Different types of Pet Sitters
Updated: Jan 28, 2020
The type of pet sitter someone chooses depends on their needs, their support resources, and their budgets. What type do you need?
When I was a child neighbors and friends would often care for each others' pets. As early as 4th or 5th grade I remember taking care of one of my neighbor's pets for them when they went away. My mother would give me their house key, I'd go across the street and would let myself into their home with the key. I'd feed their fish and pet snake within a few minutes, lock up and return home where one of my parents would ask me if I remembered to lock their door on the way out, and that was that until the next day. I'd earn 50 cents a day and I thought I was a big deal because I had this responsibility. That was way back in the 1960's!
This type of scenario can still be the case in many communities. Some people have great support systems and can rely on friends, neighbors or relatives to either stay in their homes and care for their pets or have the pet stay go to their homes for the duration a pet owner is away. Or sometimes a friend or relative will stop by the home one or more times a day, depending on the type of pets and their needs. Usually people in one's support systems will do this for free or a nominal fee, or the pet owner will promise them a dinner out once they return from their trip.
Second, we have hobby pet sitters. A hobby pet sitter usually picks up some pet sitting gigs to make a little extra money here and there, to help a small circle of friends or coworkers, and because they enjoy spending time with pets.
A hobby pet sitters generally do not have liability insurance, aren't bonded, and aren't a member of a professional pet sitting association, and aren't formally a sole proprietorship or other official business entity.
Hobby pet sitters can be excellent, but aren't covered by any insurance should somebody accidentally knock over the family's expensive Ming vase as they walk through the hallway to retrieve the family dog for a walk or if, God forbid, a pet is injured in any way while in the sitter's custody - like in a car on the way to the dog park. Not having insurance can open a can of worms (worm sitting joke here!) for a hobby sitter.
Another way to go is to hire a professional pet sitter. This is a person who runs, manages, or works for a professional pet sitting business. My business was called Precious Pets which was based in Connecticut and also serviced parts of Rhode Island, and it was a sole proprietorship, and I was insured and bonded.
A professional pet sitter has a business name, liability insurance, is bonded and is oftentimes, but not always, a member of a professional pet sitting association. I was a member of NAPPS - The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (www.petsitters.org).
Professional pet sitters spend time promoting their businesses so they can acquire more clients and make a part-time or full-time income, all while enjoying wonderful pets and providing a valuable service of pet care to their clients.
Another type of pet sitting service people might use would be pet boarding facilities. These are usually not on the top of the list when someone is seeking care for their beloved pets when they have to go away for any reason, but there are some really good facilities out there where pets love to go and which pet owners have used for years and come with high recommendations. It depends on one's budget, the personality of the pet and how the owner thinks their pet will do at a larger facility, what the facility provides as far as services are concerned, and the length of time someone is planning on being away.
The ultimate goal is for pets to be cared for lovingly and responsibly while pet owners are away. The next blog post will talk about the main thing, and most important thing, that a good pet sitter provides for his/her clients while they are away.