pet parenting

ADVENTURES in Pet-Sitting

Finding your pet's ideal caretaker is important


In today's tech-savvy world, we have a bowlful of options when it comes to finding the pawfect pet-sitter. Five years ago, you might've been stuck relying on a reluctant neighbor or relative. Today, you can hop online to connect with a loving pet-sitter who'll treat your pet like family while you're away.

I did an informal poll at the park recently, asking pals what must-have qualities a wag-worthy pet-sitter needs. Here's what they said, starting with those who barked most often:

Master at Reading Animals
A good pet-sitter should always be asking the big questions, like, "What is the animal trying to tell me?" They must understand animal behavior from the inside out and be able to handle all kinds of quirks, like my strange knack for barking at an orange bowl for no particular reason. My quick-thinking sitter saved the day by pouring food on the floor, which not only filled my belly, but quieted my anxiety.

All pets know life doesn't always go according to plan. Being a good pet-sitter requires significant patience and the ability to maintain control in unexpected circumstances. Staying cool is key so we don't feel panicked and react to chaos.

Love Pets
Let's face it, pets are strange, wonderful and challenging creatures. It takes a special someone to recognize our personal needs and take proper action to reassure us that everything will be all right and nothing's on fire. A good pet-sitter will show a genuine concern-and adoration for all pets, and not leave us alone at the front door waiting for our human.

Mealtime is mealtime, no exceptions. A reliable sitter knows the signs of a hangry hound and works with our schedule to ensure specific routines and rituals, like long walks and squeaky toy time, are kept.

Handing over your keys and your pets to a stranger requires a huge level of trust. This person must be honest and able to deliver on the promise of safety and comfort. Stellar reviews, a clean record and insurance can help seal the deal, too.

Ready for Emergencies
In case something bad does happen, a proactive pet-sitter should be Johnny-on-the-spot with basic medical training, like first aid and CPR. Being able to spot illnesses a mile away and recognize when it's crucial to get a pet to the vet are vital skills. Bonus for being able to give medication and injections or fluids without cringing. They should have a plan in place to alert a professional if something should go wrong.

Some pets can be high maintenance and require a certain level of care­-I might resemble that remark. Finding a pet-sitter with all the right tools is key-nothing beats experience. Having a working knowledge of different breeds and temperaments is paramount in offering the best care possible for each pet.

Professional Pet Sitters Week, celebrated the first full week of March each year, recognizes the hard-working pet-care professionals who provide quality care to companion animals while their humans are away.

To learn more about Professional Pet Sitters Week, pet-sitting as a career or to locate a professional pet-sitter, go to


Davi the dachshund knows being a well-trained pet makes a pet-sitter's job easier.

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