Whether you’re gone a day, a week, or more, pet parents need reliable people to take care of the furry members of the family. Perhaps a local doggie day care (or kitty care center) is great for the time you’re at work, but what if you must go out of town for business travel? Or you’re taking the kids to Disney World for a week? Or your sweetie to the Bahamas for Valentine’s weekend? To where and whom do you turn for longer times away from home? Who do you trust to take care of your four-legged friends?
Friends can help, but maybe not always and maybe not when you need them… or for as long as you need them. Boarding at the vet’s can work, but if your animals aren’t sick, do they need to be stuck in cages for a week? That’s almost like being at the animal shelter. Perhaps there are other boarding options in your community, like a communal “pet lodge.” But, then again, maybe not anywhere close to you. What are some other options?
Online searches reveal several sources for pet sitting. Here are three:
Rover.com – through this site you can find critter sitters who take care of pets in your house (so also house-sitting) as well as in the sitter’s home. This site comes in handy when you travel with your pet as well – you can find Rover sitters in many large (and small) cities. My husband and I have used this service a few times, in particular when we’ve been to a city and wanted to go out and do things that could take us into the wee hours of the morning (like concerts and ballgames). We have found Rover to be a reputable site and have had great experiences with the three sitters we’ve used; we plan to use a Rover sitter again next summer when we travel.
DogVacay.com – specializing in pet care needs, like Rover.com, this site offers sitter referrals, including boarding, daycare, and walking services. I’ve not used this site or sitter services, but it has been featured on NBC’s Today Show, on CBS, and in several print publications, such as Forbes and USA Today.
Care.com – this site features not only critter sitters, but also nanny services, elder care offerings, and housekeepers as well as errand runners. Although I’ve not used this site, I’ve heard positive things about it and since the site offers many types of caring help, it may be a good one for multiple needs.
SitterCity.com – this site also offers several options, including pet care, elder care, and special needs care. I don't know much about this site either, but I learned it started in 2001 as a Boston-area-focused resource; it has grown significantly to a national service.
Many of these critter sitters will not only feed and water your pet, but also spend quality time with your furry friend, such as walking the dog, taking Fido to the dog park, or playing mouse and feather toys with your kitty. Often the pet parent receives photos of the fun (and rest) the pet is experiencing. It’s always a relief for a pet parent like me to know the four-footed companion is in loving, capable hands.
With the holidays upon us and many people planning their 2017 vacations, now is a good time to consider “who will look after the fur-kids while we’re gone?” Spend time reviewing these sites, consider all your options, and don’t rely on friends’ and families’ good intentions. Pet sitting is a strong enterprise with very reputable and caring people who want to have a small business and who love animals. Consider these services before your next adventure and let Fido or Fluffy have their fun, too – with a good pet sitter.
Gayle M. Irwin is a writer and public relations professional who volunteers with various animal rescue groups. She enjoys sharing her books and her passion for pets and the environment with others.