When a representative of Pet Pleasers, Inc. comes to your home for the initial interview we are on a fact-gathering mission and want to meet all the pets we will be taking care of while you’re away.
In almost 30 years as pet sitting experts in Richmond VA, I find that the majority of people who use a pet sitting service have multiple pets — two dogs and three cats, five cats and a bird, two outdoor dogs and four indoor cats and so forth.
When the pet sitter meets with you that first time, we want to learn all we can about each pet, check vaccination records, check to see if any pets need medications, who your vet is and any behaviors we should be aware of. And most importantly, we want to meet and see each animal.
Why It’s Important
Let’s say our client has three chocolate labs – one of whom is diabetic and requires an insulin shot. We need your help to find a reliable way to distinguish between them. If the one getting the insulin injection is the only female — that makes it easy. However, if all three labs are female, then the one getting the shot needs to have on a specific color collar or bandanna or ribbon.
Cats can be very friendly … or they can be terrified and hide so well only they know where they are. 😉 But for that initial meeting, it is important for the owner to gather them all in the room with the sitter so she can see what all your animals look like. If a client has five cats and wants them left outside in the morning and brought in every evening, we want to make sure we are bringing in the correct cats!
And we always want our human clients to double check that all of your pets are in the house (except dogs we know in advance will be in pens and/or fenced-in yards) before you head out of town. This way, your pet sitter knows all are safe before their first scheduled visit. Make sure all cats are inside and do a head count before you lock the door and leave.
Several years ago I had a pet sitting engagement to care for five cats who had the run of the house. Three were very friendly and two were not so friendly. I had taken care of them for several years and never had a problem — except this one time.
As was my practice, I always checked around to be sure all five cats were present and accounted for when I arrived for my visit, but this one time I was unable to find one of the cats. I started on a search … under furniture, in closets, under beds, behind the refrigerator, washer and dryer — any place I could think of where a cat could possible hide. No luck.
On my next scheduled visit, I started the hunt again. The house had a room over the garage, but the door to the room was always closed and I never went up there. Having exhausted all other options, I decided to check and discovered that the door to the attic was wide open! I figured the owner went into the attic to get their luggage and no one noticed they had “company.” The cat was curious and that was where he was!
Mystery solved! But the story does not end that easily.
The cat was shy and did not come out of the attic when called. I put some food at the doorway and hoped that would lure him out. No such luck. I could hear him meowing and it was coming from a strange area. So I went home, got my husband and he crawled out into the attic (unfinished) only to discover that the cat had fallen down to the first floor between the outside and inside attic wall!
Poor thing! The cat was trapped between the two walls. After some detective work, we discovered he was very close to an interior wall in the garage. The only option was to cut a hole in the wall, but we didn’t want to do that without the owner’s permission. We called them and after their shock, we all began to laugh hysterically. It was pretty funny!
They gave us permission to do whatever we needed to do to rescue their curious cat. My husband assembled the appropriate tools from his toolbox at our house, returned and and cut the hole in the wall. As you might expect, the cat came sauntering out, glaring at us as if to say: “What took you so long!” He was hungry, thirsty and needed a litter box, but no worse from the trauma. We were the frazzled ones!
The moral of the story — ALWAYS made sure your pets are where they are supposed to be. Don’t assume all is fine. Check to see the whites of ALL of their eyes before locking the door behind you. Your pets and your pet sitter will thank you.
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.