I cringe whenever I get an inquiry from someone that tells me “my brother can do the night visit and my neighbor said they can let the dogs out at lunchtime, so we only need you to come in the morning.” To that person it may sound completely logical and it will save them a few bucks on their pet sitting bill, right?
Wrong. The potential disasters that could happen could cost a lot, lot more than the extra visits from the pet sitter.
We recently took care of some cats that had just moved about six miles from their previous home (where we had also taken care of them). One cat had already gotten out twice and made the six mile trek, across a four lane highway, back to their old house. We were aware of this and proceeded to take every precaution to insure this cat did not get out on our watch. We were notified halfway through the week that the client’s daughter decided she wanted to stay at the house for a few days so we didn’t have to come because she would take care of the cats. On our first visit back we found a note that she had let the cat out and he was gone. Seriously? Once again, he made the six mile journey, across four lanes of highway to go back to his old home. Thankfully he arrived safely but it could have been much, much worse.
We’ve taken care of dogs where a well meaning neighbor took it upon themself to feed them extra. They said they looked hungry, so they wanted to make the dogs happy and give them some extra food. The dogs ended up with terribly upset tummies and we had a lot of diarrhea to clean up at our next visit.
We’ve also had other caretakers who have forgotten to latch doors when they left and we arrived to find the front door literally wide open. The cat was gone and the dog thankfully was blind and couldn’t navigate the stairs that led to the door or, for sure, he’d have been gone too. For the record, the cat came back. Phew.
There have also been many times that we’ve ‘shared’ a job with a neighbor or family member who doesn’t have the same standards as we do when it comes to keeping your home clean. They figure the professional is coming in after them so why should they clean up the vomit, scoop the litter box, clean up diarrhea or wipe up the mud the dogs have tracked in? It’s very frustrating cleaning up messes that could have been cleaned up much more easily when they happened.
If medications are involved it can get even more interesting. We always document in our notes what we have done during that visit but your free help doesn’t always do that. There is the potential for over-medicating, missing medications, etc.
We are professionals. This is what we do for a living, not as a favor.
We take our jobs and our responsibilities VERY seriously. We take each “job share” request on a case by case basis however if you have someone else coming into your home to care for your pets our insurance requires that you sign a waiver releasing us from any liability that may happen as a result of someone else being in your home. We absolutely will not consider job sharing with anyone under the age of 21.
So now that you’ve heard the reasons, is it really worth saving a few bucks to have multiple people in and out of your home?