís why we are here, with our thumbs and big brains.
5. Sometimes I get to be out in nature, like in Elysian park. Dogs are the best company on a hike.
6. I am 100% sure this line of work is ethical. If there are grey areas in pet sitting, I haven't found them.
Q. What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A. "What do you do?" is what customers ask when they call me. The most common visit is 30 minutes ($15). For a cat or small pet, that is feeding, watering, cleaning dishes and removing waste, brushing, playing, special instructions for the pet, and home services (plants, trash, mail, etc.)
For a dog, I offer 30, 45 or 60 minute walks. That time is spent only for walking or other exercising. Time at the home feeding and caring for the pets is included in the price of the walk.
30 minute walk: $15
45 minute walk: $20
60 minute walk or hourly sitting: $25
I also offer overnight stays ($60). This is 12 hours and includes AM and PM walking.
Q. Do you have a favorite story from your work?
A. Yes! About 2 years ago I was staying overnight with three little dogs. One was Jack, a rescue chihuahua with emotional problems who I'd been warned not to let near my face under any circumstances. As soon as I closed my eyes to sleep on the couch, Jack jumped up on my chest to stare at me for what felt like 10 minutes. I just tried not to breathe or look in his eyes. Finally, he circled around to settle in for the night on my feet. We were fine after that.