Professional Pet Sitters Week

I'm late! March 3rd through the 9th was the 19th annual Professional Pet Sitters Week. I meant to share this with you earlier, but it seems I missed my mark… sigh… The annual celebration highlights the important role pet care professionals play in our lives and the lives of our pets. Not only are there some wonderful kennels, B&B-type homes and "resorts" similar to Tappen Hill in beautiful Sebastopol, just a bit North of San Francisco, but there are also pet sitters who will care for your pets right in your own home.  I've always been fortunate enough to have pet sitters and good friends who know and love Opal and Dixie (and vice versa) stay in my home with them when I'm away. I believe the girls prefer to be in their own familiar environment, not to mention that Nunu, their kitty, gets very lonely when her sisters are gone for too long. If you have yet to find a pet sitter and are in the market for one, below are a few tips that come to mind:

· Ask for references and read reviews put out by other pet owners. If you’re thinking about using a pet sitting business, see if they’re rated by the Better Business Bureau, or if they're members of Pet Sitters International, the world’s largest educational association for professional pet sitters, representing more than 7,000 independent professional pet-sitting businesses in the United States, Canada and abroad. Take a few minutes to get acquainted with their reviews online. Ask individuals for references and make a few calls to see what people have to say about the pet sitter before hiring them to care for your animals.

· Does the person or business carry commercial liability insurance? Are they bonded? This is the only way you can protect your pet from accidents and neglect and protect yourself against loss in case your pet is stolen while you’re away.

· Is your pet sitter First Aid and CPR certified? If needed, can the individual or business perform basic First Aid on your pet if they were to become ill or injured?

· What type of services will the sitter provide? How often will they walk your pet? Will they groom your pet if needed? Will they be around all the time, or will the animal be placed in a kennel where they will be alone at times?

· What kind of contract do they have on file for you? You’ll want to have a written contract in place that spells out the terms and services provided by the pet sitter. You’ll also want to know exactly what you have to pay and when.

Pet sitters are excellent caregivers for your animals. It’s important to know which one is right for your family. Use the tips above to select an individual or business to tend to your dog or cat while you’re gone. Rest assured that your cherished pet is in good hands by choosing a pet sitter that is caring, responsible, and well-trained.