Hiring a pet sitter

For many of us, we take time off and travel for the holidays to visit family and friends.  But what happens if you can’t take Fido along on your journey?

For Peter and Erin Rusthoven, hiring a pet sitter to come into their home and check on their three dogs daily gives them peace of mind that their pets are being well–cared for while they are away.

“In addition to her obviously caring for the dogs, she’s also checking the house, bringing in our mail, watering plants, those types of things,” Pet Owner Erin Rusthoven said.

“Plus, they love her,” added Peter.

“They do love her,” Erin said.

“We do a quick walk around outside the house,” Pet Sitter Becki Bradford said. “We make sure gates are closed if we have yard play scheduled with the dogs. We check and make sure windows and doors look secure. Part of our training program is teaching our staff what to look for that something might be out of place.”

“The nice thing about a pet sitter is that your pet gets to stay in their own environment,” Angie’s List founder Angie Hicks said. “Also, you get someone who is checking in on your house for security reasons and in case something goes wrong like a busted pipe.”

“The client had just had a kitchen remodel done and had a built–in ice maker put into the island,” Bradford said. “The ice maker developed a leak inside the cabinetry of the island so it wasn’t noticeable in the kitchen itself, but a drip began through the ceiling of the floor beneath them, and we caught that fairly quickly so the damage was limited.”

Most professional sitters charge between $15 and $50 per visit, depending on the distance traveled, length of the visit, and duties required.

Visits can range from as little as 20 or 30 minutes to staying in the house overnight.

“Also, because they are going to be in your home and you’re trusting your pet with them, you want to make sure they are reputable so be sure you are interviewing the person that is going to be taking care of your pet and also be sure they are insured and bonded,” Hicks said.

Angie’s List says that before hiring, understand the services the sitter will provide, including frequency of visits and clearly communicate your pet’s needs.

A professional sitter should have an established protocol in case of an emergency with your home or pet.