Why Hire Me?
I know, it's a bit of a minefield choosing a dog walker/pet sitter! There are so many businesses out there, all claiming to be the best. So, whether you choose to contact me or not, here are some things you should consider when looking for someone to take care of your beloved pet...
1. Are they insured?
This is vital. Should something happen to your pet due to the actions of the carer, they will make a claim through their insurance. Besides the practicality aspect, this is also an indicator that the pet care business take their work seriously.
2. Do they offer a no obligation meeting?
It is impossible to know whether the carer is the right fit for your family and situation unless you and your pet have met them in person. Insist on a meeting before anything is set in stone.
3. Do they have the necessary paperwork?
This may not become apparent until the meeting but you are also well within your rights to check this beforehand. At the very least, I would expect to see a pet information form, contract and veterinary release form (a form giving the carer permission to take your pet to the vet in the case of an emergency).
4. How many dogs do they walk at a time?
This is particularly important if your dog is anxious or reactive to other dogs.
5. How do they take dogs to and from your house?
If they use a van to transport dogs, are the dogs safely restrained, how long will they be left in the van, is the van air conditioned?
6. How long will the carer spend with my pet?
Do you need someone to feed your pet while you're away? Worried they will pop in to feed them and leave straight afterwards? Check with them how long they stay for and whether they are willing to undertake other tasks (if required!) such as watering plants, putting out the bin etc.
7. How much do they charge?
In order to get the service you are looking for, compare the prices of a number of local businesses. In most cases, you get what you pay for so don't just opt for the cheapest. Remember, for those taking their work seriously, the fee they charge doesn't go straight into their pocket, so to speak. There are a number of deductions they will need to make. For instance, the cost of their website, petrol (if applicable), essentials like treats, poo bags etc, insurance.
As you can see, there is a lot more to think about other than "are they an animal lover?" and "will my pet like them?"
I am passionate about caring for animals and I realise there is a huge amount of trust involved regardless of whether you require a dog walker someone to come and feed your hamster. I will always arrange to come to your house to meet you and your pet before any firm decisions are made. This allows time to discuss exactly what it is you are looking for, fill in the necessary paperwork and see if everyone gets along. I am fully insured with Protectivity and have an up to date DBS (formerly CRB) check. I am upfront about the services I offer. If you want to book me to visit your cat or puppy, I will stay for a minimum of 30 minutes.
I really enjoy the relationship I am able to build up with dogs when I solo walk although I do also offer small groups of up to 3 dogs. I feel that I am able to provide a more personal service this way and if there were to be an emergency situation, I don't have lots of dogs to round up! I don't drive, therefore, the walks that I do will be in an area familiar to your dog. It also means, in the event of adverse weather conditions, I will still be able to visit your pet.
I will leave it up to you to decide as to whether you should hire me, it is all very subjective and just depends what you are looking for in a pet carer!