What is a Meet & Greet?

The Meet & Greet.  What it is, and What you need to know.

You find that you need a professional pet sitter.  You’ve done an internet search, or a friend made a recommendation, even another pet sitter may have made a recommendation.  Now it is time to make a call to set up a Meet & Greet, but before you do, you should check the website of the professional pet sitter you intend to contact.  Frequently the pet sitter will have valuable information including services, service area, rates for services, reviews by clients who were provided services, and you will get a sense of the person you will be contacting.

A Meet & Greet is a meeting between a professional pet sitter you have contacted and wish to hire for the care of a pet or pets while you go on vacation, out of town for business, or simply need a dog walker. 

You certainly want to meet the professional pet sitter before entrusting the care of your pet and grant access to your home.  The professional pet sitter also needs to meet you and your pet(s) before accepting the job.                                                  

The professional pet sitter will need to obtain information about your pets, temperament, health issues, location of supplies, food, routine of the pet.                                                                                                                                             

They also will ask if there are any special tasks you require, such as, bringing in the mail, taking out the garbage, etc.

Things to ask the professional pet sitter at the Meet & Greet.                                                                                   

Are you insured, do you have liability insurance for pet services?                                                                                                                                                                         

Do you have employees, and are they bonded and covered under your insurance?                                                                    

If no employees, do you have back up in the event you are unable to make a visit?                                                              

How long have you been a professional pet sitter?                                                                                                            

Have you ever missed a visit?                                                                                                                                           

Did you do a background check on your employees?                                                                                                          

How do you handle and secure the key to my house?                                                                                                           

Do you have references?                                                                                                                                                

How much do you charge per visit?  Do you have a holiday surcharge? 

Most professional pet sitters will give you this information without being asked, but if not, these are questions you may want to know before hiring the professional pet sitter.

Courtesy at The Meet & Greet.  

This begins with the initial contact of a professional pet sitter.  Be aware that a professional pet sitter’s business is often the livelihood of the pet sitter.                                                                                             

Many professional pet sitters offer free Meet & Greets, but the trend is to charge a fee for the Meet & Greet that will be applied to the service provided.                                                                                                                                                   

Why?  Professional pet sitters must pay an employee for the M&G if the employee will be the primary pet sitter/dog walker.                                                                                                                                                                          

The professional pet sitter has arranged their schedule to meet the prospective client.                                                        

Meet & Greets are an integral part of the business, and while there is no obligation to hire the pet sitter, we simply would like to know if you are interviewing other pet sitters at the time of the initial contact.                                                                      

The owner of a busy professional pet sitting business may opt out of a Meet & Greet if there will be an ongoing interviewing process.   A “heads up” would be appreciated.                                                                                                              

The professional pet sitter/dog walker is usually booked early for holidays, therefore, if you are planning a vacation, you should book as far ahead as possible.  Last minute bookings will result in a lengthy search to find a professional pet sitter.

The professional pet sitter is a business owner who runs a business.  This includes expenses such as liability insurance, bonding if there are employees, professional organization fees, employer taxes, payroll, CPA fees, attorney fees, etc.   People frequently think we do this as a hobby and you would be surprised at the rude comments made to us, and which diminish our profession.  So remember, we are professional business owners, and we appreciate clients who understand this.  And the professional pet sitter will give you friendly, yet professional information, and will provide your pet(s) with experienced and loving care.

 

Animal Health and What You Need to Know

You love your pet, that’s no secret. But there are things you need to know to keep your fur-kid safe.  There are some information you should be aware to ensure your pet is safe and healthy.

Are you aware that some common household products and medicines that we take (as humans) for granted can actually be poisonous to pets. Do not give painkillers, sedatives, or other drugs on the way to the emergency animal hospital, or the vet’s office.  These drugs can lower the pet’s blood pressure or mask signs and symptoms during a medical exam.

Do not give anything to eat or drink before or during transporting.

Feces color can be a reliable indicator of disease or internal injury.  Possible trauma, disease, or ingestion of something (like chocolate, which they should not eat) feces can be dark in color or almost black.  In disease, it may be dark for several days.  If tarry you should suspect internal bleeding or recent trauma.  If feces are gray and foamy, this is usually disease related.

Observe your pet with a clinical eye if you suspect something may not be quite right.  The “Snout to Tail” assessment is the best way to keep an eye on the pet:

Physical Stance:  How does the pet look as it stands and sits from the side, walking on the leash.

Food and Water:    One of the best signs that something is not quite right with a pet is a change in their eating habits.  Is your pet  eating  more, less, or not eating at all?  Does the pet sit and drool at the food? This could be a sign of a tooth or mouth problem.

Skin and Coat:  In the case of disease or  malnutrition, the first thing affected is the skin and coat.  Has the coat changed, is shedding more dramatic for the time of year.

Pets Left in the Car Alone – A Death Sentence!

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This is summer fun!  Leaving a dog is a hot car alone for even a few minutes is not fun, it’s a death sentence!

Try sitting in your car for just 5 minutes, not moving, just sitting.  Roll the window down, just a bit, not all the way, just a crack or twoI would be willing to bet that you cannot last 5 minutes in a parked car, motor not running.

Do you feel the heat, feel the sweat, feel your pulse starting to race?  Are you starting to feel a wave of nausea or feel faint?

Yet, we see pets dying in the news from being left in a car with a window cracked while the pet owner makes a “quick” trip in to get something in a store.  

We read in the news that 6 dogs died while a “pet sitter” left her clients’ dogs in her van while she ran into a mall to get some shoes. 

We read 20 dogs died at a “dog boarding” facility (an unlicensed business in their home)in Arizona. They were in a tiny room in a utility area and died from heat exhaustion while the owners of the facility were out of town and left the daughter and son-in-law in charge.  The owners were told their dogs ran away, but we eventually were informed of the truth.  Twenty dogs in a small room in their house died because there was no a/c during the night due to a malfunction and the dogs were not checked on during the night.  The owners of the “boarding facility” told the press the dogs had chewed through the dry wall and the a/c wires.  They were most likely trying to escape because the small room for 20 dogs was intolerable, and the story has become questioned and is being investigated.

If you have your dog or any other pet in your car when it is even 70 degrees, much less 90-100 degrees and you leave your pet in the car while you run a “quick” errand is a death sentence.  The cars will heat to dangerous levels in just a few minutes.  If you have to make a trip to the grocery, the convenient store, or any reason to leave your beloved pet in the car alone, take your dog home before you run your errand.  An added trip will not ruin your day and it will save the fur-kid you are supposed to protect.

If you don’t believe the danger of leaving your pet in a hot car for even a few minutes, try it yourself, sitting in a hot car with your windows cracked.  It will make you a believer.  Except you can open the door and get out when you’ve had enough.  Your dog cannot.

 

 

 

Moving Away!

We bid a fond farewell and good luck to Brody!  I have had the pleasure of meeting and providing dog walks with Brody for about 10 months.  His “mom” rescued him, and she was so lucky to have found such a sweet boy.  He was lucky to find such a loving “mom”!  I will miss spending time with him and wish Brody and his family luck and fortune on their move to another state!

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Saying Good-bye to a Sweet Girl!

We become so attached to the pets in our care.  It is hard to say good-bye to one of those we came to know so well.   Good-bye Romi, you beautiful Golden!  You were very loved!

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Our New Clients!

Meet Milo!  What a Cutie.  Milo is a Basenji.  The Basenji is among the most primitive of breeds, discovered in the African Congo with Pigmy hunters.  Milo is a sweet boy, and we are so happy to be able to provide dog walks for this energetic fur-kid!  Welcome Milo!

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Senior Pet Care

Many of my routine visits include senior pets, both dogs and cats.  I’ve owned a number of senior pets over the years, and I have a great love for seniors.  We all get older!  I thought it might be important to give a little insight into the care of a senior pet.

Weight Control

As pets age, their metabolism slows and most likely there is a decrease in physical activity.  Many pets tend to gain weight as they age.  Some may be on special diets to control weight.  If a senior pet tends to gain weight, it’s not enough to simply cut back on the current diet.  Feeding less may deprive the pet.  There are specially formulated foods for seniors.  Check with your vet.  There are treats that can be given to pets without adding too many additional calories.  Ask your vet for recommendations.

Activity Level

Humans on diets understand that exercise goes hand in hand with good nutrition and the battle to lose weight.  This is also true of our senior fur-kids.  Leash walks are great for senior dogs.  Keep senior cats active with interactive toys such as chase toys, feather dancers, etc., to keep the senior cat active.  It may be a good opportunity to ask your pet sitter/dog walker to assist in increased activity for your senior.  Have your senior checked by the vet to make sure there are no physical problems that would aggravate the senior’s condition.

As a pet sitter/dog walker of a number of senior pets, I am always very observant when I interact with them.  I watch their gate, their balance and for signs that they have had enough activity.  Exercise increased blood flow the of the muscles and other body tissues.  It helps to stimulate muscles and the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the tissues, which helps in a more efficient removal of cellular wastes.  And, it is enjoyable for your senior and for me to spend time with them.  I give them a lot of love and I know we all have a special place in our hearts for these beloved members of our families!

A Day in the Life of a Dog Walker in Winter

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Winter has been hard on everyone this year, thanks to the Polar Vortex we keep hearing about.   I admit, I’ve never been a fan of cold weather.   As a nurse my exposure to the cold was limited to getting to my car to go to work, then making a bee line from my car to the inside of the ER.

Since I started my pet sitting business, Paula’s Pawsitive Pet Services, LLC, I have learned to dress for the cold.

But what about the dogs?  Some dogs love the cold, my Golden Retriever, Sadie, loves the snow and will roll and play in it.  She has access through her doggy door to go outside, but what about the dogs I walk during these winter days?

There is concern about the cold weather while walking the dogs, the snow and ice on the ground, the chemicals on the sidewalks and drive ways to melt it.  I take your dogs safety very seriously.  With the cold comes the danger to nose and paws of your fur-kid.  On these biting cold days, I limit the time of the walks.  I check the pads frequently.  Snow can pack into the pads. I also watch for any signs that indicate the dog is starting to lift their paws. 

When I return the dog back to the home after a quick potty break, I check the paws, remove any packed snow, and make sure there is no harm to the paws.  If the pet has walked across a salted area, I will wash their paws to make sure there are no salt residue that could harm and cause discomfort.

Senior dogs are a special concern in the cold of winter.  There are times when slick spots on the ice pose a threat of slipping and causing the senior to injure a leg or a back.  I am extremely careful to avoid any slick areas.  Neither of us want to hit the ground!

If you use salt to melt the ice on your driveway or side walk, please purchase the pet friendly salt compound.  I am also concerned about your pet getting salt on their paw pads.  I’ve been known to pick up a dog and carry to a salt-free area.

I become very attached to all my clients’ pets and their safety is a primary concern!

 

 

 

Welcome to Paula’s Pawsitive Pet Services Blog!

I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome you to this website.

My goal is to use this blog site to give you insight in the world of professional pet sitting on a frequent basis.  I don’t consider myself to be a profession writer, but I hope to improve in this endeavor.

I have been a pet lover all my life and I take great pride in my ability to bond with animals.  This has always been a part of my life.  Animals are very sensitive and insightful.  They instantly understand your vibes and will react to the energy you transmit.  I’ve never met a pet that I could not establish a bond, and in fact, I have client’s pets that I have known from puppy to adult. I can honestly say that I have love for many of my “pets”!

This blog is just a welcome letter to you.  My plan is to provide more educational information to you. 

Paula Cunningham, owner/member

http://paulaspawsitivepetservices.com/hello-world/