I guess that sooner or later, just about everyone is pressed into service as a pet sitter. It can be a pleasant experience if you follow a few simple guidelines. To illustrate some basic tenets of the craft, I will use Annie Maguire and her guardians as an example. This isn’t intended to be a guide to professional pet sitting. I pet-sit only for friends and animals with whom I have an established relationship. For information on professional pet sitting, see www.petsitters.org.
Annie is a golden retriever, approximately four years old. Her guardians, Jane and Joel, are experienced and dedicated dog lovers. Over the years, they have shared their home with some marvelous canines. They raised Annie from puppyhood, and their general joie de vive is reflected in her personality.
Taking care of Annie Maguire is the pet-sitting equivalent of winning the Irish Sweepstakes. The Maguires’ home is one of the more comfortable residences on the island, and Annie is intelligent, affectionate and humorous. So let’s just say that I don’t shrink from the prospect of staying in that gorgeous home, taking care of that lovable dog.
In a general sense, it’s best to have a pre-care visit with pet and guardians. The Maguires always write down all the things I need to know about Annie’s routine: what she’s eating, how much to feed her and how often; what medications or supplements she might be taking… that kind of thing. They also let me know how to reach them in an emergency, and give me the contact information for their veterinarian.