Aug 162015

There are just those times when “stuff happens”.  A friend of mine teases me about having a backup plan, but when we have dogs or other pets, a plan of action in place is very important for their safety if we have an emergency and have to be away.

Just recently, my husband became ill and the visit to the ER turned into a stay in the hospital which is not unusual.  Since I have 6 dogs, I have a person that pet sits for me on a regular basis and knows my dogs, my house systems and my routine well.  That is part of my backup plan so she was able to pick right up with a last minute call to fill in for me until we returned.

It isn’t always easy to find that reliable person that is available or willing to care for our animals when we are away.  Using a neighbor isn’t usually a good idea although they might pinch hit in an extreme situation.  They have their own lives and imposing on their hospitality can lead to them avoiding us.  Plus, although being friendly and helpful, they may not be the right person to be on schedule to let the dogs out or may not follow our directions on feeding, sometimes leading to a dog escaping or damage to our house or even causing illness to the pet.

As a part of that backup plan, have it in place before you need it.  People that “pet sit” for a business are your best bet because they are usually insured and know how to follow your directions and are usually on call once you have established a relationship.  An Internet search will typically locate petsitters in your area or often you can use websites like or to find a reliable person.  Personally, I would avoid Craigslist ads.

Expect to pay.  The old adage “you get what you pay for”, is most often true.  Asking someone to care for your animals for free is not a backup plan.  Knowing there is no payout, the psyche tells them they can do it their way instead of your way.

Be careful of using children or even teenagers.  Children, although they might love your dog, do not have the judgment to deal with emergencies appropriately and it is likely they won’t be there for that early morning potty break to be sure your house isn’t soiled or keeping dogs separated for feeding to prevent a scuffle.  Teenagers, on the other hand, can (but not necessarily) be more reliable but an empty house + teenagers could lead to trouble.  Even so, most 16 year olds won’t be up at 6 am to let the dogs out and they might not realize the importance of not missing a visit.

Get your plan in place early.  Find the sitter, fill out the paperwork, check their insurance and reviews, and have them do a visit occasionally on one of your shopping days to be sure it goes well and the pets get to know them.  Then, check in with them routinely to be sure they are still in business and keep them up to date on changes you might have or changes to locks.

That backup plan will give you peace of mind when the Emergency Room beckons or you decide last minute to fly to Las Vegas for a weekend of the awesome buffets! Plan ahead for your pets to keep them safe while you are away because “stuff happens”!!!!



 Posted by at 4:52 pm
Sep 012012

Happy Labor Day weekend!  It is difficult to travel and leave your fur friends behind and it’s equally difficult to decide who will care for them.  Since I retired from my teaching job in 2007, I have operated a pet sitting business called Puppy Luv Pet Sitters LLC in my local area to provide loving care to the pets that my clients can’t take on vacation with them.

I am definitely not anti-boarding facility, but you know your dog and I know mine.  My pups would go absolutely crazy and be majorly freaked out in a place where the other dogs were barking non stop and the cats meowing at the top of their lungs.  In fact, many dogs are so stressed, they come home sick from any variety of problems.

This is where hiring a local and qualified pet sitter might be your answer. If you check references, ask about insurance and talk with your prospective pet sitter before hiring them, you are most likely to have a good experience.  You can find professional pet sitters who are serious about their business by searching or using your zip code.  Most reputable pet sitters will have websites as well.

There are reasons we don’t ask our neighbors and family or the neighborhood teenager to care for our dogs while we travel.  Firstly, our neighbors, while being super nice people, just don’t want to be up at 6-7 am to let our dogs out and then back during the day and late evening.  They might graciously do the tasks for a day, but over a long period of time, you may find they no longer answer your phone calls.

Family members who know our dogs are also candidates for pet care, but many have jobs and often do not live nearby.  In addition, they may not quite be on the “same page” as you with your animals and it’s a sad story when you have boarded your dog or dogs at a parent or sister’s house and they accidentally let the dog get out to be lost in a neighborhood where they are not familiar.  I personally have witnessed that happening a couple of times when I was walking a client’s dog and saw distressed family members searching for their daughter’s dog who had “run” from fear.  Both times, I had this sinking feeling that they just might not be found 🙁

As an adult that has raised two children to adulthood, I just couldn’t leave my house key with even the most responsible teenager or even college age young person.  The liability of an empty house and teenagers isn’t something listed on my homeowner’s policy!  After all, I was a high school and junior college teacher for 28 years so I do know something about the youth psyche and good judgement isn’t always top of the list.

Taking your dogs along is always the best answer when it’s possible, but if you must leave them home when you go on vacation, consider using a pet sitter.  The dogs will be comfy in their own beds, eating from their own bowls and because they do not have the sense of time of humans, when you come home….they’ll think you’ve just been to work!

 Posted by at 6:15 pm

What to do with your puppy while you work

 Dog Walking, Pet Sitting, Uncategorized  Comments Off on What to do with your puppy while you work
Nov 262011

As I was planning my exit from the high school classroom in retirement, I was also planning my next chapter in my life. Obviously, I have always had dogs and when we left the farm and moved to a neighborhood, I no longer had my parents nearby to watch my dogs when they couldn’t go along. I tried the boarding scenario, and I just wasn’t happy with the environment in that setting, even in the best situation.  That led me to a notice on the bulletin board at my vet’s office for a lady that did in home pet sitting. I made an appointment for her to come to meet us and because I’m big on first impressions, I decided she wasn’t what I was looking for.

That was my “Eureka” moment and I determined that I had the qualifications to start my own pet sitting business when I retired. My  teaching background gave me experience for the business side and my experience with animals made the job a perfect match.  I started researching online and found a plethora of information with my best resource being a website and group forum at  I got my LLC established, opened my bank account, created my simple webpage, developed all my paperwork and all I needed were pet clients to be a legitimate business.

Obviously, I started slowly and admittedly it took a couple of years to get a client base.  Because of my dogs, I had good relationships with the five vets in my area and before long, word of mouth, my web presence, and some print advertising started to pay off.  This is my fifth year in business and with two part time employees to help out when I want days off and during the busiest times, I am very comfortable with my client base and have almost as much as I can handle.  Admittedly, I always welcome new clients because occasionally one of my regulars moves away or loses their pet and it’s nice to have another one to fill the spot.

This is leading up to my caption, “what to do with your puppy while you work”!  I only do in home pet sitting which means when my clients travel, I make scheduled visits during the day to their house to care for the animals.  The other service I provide is mid-day visits for folks who work long hours.  Depending on the situation, I take the dogs for a walk and give them playtime in a fenced yard.  This is perfect for my clients (and for those of you) with puppies because I can exercise them, let them potty, plus do a little basic obedience training so the pup is ready to nap until their owner gets home.

Check out my webpage at and to find a reputable pet sitter in your area search on or  That might be the answer to moving your puppy through it’s potty training and adolescent years into being a dependable adult dog.

 Posted by at 1:34 am