Sometimes I don’t have a story. Usually everything goes well when I’m pet sitting. Nobody gets sick, runs out the door, or brings in a fuzzy creature for me to chase. Considering how often I spend time with other peoples’ pets, this is probably a good thing. It doesn’t make for a very good story, however. Instead, I thought it might be helpful to understand the human taking care of your beloved pets.
Although your pet sitter will make the most of any situation (I’ve been at houses without power or hot water – these things happen), here are some tips to help make their stay a bit more comfortable.
I always want to come and meet your pet in your home and get a tour of the home. Nothing is more uncomfortable than being in a new house with a strange animal and feeling completely out of place. When you’re giving your tour of the home, make sure your pet sitter is familiar with the following:
• all of the pet info, of course – feeding, walking, quirks, etc.
• the heat sources, whether they be fireplace or thermostat; although I try not to light open flames in someone else’s house, there are times when the power might go out, or the temperature goes below zero, and it becomes necessary to use the wood stove
• the shower – this may sound silly, but there are different configurations, and no one wants to get blasted in the face with hot water (this happened – it wasn’t fun!)
If the oven and/or stove have any quirks, now is the time to tell the pet sitter. I have one house where I have to light the stove with a lighter – if I hadn’t known that, I would have been eating a lot of cold food
Once your sitter arrives, she or he is not going to want to disturb you to ask for certain things, so it would be helpful to have the following available (if the sitter hasn’t already asked):
• the wi-fi password
• the house phone number – there are several places I go where there is no cell service and a landline is necessary in case of emergency
• towels, washcloths, paper products, etc.
• extra bedding for the sitter and the pet(s)
• anything else you think might be nice, but not necessary
The only post-pet-sitting request I make is that you let me know when you’ve returned home. I feel responsible for your pet(s) until you come back, so I always leave with a small sense of anxiety. I feel they’re technically my responsibility until you walk through the door. Knowing for sure that your four-footed friends are back in the presence of their favorite people makes me feel like my job is complete.
Caring for your pets is my most important goal, but anything you can do to make that easier for me is always appreciated, and I’m sure other pet sitters feel the same.
(Sarah Caton owns All Paws Pet Sitting, which serves all of Lincoln County.)