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?

I’ve just got to let this cat out of the bag after a very recent inquiry for dog sitting. It was a nearly last-minute referral from my friend through Sittercity. The prospect and I were ready to get the ball rolling—service forms and meet-and-greet day and time were all set up—until she found out after the fact that her roommate was uncomfortable with anyone staying in the home overnight. Brief daily visits were a no-go, either. I suppose that electricians, plumbers, gardeners, satellite or cable technicians, or even housekeeping companies that sometimes do have unrestricted access to the homes of their clients, wouldn’t even pass this person’s inspection. I wonder if this person watches too many Investigation Discovery shows (admittedly, my guilty pleasures, by the way!).

Oops.

Booking fail.

All in all, it was a cordial text conversation. She and I were both disappointed about the arrangement not working out, but I referred her to a local boarding facility with a good reputation, which she really appreciated.

I really wish I could offer boarding, but here are the reasons I can’t:

  • As much as I love the total convenience of not having to travel and deal with the typical risks involved, it costs more to host from home, at least in the beginning stages. I must purchase extra insurance policy for boarding, plus dog-proofing and dog-housing equipment or setup. As a freedom lover, I’m certainly not keen on actual and attempted regulations on residential boarding. There’s also always the chance of different dogs not getting along with each other, which is yet another liability scenario. I’m simply not willing to handle all the nuisances.
  • It’s already a full house zoo at home. It doesn’t help matters that Pico, my Chiweenie, is a bona fide (fido!) Velcro pooch. He’s not too thrilled when I pay attention to my other furry babies, let alone guest pets! I can’t possibly give your furry kid 100% TLC.

There are both pros and cons to in-home pet sitting and boarding. Choose what’s best for your situation and comfort level. Before you pick up the phone or shoot that text or e-mail, please save your (and the sitter’s) time and energy by checking in first with another decision maker in your household, be it your spouse/significant other, roommate, friend, or relative. I was in similar situations in my previous field as an independent music teacher. It wasn’t unusual to receive calls from prospects who ended up copping out in the end (especially when dollar signs were already part of the conversation!), saying that they needed to consult their spouse first. The prospects could’ve gotten the right teachers for their own specific needs and situations (whether they were justified would be up for debate) and save themselves and me from further aggravation.

Before you make your decision, allow me once more to show you why you and your critter companions are in good hands and paws under my care. Take a look-see at the testimonials plastered on my web pages. The reviewers, some of whom are regulars, are also happy to serve as references. I have contracts and insurance already in place prior to starting services for the safety, security, and peace of mind of all parties involved. I’m also a part-time employee of a local church that performed a background check on me. (For the record, my first-ever pet/house sitting assignment was in the home of the lead pastor.) This is one of those lines of work where you’d better be on your best behavior—or else. Mind you, no one is babysitting me on the job or having me wear an ankle monitor, but it only makes sense to act honorably, with or without supervision. This was of utmost importance when I ran my piano studio as I worked with mostly minors. (Yes, I’m talking about both the under-18 crowd and music keys!)

Growing up, my parents instilled in me good ol’ fashioned values of respect. I could count on some good whuppin’ if I did something silly in public places and people’s homes.

Still not convinced?

If for some reason you think I’m the current incarnation of Lizzie Borden, no need to freak out! Boarding is a good alternative for you. Coventry Pet Resort in Redlands and Ruff House Pet Resort in Riverside are a few of the best within my service area. My colleague Alex Dundon of A & R Critter Care gives pointers on types of boarding facilities and what to look for in them.

But if you like my vibe and what I have to offer, drop me a line for your pet and house sitting needs! I double-dog dare ya! 😉

P.S. Shoutouts to past and current clients: Thank you for your vote of confidence! Thank you for trusting me with your personal belongings—especially your precious pets!

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