The Art of Observation in Pet Sitting and Dog Walking

In our business, the art of being observant is key to us providing the kind of care your pet needs while you are away.  I consider observation an art because, as it is with listening, not everyone is good at it and it’s a skill that takes time to develop.  All of us at Manitowoc Pet Sitters are well practiced at more than “just” feeding, watering and exercising your pets.  Because animals cannot speak our language, we are also experts at observing your furry family members for clues about their physical and emotional well-being. Here is a partial list of the things I watch out for during every visit I spend with your pets:

Their breathing,

The position of their heads,

Their gait,

How they go up and down the stairs,

and How they eat and drink.

Observing your pet’s behavior is absolutely critical because problems sometimes surface when an animal’s owner is away.  I know that my first visit with an animal can be somewhat different from what he/she is used to so I always take that into consideration when analyzing a pet’s actions during my initial visit with him/her.  After an animal has gotten to know me, however, I can usually spot when something is wrong with the pet’s behavior and might indicate the animal is experiencing some sort of distress.  While I don’t tell my clients when they should take their pets to a veterinarian, I do always share my detailed observations with them.

If a pet is in the care of Manitowoc Pet Sitters for a long or short period of time and we notice that something non-life threatening is wrong with the way he/she is behaving, we always try to contact the animal’s owner before transporting the pet to the appropriate vet.  When a medical emergency presents itself which makes it critical for us to get a pet to a vet as soon as possible, we always do what’s in the animal’s best interest and transport the pet to the vet ASAP regardless of whether or not we’ve contacted his/her owner.  Because time is sometimes of the essence in instances like these, we thoroughly discuss these scenarios with our prospects during Meet & Greets.  It’s also why we have such a thorough vet release that each of our clients must sign prior to us assuming responsibility for their pets.

Basically, observation is what enables us to provide the best possible care for your pets.  Being in contact with our human clients after every visit we share with their pets is a big part of the art of observation because sometimes a behavior we see can be informative to pet owners and alert them to a possible health issue affecting their pets.  Of course, our constant availability and willingness to communicate with pet owners about any issue regarding their furry friends is another big part of the art of observation so please don’t hesitate to contact us…ever!

Using the Same Process to Hire a Pet Sitter as You Would Any Other Caregiver

If you need help caring for your pets for any reason – you’re working late, you have a loved one in poor health, you are finally going on vacation, etc. – have you thought about the arrangements you are going to make for them during your absence?

Well, if you are going to be away or simply unavailable to care for your pets, don’t feel bad because we, and they, all know that life’s circumstances sometimes prevent us from doing what we want to do (i.e. spending time with our pets) and force us to do what we have to do.  While not all of the time we spend away from our home is filled with laborious, undesirable tasks, it still does make it necessary to recruit help when it comes to caring for our furry family members.

When things, unexpected or otherwise, require us to be away from home, we need to make arrangements for someone else to care for our pets in the same way we have to make arrangements for someone else to tend to our children.  Surprisingly, it’s probably going to be easier for you to arranondering why that’s the case and your curiosity is completely understandable.  After all, most would think it’s easier to let Fido out in a fenced backyard to do his “business” than it is to run your three year-old to daycare, playdates, etc. during your absence.

The truth is, your children can tell you about the experiences they had while you were away by using their words, your pets cannot.  Depending on their ages, your children can make do in virtually any situation given the things you’ve taught them during their lifetimes.  Your pets, on the other hand, cannot let themselves out to go to the bathroom or open a pantry door to access their food.

The result of these facts is that anyone who assumes responsibility for your kids knows that his/her treatment of them will be scrutinized upon your return so the caregiver is going to be on his/her best behavior.  Of course, this also means that anyone who cares for your pets while you are away also knows that he/she doesn’t have to be worried about your dog or cat telling you if he/she had to skip a meal due to a caregiver failing to show up or any other mishap that occurs as a result of substandard care.

With that in mind, why would you be willing to pay someone to care for your kids, but not your pets?  When you put your furry family members in the hands of someone else, there is always an inherent risk to their well-being.  Since that’s the case, why wouldn’t you hold the person responsible for your pets to the same standards that you hold the individual caring for your kids to?

Whenever you need help tending to your pets, make sure that the person caring for them is a professional pet sitter, not a “helpful” neighbor, family member or part-time “professional.”  Make sure the person you hire has insurance to protect your interests.  Make sure the individual is bonded and runs a legitimate business, too.  Check the person’s references.  Meet with the individual and introduce him/her to your pets’ routine so the person knows how to provide care for your them.

If a person or company presents themselves as a professional pet sitter, but can’t provide proof of insurance, know that they are in no way, shape or form professional and that leaving your pets in their care puts not only your pets, but you, your home and your livelihood at risk.

Don’t make an irreversible mistake when you can’t take care of your pets.  Always use a truly professional pet sitter to provide care when you can’t.