Sunday, August 31, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Why hire a pet sitter?

0514 PetsitterW

Elizabeth Barthel takes a break from walking some of her canine companions. Courtesy photo

By Elizabeth Barthel

You know that look your pet gets when the suitcases come out, strange men come to cut the grass or a new baby arrives? It is the sad face with the suitcases, fearful face with the gardener and anxious face with the baby.

And as pet parents, we feel bad, sad, guilty and often worried that our animals are not happy when we are away on vacation, business or just plain working.

One individual — a pet sitter or a dog walker — can change that feeling to a wagging tail (for your pet) and a smile (for you).

Pet sitters provide many benefits to all types of animals and help any pet stay within a routine. A new puppy needs training and housebreaking guidelines, and for those who work, this often is not possible. When students are in class, their dogs need a midday break. Pet sitters provide walking and vacation services to keep your animals happy, healthy and in a routine.

If you understand Fido’s language, this is what you might hear if you hang around a pet sitter’s back yard or see a group at the dog park.

Buddy the golden retriever is drinking profusely from an automatic water fountain. “Wow, that was a great walk today and I am dog-tired,” he might say to a very sweet-looking blue heeler named Cleo.

Cleo might respond, “Yep, I like it when the human takes us on a car ride and we go to Winters for a stroll. It is super-fun but super-tiring. … But you know what they say: A tired dog is a happy dog. I am happy. How about you, Buddy?”

“Yeah, I’m happy; I’m ready to go find a bed to take a nap.”

A reliable pet sitter makes sure your Fido gets exercise and entertainment for daily visits, like when the lawn mower shows up at your door every Wednesday or the house cleaner needs the dogs out. But what if Fido can’t go on your family vacation? In-home boarding gives your dog the comfort of home and a stress-free environment that most regular kennels don’t.

Finding a pet sitter who is equipped to deal with medical emergencies when necessary is also important. Qualified in-home boarding care should include the ability to administer medicine and take care of minor medical care.

With the right pet sitter, instead of the sad, fearful and anxious face, Fido will keep wagging his tail while you’re away. And you will be guilt-free, knowing Fido is well cared-for.

— Elizabeth Barthel owns Elizabeth’s Pet Sitting.

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