One of a pet sitter’s biggest fears is arriving to your home to find it had been broken into and burglarized. Even worse would be arriving to your home to find the burglar still inside! Sadly, both of these instances HAVE happened in our fourteen years of business.
The first time it happened to me was on a Thanksgiving morning. I arrived at a client’s home and the cats greeted me at the door. That never happens because they always kept the cats in the basement between visits. So, I immediately knew something was wrong. I entered the house and found the basement door open. I thought perhaps I hadn’t latched it and the cats pushed it open so I went downstairs to investigate. When I went down the stairs I noticed another door open that is also never left open, a door that I had never touched. I looked into that room to see a broken window to the outside.
It was then that I realized the house had been broken into.
I closed the door to the room with the broken window so the cats wouldn’t escape and immediately left the house. I locked myself in my car and called the police and waited for them to arrive. Once they arrived they searched the house for burglars and took my statement. Once the house was clear, they allowed me inside. The car in the garage had been stolen, but the cats were safe. They actually helped me and blocked off the window so no one else could enter the house that way and the cats couldn’t get out.
The second time this happened was to an employee. Client insisted on never locking their doors. The dogs ALWAYS met the sitter at the door but when she arrived they were upstairs and wouldn’t come down. She knew something was ‘off’ and left the house. We called the client and they agreed something stunk in Denmark and called the police. Sure enough, someone had been in the house when the pet sitter arrived.
The last time it happened the sitter arrived to find the front storm door locked, when she knew she hadn’t locked it when she left the day before. She walked around the house and then discovered a broken window. Once again, police were called and we were only allowed in once they were sure the house was clear. In this instance one of the cats (an indoor only cat) had escaped. It was a very difficult phone call to make to tell someone when they were on the other side of the country that their house had been robbed and their cat was missing. I went to their house several times a day for a few days searching for their missing cat. Thankfully I found him hiding under their shed and was eventually able to coax him out.
What did we discover in all three of these instances?
All three robberies were perpetrated by friends or family.
Yes, you read that correctly. All three were robbed by their friends or family. People they knew and who knew they wouldn’t be home.
We pray that it never happens to you, but we have a policy to deal with break ins should they occur. We will first immediately exit the house and call police and wait for them to arrive. Once they have cleared the house we will make sure you pets are all accounted for and unharmed. We will then call you or your emergency contacts to assist us in securing the house again until you get home.
This is yet another reason we suggest you don’t tell many people you’re going on vacation. We go so far as to tell clients not to cancel the mail or newspaper, it’s just one more person who knows you’re away.