In almost 30 years of owning one of the oldest pet sitting services in the metro Richmond area, not a week goes by that I’m not asked where we find our sitters.
And the way it is asked makes the caller sound very dubious and skeptical about where they are found! I always get the feeling they think we recruit from middle schools or grab the first person who staggers out of the homeless shelter on Monday morning! I love having the chance to readjust their perceptions.
Many people think that pet sitting is a “piece of cake” — What could you possibly need to know and how much more complex could it be than walking dogs, feeding them and patting them on the head?
Yes, pet sitting is fun for people who truly enjoy animals and understand all the behaviors, complexities, health issues and problems that go along with caring for animals. A person who is just looking for a J.O.B. will not enjoy scrubbing diarrhea off the white rug or scooping the poop in the backyard when it’s pouring rain.
So what do I look for in a potential sitter?
Certainly intelligence, maturity and experience with animals — not someone who had a goldfish as a child or their uncle had a dog that they saw a couple of times each year! For some reason these people seem to think they are qualified to become pet sitters and will argue with me when I tell them they do not have the experience I require. That is sort of like me saying that since I have eaten at McDonald’s I am qualified to become the CEO!
But getting back to qualifications: I look for people who have life experience, maturity, can work independently, follow directions, pay attention to detail, solve problems, handle emergencies and have had experience working with animals (ie: in a shelter, vet office, groomer, boarding facility) or previous pet sitting experience. In other words, they know that this is not a glamour job and that animals are unpredictable and require us to be smarter than they are.
And, of course, they must pass a background check.
During our almost 30 years as Richmond pet sitters, I have employed teachers, nurses, veterinarians, lawyers, paralegals, realtors and others from just about all walks of life. They all have one thing in common: education.
Pet sitting is attractive to many people that are looking for an enjoyable part-time job and I have been told many times it is the best job they every had! And clients know when a sitter really enjoys her/his job and it flows to the pet owner and their pets.
Pet Pleasers, Inc, currently has about 35 sitters in all areas of the metro Richmond area. In fact, five of our pet sitters have been with the company for five years; twelve sitters have been with us for a dozen years, five of our pet sitters have been employees of Pet Pleasers for 19 years and two sitters have been pet sitting for over 20 years!
I think that says a lot about our company and also our sitters’ enjoyment in and dedication to caring for animals.
So when you hire a pet sitter from Pet Pleasers, rest assured this person is qualified through experience and training to come into your home and care for your pets!
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.