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The dogs sitting nicely for their treatsMy family and I recently took a vacation and I needed a Pet Sitter.  Fortunately for us, I own a Professional Pet Sitting company, The Pet Nanny In Home Pet Sitting, LLC.  But even though I know my Pet sitters would do a great job, being the “client” gave me a totally new perspective.  And while I have traveled in the past and used my Pet sitters to care for my animals, this trip really hit home as to what is required of my clients prior to going away as well as how I felt while I was gone.    A few things I learned…

Preparation is key

I have a new appreciation for all the prep work involved in not only going on vacation and preparing ourselves for the trip, but having to make sure the pet sitters who cared for my home and animals had what they needed to be successful. 

Dog related:

  1. I needed to make sure I had enough food for the time we were gone.  I have a form I ask my clients to complete before each trip and it includes a reminder for them to buy extra food so the pet sitter doesn’t run out.  While our sitters do make Pet Store runs as needed, it is additional cost to the client that can easily be avoided by preparation.   So I made sure my dog food container was filled.
  2. Treats – while I don’t give my dogs a lot of treats due to dietary issues, I know they enjoy extra treats from the sitters while we are away.  It helps the sitters become “friends” with the pups and allows them a special treat while Mom & Dad are gone.  I made sure to purchase extra treats which align with their dietary restrictions.
  3. Dog bedding and towels.  I have 2 Senior dogs.  One is having issues with incontinence.  So I had to make sure plenty of extra dog bedding and towels were on hand so my sitter could just swap a dirty one for a clean one.  My sitter shared with me that there were very few small accidents during her stay.  Hmmm… maybe it is Mom- related??!   Does my 12 year old German Sheppard enjoy seeing Mom change his bedding daily??
  4. Medication – again with 2 senior dogs I have meds I need to administer… arthritis, allergies, incontinence, Fish Oil, Valley Fever, etc.  I made sure to stock up on extra meds.  And because the dogs take different meds at different times, I put them in separately marked containers to make it easier for my sitter to administer. 
  5. Waste removal – I made sure the dog waste instructions were clear – where the pooper scooper and waste bags were located. 

Home Related

  1. In addition to caring for my pets, the Pet Sitters were also caring for my home.  Prior to their visits, I ensured I provided them with working keys, gate entry codes, house alarm codes, etc.  I also left behind a gate opener and garage door opener which they could use for easier access into the neighborhood and house during our absence.    
  2. Mail, Garbage, Newspaper and more!  My instructions included bringing in the mail, when to take out and bring back in the Garbage and Recycle bins, what days the News paper was delivered.  This not only allowed me to have my mail when I arrived home, it also kept the house “running” smoothly in my absence.  It made the house look “lived in” and that someone was home, preventing possible burglars from being interested.  Another request can be to open/close various blinds so the house looks more occupied. 
  3. Plants and stuff….. I don’t have many indoor plants but when I’m gone for longer than a week, I like to have them watered.  This trip I didn’t need to have the Pet Sitters water them as I gave them a drink before I left.  But it is nice to know that they will water my indoor and outdoor plants as needed.  Also they would fill my bird feeder if I needed as well. 

And the other Pesky details

  1. I left detailed instructions for all of the above, but also our cell phone numbers, where we are going and when, and how we could be reached.  In addition, what time we were departing and arriving back home.  That way if the sitters didn’t hear from us by a certain time, they would know to contact us.  And then return for another visit if we were somehow delayed. 
  2. Veterinary  contact information – phone and address
  3. Emergency contact information – relatives, neighbors, etc.
  4. A schedule for both Pet Sitters so they knew when the other sitter was planning to be at the house.  Also a note if anyone else, besides each of the Pet Sitters, would be visiting the house ex: repairmen, pest control, housekeeper, etc. 
  5. Payment!  I made sure to leave individual envelopes with payment for each pet sitter.
  6. Let the neighbors know you are gone!  I sent a quick text to a neighbor so they would know I was away and Pet Sitters were caring for my pets and home.

Relax and Enjoy!  The dogs going for a walk while Meghan pet sat

Needless to say we had a wonderful trip away.  What made it extra special was that I didn’t worry a bit about my dogs or home.  I received regular updates from my pet sitters, including photos (aren’t they cute??!!).  The updates included how they were eating, sleeping, behaving, etc.  I was in my client’s shoes and understood how they feel when I send messages and photos to them.   I felt great relief when I received each text, and joy when I saw how happy my dogs were!!  In fact I think my dogs miss the sitters already….

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