Professional pet sitting is still a relatively new concept in New Zealand, judging by the number of 'so how exactly does it work?' questions I frequently field from new potential clients. So, to help clear up some of the confusion (and bearing in mind it could vary slightly from business to business) here's some of what we do and also some of what we don't do!
We DO work to a schedule of visits and walks agreed upon with you at time of booking. For cats, this may be just one visit each day (or more if you prefer). For dogs, we require a minimum of three times per day and this can include a combination of visits and walks. We love that we can help you customise a tailored schedule of care that works perfectly for your pets.
We DON'T live in your house while you're gone. This is where we differ from the kind of 'house sitters' you may have had previously - somebody who comes and stays in your house for free in exchange for a holiday.
We DO all our pet sitting in your home. It's a great alternative to boarding kennels or catteries for animals (or owners!) who may be more anxious, or simply for the convenience of not having to drive them to a boarding facility out of town before you leave for your holiday.
We DON'T offer boarding services, or care for your animals in our own homes.
We DO other simple things while we're at your place, such as bringing in the mail, wheeling your bins out to the street, opening and closing curtains to give your home a lived-in feel and water your indoor pot plants.
We DON'T mow, weed or water your lawns, greenhouses, veggie patches, or do your laundry, ironing, or house cleaning. Believe it or not, we have been expected to do the above on more than one occasion... We are there primarily for the care of your pets, but we can recommend local cleaning or property maintenance services.
We DO communicate with you regularly. We use an online booking system that not only allows us to send you pictures and comments at each visit, but also sends you time-stamped reports to show you exactly when we arrived at and left your place.
We DON'T leave you in the dark, wondering if your pet sitter actually showed up when they were supposed to. We know that's the last thing you want to be worrying about when you're on holiday.
We DO use our common-sense and experience to spot things that appear to be out of the ordinary and work with you to get it sorted out (walking in to a sick or injured pet, an unlocked door that wasn't before, a gas leak, a strange car parked on the driveway, even a total stranger in your spare bedroom that you didn't give permission to be there... yep, these are all things we've dealt with before!)
We DON'T just stick food in the bowl and leave. Nor do we just play with cute puppies all day, contrary to popular belief.
We DO walk in all weathers! If it's pouring with rain and you've booked a walk for your dog, we know they're waiting for us to take them. So we put a jacket on and out we go. Sure, it's nice to spend a sunny afternoon walking down by the lake (and we certainly don't complain when we get that!) but when you hire a professional you expect reliability.
We DON'T cancel because it's raining, or too cold, or if it's a powder day and we'd rather go skiing.
We DO work as a team. We employ a team of pet care professionals because this means we have your bookings covered, even when the unexpected happens. We know that your pets are relying on us.
We DO invest in training our team. No, not training in how to put food in a bowl or clip a lead on. But how to read canine and feline body language, in administering medications and in pet first aid and CPR. Sometimes emergencies do occur and we are best equipped to deal with them.
We DON'T put the pets in our care at risk, or ignore potentially dangerous situations.
We DO arrange a meet & greet with all new clients, to give you the opportunity to ask more questions, let us know your expectations and to make sure that we're the right for your needs.
We DON'T skip the meet & greet, it's an important step for both you and us! This is why we can't (unfortunately) accept last minute bookings for new clients.
Most importantly of all...
...we DO love what we do, take it seriously and promise to give your pets the best care possible when you're not there!
If you have any questions about our pet sitting services, or if you're wondering if they might be the right fit for your pet's needs next time you go away, we're always happy to hear from you! The quickest way to contact us is by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We can then arrange a call back to chat with you about your requirements and to arrange a meet & greet.