How do I become a Pet Sitter and is it the right job for me?
Wanting to become a Pet Sitter seems to be becoming ever more popular.I think there are a number of reasons for this. The world is changing and gone are the days when we retire at either 60 or 65. Lots of people are working on later in life. 70 is the new 50!! – many are now wanting to continue to work or go back to work and reap the rewards of earning for longer.
For lots of people these days ‘contract work’ is becoming more and more the norm, some working more than one job, and now many of us are looking for a new rewarding role. ‘A job for life’ is nowhere to be found and where we are more aware of ‘working to live’ rather than ‘living to work’ this prompts many to look for something different – to do something they have a passion for.
What a great job!
As a pet lover, whether it be dogs, cats, rabbits or pets of a smaller variety, hamsters, guinea pigs etc, a job where you get paid for caring for and cuddling the animal of your choice becomes a very attractive prospect. How many jobs give you this sort of reward and allow you to potentially work from home or have a mini break at a client’s house and give you the flexibility that pet sitting gives?
Is this really the job for me though?
Well firstly we really must think very carefully about this. There is a lot more to it than potentially meets the eye. ‘Pet parents’ will be handing their ‘babies’ over to us – how do we feel about having this responsibility? Would we want to have the pet living with us (boarding) or would we want to go to the client’s house and care there (sitting)? Do I want to do doggy day care or perhaps go to the home of a cat or rabbit to feed and provide some company and cuddles? We need to think carefully about the practicalities. If I live in rented accommodation, how would my landlord feel about me having a dog or cat stay in the house? Do I need a garden or not? Do I have the right level of experience working or living with animals? Do I have the patience? Do I have the time and resources to be able to communicate easily and quickly with my potential clients/clients? (availability and sitting photos and blogs keep the client happy and can boost your earnings) Do I have the energy? (some dogs need a high level of exercise – although this isn’t by any means always the case). Would I have the confidence to give medication?, perhaps needing to give a cat with diabetes a daily insulin injection. Do I have children and/or my own pets and how would they like a new housemate for a few days or weeks? Am I allergic to cats?!
So how do I go about finding such a job and what would stand me in good stead to find the right one?
How do I find one that pays me enough and provides regular work?
There are a few more things to consider – would I prefer to have some support so that if I have a crisis of one kind or another when caring for a pet I have some practical help working with a company? Would I like to work with a company that will train me, give me new skills and allow me to earn even more? This might include training how to toilet train puppies and teach them how to sit, stay and come 🙂 or know how to build up the confidence of a nervous dog whilst at the same time teaching them basic obedience. Should I work for a company that will insure me in case of any mishaps? Should I sign up with an agency and what are the pros and cons of this? These are the sort of things you should be considering.
It’s really the same as looking for any job, ideally we need a certain level of experience, skills, motivation and also a bit of luck!!
Where do I get experience from? You may already have some that you hadn’t really taken into account. Do you have your own pet or have you had? Have you taken care of, played with, walked a friend’s or family members’ dog. Have you looked after someone’s cat or rabbit whilst they have been away?
If you haven’t got or had your own pet have you helped out at riding stables or boarding kennels in the holidays? Have you been on any animal management or grooming courses? All of these experiences will go a long way to giving you the skills, experience and confidence to pursue your goal.
If you haven’t had any of these experiences then it would definitely be beneficial to pursue gaining some. Good boarding kennels should always be very busy during holiday periods, Easter, half terms, summer holidays, Christmas etc. – they would always be very open to offers of assistance at these times. So any work experience that you can get will always be something that you can put on your CV or profile and will always give you that edge.
Matching is paramount for successful pet care professionals
The really key thing for success is that as a Pet Sitter you should always look to be matched as closely as possible with their client’s and pet’s needs. If full consideration isn’t given to this then it can lead to a less than wonderful experience. As long as all the right questions are asked and thoroughly considered honestly then all should go swimmingly!!