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How Can I Become a Petsitter?
You love animals and would love a job in which you care for them. Pet sitting may be the perfect job for you.
How do you become qualified to be a pet sitter?
- Your choices must reflect your love of animals. For example, do you have pets of your own? Do you volunteer at your local Humane Society?
- Obtain bonding and professional liability insurance coverage.
- Begin by pet sitting with pets of your friends and family members. Once you have done pet sitting for someone, ask that person to write a letter of reference for you.
- Maintain a file of reference letters (these will come in handy when you are job seeking). (Never give prospective employers the originals of these letters. The originals should stay in your file. Copies of these letters are what should be distributed to prospective employers.)
- Become a certified pet sitter.Print business cards and brochures.Distribute your cards and brochures at veterinary clinics, Humane Society locations, dog parks, pet stores, etc. Developing referral networks with veterinarians and other animal professionals will serve you well.
- Take advantage of opportunities. For example, see if a local radio station will interview you on air periodically, as circumstances warrant. Perhaps you may do an on-air interview in July about keeping outdoor pets safe in extreme summer heat.
By taking each of these steps, you will have become qualified to be a pet sitter, and you will have done the self-promotion work necessary to project your qualifications. Then, you should be able to secure some professional pet sitting jobs that are right for you.
Pet Sitters, Treats & Toys
When you begin a pet sitting job, the pet for whom you will be sitting may not know you. In order to establish a favorable first impression, it is helpful to bring enticing treats or toys with you to your first pet sitting appointment. On subsequent appointments, your continuing to provide the pet with the delicious treats or fun toys will reinforce his/her perception that you are a benevolent addition to his world.
Many pet sitters provide treats when they first see the pet on every appointment: it becomes a part of a friendly greeting ritual.
Fun toys may include balls, ropes, and stuffed animals (for dogs); and peacock feathers, ribbons, and flash lights (for cats).
One note of caution: before you give any pet a treat, ensure that you have permission to do so from the pet's family.
Gathering Important Information for your pet sitting job
As a pet sitter, you will be acting on behalf of the family of a pet, in the absence of that family. Therefore, you will need to be ready to respond if an emergency arises. Gathering important information about the pet in your care is, therefore, essential. What information should you gather?
- The pet"s name and breed
- Any health concerns the pet may have
- Any allergies the pet may have
- Any strong aversions the pet may have
- The pet's vaccination records
- The veterinarian's phone number and clinic location
- A current photograph of the pet
- The pet's familiy members' phone numbers
- The pet's famlly members' protocol for pet sickness, escape, biting, etc.
By maintaining this important information, you should have the information you need should an emergency arise.