Overnight Pet Sitters: Scary Snoopers or Awesome Alternative?

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OtisWe timed our Squash’s adoption pretty poorly. We got her a week before a scheduled trip to NOLA for a wedding. We didn’t have much of an option though because the shelter told us we might lose her if we waited until after our trip, but the shelter also couldn’t hold her for an extra four days while we went on vacation.

So, basically, this poor little thing jumped from a shelter to a cozy home to a lonely kennel in just a week. I felt like a horrible mom. I can only imagine what she thought of us at that point. That’s probably the most guilt I have felt in my whole life. On the other hand, I think that’s why she adjusts so quickly from one environment to the next. (At least that’s what I tell myself to alleviate the guilt.)

My husband and I did discuss asking a friend to take care of Squash while we were away, but that’s a lot of responsibility to put on someone, especially since she was a puppy. I assumed boarding was our only option. I had never heard of pet sitters until I started to work at Rover-Time. If only I had known before we “abandoned” our baby for four days!

Of course I would have preferred to save Squash the stress of adapting to a new place and people and routine. She definitely would have felt more comfortable at our home in her own bed. And I would have liked knowing she was getting personalized attention throughout the day. It also would have saved me all that guilt and stress while on our trip.

And then I started to think about how that actually works… You mean a stranger sleeps in your bed and uses your bathroom and watches your TV while you’re away? How do you prevent the curious sitter from digging through your underwear drawer? What if they judge me for my hoarder’s pile of half empty hotel shampoos?

As I learned more about this service, I realized that these fears would be justified if I literally asked someone off the street to come watch my dog for a few days in my home, but of course there are professionals who do this work. So, I started by asking Julia for more info on Rover-Time’s overnight service. Here’s what she said:

Me: How do I trust this person in my home? Do you guys background check? 

Julia: As an employer, I think about the possible ramifications of making just one bad hiring decision. The recruiting, on-boarding and training process is both time intensive and costly so doing a proper background check isn’t just for my client’s peace of mind, it’s also for mine. And any reputable pet sitting business likely does the same. Or should. Just ask.

Me: Rover-Time is insured and bonded, yes?
Julia: This is also becoming an industry norm and it’s a great question to ask while filtering through all the service providers you consider. When I opened shop it was one of the very first expenses I prioritized. I wanted insurance that covered dog bites, veterinary care, property damage, and lost keys. Obviously, I want everything to go well while Rover-Time is in a client’s home but accidents do happen.

Me: How’s everyone trained? Do they know how to handle emergencies?
Julia: Rover-Time’s walkers are the core of my business. We’re all college-educated (so we’re smart and mature adults, we’re quick thinkers!) and each of us has certification in pet First Aid/CPR and we have a ton of experience working and understanding dogs. Once onboard, I personally spend a great amount of time developing, training, and ensuring Rover-Time’s standard of service is met. I’m always seeking out professional development seminars to attend or send my walkers too. I like the idea of having the best and most knowledgeable team of experts available to my clients.

Me: What hours will the sitter spend with my dog?
Julia: A Rover-Time house sitter is guaranteed to arrive by the evening feeding and will stay overnight in your home through the morning meal but we work with whatever schedule a client outlines for us. It’s a flexible service to help the client feel “free” to enjoy life away from home.

Me: What happens if the sitter becomes unavailable?
Julia: I find coverage! Stuff happens but that’s why my team works collaboratively and why building team culture is so important to me. This collaboration builds accountability and it works for us.

Me: Does Rover-Time offer additional services while squatting? (i.e. mail pick up, open/close curtains, dog grooming, water indoor plants).
Julia: Rover-Time does. As a sitter, I’ve even stocked the fridge with the staples for clients. You want to choose a service that enjoys customer service. Like actually loves it. You’ll be surprised how much they’ll do without you even thinking to ask.

Me: Can I contact past clients who’ve used them to dog sit? 

Julia: Sure. If you feel comfortable doing that. Yelp is also a great source. If a potential client asked, I would happily connect them to existing client. Transparency is key when running a good business.

And I won’t stop here. Visit the Humane Society’s page for more considerations when hiring a pet sitter.

In the comments below…  

  • Share your success stories on finding and hiring the best pet sitter for you. Why did it work for your household?
  • If you haven’t experienced bringing in a house sitter, are there reasons why?

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