Need a babysitter and a pet sitter? Or just need a pet sitter to look after your “baby”?
Sittercity is the nation’s largest database for babysitters, nannies, and pet sitters. You can also find tutors, elder companions, and house sitters. The service started in 2001 with babysitters, and just recently in May 2007, Sittercity expanded to include pet sitters.
There are currently over 150,000 pet sitters in their nationwide database. The pet sitters include people that pet sit but can also babysit or do other services as well, and professional pet sitters that have specialized animal training.
We spoke to Genevieve Thiers, the CEO of Sittercity, about their new expansion to include pet sitters. She said their company naturally expanded to include pet sitting because people are treating pets like children and are looking for someone that can look after their beloved pet.
When looking for a pet sitter, Thiers recommends this to pet owners:
- Look for energy in the potential pet sitter.
- Make sure that that they have had previous pet ownership and experience.
- See if your theories of disciplining a pet are similar to their theories of how to handle a pet.
On Sittercity, pet sitters are reviewed by their clients, so pet owners can read comments from families that have used their services. The pet sitters with the highest rankings will be at the top of the pages for easy accessibility. You can also run a background check on a potential pet sitter, and you can even see if they have pet first aid and CPR certification.
When asked to compare pet sitting and boarding a pet, Thiers said there are pros and cons to both. For pet sitting, the pros are: the pet gets individualized attention, many different kinds of services can be accommodated (walking, overnight stay), and it is especially advantageous for pets that are shy or timid. But on the other hand, pet sitting can be expensive since it is a specialized service.
For boarding, Thiers said the pros are: there are other services at the facility like training or grooming, and the pet gets consistent care. The cons are: there can be a bully pet at the facility, your pet can be susceptible to kennel cough, and they may not get enough attention from the staff.
If you are a pet sitter and are interested in putting your services on Sittercity, the two requirements are: pet sitters must be over 17-years-old, and you must have at least one pet sitting reference.
Photo: New York Times