Open Letter On Requests for “Shared Sitting” with Friends & Neighbors and “Every Other Day” (E.O.D.) Visits

This is Gold Coast Pet Sitting’s version of the original Open Letter On Requests….  ( click here to read the original )



Oakley (Photo credit: Gold Coast Pets)

“It’s that time of year” is year-round for us. Overall, pet sitting inquiries and bookings pick up in the warmer half of the year especially December/Christmas and Easter. During these times, we see a spike in new client inquiries who have never used a professional service before, and/or who have just found out that their friend or neighbor has a conflict. Shared sits and even every other day visits for cats are common requests from folks not necessarily in the know. If more are aware of the professional standards of our industry, as well as the foundations behind why we set the conditions where we do, more pets will come away with safer care, and a positive experience with professional pet sitting services everywhere. We want successful pet sitting to take place and we are not afraid, even obligated, to turn away any client that we fill is not a good fit (basically we feel the request is not conducive to the safest and the most stress free experience possible). What follows is an Open Letter to anyone interested in engaging Gold Coast Pet Sitting for professional pet sitting services on the topics of shared sits and e.o.d. visits.

We commonly get requests for “every other day (e.o.d.)” services and “shared sitting” arrangements where there is a friend, neighbour, family member also providing care for a pet in the owner’s absence.

What Gold Coast Pet Sitting can do in this situation is one of two possible arrangements:

Arrangement #1, which we prefer, is for Gold Coast Pet Sitting to provide primary care for your pets in your absence with your friend/family member/neighbour only present to socialize and love your pets. Under our contract with you in this arrangement, we require a minimum of one visit every 24-hours you are away from the home for all pets; we require that your friend does not scoop the litter box, feed, or provide any other care beyond “loving your pets” because it is through the intake and output of these things that we are monitoring your pets’ health for the duration of the project; we also require that your friend maintains a consistent, reliable, predictable schedule and routine with your pets because we know that any pet being pet sat when their family are away is under heightened stress. Erratic routines with lots of people unpredictably coming and going, doing unpredictable activities, causes your pet significantly more stress.

Arrangement B would be for Gold Coast Pet Sitting to provide what is referred to as enrichment services only (walking for dogs, play love and exercise for cats with their toys or some that we bring along as an add on service) on any schedule you dictate. We would not assume responsibility for your pet’s wellness because we cannot monitor wellness sufficiently an unreliable schedule (if we’re not there every day). Under Arrangement B you agree by default that Gold Coast Pet Sitting cannot be held liable for any wellness issues with your pet and that this responsibility, as well as any emergency situation responsibility, rest squarely with her primary caregiver – your friend, family, or neighbor.

Under both, (if it is possible) we strongly recommend that the friend/family member/neighbour is present at your Meet N Greet and their details are left within our account. We also require for the safety of the pet, home and of Gold Coast Pet Sitting staff, that no other individuals will be coming and going from the home in your absence.

In our history, we’ve had some experience with “shared sitting” arrangements and in most cases they cause far more stress on our clients pets than good. Its only natural to want your pet to have lots of love and attention in your absence. But be careful, erratic casual schedules of friends/family/neighbours as caregivers being by far the most routinely damaging and stressful environment we personally have observed for pets and that also being the primary reason why good pets fail at pet sitting services. Loyalty® mentions a case scenario: In 2008, Loyalty® had a situation where the friend double medicated a pet because they misunderstood the schedule and did not read our notes clearly laid out in plain view next to the medication. Ever since, Loyalty® have made it their policy to refuse any “shared sitting” arrangement without outlining the terms above.

[ You can read Gold Coast Pet Sitting’s policy for “shared sits” here.  Whilst we do accept “shared sits”, we do make it clear to all clients about our liability. ]

Consider some of the major reasons why professional pet sitting businesses and individuals have these policies in place. What happens if your friend has a family emergency and cannot provide services each day ? Does he/she (do you) have a backup plan for your pet (many do not and we receive the very last minute call due to it)? What happens if Gold Coast Pet Sitting comes “every other day” for cat enrichment only and the friend decides to put out food and water for several days while they head last minute to the beach but no one is monitoring the litter box ? Pets and particularly cats, hide illness until it is critical and life-threatening. A professional pet sitter monitors every pet’s wellness through very finite data points: knowing your pet’s unique personality and behavior plus direct monitoring of input (food and water intake) and output (litter box health, vomiting, etc) are how we maintain baseline wellness in your pet. When Gold Coast Pet Sitting cares for our clients cats, each staff member either already knows (through experience and/or training) how to monitor a litter box to ensure things like Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) aren’t developing or taking place. Approximately one out of three indoor cats on a dry food diet will contract some form of FLUTD in their lifetime. A blockage, should one occur, places your cat at risk for death in fewer than 24-hours. Blockages are higher in neutered male cats than in females, so they are at an even higher risk. FLUTD, crystals and stones are not uncommon issues and stress is one of the primary triggers (along with diet and genetics).

As a PetTech® Instructor, all staff contracted by Gold Coast Pet Sitting is given Pet First Aid (and eventually PetSaver™ training) giving them CPR, First Aid & Care skills. This means that they are well versed in what to do in the event of an emergency, possess all of the tools and supplies necessary to handle any emergency situation, and as a team, that we practice our skills regularly and have access to multi-layered support systems and emergency backups.

This is who Gold Coast Pet Sitting is as a business and why we take our role and responsibility as your pet’s caregivers seriously. For you to want the additional enrichment for your pet clearly outlines for us that you feel the same. We’ve seen wonderful friends, family and neighbors as caregivers for our clients pets, and we would be thrilled to support them in that role, just with several precautions in place under our own standards for care to keep everyone, but most importantly your pet, safe, comfortable, stress free, healthy and happy.

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