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What would you do with your dog if something unexpected came up in your life? Do you have an emergency pet sitter? I never thought I’d need an emergency pet sitter, but there I was sitting in the hospital wondering who would take care of my dogs for the next 4-5 days.
Don’t be like Colby. Be proactive. Not reactive. Okay, lets push the rewind button…
2 Weeks Earlier…
Thursday morning at 6:03am my wife woke me up and said “I think my water broke.” She wasn’t due for another 3 weeks and everything had been going smoothly in her pregnancy so we both thought it might be a false alarm, but to be on the safe side she called the hospital and we were advised to come in for a check up.
At the hospital the nurse saw my wife and at initial observation she too thought it might be a false alarm and said if her water wasn’t broken then we’d be sent home.
Thinking all would be fine and we’d be sent home shortly we waited at the hospital to hear the results from what the nurse called a “Fern Test“. At 9:22am the nurse informed us that indeed my wife’s water had broken and we’d likely be welcoming a new member to our family later that evening. EEEEKKK!!!!
Do You Have An Emergency Pet Sitter?
Excited, but unprepared I started gathering my thoughts on what I needed to do. On the top of to-do list was finding pet sitters for our four dogs.
The very first thing I did was send text messages to all my friends and family members who I new and trusted to watch my dogs. About a dozen text messages in total. Lucky for me I have an awesome support network. Friends and family came through and quickly started working to help me find sitters for my dogs.
- Linus and Stetson stayed with my best friend and his family for 4 days. Thank you, Hammer Family!
- Raven had a 4 day vacation with a long time Guide Dogs of America puppy raiser friend. Thank you, Wurts Family!
- Another of our GDA friends helped us watch Bear and took him in for 5 days. Thank you, New Family!
We truly feel blessed to have such great friends to help us in a pinch. Now the question is: “Do you have an emergency pet sitter?”
Find A Pet Sitter(s) Today Just In Case You Have An Emergency!
While I didn’t have a plan for an emergency pet sitter I was lucky that I unknowingly laid the ground work that allowed me to easily find a pet sitter at the last minute. If you’re a new dog or puppy owner here are my recommendations for finding a pet sitter in case of an emergency:
Disclaimer: Some of these services we’ve used and some we have not. Please do your due diligence before using any pet sitting service.
#1. Friends, Family, and Neighbors
This is my emergency pet sitter of choice.
My recommendation for finding an emergency pet sitter this way? Find out who the dog lovers are in your family then get them to watch your dog for a day or two. Let your dog(s) and friend/family/neighbor get used to each other. If you’re ever in a pinch you have a pet sitter who has already bonded with your dog.
#2. Search The Yellow Pages (I mean the web…)
Are the yellow pages still a thing? Or do we Google everything nowadays? Anyhow. Try doing a local search (Yellow Pages, Google…Whatever) and see if there are any pet sitters in your area. Doing a local search in my area not only brings up several local pet sitting and dog walking businesses, but also a link to the Yelp (another great site to search for pet sitters) page for the 10 best dog boarding/pet sitting in Orange County.
My recommendation for finding an emergency pet sitter this way? Make contact with some of the potential pet sitters you found through your search. Visit their facilities (or their home) and see if they are a suitable match for your dogs needs. Find out if you can contact them 24/7 in case of an emergency (probably not, but it’s worth asking).
#3. Pet Sitting Websites
Two of the big sites that my cousin has used (and gave me positive reviews) are Rover.com and DogVacay.com (Rover recently bough DogVacay). I’ve browsed both sites and basically it’s a marketplace where pet owners can browse thousands of pet sitter profiles through the site’s search tool.
My recommendation for finding an emergency pet sitter this way? Start searching through the thousands of profiles and contact potential pet sitters for your dog. Maybe do a few short test runs with the best pet sitter candidates. Hopefully you can find a few good pet sitters so if you’re ever in a pinch you already have someone on speed dial.
#4. Pet Hotels
I’ve never used one, but I’ve seen the PetSmart Hotels. The hotels I saw looked exactly like a hotel room, but built for dogs.
My recommendation for finding an emergency pet sitter this way? Booking a room at a Pet Hotel might require more planning then you get when in an emergency. Then again if there are vacant rooms why wouldn’t they board your dog? It doesn’t hurt to ask. Visit your local PetSmart Hotel (if you have one nearby) and ask them some questions, check out the rooms, and see if they’d take a dog in an emergency.
#5. Boarding Facilities
My parents always boarded their dog Ralphie at the veterinarians office. My boss used to do the same. As a guide dog puppy raiser I had the luxury of boarding my guide dog puppies at the school free of charge. However, I could not board my “pet” dogs at the school 🙁
My recommendation for finding an emergency pet sitter this way? Talk to your veterinarian or dog trainer. Vet offices will often board dogs. The dog training facility we took Archer to boards dogs during the day or overnight. See what is available to you through your already established contacts like your vet and trainer. They’ve treated or trained your dog so in an emergency your dog will at least have some familiarity with his pet sitter.
What Questions Should You Ask A Pet Sitter?
Guess what? Our good friend Lindsay over at ThatMutt.com happens to be an expert on pet sitting and dog walking. She put together a great post on some questions you can ask a pet sitter. Here’s a little sample of her post:
- What do your rates include?
- What is not included?
- Will you provide references?
- What happens if my pet gets sick?
Check out ThatMutt.com to see the other 8 questions you should ask a pet sitter.
That’s all folks! Remember don’t be like Colby. Be proactive when finding a pet sitter. Not reactive. If you have any other tips for finding an emergency pet sitter or if you’ve used any of these services please tell us about your experiences in the comment section below.