But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. Matthew 13:16 (NIV)

 

You may or may not notice it, but I’ve been MIA on the blogosphere for quite some time—for a good reason.

Well, not quite so good, in fact.

I had to deal with a set of then-mysterious health challenges.

Continue reading

I bring the latest incidents to your attention now that it’s high season for vacation as pet parents are in a mad rush to find a pet sitter or house sitter to take care of their precious nonhuman family members and possessions. Continue reading

I’ve covered the nuts and bolts of pet sitting rates and more things that are factored into the cost of pet sitting, but here is yet another popular question my furry crew, my colleagues, and I have to field:

Are pet sitting rates flexible?

The short answer: yes and no. Continue reading

I’ve discussed the whats and whys of pet sitting rates on another post.

Here are some more.

There are many ways sitters set prices on pet services—per visit, per calendar day, per hour, per pet (or additional pet beyond a certain number of pets covered under standard rates), and a combination of any of those. For example, base price range varies widely across the country at $18-$25 per visit between 30 to 45 minutes and $60-$85 per overnight stay, usually between 10 to 12 hours, excluding daytime visit(s). If employees are involved, expect to pay more. In my case, I have an all-inclusive overnight/daytime stay package, and some households are charged more than my base rates because of heavier workload.

The obvious ways to determine pricing are regional cost of living, overhead, experience, training, and many others. Last but definitely not least, the value sitters place on their services. How much do you think they’re worth? How much do they think they’re worth? That is the most important factor. Worth or value correlates to the level of the sitter’s level of confidence in his or her performance. Would you hire someone who really knows his or her stuff or someone who just sort of tries to wing it? I’m sure you won’t take this lightly because I know you want your critter family and your property well cared for. Continue reading

Dear Miki The TabbyDear (Miki the) Tabby: How much does pet sitting cost?

Miki is back with me to answer the number one million-dollar question all pet sitters get from people right off the bat:

How much do you charge?

Take a look at my list of standard/base rates for overnight/live-in pet sitting and cat and critter sitting daily visits in Redlands and surrounding areas. I’d love to give you an exact amount, but I can’t give it to you unless you tell me what needs to be done specifically. What I can tell you is that it depends on the workload. One size does not fit all.

Sure, you can always ask your friend, relative, or some kid off Craigslist to save a few bucks. But do you just trust anyone who gains access to your property and takes the responsibility to care for your critter family members? You may be rudely surprised by what these folks can do, and then some!

So a better question to ask yourself is “what’s the value of quality pet sitting?”

To avoid sticker shock, here are things that you need to bear in mind: Continue reading

Do you get spooked by things that go bump in the night—and in the daytime, too? You know, the kinds that/who hang out with your furry friends in your private little corner of the world?

Aside from horror stories of pet sitters t(h)rashing homes or losing pets or even home invasions and peeping Toms and Tammies, is the thought of some random stranger getting 24/7 access to your property unsettling in general, Rockwell-style? Do you feel that way or is there someone else living with you who does? Are you or is your co-occupant socially anxious or selective? (As an introvert, I totally get you!) At the risk of sounding a bit like a hypocrite, I’d probably get a bit nervous letting someone go in and out of my place with my belongings and pets while I’m away, so the last thing I want for you is to feel uneasy.

In-home services by far provide the best peace of mind and the ultimate convenience for pet parents and homeowners, but to some folks, having others come to their personal space to provide services is just the polar opposite of putting their mind at ease. If you resemble that remark, what do you do in situations like this? Continue reading

Morrissey and kitty
The more you ignore me, the closer I get: totally kitty behavior. Vegan and feline fancier Morrissey totally gets it.

 

Surprisingly, cats are popular choices for pets, even more so than dogs, probably because of their independent, low-maintenance nature. However, for the uninitiated, cat care isn’t exactly easy-peasy as cats have special needs, thanks to their quirky personality. Whether you’re a first-time pet owner or a longtime pet parent bringing a kitty home for the first time, here are tips to make the transition much smoother for you and your feline friend. Continue reading

Cats just love doing their own thing, whenever, wherever, all by themselves. Everything seems to be on their own terms. They may be independent, self-sufficient, and can land and stand on all fours, but obviously, they can’t pick up the phone to call you to come over, fix themselves some chow, get their own water, and clean up their own mess.

You probably think that you can save more than a few bucks by having cat sitting visits every other day or longer, but don’t dare break Murphy’s Law. Anything can and do happen within the 24-hour period. Unless your cat is one of the video game characters with unlimited tries and 1-ups, he or she only has one life per lifetime.

Game over. Period. Continue reading

Cat TP

Keeping our living space clean is one of those duties that we pet owners especially can’t avoid. You can use any old products to clean, but typical products don’t clean well or are even harmful. Adding more harmful stuff to get things extra clean definitely won’t help matters.

My friend and I previously worked in facilities that required some hazmat training. When you work at a factory or for some other type of company where your job involves working with chemicals, the company is legally mandated to post warnings in the form of very detailed manuals—some of which are as thick as phone books—of all the ingredients in those chemicals and all the possible resulting symptoms from their use. The chemicals in home-use cleaning products are the exact same ones that require regulation and warnings in factories. However, there is no such warning requirement placed on chemical manufacturers who sell their products for home use.

Considering the cumulative effect of toxic chemicals seeping into your system when you spend all your time cleaning with typical cleaners and using typical hygienic or grooming products for you and your pets, it only makes perfect sense to switch to natural products, especially if you have four- and/or two-legged kids scampering about in your home. Continue reading