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Dogsitting Tips

By Carolyn Yurkovic

  1. Most important, always plan ahead especially around the holiday times. It's easier to cancel rather than waiting until the last minute.
  2. Another important thing to remember is to always have a backup. Situations occur that are sometimes unavoidable.
  3. In finding a dogsitter, I suggested that he do what I did by contacting rescue groups that could recommend a good kennel or dogsitting service. They are always reputable and know that your dog will be cared for properly.
  4. What I had done for my dog when seeking a dogsitter is:
    • I first contacted my Vet. (Some Vet offices provide kennel service although I am not a big fan of kennels and that would be my last resort.) My Vet's office provided me with a list of dogsitters. Keep in mind that some vets don't even know or have any information on these dogsitters and therefore cannot offer any type of recommendation. From there, I contacted each one and basically interviewed and asked for references. I found most of them were already listed in our local Yellow Pages. Interestingly enough after interviewing each one, none of them met my satisfaction or recommendations. I find that most of these people are only looking to make a quick buck. The care, attention and time spent just wasn't there to my liking.
    • Another option is to ask around your own neighborhood or co-workers. This is where I had the best luck. I also interviewed and asked for references here too. I have a neighbor who will take care of my dog when I'm away either by her staying at my house or she will take the dog in at her home. To me that is a nice option if you don't mind other people staying in your home.
    • Another option I used is that I have a local Christian college near me which I contacted and have a gal who comes in to dog walk. She's fabulous! So far, she has done the best job for me. Kids love animals and I found they spend a lot of time with them. I use this gal as my backup. This has serviced me well because when I had gone on a vacation in April my original dogsitter got ill and I had left my backup gal's phone number just in case. I had given my backup gal a heads up beforehand and the transition worked out extremely well.
  5. Once a dogsitter is in place by either daily walks or by staying at your home, contact a neighbor to left them know what you did and asked them to keep an eye out on how they had handled your dog while walking, etc. Then have your neighbor provide a report on what they observed. I did this even though I had each meet my dog prior to my travels. How they interact with the dog in front of you and what they do when you are not around is completely different.
  6. Another thing I do is to have my dogsitter provide me with a daily report card on how my dog did. I mainly do this when traveling, not daily.