Friday, April 7, 2017

If You Have That Person In Your Life, Embrace Them

Two months ago, we received a message from a mutual acquaintance asking if we could "pet sit" their pup. Their regular pet sitter wasn't available the week or so needed because of a family emergency. I replied immediately and asked lots of questions. Long story short, they needed a "pet sitter' who could take their pup in-home for the duration they were gone. Unfortunately, we are not able to do that.

From March through mid-September, we get a lot of similar messages and emails for pup/pet sitting. Is that a service we provide?  We have a few neighbor friends who have become like family to us. When needed, we are more than happy to pet sit our fur-nieces and fur-nephews, but aside from that, unless we know you really, really well, we don't provide these services.

We're not a business. 

Once in a while, someone will reach out to ask if we have any recommendations for local, reputable boarding services and pet sitting businesses. There's quite a few in our area and beyond, but we do not make personal recommendations. We don't board our kids or utilize pet sitting services.

We don't make recommendations or provide reviews unless we've personally utilized a service or tried a product. 

On occasion, people have reached out asking for some tips and advice on how to compensate someone who pet and house sits for them.

"A good friend of mine is going to stay at my home for a few days while I'm away at a work conference. I've got 2 dogs and a cat. They've resisted payment, but I want to do something for them."

"My friend has volunteered to take care of our pup while my husband and I take off for a 1 week vacation. She is our go-to person when we need a pup sitter. In the past, I've asked how much she charges, but she says "nothing." I want to pay her, but I don't know how much or how."

"We have a dear friend who has always been there when we've needed someone to take care of our fur-kids. If I have a long day at work, they check in to take them out. If we want to go away for the weekend, they're always there to pet sit. I'd like to extend some tokens of gratitude, but I don't know how much and how often."

Those are just a few examples...

While each situation and relationship is unique, and I reiterate that in my replies, there are 3 fundamental things to keep in mind.

These are included in my replies as well...

1. Be grateful. Very. Very. Grateful. Having someone in your life who you can call upon at the drop of a dime, or plan weeks in advance, to house and pet sit for any length of time, is a rarity. Count your lucky stars and do that often. Your trusted source is completely rearranging their daily life and schedule to provide this service for you. Most pet parents don't have that luxury and are forced to rely on boarding facilities and pet sitting services.

The same holds true for that person you rely on to visit your pup/s when you're at work. These visits usually include taking them out, giving them a snack or meal and keeping them company for a bit so they're not home alone for hours on end. This is another service that pet sitting services provide. Some charge per day while others charge per week.

2. Don't ask. Just do. Obviously, that person in your life who is available to take care of your fur-kids and home, and is available to pet and house sit when needed, is someone you trust. And, more than likely, you have a strong relationship with the person. In this day and age, trust is hard to come by. Resist the urge to ask, "How much do you charge" or "How can I compensate you?" They will probably say, "Oh, it's my pleasure to do this" or "You don't owe me anything." And, they genuinely mean that.

Instead, just do it. Compensate them for each day they house and pet sit for you. It can be in the form of cash, a Visa or MasterCard gift card, a gift certificate to one of their favorite retailers or grocery store, etc. Something. Anything. Even though you have a great relationship with this person, don't ever view their services as free.

3. Take 2 things into consideration when you're pondering numbers 1 and 2. The first, consider the alternative. Searching for a reputable boarding facility or hired pet sitter is no easy task. Trusting strangers with your fur-kids is beyond difficult especially if it involves them going into your home. That's your home. Those are your fur-kids. The decision on where to board or who to hire is no easy feat.

The second, consider the cost of boarding each of your fur-kids. You're going to pay at least $20 a day, if not more, and that's for ONE fur-kid. And, if you want extra services like one on one playtime outside, or one on one care at any point throughout the day, you're going to pay more at some places. For pet sitting services, be prepared to spend a pretty penny considering that they have to make several trips to your home per day to serve meals, let your fur-kids out, distribute any medications, etc.

Bottom line, if you have that person in your life, embrace them. Appreciate them. And never take them for granted.

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