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Being separated from our furry family members is hard. I don’t even like to go to work for the day without my two canine buddies – but I’m lucky enough to be able to take them along with me if I want to. They sneak into the tea room and make puppy dog eyes at various staff members in exchange for tasty snacks.
But what happens when we go away?
As much as we would love to, we can’t always take our pets with us. Whether it’s a weekend getaway, a family holiday overseas, or a business trip, sometimes it’s just not possible for them to join in on all the fun. And let’s be honest, it’s not always in their best interests to come along either.
Although this kitty is just daring you to hit the beach without him! (depositphotos)
So when we simply have no choice but to go somewhere without our pets for a while, there are a few options worth consideration:
- Boarding kennels or cattery
- Leave them with a family member
- House sitter/pet sitter comes to your home
- Your pets go to a pet sitter
- Or just leave them to their own devices – they’ll soon learn to live off the land, or at least open old cans of spam and pasta shaped like little dinosaurs. By the time you return they probably will have mastered modern technology and started up their own online business selling your stuff in return for stinky fish heads, old meatloaf and butt scratches.
All are valid options (except #5 – nobody wants to come home to stinky fish heads!), and the best choice ultimately depends on your individual situation as well as your pet’s personality.
The pet sitting option
In my experience, a lot of people automatically assume that if family are unavailable to help then boarding kennels or a cattery are the only choice. In recent times this is slowly changing, as we realise the awesome resource that is pet sitters.
Imagine how much less stressful it is for your furry buddy to be cared for either in their own environment or in someone’s home than sitting in a cage or concrete pen?
People who don’t love animals are unlikely to take up pet sitting as a business…
But how confident would you be giving your precious fur-kid up to a complete stranger? This is the main sticking point for a lot of people, and the reason that taking a random phone number off a community noticeboard is understandably associated with some degree of apprehension.
This stranger-danger issue has been well addressed by pet sitter websites such as Pawshake, who ensure the validity of their sitter’s details and also have in depth information and reviews on each and every sitter. There is some peace of mind in seeing that the pet sitter in your neighbourhood has 25 five-star reviews from their happy clients.
There is also a free, obligation meet and greet with potential sitters before you enlist their services.
I recently had the pleasure of chatting with some wonderful pet sitters from Pawshake and I can tell you, these guys are really passionate about pets.
When asked to describe their favourite thing about being a pet sitter, the answers all followed a similar theme. “All the dogs!!” said Bettina, “I am not sure how it happened but I mostly work with Working, Sporting, and Hunting breeds. However some giant breeds have come my way as well. Awesome. It’s so exciting to go to work.”
Jazz says “Not simply meeting a new dog/animal but getting to know a new dog. Learning and understanding what makes them work and seeing all of their quirks – the good and not so good.” As a vet I can totally relate to this. The more time I’ve spent with an animal, the better I get to know their individual personality. It’s great to know who prefers to be bribed with a liver treat and who just wants to snuggle!
Jazz hard at work!
Jen reckons it’s all about “The wonderful people you meet with their fantastic pets – I always look forward to taking on a new client’s job for this sole reason!”
Jen has a soft spot for kitties and loads of experience caring for them.
So do these sound like the people you’d want caring for your furbaby when you couldn’t be there yourself?
And what about the other side of the coin – actually becoming a pet sitter? I asked these pet-crazy ladies for their best piece of advice for a budding pet sitter in the making.
- Do it because you love dogs or cats or animals. Be specific about your skills or services. Your clients know when this is “just a job” to you. I absolutely LOVE my job and I have the best clients. I have cancelled a client relationship twice, due to unrealistic expectations of the dog, that I would not support. One has actually worked with their dog since then and we recently started working together again. – Bettina
- Act as though every pet is a human child of their owner and you will never go wrong. – Jazz
Learning a little from these pawesome pet people has really piqued my interest about pet sitters in general! I encourage you to drop by Pawshake to learn more.
In the interest of full transparency – I want to let you know that this post was not paid for or sponsored in any way. There are various pet sitting services available, but Pawshake are the ones I have been in contact with and they have been truly fabulous with answering all of my questions.
So what I’d really love to know from you..
Have you ever used a pet sitter for your furkids? If so, was it a positive experience?
For those of you offering pet sitting services, why do you do it and why do you think it’s better than boarding kennels or a cattery?