A couple of years ago, my boss wanted to send me on a last minute trip to New Orleans. Never mind that I hate New Orleans (I have my reasons…), what was I supposed to do with my animals on such short notice?
Not being a pet person, my boss innocently offered to pay for boarding. (Which, admittedly, was nice of him). However…
So I had to explain to him that boarding special needs pets is not a good plan, and in the case of my emotionally fragile, epileptic, one-eyed, behaviorally challenged little biter, boarding is flat impossible, due to his habit of going completely berserk in a cage.
At the time, I was between sitters, because I had two medically high maintenance dogs, one of whom also had major behavioral issues due to trauma in his previous life. It was hard enough to find a sitter who was willing to handle the responsibility of their assorted medical issues; finding one who could handle Bumble’s behavioral issues was a much bigger challenge. He was profoundly territorial, terrified of leaving the house without me, protective of his medically fragile sister, and generally hell on four short little furry legs when dealing with anyone but me. And if he got too upset, odds were good that he would have an epileptic seizure.
I went through several people before I found Stacy. Stacy took his peculiarities in stride, was amused by his tantrums, and completely unfazed by his cranky attitude. She put in the time to learn how to manage him, worked at earning his trust, and now can even pick him up and carry him – a privilege few can claim. Stacy didn’t flinch from their assorted medical problems, learned to compound their medications, and was more help than I can explain when Bunny was terminally ill. And I also have the comfort of knowing my animals are safely at home, in their own environment.
Need a petsitter? First, ask your friends who they use. Ask your vet for suggestions – most vets know the best petsitters in their neighborhoods. Then check online – Petsitter International is where I found Stacy. Ask for references, and then check them. Have your petsitter come over a couple of times while you’re home to see how your animals respond, and how she responds to them.
Remember that whomever you hire to take care of your pets will have keys to your home, the codes to your alarm system, and most importantly, the responsibility for keeping your furry family safe and happy. A good petsitter is truly priceless.