Patricia Pantazis Hunnybun - Owner of Pampered Pets & People LLC & Becky’s Goodie Bags LLC
Often times the value of a qualified experienced professional pet sitter is undervalued. People sometimes may assume a pet sitter isn’t educated or that their prices are too high. For those, they do not understand that many pet sitters are highly educated and worked in a corporate environment for many years only to one day realize they were not living their passion and made a conscious decision to leave a high paying salary for a rewarding career. Many professional pet sitters are insured, bonded, accredited and certified all of which costs hundreds of dollars a year, for some even thousands. Professional pet sitters with a professional name, registered with the state, a web site, a logo and professional business cards, brochures and the works also costs a lot of money. Add to those marketing and advertising expenses of which costs exactly the same for an individual pet sitter as it does for a huge corporation who make millions even billions a year.
A full time professional pet sitter also gives up evenings, some overnights, weekends and holidays. Pet sitters do not get paid time off, do not get company paid holidays, there are no sick leave, fmla, vacation days, medical or dental insurance. All of these are self-insured or costs that the pet sitter takes on or simply just keeps on working.
But the truest value of a pet sitter is what leads me to write this article. One does not necessarily hire a professional pet sitter for when everything is perfectly going well. Sure it is easy to do the daily feeding, watering, potty breaks, cleaning up and playing – but the true worth of a professional pet sitter is when something goes wrong and the experience to be able to handle any situation that might come up with your home or pets. A pro that is experienced and skilled in identifying stress, illness, injury even the most subtle of symptoms. One who
is qualified and pays attention to detail in a proactive manner versus a reactive manner is priceless, thus avoiding possible problems with each visit.
A pet sitter is also your pet’s companion, play mate, comfort when you are not home. We become a second home, a second parent to each and every one of them. They depend on us, trust us, and rely on us. We also help to train new puppies all the way to dealing with aging of the elderly.
For all the low pay, no benefits, working 345 days a year – giving up weekends and holidays and to a certain extent a social life it is things like what this client told me today that makes it all worth it.
This is not the first time a client has put me to tears and will not be the last. Not only with happy tears of knowing how much I am appreciated, but also in sad tears when we all know the time is coming or has come to say goodbye. The battle between the mind and the heart in knowing when it is time to let our loved pet pass onto that rainbow bridge and the emotional struggle of being capable and strong to do it not only affects the owner, but us, the pet sitter as well.
Knowing this and being valued like this is priceless. My client texted me today “…we don’t have much time left with our girl and I appreciate you helping us take care of her. We truly couldn’t do this without you.” I started to cry and texted my client back that her comment made me teary. She responded, “ .. me too. Bad form to cry at work, but I am sincere in what I said. She needs you right now and it helps knowing we can all count on you to make sure she is as comfortable as possible. So, thank you for everything you do!”
When considering hiring a pet sitter, remember the quality and value you are hiring and the importance of hiring the right pet sitter for your animals and not necessarily your pocket book. Every single one of my pets when I come to the door even with the owners home, come running to me, recognize me, trust me and have also developed trust, love and a relationship with me. It means everything why I do what I do, and why I am so important to them and their owners.