Finding Freedom in Choosing a Pet Sitter

You have the power to choose how you want to feel and this feeling is what you go back to when you’re making choices which impact not only your life, but your dog’s too.

Yes, you want to feel free to take your dogs with you on road trips and exciting adventures, but sometimes this isn’t possible because of logistics or the experience isn’t going to be conducive to your dog’s safety or to his enjoyment.

My husband and I are participating on a 200 mile running relay in the next few days and Jack and Bernie sure wouldn’t enjoy life in a 6 person van as we trail along the runner whose leg it is to run during the race.

Making the choice to feel the sense of freedom in leaving Jack and Bernie in good hands so they can be free to live their best life without us isn’t just as simple as asking for references and getting a price quote, it is following my intuition guiding me in making the right choice for them.

I’ve heard of so many terrifying stories of people leaving their pets in the hands of others who they “thought” were pet professionals. Turns out, their dogs suffered and the pet parents scrambled to find someone else while they were hundreds of miles away on vacation.

Here are some helpful tips which I utilized in finding someone I not only trusted, but Jack and Bernie did too.

  1. I gathered references and recommendations. I used this a starting point, not the only piece to base my choice on. I worked through others who had qualifications I was interested in from knowledge, experience and how others experienced them.
  2. I conducted interviews. I met the pet sitter and asked questions which created the space for the pet sitter to process it and take time to formulate a response. I not only listened with my ears what each person said, but I also used my intuition and allowed my body to tell me how the person answered if this felt aligned with how to move forward.

For instance, I asked questions such as “how do you respond when Jack starts barking?” “What would you do if a loose dog approached?” “How do you keep my dogs safe out on walks or during play sessions with you?” “What do you do when Jack or Bernie make a mistake?” “How do you cultivate a bond with dogs and is that important to you?” The answers I received informed me completely whether the person was a good fit or not.

  1. I prioritized building rapport and trust with my pet sitter and observe how they build trust with my dogs. I made it a necessity of having the chosen pet sitter have time in forming a relationship before leaving on a vacation without them. This is so necessary for Bernie who is shy, slower to warm up to people and needs time to adjust to a routine change. By allowing the pet sitter to find ways Bernie feels comfortable connecting with her, this helped him to feel safe and relax when she comes over. Now, he’s over the moon with her being here.
  2. I took time and observed interactions throughout the time she came over to hang out with Jack and Bernie in preparation of this trip. I was home for the first initial greeting after the interview, so I could make sure everyone was safe and I could be available to offer guidance if interactions weren’t going well. The pet sitter was quick in scatter feeding for Bernie since Jack was quick to initiate play with her. The pet sitter didn’t force herself on to Bernie, but rather allowed Bernie the time to come up to her when he was ready.
  3. My choice wasn’t based on the ease or cost alone in coming to a decision. The value was on the quality of interaction, how the pet sitter responded to Jack and Bernie’s needs, how she ensured their safety and how she engaged them in fun activities when the weather wasn’t great and they refused a walkie. Our shared values was my driving force in hiring her.

Embodying freedom, I was able to remain present in the moment with how the pet sitter was interacting and being with Jack and Bernie. This allowed me to make the choice which felt right not just for me, but for them too. Jack and Bernie’s life is priceless and I want to ensure they receive the best care in my absence.

Now, I can go run my 3 runs over the next two days and be fully present in that experience because I know Jack and Bernie are in good hands.

Are you desiring a more integrated life with your dog?

Published by houndbiz

Katherine Porter is a force free, reward based dog behavior advisor and consultant serving clients and their companion dogs worldwide. Her calm and gentle approach in coaching clients in effectively communicating what they want to their dog blends her MSW background into her dog training and behavior practice. Katherine was a behavior consultant for Heeling Hounds after graduation. She opened Four Paws and You Dog Training LLC when the military relocated her family to Fort Sill, OK in 2015. During this time, she volunteered with Rainbow Bridge Can Wait where she provided post adoption consultations to new pet parents. She also developed and implemented tailored behavior modification plans for highly reactive dogs residing at the shelter. She also provided educational programs to military children through interactive workshops at the Fort Sill School Age Center. In 2017, Katherine relocated Four Paws and You Dog Training LLC to Germany. She served the Armed Forces communities in Bavaria. She continued coaching and advising her clients in addressing their companion dog’s fearful and reactive behavioral issues. Katherine takes a Do No Harm approach first and foremost in providing behavioral plans. She is committed in serving clients with gentle and modern science approaches in modifying behavioral concerns such as reactivity, aggression, separation anxiety and fear based responses. Katherine is a member of the Pet Professional Guild. She is focused on integrating a holistic and modern approach in addressing her client’s pet companion reactive behavior issues.

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