A pet can be considered as somebody's prized possession, or probably even a family member. That's why it's difficult to leave your pet in someone else's care when you have to travel without it. This might put you and your pet through periods of anxiety, and you will probably have a hard time thinking how your precious canine or feline friend will eat, bathe, and altogether live without his master.
The solution, of course, is to hire a pet sitter. Aside from giving food and drinks to your pet, a good pet sitter will also take your pet to walks, and checks if it needs a check up from the good ‘ol veterinarian. Likewise, the pet sitter can also water your garden and get your newspaper and mail, if needed, at an additional charge, of course. Just make sure you hire qualified and professional pet sitters for a fool-proof service. Here are a few things to remember when looking for a sitter.
- Interview. Prior to hiring somebody, interview the person personally or through the telephone. It is important that you do some background checks, so that you won't encounter major problems in the future. Both instinct and sensibility will tell you if have chosen the right person to be a pet sitter. But it still pays to cover all the bases. Ask for trainings, affiliations, and references.
- Background checks. Research on the pet sitter's training background. Was he able to complete the training program? You yourself should make a criteria to tell how qualified is qualified. Find out if the pet sitter has initiative in things such as keeping a record of your pet's likes, dislikes, fears, and other things of note. He might also be able to provide other services such as grooming your pet's fur, training and playing with your pet. This attitude will show how interested and dedicated the person to your pet is. He should actually do what you are doing for your pet, in your absence. Therefore, they would be like an extension of you.
- Veterinary care. Ask the pet sitter if he knows a veterinarian to whom he can entrust your pet in cases of emergency. At the very least, if you already have an existing veterinarian, then you should coordinate so that the sitter will be able to bring your pet to the clinic if the need arises. Also, check if he himself is knowledgeable with first aid for animals.
- Insurance and liabilities. Check with the pet sitter if he will be be responsible for any accidents, or loss to your home, your pet or even to the pet sitter himself, while in charge of your pet. Most pet sitting agencies have commercial liability insurance, and be sure to have a copy of the terms of these, so that you won't run into headaches in case something bad happens. You never know what to expect when you are away.
- Back up or alternate. If you've already chosen a pet sitter, or if you employ a sitter regularly, you should check if he has a back up or alternate, just in case he cannot come on a particular day. It is better to interview this person, too, to see if he fits the bill.
Once you find a pet sitter who matches your requirements, then you can relax and start talking about the contract, terms, and paying schedules. While employing a pet sitter is essentially a business undertaking, it's also a good idea to get to know them personally, as they are the people who take care of your loved ones.