Jesse Clark of Soulful Travel has some suggestions as we start to plan for travel this year which seemed quite practical and helpful -
How to Find the Pet Sitter of Your Dreams Before Your Vacation
For people who hold high-stress jobs — those who work in management tend to experience higher levels of stress than others — taking a vacation is beyond important. Getting away from the grind for a while allows you to reset your mind and get those stress and anxiety levels in order. And when you have a pet, your to-do list before heading out on vacation is a little longer than others’ lists because you’ve got another life to take care of. Finding high-quality overnight pet care is not always easy, so it’s best to start early. Here are a few tips on finding the right kind of care.
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Define Your Expectations
When you mention pet sitting, most people probably think of someone who stops by your house occasionally while you’re out of town to give your pet food and water, let them go to the bathroom and make sure nothing major has happened. A pet sitter worth their salt, though, will go above and beyond this basic level. They will spend quality time with your pet, giving them companionship so they’re not alone. They can take your pet for a walk to give them exercise, and they can play games with them.
Good pet sitters can also perform other tasks at your home, such as bringing the mail and newspaper inside, watering the plants and turning various lights on at different times to ward off burglars. Decide ahead of time how much you expect from a pet sitter and question them accordingly when you interview them.
You and your pets will both benefit from a quality pet sitter. Your pet will get to stay in the environment they know best, which will cause them much less stress than going to a boarding facility. They will get to stick to their normal diet and routine, and because the sitter won’t be distracted with other animals, they will get one-on-one attention.
You will get the peace of mind that you can only find when you know you have left a situation in the hands of a professional. You will also have fewer details to take care of before vacation if you don’t have to pack up your pet and drive them to a boarding facility. Plus, you’re not just getting a pet sitter, but also you’re getting a house sitter for a few days.
Where to Look and What to Ask
The best way to start looking for a pet sitter is by asking your friends and family for recommendations. They may know of a local trusted cat sitter or dog boarder who can provide pet sitting services for you. You can also check national organizations that issue pet sitting certifications that will let you know your sitter is trained and capable of doing a great job. The two most well-known are the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters and Pet Sitters International. Both sites include directories that will help you locate a pet sitter near you.
When you find candidates in your area, you should ask a few questions before hiring them. Get a good general feel for how they conduct themselves - remember, they will be in your home, so you want someone trustworthy. Ask for written proof of commercial liability insurance and bonding, and ask how much training they have completed. Make sure they have a backup plan if they become sick or have car trouble, and ask how they handle pet emergencies. Before you make your final decision, ask for a written service contract that spells out the services they will provide. You should also ask for references you can call.