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Why hire a Professional Pet Sitter?

So you've got your summer vacation plans in place! Yea! It's going to be great to kick back and enjoy a slower pace and some leisure time away from all your responsibilities at home.

Oh wait! You lined someone up to tend to life at home while you're away, right? Spot and Fluffy won't be able to feed themselves. Your garden will be thirsty. And your house will look as though you're out of town to passersby. You talked to the teenaged neighbor boy about letting your beloved dog out and feeding him? Great! Then you’ve got nothing to worry about. Or do you? You see where I'm going with this?

My daughter started pet sitting over ten years ago as a way to make some cash in the summer. She became quite popular amongst pet owners in our Portland neighborhood. What those pet owners were not aware of, is how an 11-year-old could be so trustworthy. She has a very involved, detail oriented Mom who always made sure she crossed all her t’s and dotted her i's. When a clogged bathroom sink started to overflow, I was there to take care of it before any damage was done, no extra charge. We still work as a team to make sure your pets and house receive the best care possible. In addition, we now provide years of experience as business owners and pet care providers. We now have insurance, bonding and first aid/CPR for added protection and your peace of mind.

If you want to really be able to enjoy your time away, without wondering if the seemingly responsible boy down the street will take care of your animals and house, buy the peace of mind that you can have with a trustworthy, experienced, reliable professional pet sitter.

While we admire and respect those who have a pet sitting side business, before you hire a pet sitter, I’d like to share a few stories from our clients:

• After hiring a young woman to stay overnight with her dog and cat, a client received a house alarm alert call at 3am. When she contacted the petsitter who was supposedly staying at her house, she learned that her pets were home alone. The woman she hired was at her boyfriend’s house and refused to go check on the animals in the middle of the night.

• We’ve also heard several stories about teenagers who either failed to show up or show up with several friends and turned the house into a party zone.

Here are a few tips to assist you in finding that perfect sitter...

1. References: It’s always easier to check out Angie’s List or Yelp, but asking for references and calling them yourself is a much better, and accurate, approach.

2. Basic professionalism: Business cards, good telephone manners, prompt email replies, a web site, references at the ready. It all means you’ll pay more, but...

3. Emergency planning: Make sure you know what your pet sitter’s emergency protocol is. Is it different from yours? Is there a reason for that? Does that make sense to you? And here’s a question you should always ask: “What was the worst emergency you ever had to deal with as a pet sitter? How did you handle it?”

4. Backup sitter: A pet sitter is only as good as his or her backup sitter. Unfortunately, it’s my experience that plenty of pet sitters don’t have contingency plans in case of their own potential inability to comply with the terms of a pet sitting agreement. So when their back goes out… so too does your pet’s care. Scary, right? Similarly, some less-reputable sitters send others in their stead at the first sign of an impending personal moment. And that’s not necessarily what you want either. Always make sure you know who takes over, when and how.

5. Financial considerations: Are they bonded and insured? How much does this matter to you?

A few more tips...

Whether you’re using a new pet sitter or leaving your pet with a sitter for the first time, I recommend you start off with a short getaway before heading off on a long European vacation. A dry run is a good idea for you, your pet, and the sitter.

And don’t forget: Your sitter needs to know how you would approve of and pay for emergency veterinary care, if needed. Call your veterinarian and your preferred emergency/specialty hospital to find out what they’d require in regards to your approval and payment in the event of an emergency.

Before you go, make sure you have a plan for communicating with the sitter. There is no substitute for a daily check-in by text or email to ease your mind.

Schedule a Meet and Greet with us! Little Friends Petsitters - 503.789.2208,

Enjoy your vacation!

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