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What to Look for in a Pet Sitter

You and your family are planning a family vacation.  Your pets prefer to stay at home.  So, you’ve decided to hire a temporary pet sitter to attend to your pets while you are away.  What should you look for in a pet sitter?

  • Your pet sitter should have clean background checks. (For example, no history of violence.)
  • Your pet sitter should love pets.
  • Your pets should feel a bond with your pet sitter.
  • Your pet sitter should be responsive to your pets. (For example, if your kitty is non-verbally communicating that she does not want to be touched right now, does your pet sitter respect that by speaking kindly to her while keeping a reasonable distance?)
  • Your pet sitter should be reliable. You need to be able to depend on her to show up and perform the tasks as you have specified.
  • Your pet sitter needs to be able to perform the special tasks required of her. For example, if your large dog likes a daily game of tug-of-war, then your pet sitter needs to be strong enough to give your large dog a good contest. If your smaller dog is unwell and requires daily injections of medicine, your summer nanny should be able to administer the medicine.
  • Your pet sitter should be calm under pressure and able to resolve difficult situations as quickly and well as possible. For example, if your pet sitter is playing tug-of-war with your big dog when his tail wags and knocks your Limoges plate onto your ceramic floor (where the plate promptly shatters into a million pieces), your pet sitter will need to respond to the safety hazard first (by cleaning up the shards), protecting your pets until all shards are removed, and then follow up by proactively planning what to do differently so as not to repeat the misadventure. Additionally, she should be honest enough to disclose to you the damage and to offer to replace your plate. Another example would be if your smaller dog has a medical emergency. Your pet sitter will need to take the dog to the veterinarian for prompt medical attention. She will also need to make sure that your other pets’ needs are not overlooked during the medical crisis. And through it all, she will need to remain calm.
  • Your pet sitter will need to be able to render responsible decisions independently. This is because you do not want to receive a multitude of calls from your pet sitter every day, calls in which she asks the most basic questions on each such occasion.

By screening potential pet sitters using the factors listed above, you should be able to find the pet sitter that is right for your family.

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