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Care to Dance? Roomba-Style!

Advice from Richmond VA pet sitter about how quickly things can go wrong with a Roomba programmed to run when you are away or schedule work to be done while you are out of town. Read more on Pet Pleasers blog. | www.mypets-blog.com

If you don’t own one, you have at least heard of the Roomba® – the revolutionary (maybe) vacuuming system for your home. The Roomba® is programmable and is self-propelled to go to the areas where you have programmed it to.

I don’t know if one would work in my house. We have hardwood floors, lots of furniture, dog beds and “stuff” around everywhere! I think I would need to clear everything out to at least give the Roomba® a fighting chance to do some sweeping. So by the time I cleared everything out and then had to put it back after the Roomba® did its thing, I probably could have done the cleaning old school myself!

However, for many people it works perfectly and it is usually programmed to run when no one is home. It appears that Roombas are shy around people.

Many of our Pet Pleasers’ clients have Roombas, but they usually don’t program it to run while they are out of town. Well, that is except for one particular household. The pet sitter was not aware that the Roomba® would be “vacuuming” while the owner was gone. She went about her business, taking care of the dogs and cats and following the owner’s instructions for pet care.

Unknown to her, one night the dog decided that a good place to relieve himself of a hefty load would be on the living room rug. Well, you don’t need much of an imagination to figure out what happened!

The sitter came into the house and found a horrible mess and a Roomba® taking its last gasps of life. At some point during the night, the Roomba® went about doing its job and ended up smearing dog poo all over the living room rug. The poor Roomba® was clogged with the stuff and could not budge. We could clean the rug, but the Roomba® was beyond hope!

Another Worst Case Scenario

Many times, a client decides that they will have new floors or carpet installed, rooms painted or major work done in the home while they’re away. The Roomba® story is minor compared to dealing with workman coming in and out of a house with their equipment, ladders, tools, materials, etc.

Can you guess what is the the first thing they do? Yes — prop the door open to make it easier for them to get in and out. Why not? They weren’t hired to watch the pets. Occasionally, owners will post a hand-written sign warning that there are cats or dogs in house, but they are promptly ignored. Unfortunately the open door is impossible for the pets to ignore — it is a golden opportunity for escape.

Then, when the pet sitter comes over for the next scheduled visit, there are no pets to be found! After a quick panic, a large and time-consuming search begins.

Lessons Learned the Hard Way

In the case of the Roomba® — if you have pets in the house, you shouldn’t program it to run while you’re out of town. Bad things really can happen.

And if you’re leaving town for a while and schedule a pet sitter to care for your pets, this is NOT the ideal time to plan major work to be done inside your home. It is not your pet sitter’s job to monitor the workman and frantically chase escapee pets all over the neighborhood.

The best idea is to be there when the work is being done so you can supervise what is happening and ensure the safety of your pets.


Author: Carole

Carole Tomas is the owner and president of Pet Pleasers, Inc. She is a graduate of Ohio University and a Charter Member of the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters. When she began Pet Pleasers in 1985, business was conducted Old School via a landline, snail mail and an answering machine the size of a breadbox. No internet, email, text messaging, digital photos, social media or mobile phones! What has remained constant over three decades: Carole’s love of animals and an unwavering passion for professional pet sitting.

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