How To Be a PITA Pet-Sitting Client

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There are a number of things you can do to earn yourself a PITA mark in the little black book of your pet sitter.   

Fortunately, most clients are awesome and so are their pets but, once in a while, someone steps up to really make the experience awkward and memorable.  The sitter may always be “busy” if that client calls again or the client may find their estimates are increased because the sitter has added a PITA factor to their pricing structure.

Some suggestions to earn a PITA rating are:

  1. Don’t reply to requests for information. Everything will be fine. Really. You hired a sitter to make sure all goes well. They don’t need to know the information they are requesting. Stick your head in the sand.
  2. Don’t confirm dates. Assume your sitter will be there when you said you needed service. They don’t have anything else to do.
  3. Don’t be available for questions or calls during the pet sit. Your sitter may call you for no reason at all.
  4. Don’t confirm estimates. Your sitter will do their best work anyway because they care about your pets. The sitter won’t ever worry that they are doing work they won’t get paid for.
  5. Make your sitter share the job with your neighbor’s kids but expect them to be responsible for the health and well-being of your pets and for the security of your home. Teenagers are notoriously reliable.
  6. Allow other family members to have access to your home during the pet sit. It won’t concern your pet sitter that your cousin may leave a door open during his party so Fluffy will somehow get out to get hit by a car. 
  7. Call your pet sitter two hours before the last sit to tell them you got home early and won’t need that last sit. Then, balk if you get charged for it anyway. The sitter should have been able to fill that time slot with two-hours notice. 
  8. Assume your pet sitter will understand that you decided to take your Aunt with you and her pets are going to stay, unexpectedly, in your home during your vacation. Why would two more dogs make a difference?
  9. Deny that your pet ever bites, has ever had food aggression, behaved neurotically during storms or hates anyone riding a bike.
  10. Assume your sitter is superhuman. They never have phone problems or car problems like the rest of humanity.

Not all of these things have happened to me in my short career as a pet sitter but I would say most have and most of them were the same client.

To be fair, there are some wonderful things that clients do to make a pet sitter’s job easier, more effective, and considerably more enjoyable.  Some of my favorites are:

  1. Leave detailed written instructions about the services required. It is almost always appreciated.  
  2. Leave food and any other items your pet sitter may need in plain view. Especially nice when a client leaves the cans of food to be used on the counter. 
  3. Leave lights on outside and indoors to deter criminal activity. 
  4. Leave emergency contact info in plain sight and readily accessible.
  5. Fill out or answer all questions as completely and honestly as possible.
  6. Let your neighbors and police know that you are going to be away and you have hired a pet sitter.
  7. Tell your sitter if anyone else has a key to the home. Explain who might show up in your absence, whether or not that person should be allowed inside the home, and if the police should be called.
  8. Reply to your pet sitter’s communications promptly so they know you have received the information conveyed. 
  9. Let your sitter know if your pet is sick, even if a sit is not scheduled.
  10. Let your sitter know you have returned and all is well.

Seriously, pet sitters typically chose their profession because they deeply love animals and care about them.  A good pet sitter is a professional and deserves to be treated as such.