I’ve had a few calls recently requesting ‘boarding’ services which is something I do not offer. I don’t have a facility, therefore, have no where to house any guest dogs. I have my home where my own dogs reside with me. What I offer is called “vacation care” which essentially means your dog(s) stay in your home and I visit them in the comfort of their own home. We will work out a schedule that works for your dog depending on the time of your departure as well as your arrival back home. I will visit 3 or 4 times a day so that visits are spaced out every 6-8 hours depending on your dogs’ needs, for 30 minutes per visit. In the visit time I will walk, play with them, feed and refresh water for your dog – whatever their normal routine is I will try as much as possible to stick to.
What is the benefit to leaving your dog at home and having me visit? There are numerous benefits; the first would be the dog is in the comfort of their own home and do not need to stress about being in a kennel with other dogs barking or in unfamiliar surroundings. In their eyes everything is normal except I’m visiting to feed and let them out instead of you doing it. Your dog doesn’t need to be given any additional vaccinations to stay at home as they do when going to a boarding kennel. If you have other pets at the home such as a cat or small caged animals they will also be cared for on my visits (usually at no extra charge but depends on the work involved). Other small tasks will be done at your home for no extra charge such as mail/newspapers brought in, plants watered, lights alternated so that your home looks lived in while you’re away.
The vacation care I offer may not work for all dogs, however, a lot of dogs do better staying at home. It is especially beneficial for owners who have more than one dog as they are company for each other and boarding multiple dogs can be costly – think boarding costs as well as vaccination costs. Many mature, well-settled dogs do just fine staying at home alone. Dogs it may not suit would be very young dogs who require more attention or dogs who are crated/kennelled in your absence.
I recently took an overnight away and had someone come in to check on my dogs, feed them and let them out – exactly as I would do for your dogs and they were so settled and quiet when I walked in the door two hours ago. Of course they were happy to see me but now are all sleeping at my feet as I write this blog. No anxiety, no stress AND I didn’t have to drive anywhere to pick them up!
Of course you would need to live within my service area for me to offer this type of service as I will be driving to and from your house 6-8 times in a day depending on if you book 3 or 4 visits. Three visits a day would be just like you going to work for a day and then spending an evening out as well, maybe at a class or attending your child’s sporting event, shopping, whatever the case may be and you see your dog in the morning, for dinner and again before bedtime.
I’ve wanted to write about this for a while and keep forgetting until I come across another situation that reminds me of it. I’ve had a few recently so here it is.
I don’t understand why people feel the need to judge others based on their pets’ appearance or behaviour. I was recently walking a dog who was pulling and excited and starting barking at another dog. The lady walking the other dog GLARED at me and made some comment under her breath to the effect of me having a bad dog. While I agree he wasn’t acting like the most appropriate dog on the trail and it was not a display of behaviour that I would accept from my own dog, I don’t know why she felt the need to say anything. She has no idea, first of all, that the dog isn’t even mine; why the dog was behaving that way; and whether or not his owner was doing anything to try to work on his issues. I compare it to a kid acting out in a grocery store – maybe crying because the mom is not buying them candy – well it isn’t anyone else’s business how the mother handles the situation, even if you think the kid is being a brat saying so out loud with a disapproving glare is not going to change anything for the kid, the mother or you. Unless of course the mom is beating the kid, then you should do something about it.
I often have clients apologizing for things like their house being messy, or dog not being groomed, etc. Unless you are mistreating your pets or neglecting them completely, which you are obviously not if you’ve hired a service like myself to walk/feed them, I am not judging you, your pets or your home. I know it’s a natural thing to do….I recently caught myself apologizing at a vet visit for my dog not being perfectly groomed….but I really don’t pay attention to how long your grass is, or how messy your kitchen table is or that you didn’t put toilet paper on the holder (yes, sometimes I need to use your facilities). I will, however, let you know if something could be harmful or uncomfortable to your pet like long nails or matted fur – not to judge you but to be a voice for your pets 🙂
I go into a lot of homes and see a lot of different ways that people live but I am not there to judge you as I would not want you to judge me if you came into my home which of course can be messy, dirty, smelly and hairy at times….I have 3 dogs…of course it’s going to happen!!
I also have rules for my dogs that might seem strict – they are not allowed on the furniture, they must sit and wait for their meals, there will be no rushing out of open doors (they are released one at a time by name), no playing in the house, etc. I have these rules because of the number of dogs I have – it would just be too crowded on the bed or couch with 3 dogs, if they played & wrestled in the house my living room would constantly be a mess. I do not judge others for the rules they have for their pets even if you are more lenient than me. You do what works for you and I do what works for me just like we wouldn’t judge or criticize one another for the way we raise our children. Everyone is different and there is no one way that is more right or wrong than another.
Why would a person hire a dog walker or pet sitter when they have family, friends or neighbours they could ask to help them out? Well if you travel a lot or work everyday and need help with Fido or Fluffy, it can be a lot to ask of someone as a favour.
As a pet sitter my goal is to keep your pets as comfortable as possible in your own home by maintaining as regular of a routine as possible. I will come into your home on regularly scheduled visits to feed, water and walk/exercise your pets while you are away. Other tasks are also offered as part of the service such as medicating the pets, alternating lights in the home, bringing in mail and newspapers and watering plants. Some other benefits for your pet are they are familiar with their surroundings and not stressing in a kennel listening to other dogs whine and bark. Cats generally do not travel well so this is the ideal way to have your cat cared for. Also you do not need to administer any additional vaccines in order to leave your pet at home and you don’t need to worry about pick up and drop off times scheduled at a kennel. My visits will be scheduled based on your travel times so Fido and Fluffy are home and happy to greet you when you arrive.
Some tips for leaving your pets at home:
- inform your veterinarian you are away and let them know who is taking care of your pets in your absence; provide your veterinarian’s contact info to your care provider
- inform your family/neighbours you are away and that you have someone coming in to look after them; provide your pet sitter with emergency contact numbers in case there is an emergency with your house (broken window, fallen tree)
- have a plan for things such as power failures, snow clearing, broken furnace or air conditioning, etc
- if you are uncertain about leaving your pets with a pet sitter do a ‘trial run’ and go out for one night to see how they do
Daily dog walking services are ideal for anyone who has a long day at school or work or needs to run errands after school or work and want their dog to get out for some fresh air, to stretch their legs and, of course, to relieve themselves during the day. I offer a variety of services ranging from potty breaks for puppies and senior dogs, thirty minute walks or sixty minute hikes – all of which can be tailored to your dogs’ needs. Your dog can be walked individually or with other dogs – you make the decision.
When searching for a dog walker or pet sitter some things to consider in your decision would be their experience and love of animals – ask them about themselves and how they came to be a dog walker/pet sitter. Ask for references – you would do the same for anyone else you hire. Ask about their training and practices – are they trained in pet first aid? how many dogs do they take out together? what do they do if your pet gets injured? is their business insured? When you hire someone to care for your four-legged family members you should feel good about leaving your pets in their care and confident that your pets will be loved and cared for appropriately.
I offer dog walking and pet sitting services in Caledon, Caledon Village, Caledon East, Mono Mills, Inglewood, and Cheltenham. Prior to booking any services I will meet with you and your pet, free of charge, to discuss your pet’s needs. Please call 647-228-0273 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for availability and to set up a meet and greet.
- 30 minute dog walk in your neighbourhood
- 60 minute dog group hikes *dogs must meet required criteria*
- puppy/senior dog potty breaks
- cat/small animal visits
- vacation care visits (includes collecting mail, watering plants, alternating lights/blinds, etc)
- medication administration
- house sitting *no pets required (includes collecting mail, watering plants, alternating lights/blinds, checking on heating/cooling/water pipes, etc)
*dogs must be friendly with other dogs, must behave for travel in a vehicle, aggressive/dominating behaviour will not be tolerated on group hikes