I belong to a Pet Sitter chat group (sounds riveting, doesn’t it?). Well, a common theme in the group is competition from hobby sitters and the preformed assumption that pet sitters have an easy job that any kid can do, cheaper. Often, there are stories in the news about a horrible pet sitter that abused a pet and it is usually someone hired online from one of the cheap hobby-sitter services that have popped up, seemingly overnight. Makes us all look bad. 

Most of the pros I have met or chatted with are hard workers and are truly dedicated to the welfare of the pets in their charge. They continually improve their knowledge of first aid, traits of different breeds, and strive to improve the lives of all. Such a wonderful group of people. You may be tempted to find a less expensive alternative for your pet but, honestly, do you really want to gamble with the health and happiness of your best friend? Is peace-of-mind worth a few extra bucks a day? Those dollars typically are offset by the training and experience your pro brings to the transaction. Nobody is in this to get rich.

I recently had to give up a regular dog-walking gig because the dog just wouldn’t pee for me anymore. Its partner had to be put down recently (IBS) and I think the surviving dog somehow associated me with the disappearance of his pal. The client liked my work and was willing to keep me as her walker but I promised to find a suitable replacement. Point is, I cared more about the welfare of this dog than the money. My chat group is full of stories like this one. Professionals that are in it because they truly care and not just to make some extra cash for pizza money.  

Talk to most clients and they will tell you about the kid they hired that didn’t show up, the sitter they hired online that had a party in their house, or the dope that fed cat food to their dog. They realize the value in hiring a professional to care for their fur babies.

A professional pet sitter is someone that is in the business of helping. They help pets and they help you.

To make sure you are hiring a true professional, ask about references. A great sitter will have great references. “I love to play with kitties and puppies” is not a reference. Read the fine print on those websites. They are not responsible for outcomes. They are in the business of making money, not the business of pet care. Your neighbors or your parents are not in the business of pet care. 

So, even though the rise of hobby sitters is a common theme in my chat group, someone always chimes in that we really aren’t competing with hobbyists. We really only compete with ourselves. How do we become better at what we have chosen as our life’s work? How do we help?

Why hire a professional? Simply put, “You love your pets.”