HOW TO FIND A GREAT DOG SITTER
There's no easy way to do it. You can go to various sites that have independent dog sitters and look at reviews, you can get recommendations from friends, you can book from a local professional service. But how do you know your sitter will give your pet the best care?
The answer is: You don't.
When we come to a client's house for the first time for an interview we always get a story. They tell us about their pets, anecdotes, quirks and they tell us about their needs for a sitter or walker. Probably a couple of times a month they tell us that they had a sitter before and that sitter disappointed them.
We get stories about sitters doing several things:
I once had a client tell me his friend was taking care of his dogs. The friend casually called and said he hadn't show up for two days. These dogs were in crates that entire time. No food, no water. Guess what? They're not friends anymore.
Another client said they installed cameras and the sitter would show up hours late and one time a total stranger came in to take care of the dogs.
A third client called us when a sitter who had been her daughter's roommate was arrested, at the clients house, for forging checks.
We also see sitters whove lost their client's pets. Absolutely tragic and usually a result of a slip of attention or a lack of knowledge regarding pets.
The weirdness goes on and on.
So you can imagine how difficult it was for those people to entrust us with their house and pets. With these types of cases we try extra hard to send them detailed messages, tell them our lines of communication are always open and make sure they know what to expect. We're by no means perfect but good communication and careful monitoring on the part of the client can make for a positive experience.
So here are some tips:
Someone who will stay with your pet overnight and do visits during the day and evening is putting in a lot of time and energy. It's hard to uproot your life and move to someone's house and also adjust to a pet's schedule. Often sitters are woken up during the night or earlier in the morning than they usually get up. It's hard and can be stressful. So the price they ask is minimal compared to the effort. If a sitter is asking for too little, be suspicious. You want someone who takes the job seriously and you want to compensate them for being responsible and dependable.
How to find an overnight sitter:
How to interview:
How to make sure they're doing what you asked:
We can't emphasize enough that a good sitter is worth his or her weight in gold. The trust you have in them gives you peace of mind and gives your pet the life and love they deserve. They are hard to find. Don't be afraid to look in different places and interview several sitters. It's just like a job interview. If you're not comfortable with someone, even if it's a relative, look for someone else.
Go Dog Rockford has ceased having our employees do overnight sitting for new clients because we take it very seriously. The price we had to charge was quite a bit more than an independents system. Even with the increase in price we were spending a lot of time and energy finding a sitter, doing a meeting with the client and sitter, managing the sitter and filling in when the sitter couldn't make a visit. It was a lot of extra work for us.
We can sometimes recommend sitters who will stay overnight in your home but start looking early, they are in high demand.
We always are able to do visits though sometimes we need notice of a week or two. Booking the Tuesday for visits over Thanksgiving weekend may prove to be the straw that broke the camel's back and we may have to say no.
Whomever you chose as a sitter should want you to be comfortable and will be open with you. They will answer any questions you have and you should feel, above all, that they love your pet and want what's best for him or her.
Be clear and specific. Things that seem second nature to you may not occur to a sitter. They may not know you have to keep all the doors closed or that the dog cannot be outside without a leash or that you have to check that the gate is latched. It's so important to cover everything they might overlook. It can mean the difference between a great vacation and a tragedy.
Go Dog Rockford wants nothing more than for all pets to get great care when you are away from home whether you use our services or you are looking for more than we can provide.