Why is it Important For My Pet Sitter to be an Employee?

 

As a professional pet sitter it is important for us to understand the legal risks for both ourselves, our employees and our clients.  Especially since animals are unpredictable, we want to make sure everyone is protected in the case of an unfortunate accident.

We avoid problems whenever possible but after doing our research it was decided that having employees is the only responsible way for Wet Noses Pet Sitting to run as a business and here is why:

  1.  Employees are covered by Workman’s Compensation Insurance
    This insurance protects you, the client, in the case of the sitter being injured.  If a sitter were to slip on ice in your front yard you could be sued for medical costs if the sitter is not covered by workman’s comp insurance.  Pet sitter insurance only covers damage to your home and animals in the case of an accident.
  2. Employees can undergo training
    One of the qualities we are most proud of here at Wet Noses Pet Sitting is the training your sitter undergoes, both when they join the team and continuing education.  Our sitters not only learn CPR and first aid but also learn about proper animal handling techniques, what constitutes a pet emergency, positive reinforcement training techniques and more!  We offer continuing training for unique situations and ongoing tips and tricks for being an awesome pet sitter.  When companies hire independent contractors they are not able to train them so they only have the knowledge they come with when hired.
  3. Employees are consistent
    Since contractors cannot be trained that also means that they are pretty much on their own when they go to do a job.  Think of a person that does tile work.  One might be wonderful and another terrible, because they are not trained to provide consistent quality of service based on the expectations of a company.  Pet sitters that are contractors legally can only be hired for a job and it is up to them how the job gets done.

For these reasons we at Wet Noses Pet Sitting are very excited to work with our amazing employees to make sure we provide the best pet sitting and dog walking service possible!

How Do You Screen Your Pet Sitters?

 


Our New Sitter Screening Process


 

One of the most important questions our clients ask us is, “how do you screen your pet sitters?” After all, these are the individuals that are put in charge of your precious pets. We put our trust in our sitters to respect your home and give your pet nothing but care, love and affection while you are away.

That’s why the screening process is so important to Wet Nose Pet Sitting. Here’s a glimpse inside how we choose the best sitters for you.

 

Step 1: Online Application 

When a sitter is interested in working for Wet Noses Pet Sitting they first complete an online application.  This is where we ask the initial important questions. How much experience do they have? What is their availability for weekends, emergencies and holidays? And do they have physical health problems and/or limitations? All of these help us pick out the right candidates for to start the hiring process.  

 

Step 2: Phone screening

Then we reach out and do a short phone screening just to make sure we want to continue with an interview.

Step 3: Interview #1

Next, we will schedule an interview with our manager. During this interview we also conduct a personality test. This test is used to to weed out anyone with a possible history or predisposition to theft, substance abuse, or anything else that doesn’t represent Wet Noses Pet Sitters. 

 

Step 4: Interview #2

After a successful first interview, our candidate will meet for an interview with Liana, our owner. She will get more in depth and gauge experience levels, both with animals and professionalism in general. She will also assess their level of dedication and availability. We don’t like high turn over and want pet sitters with longevity. Our pet clients can get attached to their sitters; they become friends and we want employees that convey that level of commitment. 

Step 5: Background & Reference Checks

Once we’ve determined a prospective pet sitter would be a good fit for our team we then complete a full background check and call their references. We call references of both with animals, professional, and personal interactions.

 

Step 6: On-the-Job Trial

When the checks come back clear, we then set up a day in the field with a manager and a few already established sitters for a final evaluation. This puts the prospective employee in real life situations and duties on the job. Sometimes people don’t understand exactly all the details and work that go into a day of pet sitting. This can especially be true when it comes to clean ups and unexpected situations. So our “almost” employee gets an inside look at what a typical day looks like before we move forward.

 

Step 7: CONGRATULATIONS! You’re Hired! 

Once all the above have gone well, we bring on the new employee and get them started on training. Then we will pair them with the best pet client for them and let the bonding begin.

 

More questions? Check out our FAQ’s and don’t hesitate to contact us about our screening and hiring process! We’re here to make you and your pet comfortable.

 

 

How Does Overnight Pet Sitting Work? Header

How Does Overnight Pet Sitting Work?

How Does Overnight Pet Sitting Work? Header

For people who have never used a pet sitter, the idea of having overnight pet sitting can be a little daunting! Here we try to explain everything you need to know so you can decide if overnight pet sitting is right for you and your fur kids.

How Long are Overnight Stays?

At Wet Noses Pet Sitting, we offer two different overnights:

  • Standard Overnight which is 9-10 hours long
  • Extended Overnight which is 12 hours long, usually 7pm-7am

In most cases, unless you have a dog door or only have cats, we also require a visit during the day. We can help you choose visits that are best for you.

What Animals Need Overnight Stays?

We most commonly see overnight stays being used for dogs, but that is not to say that some cats do not appreciate them! If you have pets that are used to, and enjoy, company in the evenings, then overnights would be a good fit. You also may have pets that need to monitored more closely due to heath problems, or are young and exuberant and need more exercise! I have an older cat that likes to sleep on the bed next to a person, so even when we take the dog with us, we still get an overnight sitter.

What Happens During an Overnight Stay?

Depending on whether you chose a Standard or Extended Overnight, the sitter will have varying amounts of time.

  • During a Standard Overnight, the sitter will have enough time for feeding, medications and a quick walk. The same basic activities that happen during a pet sitting visit.
  • During an Extended Overnight, the sitters usually arrive between 7-8pm. This allows them time for playtime, a longer walk, plant watering and extra cuddling! During these longer overnights the sitter will generally spend the extra time hanging out with your pets and keeping them company. For households with a lot of pets, this extra time also allows the sitter to perform any additional tasks that are hard to complete during the day visits.

Where Does the Sitter Sleep?

The sitter can sleep wherever you are comfortable, but we often recommend that the sitter sleep in the room your animals are most accustomed to. The sitter can sleep in your bed, in a guest room or on a comfortable couch. Some animals do not mind where your sitter sleeps, but if you have a dog or a cat that has a specific routine, you should consider sticking with the normal bedroom.

Some clients will wash the sheets before leaving, especially for longer trips. Then the sitter will wash the sheets before you return. Some sitters prefer to bring their own bedding. These are details you can work out with your sitter during the introductory meeting. If you want to learn more about this specific topic, see our post here.

Still Having Trouble Deciding?

We have written up suggested schedules depending on what pets you have. Shy cats have very different needs than active dogs. Or Call Us to discuss schedules based on the specific needs of your pets!

How Does My Pet Sitter Keep My Keys Safe?

 

Different options for different companies

When working with a pet sitter, you want to be sure they are keeping your keys safe. Every company handles keys differently. Some of the options we have seen when talking to other companies:

  • One key when working with a single sitter
  • Garage codes instead of keys
  • Get returned after visits
  • Are left hidden after visits  (under mat, rock, etc)
  • Locked inside the house
  • Lock boxes, like realtors use
  • Kept by the company in a safe location between trips

Safety versus convenience

Everyone wants to use the option that is the most convenient, without sacrificing security. However, some companies only have a single sitter. And other companies are in regions where lock boxes are easily used. Each company has to work out a situation for key security that works well for them, as well as their customers. So, when choosing a pet sitting company, make sure they have a safe set up for their keys whether or not they keep them in between visits.

Our set up

Key requirements:

  • We require two copies of keys before starting your visits. If you are not able to provide two, we can get a copy made for you for a fee.
  • For new clients, your keys will be collected at your meet and greet with your sitter.

Key storage:

  • One key stays with your regular sitter and one stays in our office, in the case of an emergency. If you only have occasional visits, your key will be returned to the office by your sitter in between trips. If you are a dog walking client who has two regular sitters, they will each have a key.
  • They are tagged with a unique code and your pet’s names so they cannot be identified by anyone but your  pet sitter.

Key returns:

  • We prefer to keep keys whenever possible. This allows for us to easily provide pet sitting visits and help in the case of an emergency.
  • If you are using us for the the first time and want your keys returned, your sitter can return them one time for free.
  • For future visits you can drop off and pick up keys from our office, or your sitter can stop by your home for a fee.
  • Due to security concerns, we will not leave your keys hidden for you. We will lock them inside your home, with the understanding that should you be delayed, we will need to get a locksmith or an emergency contact to get into your home. As you can understand, this is not our preference.

How Do I Choose the Right Pet Sitting Service?

At Wet Noses Pet Sitting we tailor your appointment to the needs of your household.  This is great for your pets but can sometimes be confusing when trying to decide what type of appointment to schedule.  Here are some tips we use to match you with the best schedule for your needs and make sure you have the right pet sitting service:

 

What is your regular schedule with your pets?

When you are gone we prefer to keep your pet’s schedule as similar to your regular schedule as possible.  Some of the aspects your should consider are: how many times your dogs go outside during the day and what times, how often your pets are fed, when medications are given and how much attention and exercise your pets require.

Another factor we ask you to think about is when during the day do you interact with your pets and what does this interaction look like?  If your dogs love to go for a long walk in the afternoon then maybe a longer mid-day visit would be a good idea.  If your cat loves her cuddle time in the evening then a dinner visit with extra time will be in order.

Do I need an overnight stay?

Some clients prefer an overnight stay for the security it provides your home but there are two factors we use to determine whether an overnight stay is necessary for your pets:

  1. Do your pet need attention (potty break, medication, etc) really late at night or early in the morning?  Our normal visits are 7:30am-9pm so anytime outside of these hours, an overnight is recommended.
  2. Do your pets sleep with you on the bed?  Not having a person there overnight can be a very upsetting change for some pets.

 

How many visit per day do I need?

After taking a look at your normal routine we like to set you up with as many visits as you need in order to keep your pets happy and healthy.  We recommend:

  • Dogs: 3-4 visits a day or 1-2 visits and an overnight stay
  • Cats: 1-2 visits per day or an overnight

We require at least two 30 minute visits per day for dogs and one visit per day for cats, but we find they are much happier with more frequent visits.

 

How long should my visits be?

Along with how many visits the next step is to decide how long your visits should be.  Our most common visits are 30 minutes long, but many people utilize our other visits as well.

  • 15 minute visits – Good for shy cats that do not need any attention or a quick potty break for a dog.  We often recommend these for late night dog visits.
  • 30 minute visits – A normal length visits.  This is enough time for feeding, dog walks and some good attention.
  • 45 minute and 1 hour visits – Longer visits are great for pets that need extra attention or dogs that need longer walks.

It often helps to mix and match visits, such as a 30 minute breakfast and dinner visit and a 15 minute late night visit.

 

We have sample schedules based on your fur kids!

We know it can be hard to figure out a schedule the first time and to envision how your trip will go.  We set up a list of sample schedules, so find your most high need pet and look at our suggestions:

So what now?

If you still have questions or want to talk through the possible schedule with us, give us a call!  We are happy to discuss our services with you and make sure we match you with the best option for you and your fur kids.  If you know what you want to schedule then hop on our online system and set up your appointment today!

 

What Happens During a Pet Sitting Visit?

 

Are you wondering what happens during a pet sitting visit? Many people who contact us have never used a pet sitter before and they are not sure what to expect. We understand that! It can be nerve wracking using a new service where a new person will be coming into your home for the first time to care for your most valued possession: your pets!

How Does the Visit Start?

Each pet sitting visit is tailored to the needs of your pets so each visit is going to look a bit different, but we do have some basics that we cover no matter what. When your sitter arrives at your home she will check in to the visit with our software. This tags the sitter via GPS, so we know they have arrived on time. When the sitter leaves she will check out so we know the visit is complete.

The beginning of the visit will depend on the pets. Some dogs are excited to go out for a potty break right away so we get them out first thing.  Some more shy pets, especially cats, need a quiet moment after we arrive to adjust to our presence.  It is not uncommon for a sitter to sit on the floor for the first 5-10 minutes of a visit to allow the pets to come greet them on their own terms.

Pet Sitting Visit

What Happens Next?

At each visit we do a check on all of the pets and the house. Unless otherwise requested, we get a visual on every animal, including the shy kitties, to make sure they are all happy and healthy.

Once we know everyone is doing well we set about with the basics of a visit.  For most houses we feed the pets, provide water, medications, dog walks, litter box scooping, etc. Some dogs benefit from a longer walk or a session of fetch in the yard. If possible, we love to play with the cats and get all of the animals as much exercise as possible. We are firm believers that a tired pet is a happy pet, especially when talking about young dogs!

When all of our tasks are done and everyone is settled, we send you an update via email or text and leave a note with details of the visit. This way you can relax knowing your fur kids are cared for. We will also reach out during the visit if we have any questions or concerns, so we have plenty of time to chat with you.

What About Shy or Quiet Pets?

Some animals do not enjoy as much interaction as others.  Smaller or older dogs can appreciate cuddle time on the couch more than a walk.  Cats can benefit from just having company in the same room. We have recommended schedules for different types of pets based on their personalities. When we are picking a sitter for you we make sure the sitter’s personality is a good match for your household, so it important that we learn as much about your pets as we can during set up.

Do You Take Care of the House?

In additional to taking care of your fur kids, we also take care of the normal activities around the house. This includes alternating lights, opening/closing blinds, bringing in the mail and packages, bringing in the newspaper, watering a handful of indoor plants and taking out the trash.  These efforts all help keep up the normal appearance of your home to make it seem lived in, as well as make your adjustment when you come home a little easier. We try to estimate how much time this will take and account for it when we schedule your visits.

Overall

Your sitter is there to provide thorough and loving care to your pets and home while you are gone. We work to match your normal routine to the schedule of your sitter, so your pets can be happy and relaxed while you are gone. If we find a schedule is not working out well for your pets then we are happy to change it and make suggestions on what might be a better fit. The care and comfort of your pets is our primary concern and we want to work with you to make your time away as happy for everyone as it can be! It is not unusual for human clients to tell us that their pets get more individualized attention when we are watching them than they normally do. That is our one and only job!

 

Do you have any questions about how we will care for your pets?  Contact us today!

How to Help Save Bats in Fort Collins

 

Bats are often a misunderstood animal. There are a lot of myths as well as misinformation about how they live and the dangers they pose. It may stem from old the folklore relating bats to vampires and evil. Not to mention the rabies scare, which is not entirely true either. The truth is not all bats have rabies. They have the same probability of carrying the disease as raccoons, skunks or foxes. But the chances being bitten by a bat, let alone getting rabies from one is extremely small. In fact, bats are our friends and our world needs them.

 

How bats are beneficial:

Did you know that bats help to pollinate and also devour of insect pests, especially mosquitoes? A single brown bat can eat 1,200 mosquitoes an hour, and if that’s not a reason to love them, then I don’t know what is!

What is happening to their population?

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, there are six species in the U.S. that are endangered. On top of that  another 20 are threatened, Unfortunately, bat populations are declining because of habitat destruction, pesticides and fungal diseases and other disruptions from cave explorers.

More than a million bats each year are killed by the White-nose Syndrome.  It thrives in caves and mines, causing bats to wake up too often while hibernating, burning their stored energy and ultimately leading them to starve.

How to help save them:

There are several ways you can help save the bat population. Check out these ideas from the Organization of Bat Conservation:


There are a lot of misconceptions about bats. But the main truth is that our environment needs them and they are dying out. It’s up to us to try and stop the endangerment of bats.

 

Why are Pet Sitters Worth the Cost?

 

 

There is no doubt, good pet sitting is a luxury service.  We regularly get questions about our cost, wondering why we charge what we do and what we offer for that price.  I finally decided it was time to answer the question head on as only the business owner can.

First off, we charge a reasonable price for a professional pet sitter in our area.  There are some sitters that cost more, some that cost less, but we are middle of the road.  We definitely charge more than a neighbor or a friend, but that is a different blog.

So why do we charge the price that we do?

We charge the amount we do in order to offer the service we would want to receive and to be around for years to come.

Our sitters are employees with extensive animal knowledge.

We pay them accordingly both for their experience and their time.  Pet sitting is a wonderful job that asks sitters to set aside their holidays, evenings and weekends for the benefit of our clients.  We prefer to have sitters stay with our team as long as possible and thus we make sure to pay them a living wage that still allows them some time off.  Anyone that has used our service can tell you their sitter was amazing and well worth the cost.

Wonderful service specialized for you.

We work to provide the best possible care for all of the animals we work with. By covering everything from happy Labradors to grumpy parrots and horses. All pets from 10 week old puppies needing potty breaks to 20 year old cats needing fluids and medications, are our passion. Such a wide variety of clients requires a variety of staff, some with specialized training. We pair quiet sitters with shy cats and energetic sitters with active puppies. Also, we have equine specialists for the horses and small animal specialists for our pocket pets and reptiles. Often we hire people with special skills and sometimes train existing staff for a new expertise, all of which requires a dedicated staff who love their jobs.

Emergency back up for every situation.

In the case of an emergency or even a basic question your sitter has back up 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We recently had a 160lb Newfoundland that needed an after-hours trip to the emergency room.  He was not able to move in his own so we had multiple sitters there to help there within 20 minutes to get him on his way, and he is doing much better now!

We are in business for the long haul.

Pet sitting, as an industry, has an extremely high turnover. In our years of business we have seen companies come and go because the hours are long and the job can be emotionally draining, especially when working with hospice patience or elderly pets.  Wet Nose Pet Sitting has been a professional company for 8 years and I have been pet sitting for over 18 years. Constantly improving our company to serve our clients better and make sure we are around for years to come is why we are here!

We are professional.

This may seem like a no-brainer but unfortunately there are a lot of companies in our industry that are not as professional as they should be. I am constantly doing research to make sure we have the best insurance and our sitters have new tips and updated training for pet care. I work with our sitters and clients to see how we can streamline our business to make life easier for everyone and keep the focus on our furry friends. Our job is stay on top of the background details so that you can enjoy your time away from home.

At Wet Noses Pet Sitting we are all animal lovers and we would not be comfortable offering a service that was any less than what you and your pets deserve.

We charge the amount we need to in order to provide this service on a consistent basis and stay in business for years to come. That being said, we want everyone to use a company that works best for them so if you do not feel we are the best match for you then we encourage you to take a look at other pet sitting companies in the area. Go with the company that is the best match for you and your fur kids!

What to Do if You Suspect Animal Cruelty

 

It’s a sad thought, but some precious pets are faced with animal cruelty and abuse everyday. And it can happen in the most unlikely places. The movie A Dog’s Purpose was recently thrust into controversy. A video was released that showed the producers allegedly abusing the animals on set. Animal lovers around the country were appalled.

And multiple businesses in the pet industry had even rallied around the movie as a chance to raise money for animals in need. Then sadly, we were faced with the fact that animals during filming were forced to do terrifying stunts. Something no true pet lover would ever do, especially for the sake of entertainment.

Animal cruelty usually hides in the shadows. And that is why this is a perfect opportunity to shed light on this terrible subject. Because this movie proves that abuse can show up any where. So what should you do if you suspect animal cruelty?

Here are a few things that you should know.


  • Find out the agency in your area that is responsible for enforcing and investigating animal cruelty and abuse.

Depending on where you live this could be the SPCA, a local humane society. Residents of smaller jurisdictions can call your local police or sheriff’s department. See below for a list of helpful links to help you narrow down your search.

  • Safely Gather Evidence. 

Okay, so this is not a call to become Nancy Drew or the Hardy boys. But if you can, try to safely take pictures or film with corresponding date.  Also, when you observe suspicious behavior, take down short, but factual notes. It will help law enforcement determine the proper course of action.

  •  Officials should next check out the animal(s), their home and interview you and/or neighbors.

According to Peta.org this is what usually happens next: “Law-enforcement officials should inspect the animal visually, and if possible, conduct a hands-on field exam (referred to as “palpating” the animal) in order to find injuries or an otherwise unhealthy physical condition that may be obscured by the victim’s fur. Officials will often be fooled by a dog who “acts happy,” but manic or social behavior does not mean that the animal is safe; he or she may just be anxious to please or desperate for attention. A more thorough examination is necessary, and an injured or clearly endangered animal must not be left behind. The crime scene should also be thoroughly inspected for any indication that abuse has occurred. Suspects and neighbors (potential witnesses) should be interviewed. If the investigator agrees that your complaint has merit, a warning may be issued, charges filed, a warrant served, and/or the animal(s) removed.”

  • Persistence can save lives. 

Once reported, warnings are issued and charges could be filed. But this doesn’t guarantee that the pets are safe. Go to supervisors and government officials if necessary. Call your local media, news coverage can do wonders to stop abuse. If you feel in your heart that animals are still in danger, do not stop.

 


HELPFUL LINKS:

ASPCA

PETA – Report Animal Cruelty

National Link Coalition

PAWS

 

 

Merry Christmas from Your Wet Noses Pet Sitting!

 

All of your Wet Noses Pet Sitting hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your family and friends!