Did you ever wonder what happens after you request service from your Professional Pet Sitter? I don’t think most folks have ever considered it. You book, and we show up – right? Actually, there’s a little more to it than that with any professional pet sitter. Here, at The DOG Nanny Group, we believe it’s those tiny details before and during the reservation that set us apart.
Before your visits begin… Assuming we have received your reservation 11 or more days in advance of the start date, your reservation will be on the first run of our schedule. This schedule is sent to sitters every Thursday, and covers the following Sunday-Sunday. Once the schedule is written, all visits for the week are assigned a sitter in our software system, Pet Sitter Plus (PSP). The billing is done for vacation clients we will be visiting that week, and then comes the paperwork.
We pull our Client Care Sheet for your pet. Remember the consult we did last month, or maybe 7-years ago? All that information about your home, feeding, medications, the likes and dislikes of your pet, etc. are all on an easy to follow sheet for our sitters. We make any necessary updates to that sheet, and also print a report card and a log sheet. The log sheet is used to document what went on during every visit with your pet. Did your pet eat – if so – how much? Did we refresh water? What did your pet do for potties? Did we have play time or a walk? Anything unusual in the house? What lights were turned on/off, and so on. Anything that happens during our visits is recorded on this internal paperwork. The log sheet is also used to remind sitters of important things that need to happen during their visit. Those updates you receive? We manually write on the log sheet when we would like one sent. Is your pet on medication? Not only is it documented on your personalized Client Care Sheet, but We manually write on the log “give Rex pills in pink pill keeper” under the corresponding visit. Our way of making sure all the bases are covered.
Once paperwork is done for all the vacation reservations of the week, we pull keys. Based on the log sheet, we can see who the first sitter is at each reservation and we make a plan to deliver the paperwork and key to each sitter who has a ‘first visit’ prior to the start of care.
Now we’re done, right? Not exactly. Now the late reservations start coming in – one on Friday, another on Saturday, a couple on Sunday, and more Monday and Tuesday. The process begins again, but first, we must see if we have sitters available to take on the added visits. The schedule for the week is already out, and sitters have started making plans for their time off so it’s a bit trickier than if these reservations were on the first run of the schedule. Don’t get me wrong – we LOVE our addons – we just wish they had come in a few days earlier. OK, so we determine we have sitter availability, we make the changes on the schedule, and then send an updated schedule to sitters. During weeks with a number of addons – sometimes sitters will receive 2-3 updates from the original schedule. This is where it is imperative that sitters be on the same page and using the very latest schedule update!! Then the process begins again… Assign sitters in PSP, pull all paperwork, fill out the log with sitter names and any important tasks that need to happen at certain visits. Pull keys, and take paperwork to sitters.
Now that everyone knows their schedule, first visit sitters have paperwork and keys, and reservations begin later today or tomorrow, we’re good to go, right? Not always. This is when clients often call with changes. Leaving earlier or later than expected? OK – no problem – except for the sitter who was supposed to start with Rex today at noon, is not the same sitter who is to visit at supper. We need to get that paperwork and key back from the original sitter, and get it to the sitter who now has first visit at supper. NOW we must be all set. NOPE! We hear from clients who have care instruction changes. Different routine, different medication, etc. OK – no problem – except I can no longer make these changes because the paperwork has been out of my hands for days. Of course, if it is major changes, we figure out a way. Small changes, I notify the sitter who has the paperwork and ask them to write the changes on our sheets.
All of this prep work is where Professional Pet Sitters differ from hobby sitters, your friend, a neighbor, or the kid down the street. Even Dog Vacay and Rover sitters aren’t going to go to these lengths to ensure your pets are cared for with such attention to detail.
Ok – so the work is done, right? No way! The real work hasn’t begun until we see your sweet pets! During our visits, we have sort of a formula that we use combined with your pet’s normal routine. A morning dog visit may look like this: potty, breakfast, give medication, change water, wash pet bowls, check the house, change lighting, lift shades/blinds, sit on the floor for snuggles and rubs, play toys, or maybe a quick walk and of course a good-bye treat. We do whatever ‘chores’ need to be done, and spend the rest of the visit engaging your pet and giving them love so they get the people time they crave.
At some homes, pets are all business and like their routine. At others, we figure out what the pet needs to be happy and then that becomes the routine. For example – you have a fussy eater – no problem! We have sat in your breakfast chair because that’s where you are when Sasha eats and that makes her happy. We have sung songs or played the airplane game to get Max to eat. When Abe quits eating, we know to spoon his food back into the middle of his dish so he will finish. And we know that Molly likes us to feed her her kibble one piece at a time while sitting with her in her special chair. (Molly is a larger breed girl and it is quite a sight to see).
Have you ever called to tell us you’re coming home early and will arrive in 30minutes? You have never seen us move so quickly! We don’t want you coming home to “command central”. Our goal is for you to never even know we were in your home except to see your completed report card. It does happen that plans change, but we appreciate as much notice as possible – hours in advance – or even better visits in advance. This extra time allows us to pick up all our internal paperwork and any other supplies we have at your home. Sometimes we bring pill keepers to organize medications, special collars, harnesses, muck boots etc. Of course, it is never a problem when you arrive home unexpected, we’re just embarrassed that you have to see all our “jazz” spread out on the counter, and that we haven’t finished our job without completing your report card sharing the highlights, and reminding you to contact us when you get home. And remember, our job does not end until we hear from you.
So, that’s what happens when our clients request service. In the coming months, we will be entering some of that care information into PSP so that paperwork does not have to travel from my hands to the sitters. The only thing that will have to be distributed is the key. Of course, clients who have coded locks, or liked our suggestion of a permanently affixed lock box, do not require a key transfer so that also saves a step.
Thanks for coming along on the journey of a day in the life of a professional pet sitter. We chose this profession and your pets are our top priority. I recently saw a facebook post from a hobby sitter. It may have been someone sitting through Dog Vacay or Rover, and it was not a child – it was an adult. They were alerting their neighborhood that they would be pet sitting a Chihuahua named Cinnamon for the week. They wanted everyone to know, just in case they lost her. Like us, they were planning ahead too – just for a very different outcome. I wonder how Cinnamon’s parents would feel about that?