How Did Wet Noses Pet Sitting Get Started?

 

“How did you get started with that?”

When people learn that I own a pet sitting company, the most common question is “How did you get started with that?” A lot of people pet sit, but very few have a large, professional company that has been operating for more than a year or two. Many people get burned out long before that, or do not have enough experience to really handle the difficulties of a company such as this.

A little about me

I am Liana, the owner of Wet Noses Pet Sitting. Just like many young folks, I grew up watching my neighbors pets and homes when they were on vacation. I volunteered with different rescues doing foster care and on-site work. When I was 16 I had my first job at the Larimer Humane Society. That was followed by various other positions in animal related businesses. I love working with animals and never considered taking a job in another field.  During my years working in these various job, I began to slowly gather casual pet sitting clients.

The change

It was over the Christmas of 2009, I realized I had too many clients. Up until then I was still working in other jobs and pet sitting on the side. This was the first holiday when I had to turn people away. I had to take time off of work for my pet sitting. It was a hard year for me because all of these people and their pets were family. I did not want to send them to another pet sitter. At that point I really had to make a decision about whether I wanted to continue the way I had been, pet sitting in my free time, or take the leap and start a business.

In March of 2010, we turned it into a professional pet sitting company and added sitters. Originally named Sidehill Sitters after the neighborhood where I was living at the time. In 2016, we decided to change the name to Wet Noses Pet Sitting and here we are today!

How Late Can I Cancel a Dog Walk?

 

 

When can I cancel a dog walk?

If you are a client of Wet Noses Pet Sitting then you will want to know how to cancel a dog walking appointment. Everyone has to do it at some point, due to weather, illness, or a just a change of plans.

  • To get credit for the walk, or not be charged – cancel by 9am the day of the dog walk.
  • After 9am, you will be charged for the dog walking appointment. At that point the sitter has set aside the time for your visit and we are not able to fill the spot.
  • You are never charged if you cancel a dog walk due to an “Act of God” such as extreme weather or government shutdown.

How do I cancel a dog walk?

  • If you are cancelling more than 4 days in advance, you can cancel a scheduled dog walking appointment by logging into your account and just cancelling the appointment.
  • If you are cancelling within 4 days, contact us directly to cancel a dog walk. That way we can notify the sitter directly of the change.

Wet Noses Pet Sitting strives on making our clients happy, but our schedules can be tight. That’s why we ask that you use consideration and cancel an appointment for a walk as soon as possible. This allows us to fill the spot for your sitter and adjust schedules as needed. Although we understand that unexpected situations arise that change plans!

Do You Have Experience with Exotic Pets?

 

People always ask what types of pets we watch. In case you are curious, we watch the most dogs and cats, but we also watch so much more! The truth is, we love when we get unique furry, feathered and scaled friends to spend time with.

What we will watch

  • Backyard chickens and goats
  • Small animals: ferrets, rabbits, mice, rats, hamsters, chinchillas, hedgehogs and all the little friends
  • Reptiles: snakes, iguanas, chameleons, lizards and scaly friends
  • Birds: large parrots down their their mini cousins
  • Horses and ponies
  • Other farm animals
  • Other friends: hermit crabs, fish, tarantulas and more!

I am sure I am forgetting something!

Choosing a sitter

If you have an exotic pet and are needing a pet sitter, please reach out to us to discuss your situation. While we do watch all animals, every household requires different care. While any sitter can watch a hermit crab, a house with 10 parrots will need a little more care in pairing a sitter.

When we speak to you we will determine:

  • The normal routine for your exotic pets
  • How much direct contact they will have with your sitter
  • If any of your exotic pets have health concerns

Based on these factors we determine the level of experience your sitter will need have. Whenever possible we pair exotic pets with sitters who have prior experience with the same species. Some animals require more prior experience than others. For instance, horses and large parrots require a person with prior experience in case a health problem arises.

Cost

When watching exotic pets we take the entire household into consideration. If your exotic pets do not require much additional care then we will not charge any extra. For animals that may require specific expertise, such as parrots and horses, we do charge a bit extra. We take great lengths to have sitters on staff that have such experience, and they are hard to find!

Should I Hire a Professional Pet Sitter?

 

When you are leaving town, whether it be for an overnight trip or a three week vacation, you want your pets to be as well cared for as when you are home.So do you have friend or family member help out, or do you hire a professional pet sitter?

When we are contacted by a new client we often end up discussing what they have done previously for pet care and the most common answer we get is:

My friend, family member or neighbor helped me out.

Inevitably something goes wrong with this scenario and pet owners are left scrambling for another option, often deciding to opt for a professional pet sitter this time.  Granted, when a friend or neighbor watches your pets your fur kids are often able to stay in your home, but there are many advantages to having a professional care for your pets instead of a well-meaning friend.  Let’s take a look at some of these advantages:

Your pet can follow his regular diet and exercise routine.

Friends and family have the best of intentions but visits will often be done around their schedule and what is convenient for them.  After all, they are doing you a favor!  As professionals, we at Wet Noses Pet Sitting work to set up a schedule that is ideal for your furry friends. It can be extra stressful if your normally active dog all of a sudden just gets a quick potty break twice a day so we try to keep their routine as normal as possible.

Your pets are the priority!

Friends mean well but they often have their own pets and responsibilities.  Our Wet Noses pet sitters arrive at your home ready and excited to focus on your pets and their needs.  If your dog needs a walk in the snow or cat needs some extra cuddle time to feel happy, that is what we will do.

Wet Noses pet sitters are experienced with a variety of medical and behavior problems.

Unfortunately pets do get sick and occasionally develop behavior problems, partially due to the disruption of their normal lives.  As professional pet sitters, we try to keep everything as routine and fun as possible, but there will be one major change in their lives – you are gone!  When problems such as a sick cat or a depressed dog arise we have a plan in place to work with the situation and eliminate any stress on your part. Our managers are always on call to help, whether it be ideas or a second pair of hands to assist your sitter.

There is always back up.

Good professional pet sitters will always have back up in place in case an emergency arises.  At Wet Noses Pet Sitting we always have other sitters and managers ready to step in at a moment’s notice when needed.  If a friend is watching your pets and becomes ill what will they do?  If they are in a car accident will anyone else even know to stop by and feed your dog?  More than once we have received calls from people already out of town whose sitter never showed up and they are frantically trying to find someone to take over.  Don’t let this be you!

Bonding and insurance covers you, just in case.

Some circumstances cannot be predicted, such as a friend slipping on the ice outside your home or your dog getting bit by a loose dog on a walk.  If you are not using a professional you might be responsible for these costs, including expensive medical bills!  Real professionals have at least one, and often multiple, types of insurance to make sure they are covered as well as you and your home. It is important for you to know how you are covered.



Not all pet sitters are created equal, nor are they all professional.  In hiring a professional pet sitter, it is important to make sure you have chosen the right person to care for your beloved pets!

Will I Have the Same Pet Sitter My Entire Trip?

 

 

When you’re away from home for more than a few days you may wonder, will my pet always have the same pet sitter? And we have the answers for you!

For the most part, the answer is YES. You will have the same pet sitter the entire time.

If you’re booking us for a vacation or long trip, we will match you with a pet sitter that is available your entire trip. We’ll make sure that you have the best sitter for your household and your pets so you won’t have to worry while you’re away.

What if there is an emergency?

In case your usual sitter has an emergency then a manager will step in and take care of your pets. That’s on of the best things about hiring a professional pet sitter. No matter what happens, broken down cars, sickness, or any other emergency, your pet(s) needs will be met.

Regular Sitting Clients

We will try our hardest to have your usual sitter cover your entire trip. However, sometimes schedules don’t always align and your usual pet sitter may not be available. If that is the case we will match you with someone else that either do the entire time or split it up between two sitters.

Dog Walking Clients

Depending on the frequency of your dog walks, you may or may not have the same pet sitter the entire time. If you’re an occasional dog walking client then yes, you will have the same walker while you’re away. However, if you have more frequent walks, then we usually split your walks up between two walkers.

Will I Get to Meet the New Sitters or Walkers?

YES! We want you to feel as comfortable as possible. That’s why whenever a new sitter or walker is introduced you will have a chance to meet them. In fact, we will set up a free meet and greet opportunity so that your new sitter can meet you and your pets before you leave. You will always be notified of any changes.

Wet Noses Pet Sitting is always here for you to give you extra peace of mind.  You don’t need to worry about your pets during your vacation. After all, vacations are meant for relaxation, right?!

Contact us today to book your sitting and walking services for your vacation.

 

 

Is There a Charge to Meet My Pet Sitter?

 

When you are getting started with a new professional pet sitting company, you want to be sure you are comfortable with the person who will be working in your home. We want you to be comfortable as well! When first getting started with Wet Noses Pet Sitting, we will answer all of your questions via phone and email. We work our hardest to make sure you understand the process of working with us, that we have an understanding of the care needed for your pets and that we have scheduled visits that are going to make your pets happy while you are gone.

Setting up your meeting

After we have set up your first appointment, we will pair you with a sitter whose schedule and experience matches your household. About a week before your first visit, your sitter will contact you to set up a meeting time. We intentionally have sitters meet with you just before you leave so that all of the details are fresh in their minds. In addition, there is a higher likelihood that your pets will remember your sitter if they have met recently. This helps to make your pets more comfortable with a new person coming into their home for the first time.

Charges

We believe this introductory meeting is necessary and there is no charge for the meeting! In the occasion that you need more than one meeting then we will charge for any additional meetings. This can happen if you have a dog that is particularly shy or uncomfortable with strangers.

Shy dogs

Unlike some professional pet sitting companies, we do accept dogs that sometimes need a little more care, and thus a few more meetings. How many meetings will depend upon you and your dog and we can discuss this before setting up your first meeting with your sitter.

Future sitters

We attempt to keep you with your same sitter whenever possible, but if you are with us long enough then you will eventually have a new sitter. Anytime we change sitters we will offer up a new meeting at no charge. On some occasions clients chose to forego these meetings, but that is up to you.

 

We feel it is vitally important for you to feel comfortable with your sitter and do not feel that your should pay for this meeting. We hope you will join our family soon!

Will You Watch My Dog if She is in Heat?

 

We often have clients ask, will we watch your dog when she is in heat? Well, the short answer is yes. The long answer is that there are a lot of stipulations we require in order to make this safe. We will try to cover all of the details here and definitely feel free to contact us if you have further questions.

Our primary concerns with dogs in heat are safety and time.

At Wet Noses Pet Sitting we want to be overly safe. We make sure we do not run into any problems, so we have put together these rules:

  1. Dogs that are in heat will only be exercised under supervision within their own yard.  This means that they will not be taken on walks.  If there is not a fence, we will walk your dog in the immediate vicinity around your home.
  2. When the fence is not found to be sufficient (too short, dog is able to climb it, holes, etc) the dog will be kept on leash even when in your own yard.
  3. If there are intact males in the house then there must be a foolproof way to keep them separate.  Solid walls, preferable two, will need to separate them at all times!
  4. We will change diapers as long as the female is agreeable, which must be determined by our sitter before the trip.
  5. Any messes must be contained to hard floors, we will not clean up blood messes on carpet or in crates. We will change out blankets when needed.
  6. Appropriate time must be scheduled taking all of the concerns in consideration. We do require 30 minutes for dogs, but if your dogs cannot be together then we might require a 45 minute or hour long visit in order to make sure they all get enough attention and activity. We also need to factor in any cleaning time that might be needed.

I myself have had intact dogs so I understand the concerns that go into their care. At Wet Noses Pet Sitting we want to be sure that your dogs receive the best possible care is the safest fashion whether you dog is in heat, or not. Feel free to contact us with any questions!

How Do You Handle Dog Confrontations?

 

We walk a lot of dogs that are not friendly towards other dogs, you never know if the dog coming your way is going to be kind. The fact is that many dogs go to dog daycare, unless they do not get along with the other dogs there, in which case we end up walking them.

Wet Noses Pet Sitters also walk a lot of dogs that are super friendly and would love to play with every dog we encounter. We still never know how the other dog is going to react or how the two will get along. It is our primary responsibility to keep our charge safe so we have a very strict rule:

Whenever possible we do not allow our client’s dogs to associate with other dogs. Period.

So what do we do when you spot another dog coming that is off leash?

First we evaluate the situation to see how concerned we should be. Is our dog friendly with other dogs? Does the approaching dog look friendly? Is the owner of the other dog present? If the answer to any of these is no then we are starting to look at options to prevent the dogs from coming into contact.

From here we are going to assume that we feel the need to stop this encounter because we believe it will result in a dog fight. So what now?

We bring our dog in close to us and we yell at the other dog at the top of our lungs.

“No! No! Go Home! Get Away!” We make ourselves look big and threatening and really “unfun” to be around. Hopefully the dog decides to go another way.

Call for the owner of the other dog if you can spot them.

We yell “My dog hates other dogs! My dog bites!” This will encourage even the most lazy or unconcerned dog owner to try to collect their dog. It does not matter if my dog is the biggest teddy bear and would not hurt a fly.

If the dog keeps coming then the next step depends on our dog.

For little dogs, this is the time to just scoop up the dog and move away. If our dog is big and friendly then we try to shuffle away from the other dog, keeping ourselves between them. If our dog is big and not dog friendly then putting ourselves between the dogs can put us in danger.

When these two dogs are bound to meet and there is nothing we can do about it then we loosen the leash, or drop it if needed, and put on our most friendly voice.

“Hello sweet puppies, don’t you both want to be the best of friends?” A happy voice goes a long way to diffusing a situation. So why loosen the leash? Most of dog communication is done via body language and if I am tugging on the leash I am making my dog more tense and messing up their communication. No need for a dog fight because of a miscommunication. Worst case scenario there is a fight and I do not want my dog to be impeded by a leash. The truth is many dog fights end with just a scuffle and no actual damage, even if it sounds terrible.

If there is a dog fight we do our best to safely break it up.

We do not reach into a fight as that is the best way to get bit. We use items to put in between them or if the fight is one sided we distract the aggressor. Breaking up a dog fight is a blog in and of itself!

Thankfully we very rarely end up with a fight on our hands. Usually by going through the first few steps we manage to avoid any problems. If a problem does arise we are prepared and know exactly what to do!

Will You Care for My Sick Pet?

If you are a client of Wet Noses Pet Sitting then the answer is an emphatic yes, we will definitely care for your sick pet. Often if pets are sick before a client leaves then we can arrange extra care, but what happens if your pet becomes ill while you are gone? Here are two stories from the last month where we had to care for a sick pet after their pet parents left town.

The first case was an elderly cat that had kidney problems. During the previous few weeks she had been in and out of the vet clinic, but had been holding steady lately. The sitter was aware of the recent care but this was a short trip and the client decided to go out of town anyway, which we encouraged. Caring for an elderly sick pet can be draining and it often helps to get away to recharge your batteries to make sure you do not suffer from caregivers fatigue.

Anyway, after the first day I received a call from the sitter. The cat was acting much different than she had during previous vacations. We went over her behavior, discussed some basic health checks and formed a plan. The sitter contacted the client to discuss the behavior and see if it had been normal over the past few weeks. We discovered it was very different from what they had been seeing before they left and we all came to the decision that a trip to the vet was in order. The sitter took the kitty to the vet who then stayed the afternoon for tests and fluids. After the kitty was stable the sitter went to pick up the kitty and take her home. Over the next few days some supplemental care was needed and the cat was doing much better by the time the client returned.

The second case was a dog that suddenly lost mobility in his rear end out of no where. I had a brief call with the sitter and client and it was decided to hustle him into their vet ASAP.  The sitter brought him in and waited until the veterinarian was ready to run tests, then left for other visits. Once tests were done I went to pick up the dog and meet with the vet. There were no immediate problems they could find and his mobility improved throughout the day so we decided to take him home and focus on massage to increase his circulation.

Over the next few days he was up and down so we stayed in contact with the client and the vet to try to figure out the trigger. After a rearrangement of sleeping areas, lots of massage and the help of a walking harness the pup was doing much better.

So what is the common thread here? When you are gone we at Wet Noses Pet Sitting will do whatever is needed to maintain the health and happiness of your pets. While you are gone they receive the best care we can offer and we would imagine no less.

How Do I Pay for My Appointment?

 

At Wet Noses Pet Sitting we try to make everything as easy as possible! You have enough on your mind with work and planning your trips and our sitters are working with your pets. We do not want our sitters to have to worry about payment instead of your pets.

We use a fantastic system for setting appointments and keeping all of the details we need to provide amazing care. Before reserving an appointment, you will need to add a credit card. We take Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express. We are not able to see your credit card information and the system stores it safely. On the first day of your trip, or the beginning of your dog walk appointment, your credit card will be charged for the full amount.You do not have to worry about payment and our sitters do not have to think about collecting it!