How About a Little Love for Our Pet Sitters?


Photo by Patrick Danforth |

Professional Pet Sitters Week is coming up! I’ll have the honor of being the keynote speaker at this year’s National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS) Education and Networking Forum and Annual Conference. I know this will be a great conference with all the dedicated pet sitters attending and learning more about ways to better care for the animals that they watch when we are not around.

My wife and I have hired pet sitters to take care of all of our pets for decades. They have watched our dogs, cats, turtle, birds, fish, and rabbits over the years. During their visits, they will even water the plants and bring in the mail if needed. Their role is vital in maintaining the routines that our pets are used to and keeping them safe in their own home environment…and we all know how animals love their routines! Pet sitters also provide peace of mind while we’re traveling or just away from home for the day. We consider their services to be priceless in our often hectic world.

When our dogs get to come along on a trip with us, which is as often as possible, our pet sitter will come over and take care of our birds on a daily basis. Other times our pet sitter will sit with our dogs and our birds when I have an all-day event to attend or just need some time out of the house with my spouse, family or friends. In the past, we’ve even had pet sitters who will stay in our house for the week while we’re away on vacation and the dogs can’t join us.

When trying to find the right and perfect pet sitter for your dogs and other animals, I always suggest starting out slow. Allow them to come over and visit with the dogs and your other animals for an hour or so while you are home. This will allow you to see how the dogs and other animals respond to them and how they interact with your pets. You want to make sure it is a good fit for everyone.

This initial visit is also a good time to provide a detailed set of pet instructions to the pet sitter for each of your pets. This will give the pet sitter a chance to ask you any clarifying questions about the instructions if necessary. These instructions should provide them with all of the pertinent information about each of the animals’ routines. In addition, it’s beneficial to include your emergency contact numbers, the contact information for each of your utility providers, and for your security system provider. Basically, anything you think your pet sitter would need to know during their visit should be included on the pet instructions you provide.

Once the initial meet-and-greet has been completed and you think it will be a good fit for everyone, book a short appointment with the pet sitter to see how it goes. Maybe you need to run some errands for a couple of hours or go see a movie or get dinner. This shorter visit will allow everyone to settle in, get comfortable with each other while you are still be close by in case something doesn't go as well as anticipated.

After a couple of visits, you, your dogs, your other animals, and your pet sitter will be able to settle into the routine, feel comfortable with each other, and enjoy the experience.

I am a firm believer in the pet sitter’s role in my animals’ lives. The trust and friendship built over the years is invaluable. If you have already found a pet sitter for your pets that you love, bravo! If you haven’t used a pet sitter’s services, go ahead and give it a try. You’ll be glad you did.

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Positively Expert: Tim Link

Tim Link is the host of the nationally syndicated radio show "Animal Writes" on Pet Life Radio. He is an internationally recognized animal expert, communicator, and consultant. As part of his passion for helping animals , Tim has also mastered Reiki - an ancient art of energy healing - which he uses on animals.


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