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Fall 2016

Volume 24 · Number 3

Spotlight On Your NAPPS 2017 Board Dealing with Bad Online Reviews Getting Started with Facebook Live Rescuing Pets Trapped In Hot Cars Pros and Cons of In-Home Boarding Time to Drink Up, Kitty! Harmonize with a Wildlife DJ

2017 NAPPS Forum May 5-7, 2017 Chicago, IL

Build Your Future Create Your Destiny


Media Mewsings............................................... 4 President’s Message......................................... 5 Dealing with Bad Online Reviews...................... 6

TIPS OF THE TRADE How to Write The Perfect Rate Increase Letter.......................................... 7 Getting Started With Facebook Live................... 9




The mission of the Professional Pet Sitter is to

of professional pet sitting, and communicate association news and events. Copyright 2016. The Professional Pet Sitter is published four times a year in March, June, September and December by NAPPS Headquarters: 1120 Rt. 73, Suite 200, Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054. Periodical mailing privilege pending at Mt. Laurel, NJ and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: send change of address to the Professional Pet Sitter c/o NAPPS Headquarters, 1120 Rt. 73, Suite 200, Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054. The Professional Pet Sitter is free to National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, Inc. members. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. Editorial offices: 1120 Rt. 73, Suite 200, Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054


BUSINESS Hidden Dangers of In-Home Boarding............ 11 Legal Ways to Help Pets in Hot Cars............... 13 Slimming Down Kruzer................................... 15 MEMBER SPOTLIGHT Spotlight on NAPPS Board.............................. 16

provide tools for members to enhance their business, help them expand their knowledge

6 9

FEATURES Harmonize with a Wildlife DJ.......................... 18 Time to Drink Up, Kitty!................................... 19 Presents 4 Pets Campaign.............................. 20 CONNECT WITH NAPPS About Your Association................................... 22 NAPPS Chat Message Board.......................... 23 NAPPS Member Benefits............................... 24 NAPPS in the News........................................ 25

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ONLINE ALL THE TIME National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, Inc. 1120 Rt. 73, Suite 200 Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054 Phone: (856) 439-0324 • Fax: (856) 439-0525 Email: •

Like us Follow us @TheNAPPS Join us @National Association of Professional Pet Sitters 3

Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2016


By Betty Liddick, editor of Cat Watch Magazine

A Study Suggests Cats Are More Making theThan Doggone Right Independent Dogs


ohn made esearchers a bad decision. at the University The 16-year-old of boy boughtLincolnshire, some marijuana England, from acknowledge an undercoverthe cop. Asgrowing a result,recognition John is living thatatcats the are Illinois more Youth socialCenter and capable (IYC) Chicago, of relationships a juvenilethan detention we once facility thought, for but the next their six latest months. study,John published is not ain the hardened journal PLOS criminal. One suggests And maybethat if he onhadn’t the other been caught hand, this catsearly don’tinnecessarily the game, rely he might on us still for abesense on the of streets, protection. perhaps now stealing to buying larger quantities In short, of marijuana—maybe they’re more independent even cocaine than or crack. dogs, the scientists say. “Domestic cats do not generally But landing see their in IYC owners is perhaps as a focus the of best safety thing that andcould security haveinhappened the same to way John thatand dogs thedo.” other 12-17-year-olds Their small likestudy him.adapted They’re receiving the Ainsworth the discipline, Strange Situation training, Test, counseling, which assesses educationthe and bond programs between they’ll children need or pet to reinvent dogs andthemselves their caregivers once they’ve when they’re completed in potentially their stay, via a program called Lifetime threatening Bonds. or unfamiliar environments. Created by Best The researchers Friends Safe Humane, this program observed targets the relationship youth who have between been involved in20 illegal cats activities. and their owners Each week, with a group of dog handlers the catsand in atheir new dogs environment visit the teens. withThe their teams owner, teach withthe a stranger young men the proper way andtoon approach their own. a dog, Theyaassessed few commands and a chance the amount to socialize of contact with the cats dog. By receiving the immediate sought, their gratification level of passive of a happy wagging tail, friendly behavior lickand on the signs hand, of distress or the roll-over request forwhen a belly therub, owner these wasyoungsters absent. begin to realize— sometimes “Although for theour firstcats timewere in their lives—that kindness more vocal begets when kindness. the owner And rather that sets the stage forthan profound the stranger behavioral left them, change. we didn’t Best Friends see anySafe additional Humane National Director Cynthia evidence Bathurst to suggest believes that Lifetime the bondBonds is an integral between component a cat andofhistheowner program in that it aims is one to stop of secure violence attachment,” in its tracks before it has a says chance Daniel to grow Mills, further. BVSc, “Safe Ph.D.,Humane” gives these Professor youngofmen Veterinary knowledge Behavioral and skills they can use Medicine, to positive whoadvantage led the study. for the “This dogs they and their vocalization friends ormight familysimply members be aencounter sign of frustration in the streets, or learned especially response, dogssince viewed no other as ‘fighting signs of dogs,’” she attachment says. were reliably seen.” Individuals in strange situations try to Changing stay close Beliefs to their caregiver Is The First and show Stepsigns of distress The young when men separated could and hardly show waitpleasure for the bell when tothe ring, caregiver signaling returns, it’s time Dr.for Mills thesays, Lifetime “butBonds these program, trends weren’t or, as they apparent call it,during “Dog-Play our research.” Time.” The group Previous breaksresearch into fivehas smaller suggested groupsthat andsome begins cats show each signs session of by separation learning anxiety how to approach in the same a way friendly dogsdog. do when One bytheir one,owners the boys leave takethem turnsalone, holding but theout results the backs of theofLincolnshire their handsstudy for thefound dogs tothat sniff,they then aregently more petting independent the dogs thanoncanine the side. Then the boys hold treats in their hand while asking the dogs to sit and lie down, then give the treats—and give and receive more love. After 20 Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2016

Arden Moore, Executive Editor Cathe Delaney, Managing Editor


minutes, companions. the groups switch to new handlers and dogs. “It seems that what we interpret as separation All the anxiety participants mightare actually anxious be to signs spend of time frustration,” with Rou,says the Dr. pit Mills. bull. One boy commented on howAnimal Rou resembled behaviorist hisKatherine AmericanHoupt, Staffordshire VMD, terrier. Ph.D., Itprofessor was surprising emeritustoathear Cornell him refer University to his dog College with oftheVeterinary official breed Medicine, title. says, “That’s“This because we’ve finding seen mayallaccount these different for the fact guysthat fight fewand we know owners whocomplain the bestthat onestheir are,”cats he says. have separation anxiety. AndThey this seem offerstothe beperfect able tosegue tolerate to daytime talk about absences, dogfighting. but are “Do moreyou likely think to show the dogs stresslike fighting?” related behavior, asks Triptow. including Mosthouse of thesoiling, boys nod. when “Do you thethink ownerthe is gone dogs overnight like being or stroked?” longer. Even All the more, cats ‘swear’ at their owners after a prolonged absence, vocalizing loudly when they return.”

...if you don’t like getting hurt and the dog doesn’t like getting hurt, do you really think the into a situation like fighting where they most certainly will get hurt?

boys nod. “Do you like the feeling of being hurt when someone hits you?” All the boys shake their head. “Do you think dogs like the feeling of being hurt, like when another dog bites them?” Tentative shakes all around. “So think about it—if you don’t like getting hurt and the dog doesn’t like getting hurt, do you really think the dogs like going into a situation like fighting where they most certainly will get hurt?” Definite head shakes all around. The teens have only participated in the Lifetime While Bonds dogsprogram often regard for twotheir months, owners butas already, source ofchanges safety, in it isthought, clear that attitude domestic and cats are behavior much more are autonomous evident. Nikkiwhen Robinson, it comes Assistant to coping Superintendent/Programs with unusual situations. IYC Chicago, observes the boys “Our notfindings only lookdon’t forward disagree to thewith sessions the because notion that they’re catsenjoyable, develop social but that preferences they really or “get” close why relationships, the program butisthey important. do show that these relationships do not appear to be typically based How on a need You Can for safety Helpand security,” says Dr. Mills. Best The possible Friends Safe reason Humane will come reliesasonno donations surprise: and The researchers in-kind services believe fromit local derives from businesses the nature of andtheindividuals. species Felis If you’d silvestris like to catus make— aour donation cats —toas thesolitary Safe Humane hunters.Lifetime n Bonds program, send a check payable to: Safe Humane P.O. Box 7342 Chicago, IL 60680-7342. If you’d like to learn more about volunteer opportunities



Please send all letters to the editor: Letters should include your name, address, and daytime telephone Letters may edited with Safe Humane, call number. 312-409-4790. Forebemore for length or clarity. Submissions may be mailed information on Best Friends, visit their Web site at or emailed as a word document. n

Professional Pet Sitter is published quarterly by the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS), a nonprofit organization, and is available through membership subscription. No portion of the magazine may be reprinted without the written consent of the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters. The letters and advertisements contained in this magazine do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the association. NAPPS is not liable for validity or correctness of any claim, express or implied, made in advertisements or writings of this magazine.

MEMBERSHIP SERVICES NAPPS Headquarters 1120 Rt. 73, Suite 200 Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054 Phone: (856) 439-0324 Fax: (856) 439-0525 Email: Cathe Delaney Administrative Director Cocee Baker Administrative Assistant Caitlin McWilliams Public Relations Business Insurers of the Carolinas PO Box 2536, Chapel Hill, NC 27515-2536 Phone: (800) 962-4611 ext. 224 For Dishonesty Bond and/or General Liability Insurance The National Group Insurance Exchange 3210 Doolittle Dr., Northbrook, IL 60062 Phone: (800) 955-0418 Fax: (847) 559-9499 Email: Contact: Alan Leafman For Dental and Health Insurance For pet sitting questions contact:


By Yvette Gonzales, President

Value Yourself the Way Others Value You and Your Services You’re important people in so many lives! Did you ever stop to think about that? Of course your family and friends all love you, but think about the many clients’ lives that you touch every day. That Golden who can’t wait to see you for his morning walk and his pet parent who is so very thankful that she can head off to work with the assurance that her fur baby is in capable, loving hands. Think about that kitty who hides from everyone but when you walk through the door, he knows you’re going to scratch his neck in that oh so wonderful spot. You make a difference to NAPPS too, your perspective, your knowledge and your experience make you a valuable member of the NAPPS community and we love that you’re here. Now, for a moment, stop and think about all those people who rely on you, who are impacted by you and who love you. Have you got that mental picture? Now, what happens to them when you make the critical mistake of not keeping yourself safe? Personal safety is critical in our business because so many rely upon us on a daily basis. Do you keep someone in the loop about your daily schedule? Do you let someone know when you go on meet and greets, how long should you be gone? Where are you going? These are things that we might get lax about after a period of time, but keeping a friend or family member in the loop abut day to day activity is an important part of this business. Another way pet sitters can keep themselves safe is by not trying to be a super hero. Oh we’ve all been there, trying to rescue that dog who got loose or by trying to befriend the dog who has fear issues or even the granddaddy of all situations, trying to rescue an animal from a natural disaster. In all these situations, you put your welfare at risk and maybe even those of the animal or other people. In many states, dog bites must be reported. When you put yourself in a rescue situation with an unfamiliar, stressed out animal, you place yourself at risk for getting bit. You then place that animal’s life in jeopardy if he’s been reported before or at least you get him placed on a list where another strike against him may be his death sentence. Call the authorities when you see an unfamiliar animal in a dangerous situation, keep him safe as well as yourself. Follow at a safe distance and don’t be a superhero. Recently, there’s been several natural disasters in the news and I know we all feel responsible for the pets in our care as well as any animal you see loose or in need of help. Unless you’re trained for an animal emergency response situation, you need to leave that type of aid to a professional. By inserting yourself into a dangerous situation you may ultimately need rescuing yourself thus putting a responders’ life in jeopardy as well as your own. You also pull resources away from others facing life and death situations. I know as caregivers our instinct is to want to help but often we do that without thinking what can go wrong? Will I get attacked, will I get bitten or worse will I be putting my life on the line? Remember, NAPPS values you and so do your clients, they put their trust in you and want to know that you’ll be around for many years to come. You can do that by thinking about your personal safety first. Yvette Gonzales Dedicated NAPPS Volunteer and President


Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2016


By Erin Fenstermaker

Bad Online Reviews An Opportunity to Shine Amidst Adversity


arlier this year, a Dallas-based pet sitting company garnered unwanted national media attention when a disgruntled customer revealed that they had been sued for $6,766 by the pet sitting company for leaving a negative review about the company on Yelp. Apparently, the pet sitting company had a clause in its contract that stated that a client could not disparage the company via an online review. When the client left a poor review on Yelp and then refused to take the review down, the client received a notice of being sued for breach of contract. While I would never recommend that a pet sitting company have such a clause for multiple reasons, my goal here is not to criticize the pet sitting company in this situation. Instead, this is a great opportunity to put online reviews of your own pet sitting company into a big picture perspective. First, never forget that pet sitting is a service business. If your company is going to be successful over the long term, you must focus on training your staff to provide consistent, top-level service every single day, and on treating your clients thoughtfully and respectfully at all times. What does this have to do with online reviews? Actually, a lot. The best pet sitting companies get the occasional bad review, but such reviews do not hurt their overall reputation. Why? Because they remain professional at all times when responding to them. What matters is not that you received a bad review, but how you choose to handle that bad review. How you respond to the review will say more about your company than the Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2016

review itself will. By handling a bad review with humility and class, you can improve the public’s perception of your company. In handling online reviews, heed these tips: • Acknowledge/respond to all reviews within 24-48 hours. This shows that your company cares about how your service is perceived in the marketplace. Of bad reviews, accept responsibility quickly for anything that your company or staff member may have done wrong, and always apologize -- even if you did absolutely nothing wrong. Never “throw a staff member under the bus,’ even if their behavior was egregious and you ended up firing them. Apologizing is the right thing to do because your relationship with the client is more important than your ego. • Thank the reviewer for their feedback. Never blame the client for anything in your response, even if they violated numerous company policies, treated you poorly, or even flat-out lied about the events that transpired. You cannot win a public


online tug-of-war. • Do not respond when you are emotionally upset. Wait until you are calm to craft your response (but still within the 24-48 hour window). Ask a trusted friend to review your response before posting it. • Offer to speak to the client offline. It is always preferable to discuss service issues offline if possible, instead of airing them online. A bad review is a fantastic opportunity for your business to show how it handles adversity. Handled graciously and professionally, a response to a bad review can actually win over new customers. n Erin Fenstermaker is a small business consultant specializing in the pet industry. A certified dog trainer, Erin was also a part-time pet sitter for seven years while working full-time as a small business chief operating officer. Learn more at www.


By Kristin Morrison

How to Write the Perfect Rate Increase Letter


Io you realize that by simply raising your rates $2 per walk with 10 clients you can increase your earnings up to $5,200 a year? Now, it’s time to actually do it! Below are five tips around writing and sending the perfect rate increase letter for your pet sitting clients: 1. Compose a rate increase letter. Above all, keep it simple. Do not apologize in any way, shape or form about raising your rates. Here’s a sample of the rate increase letter that I send out to my own pet sitting and dog walking clients each year: Dear Wonderful Dog Walking Clients (or Pet Sitting Clients): It’s been such a pleasure to work with you and your pets this year. Thanks so much for the opportunity of letting us care for your pets. Due to the rising cost of doing business, we will be raising our rates slightly. Our rates will go up $2 per walk and $2 per pet sitting visit. Our overnight sitting rates will go up $5 per night. As always, we are committed to providing you with excellent pet care service and we look forward to doing that for you this year. Thanks for letting us serve you and your pets, Your Name Your Business Name 2. Determine when and how to send your rate increase letter. If you regularly mail or email your dog walking or pet sitting bills, simply include the rate increase letter in your next round of bills. To make sure everyone is aware of your rate increase, you can gather the email addresses of your clients and send out a mass email to your business email list. If you are a smaller company and deal with clients more on the phone rather than email or mailing them bills, then just verbally tell them. However, due the fear that may arise in declaring your rate increase, it’s sometimes easier to write a letter or email. If this is your first time raising your rates, I encourage you to take the easier

route and write your clients a letter or email. Don’t make it harder on yourself than you need to, and do remember to give each client at least a month’s notice before the increase takes effect.

like them. Their pets like you. You know the house. Just one of the above would keep them wanting to use you no matter what you charge.

3. Don’t let fear change your mind. If you are afraid that they won’t want to work with you anymore, read this. I’ll bet that they won’t leave you if you raise your rates a dollar or two. Why? They are used to working with you. They like you. You

Finding a new pet sitter is a hassle. Staying with you is easy. And they like working with you. And remember they don’t like change (and nor do you, which is why it’s hard to let your clients know you are raising your fees — even positive change can be hard for us humans!) 7

Let me tell you a little secret: no one likes change. And how that applies to raising your rates is that most people don’t want to go out looking for a new pet sitter or dog walker when they can just keep you and pay you a little bit more. Finding a new pet sitter is a hassle. Staying with you is easy. And they like working with you. And remember, they don’t like change (and nor do you, which is why it’s hard to let your clients know you are raising your fees—even positive change can be hard for us humans!)

4. Be prepared to lose a few clients— maybe. If they do leave, I know, I just said above that they probably wouldn’t leave, but be prepared that one or two might. But, hey, out of 30 or 50 or 100 clients, one or two isn’t bad. And really, do you want to work with clients who are unhappy that you are simply charging what your time is worth? I don’t think so. My experience has been that the clients who leave when I’ve raised my rates have been clients I’d secretly wanted to let go of anyway.

Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2016


Here’s another secret I’ve learned in my years of pet sitting: After a client has left simply due to my raising rates, soon after, I’ve had well-paying and enjoyable clients fill their slot. Having had this experience happen over and over in the course of the 14 years I’ve owned my pet sitting business has helped believe in the power of raising rates! So let those who do want to leave, leave. And

Perfect Rate Increase Letter, By Kristin Morrison

let them go gracefully and gratefully because you know that having them leave makes room for clients to show up who will respect you and respect your rates. 5. Write your own rate increase letter. Now. It’s great to read about this, but you won’t make any more money unless you actually write and send your own rate

increase letter. I encourage you to do this today and send it out to your clients tonight or tomorrow. If you love what you are doing then you are meant to thrive financially and this is one simple way that you can easily and effortlessly make more money this year. So what are you waiting for? Stop reading this and begin writing your own rate increase letter now! n

Ways to Create More Profit In Your Pet Sitting Business 2. Decide upon the pet care services you’ll providing. This is as important as deciding upon your niche. One of the first actions I’ll take with new pet business coaching clients is to look at their website and do a quick ‘website audit.’ I often see pet sitters listing 10 or more services on their websites and the page just swims with services! It’s too much. It’s overwhelming to clients. We are living in an age where overwhelm happens easily to us humans due to all the information out there. Keep things simple. Don’t list more than five services on your services page.

Here are some tips to help you get started: 1. Decide on the type of animals you want to care for in order to be crystal-clear when it comes to your defining your niche. This may sound obvious, yet many new pet sitting business owners haven’t thought this one through. If you don’t really like cats or are allergic to them, then you’ll want to focus primarily on dogs and other animals that you feel comfortable caring for (or hire someone else to care for your cat clients). If you really enjoy—and are experienced with—caring for horses and other farm animals. Then starting a ranch animal care service might really help word spread about your specialized service. And if you are a big-time cat lover: start a cat-only pet sitting service. You’ll be amazing at how many cat-only clients will love that you specialize in felines. When you focus your business primarily on the animals you enjoy caring for, you’ll often be more successful because clients will know they are your Right Clients. Why? Because they have the type of animals you specialize in. Also that joy that you have for those particular animals will come shining through in everything–your meet and greets, your marketing materials and the smile that lights up your face when you are with the animal types you most enjoy. And joy for what we love brings more clients.

Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2016

3. Create a marketing plan with daily activities in order to focus on income-producing activities. If you are used to working for someone else, then it can be hard to know what to put your attention on when you are a new pet business owner. If you are a new pet sitting business owner or you aren’t seeing your client list (or profit) increase, I recommend putting at least 30 minutes a day into marketing, five days a week. Marketing doesn’t just happen. You actually have to get out there (in the real world and online) in order to promote your services to the public. Create a list of all the marketing activities you can and want to do to promote your business and put those tasks on your weekly and monthly calendar. n Kristin Morrison started her pet care company in 1995 and it grew to be one of the largest pet care companies in California before she sold it in 2013. Kristin provides business coaching for thousands of pet sitters, dog walkers, dog trainers, and pet groomers across the United States, Canada, the UK and Australia. In 2008, she founded Six-Figure Pet Sitting Academy™ and Six-Figure Pet Business Academy™ providing coaching, webinars and business products for pet business owners. Kristin wrote the books Six-Figure Pet Sitting and Six-Figure Pet Business which can be found in print on Amazon and in eBook format on her websites: and



By Therese Kopiwoda

Get Started With Facebook Live


xperts predict that within the next four years, 75 percent of what we do on our mobile devices will be video. Live video will play a major part in that, and Mark Zuckerberg intends to make Facebook the leader in live streaming video. To encourage Facebook users to start broadcasting, live videos are currently getting a boost in the algorithm. What this means is that while you’re broadcasting, your video will show up on more of your friends and followers timelines than other types of content. Afterwards, the replay will still be available (unless you delete it), but it will revert to the normal algorithm. Given the live video trend and the fact that Facebook is rewarding people who are using it, now is the time to get started. Smart business owners are jumping on the bandwagon and taking advantage of the fact that it’s still fairly new. They will be leading the way as other people sit back and wait.

Who Can See Your Broadcast? Facebook allows you to do live broadcasts to your personal profile, business page, groups, and events. The privacy options are as follows: • Pages: broadcasts are public. • Personal profile: Can be public or for a list you have previously set up. • Groups: Can only be viewed by people in that group. • Events: Viewable by the public if the event is public. If event is private, broadcasts will only be viewable by those invited.

How to do a Facebook Live Broadcast To start your broadcast, open your regular Facebook app on your mobile device. Then follow these steps: 1. Tap on “What’s on your mind” like you would for any other status update.

2. On the screen that comes up you will see a Live Video icon. Tap on that and it will bring up a new window where you will type a description of your video. 3. Before going live, decide whether you want to use the back facing camera (facing away from you) or the front facing camera (the one facing you). To change from one camera to the other, tap the little arrow icon in the upper right corner of the broadcast screen. You can change cameras any time before or during your broadcast. 4. When you are ready to go live, tap on the “Go Live” blue button and you’re on your way! You will be given a 3-2-1 countdown before you go live. Take a deep breath, smile, and get ready to broadcast! While you’re broadcasting, people will come and go while you’re live and if they comment, they will show up in the chat section below the video. You may also see a message pop up saying who has joined. If so, say hello. Since this is live video, you want to remember to actively engage your viewers, and greeting them by name is a great way to start. Keep in mind that there is about a 6-second delay from the time you say something and the time your viewers hear it. So, when you ask a


question, be prepared to keep talking, but keep an eye out for answers and comment on appropriately.

Ending Your Broadcast To end your broadcast, tap the red “Finish” button in the lower right corner of your screen. Before you do though, remember the delay. After you say goodbye, wait a few seconds and then hit “Finish.” Otherwise, your broadcast will be cut off mid-sentence.

After Your Broadcast After you end your broadcast, you can choose to keep it available, hide it from the timeline, schedule a time for it to be deleted, or delete it manually. If you choose to keep it on Facebook for others to view, they will also be able to comment at any time, just like they would on any other type of post. Live video is only going to get more and more popular, so getting started now will be in your best interest. The best way to get started with Facebook Live is to start watching other broadcasters. Once you get the feel for how it works and you have an idea of how you want to use it, put it to work for your business. n Therese Kopiwoda is a presenter for webinars, workshops, and conferences, and a former pet sitter. Visit her website at Social Media Hound and follow her on Periscope & Twitter at @kopiwoda. Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2016


Facebook Live, By Therese Kopiwoda

Here’s a Sampling of Facebook Live During One Day Since rolling out Facebook Live to people and publishers around the world, we’ve seen incredible adoption and engagement with the new format.

We’ve been inspired by the creativity we’ve seen so far, and with this bi-weekly series, we’ll highlight some interesting Facebook Lives from the past two weeks.

Here are 9 standout live videos: 1. CNN broadcast a man scaling Trump Tower in New York City via Facebook Live, with more than 225,000 tuning in at one time, a record for the network.

2. Green Day hosted a Facebook Live during which band members Billie Joe, Mike, and Tré gave viewers a tour of their new studio, OTIS, and talked about their new album Revolution Radio.

3. NPR invited their followers to play “Sketch the News with NPR!” using Facebook Live to broadcast their illustrations of the headlines and have people guess the week’s selections.

4. Declan Walsh, a foreign correspondent for The New York Times, presented a Facebook Live video of everything he saw at the political conventions. He was looking for people’s suggestions on where he should travel next to learn more about the electorate.

5. Michael Phelps was on Facebook Live before his last race at Rio 2016 to take fan questions and announce his retirement from swimming.

6. Country music star Eric Church announced his solo 60-city Holdin’ My Own Tour on Facebook Live from Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado.

7. Hoda Kotb went live from the Today Show Page with a tour of the show’s Olympic Games set in Rio.

8. FOX‘s Scream Queens hosted a Facebook Live among its costars John Stamos, Lea Michele, and Taylor Lautner who discussed what’s in store for the new season of the show.

9. PBS Newshour went live with Julian Assange of WikiLeaks and posed questions to him from the viewers on Facebook.

Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2016



By David Pearsall, CIC, CWCA

Beware the Hidden Dangers of In-Home Boarding In-home pet boarding has been around for years, but with the arrival of online directory matching services such as and, this alternative to traditional pet sitting and boarding has certainly increased in popularity. This also appears to ring true with NAPPS members insured via the NAPPS Liability program, as today almost 25 percent of members insured under the program now include coverage for this service as opposed to just 5 percent a decade ago. Unfortunately, many people will jump at the opportunity to board pets in their home and sign up on one of the online directories without considering the risks they may take by doing so. So for this briefing, let’s take a look at some of the ever-increasing claims we have seen arising out of in-home boarding and examine the different risks involved to make sure NAPPS Professionals are aware of the exposures that exist. Before we begin, it is important to note that some exposures that exist may not be insurance related, but still may pose a risk to your business. For example, many states and municipalities have laws in effect that are directly related to boarding pets in your home. Some require you to take out a permit in order to board, while others may not allow you to board in your home at all due to zoning regulations. Be aware that even if you are boarding one or two pets in your home at a time, and are being paid for it, that this would likely be considered a home-based business. Many communities will have specific zoning laws that stipulate what types of home-based businesses are allowed in a given community. To protect yourself, be sure to consult with your town/city, county and state officials to ensure that you are operating legally. Otherwise, you may be hit one day with an unexpected fine and/or a cease-and-desist letter. Now let’s take a look at in-home boarding in terms of liability risk, and how it differs from traditional pet sitting in client’s home. When you are paid to take care of a client’s pet in your home, you cross a line in the insurance world from personal liability to business (commercial) liability. Although some people may think they are covered automatically if they have a homeowner’s or renter’s policy, which typically includes personal liability coverage at their premises, unfortunately, they are not. Most homeowners/renters policies specifically exclude coverage for business-related liability claims. Therefore, if a dog in your care were to bite someone while at your home or bite another dog in your care, you need a business liability policy that specifically provides coverage for in-home boarding, including veterinary medical coverage for the pets in your care. Most insurance companies are hesitant to offer this coverage, due to crisscrossing of personal and business liability. For example, what if your teenage son brings home a friend who gets bitten by a dog in your care? Or what if a dog under your care bites a plumbing contractor is working at your home or a delivery person bringing a package to your door? To better illustrate, here are a couple of actual claims examples:

1. While staying at the pet sitter’s home, a client’s dog got into an altercation with the pet sitter’s roommate’s dog. The roommate was bitten attempting to separate the dogs. Total claim paid: $4,174. 2. A pet sitter opened the door to her home just as mail carrier was entering her front fence. The mail carrier did not see the dog coming out until she turned around and was bitten on the leg. Total claim paid: $21,647.


Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2016


These are not the typical exposures you would be concerned about if pet sitting in the client’s home, as you are not likely to have personal friends, roommates, or repair or delivery folks coming to see you at the client’s home. Another difference to consider when boarding in your homes is the pets themselves. After all, they are the ones you are caring for. If they have never been to your home before, they are not familiar with where things are, where you want them to hang out, or other people or pets that may be in the home. When you are taking care of pets in the client’s home, the pets know all of these things and are accustomed to their routine. Bring them to your house and it may just rock their world, or cause them injury! Below are several examples of claims: 1. While boarding at a pet sitter’s home, a dog got into the sitter’s medications, which were left on the counter, and required veterinary care. Total claim paid: $575. 2. A dog suffered a ruptured disk while staying at pet sitter’s home. Total claim paid: $5,054. 3. A dog ate a rope while staying at pet sitter’s home. Total claim paid: $5,116. 4. A pet sitter was taking care of a client’s dog in her home. The dog attempted to be social with the pet sitter’s personal cat, but the cat scratched dog in the eye. Total claim paid: $4,170. 5. While staying at pet sitter’s home, a dog fell off deck and suffered injuries. Total claim paid: $2,652. Furthermore, if you are providing in-home boarding and are boarding more than one client’s dog at a time, you run the risk of dog fights/dog injuries. This is by far the number one claim we see arising out of in-home boarding operations. Dogs may get along great with other pets in their own household, but if you put them in with other pets from other families without caution, you may be in for a rude awakening. Most animal shelters and boarding kennels are aware of this exposure and typically perform temperament tests before placing a dog in a playgroup with other dogs. It is highly recommended that if you are going to board multiple dogs that you do temperament testing first. Some dogs can suffer anxiety and be stressed if outside of their own home environment. Other dogs can be prone to aggression while others may be more fearful in groups and around others. Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2016

In-Home Boarding, By David Pearsall, CIC, CWCA

In addition to injuries to client’s pets, please be aware that most business insurance companies, including the insurer for the NAPPS Liability program, exclude coverage for injuries to your owned pets and damage to your personal property (contents of your home). This is yet another example of the crossover between personal and business exposures. Here are some actual examples of dogs not getting along with other dogs in a pet sitter’s home: 1. A pet sitter was boarding multiple dogs at her home. She left to go eat lunch and upon returning home, discovered two of dogs had been in a fight, and one had died. Total claim paid: $3,531. 2. Two dogs staying in a pet sitter’s home got into a fight, and one of them had to be hospitalized due to loss of one eye and multiple other injuries. As a result of injuries, one of the dogs lost a lot of blood and died. Total claim paid: $17,311. 3. During a play group at a pet sitter’s home, two dogs began to fight and both suffered multiple injuries. Total claim paid: $9,989. 4. Multiple dogs were being boarded in a pet sitter’s home. One dog attacked two others, causing multiple injuries. Both attacked dogs required extensive medical care. Total claim paid: $8,238. In addition to injuries to client’s pets, please be aware that most business insurance companies, including the insurer for the NAPPS Liability program, exclude coverage for injuries to your owned pets and damage to your personal property (contents of your home). This is yet


another example of the crossover between personal and business exposures. So if a client’s dog in your care attacks your personal pet(s) and inflicts injury, or chews up your furnishings or personal belongings, you would be on the hook for the cost to replace these items. You could purchase pet health insurance to cover injuries to your owned pets, but unfortunately, even a homeowners or renters policy will exclude coverage for your contents if they are damaged by animals who are owned or kept by you. Additionally, many insurers will also exclude injuries to pets in your care that are caused by your personal pet (all though not the case with insurer for NAPPS Liability program), so if you have a pet who can be aggressive or fearful around other pets, in-home boarding may not be ideal for you or your pet. Last, depending on the number of pets you are caring for in your home, there is one additional exposure that can be a potential nightmare: fire. When you are pet sitting at a client’s home, if you accidentally cause a fire, you would likely have coverage under a business general liability policy if you carry one. If this occurs at your personal home/residence, you would be covered by your personal homeowners or renters policy for your home and contents, but what about the pets in your care? Once again, be sure that you carry a general policy that includes coverage for pets you care for boarding in your home (or the “In Your Home Pet Care” endorsement option if insured under NAPPS Liability policy) and that you have a sufficient limit of coverage to cover all pets in your care, custody and control, or else you may be out of pocket for claims like these: 1. A pet sitter came home to find her home on fire. At the time of fire, the insured was caring for multiple pets and all but one died. In addition, the sitter also lost her personal pets to the fire. Total claim paid: $15,522. 2. A pet sitter’s home caught on fire and three dogs in her care died. Total claim paid: $10,000. n David Pearsall, CIC, CWCA, is vice-president/co-owner of Business Insurers of the Carolinas, a multi-line commercial insurance agency specializing in insurance for pet service professionals since 1995. He is a licensed insurance agent in all 50 states and has held the Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designation and the Certified Workers Compensation Advisor (CWA) designation since 2002. David can be reached at 1-800-962-4611, ext. #214, or via email at


By Carol Bryant

Legal Ways to Help Pets in Hot Cars Even in the fall, the temperatures across the country can soar. Unfortunately, a great number of people leave their pets behind in cars during warm/hot days and the outcome is often fatal for the pet. Those in the know understand that pets should never be left behind in a car for a variety of reasons: sweltering heat, freezing cold, or even theft. Many pets are stolen from cars as they longingly and innocently wait for their pet parent(s) to return. In preparing for this article, BlogPaws went right to the experts: The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF). We interviewed Jeff Pierce, who is Legislative Counsel for the ALDF (( For over three decades, the Animal Legal Defense Fund has been fighting to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the law. Founded in 1979 by attorneys active in shaping the emerging field of animal law, ALDF has blazed the trail for stronger enforcement of anti-cruelty laws and

more humane treatment of animals in every corner of American life. “For example, in California— where the Animal Legal Defense Fund is headquartered—a person who sees a distressed animal in a hot car should call law enforcement, a humane officer, or an animal control officer,” Pierce says. “Fortunately, California law empowers those


authorities to break into the car to save a distressed animal. Unfortunately, if a private citizen breaks into the car him or herself, he or she risks being sued by the owner of the vehicle (for damages) or even prosecuted by the police (for vandalism).  There are more than a dozen states like California, including Arizona, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and others.” He says that in two states—New Jersey and West Virginia—although state law makes it explicitly illegal to leave an animal trapped in a hot car—nobody (not even law enforcement) can break into that car without risking getting sued by the owner.  Many states fail not merely to empower people to break into cars but also to prohibit people from trapping animals inside hot cars—though we might hope that the animal cruelty code in those states would fill in that legal gap. Fortunately, the law takes a right turn and changes again in three states. Florida, Tennessee and Wisconsin have enacted widesweeping Good Samaritan laws that enable anyone to break into a vehicle to save an animal or child without worrying the owner might sue them later. Of course, even in Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2016


Legal Ways to Help Pets in Cars, By Carol Bryant

Quick Glance of Pet Rescue Rules by State The majority of states do not have “hot car” laws (laws that prohibit leaving unattended animals in vehicles). For more information, on the Table of State Laws that Protect Animals Left in Parked Vehicles, visit https://www. these states, the would-be rescuer must heed these rules: • Make sure that the vehicle is locked. • Call 911 or the local police first. • Quickly attempt to find the owner of the vehicle. • Only do what is necessary to reach the trapped pet or child by breaking a window and not damaging the entire vehicle. • Stay with the pet or the child until first responders arrive on the scene. At the present time, there is a bill now before the California legislature that would provide civil immunity (a shield against being sued) and even criminal immunity (a shield against prosecution) if the rescuer takes certain steps. New York has a similar bill pending in Albany, and Pennsylvania is considering a bill that would protect a broad class of peace officers and first responders—though not private citizens—from civil liability for rescuing an animal from a hot car.

If You Are Not Legally Allowed to Break a Car Window The first thing to do is call law enforcement, a humane officer, or even the fire department. Pierce says firemen are the “proverbial savers of cats stuck in trees.” “Hopefully, the authorities will prioritize saving an animal’s life, just as they might prioritize saving a child’s life under identical circumstances,” he shares. “The second—or eventual—thing to do is to contact your state legislator and encourage him or her to introduce a Good Samaritan bill like those that are already law in a few states and pending in others.”

What “Hot Car” Laws Cover Such laws do not prohibit confinement at specific temperatures for a specific amount of time. Rather, the provisions tend to prohibit a broad range of conduct, i.e. confining an animal in a manner that endangers his/her health or safety. Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2016

States That Do and Don’t Have Criminal Provisions The Animal Legal and Historical Center has a detailed table describing the laws that concern leaving a companion animal unattended in a parked vehicle. According to, “Approximately 22 states have laws that regulate this practice. Most of these laws provide that the animal must be confined or unattended in a parked or stationary vehicle. Further, the laws add that in order for a person to violate the law, the conditions have to endanger the animal’s life. Under some state laws, law enforcement or other individuals are allowed to rescue animals left under extreme conditions.”

Here’s Actual Footage: Bystander Rescues Dog from Hot Car ( bystander-rescues-overheated-dog-from-car-ingrand-bend-1.2942388)

Proactive Things Pet Parents Can Do Let people know it’s not okay to leave their pet unattended in a car. ALDF says that when an animal dies in a hot car, most of their humans say they left them “just for a minute.” If you see someone leave their pet in a parked car, tell them that even if it’s a pleasant day outside, the temperature inside the car can skyrocket fast. Cracking a window doesn’t eliminate the risk of heatstroke or death. Parked cars quickly trap the sun’s heat. Even on a day if the temperature is 70 degrees outside, the temperature inside a car with all the windows closed can hit 90 degrees in just 10 minutes. Think about that. On a hot day, the temperature inside a closed car can shoot as high as 116 degrees in the same amount of time. Leaving the windows open a crack doesn’t eliminate the danger of heatstroke or death. Keep in mind that dogs and cats do not perspire like we do. They lack the skin pores. They attempt to


combat heat by panting and sweating through their paw pads. Pets affected by heat will display some or all of these signs: • Excessive salivation • Dehydration • Rapid panting and problems breathing • Bright red gums and dark red tongue • Reddened, warm inside the ears • Rapid heart rate • Vomiting • Diarrhea • Staggering or acting confused • Convulsions or seizures • Collapse into unconsciousness

Connect Your Local Law Enforcement Agencies with ALDF Resources Let your local authorities know that ALDF’s Criminal Justice Program ( attorneys offer training and resources to law enforcement agents on this and other animal law issues.

Get an ALDF Sunshade ALDF created the Dogs in Hot Cars Sunshade so you can make a strong statement about protecting animals from the dangers of hot cars where they need it most—in parking lots across America. These shades sport the message, “Warning: Don’t leave dogs in hot cars.” These shades cost $20 with proceeds benefitting the ALDF. Consider ordering these sunshades by visiting

Download & Print ALDF’s Dogs in Hot Cars Flyer Download and print this flyer ( wp-content/uploads/2014/05/ALDF-dogs-in-hotcars-flyer.pdf), and hang it in grocery stores, cafes, laundromats, and other locations where people may leave dogs in hot cars. Many businesses will be happy to hang a flyer in their front window if you ask politely. And share the flyer with your local humane agencies to help them make the public aware of these laws. n Carol Bryant is the Marketing and Social Media Manager for BlogPaws and runs her own blog, Fidose of Reality and its fundraising arm, Wigglebutt Warriors. When not busy playing with her Cocker Spaniel, Dexter, she stays far away from cooking. Her trademark is her mantra and is tattooed on her arm: My Heart Beats Dog.®


By Arden Moore

Hefty Challenge: Slimming Down Kruzer When Joette White agreed to adopt Kruzer as the newest “office cat” inside her Park Cities Pet Sitter, Inc. headquarters in Dallas, she didn’t know just how big of a challenge she would face. Kruzer, the casualty of a divorce, waddled into the office about a year ago weighing nearly 24 pounds. That made him not just overweight, but dangerously obese. Extra pounds on a cat make them more prone to heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, joint limitations and a host of other conditions. Determined to help this beautiful Bengal, White decided to make his weight-loss campaign public by sharing weekly Facebook posts each Wednesday that sport the hash tag: #weightlosswednesday. The Facebook page for Park Cities Pet Sitter, Inc. posts the trials and triumphs of getting this five-year-old feline foodie down from 24 pounds to 18.1 pounds—and counting. People get to view and comment on how well the various slim-down tactics have worked, from replacing free feeding with timed feeding machines, teaching Kruzer how to walk on a leash for exercise in the fenced in back courtyard to even training Kruzer how to stride confidently on a feline circular treadmill. “This gives us a way to connect with our clients and others who have similar issues,” notes White, whose company has earned a spot on Angie’s List Super Service Award for the past five years. “People can see what has worked or not worked for Kruzer. Having the weekly campaign gives our Facebook group something to look forward to every week.” Adds Christy VanRavenswaay, office manager, “We even posted photos in March 2016 when we found out he binged from his food bag.” Here is a sampling of Facebook posts telling the tale of Kruzer: • April 6: Kruzer is down to 20.5 pounds this week! • July 13: Although Kruzer is up slightly this week at 19.42 pounds, he remains completely fearless of the scale! Look at how casually he lays about on it, what a champ! • July 27: Many of you know that Kruzer has previously suffered from urinary problems. We made the decision to go ahead with a surgery to widen his urethra. The surgery went well and he is staying in good spirits. • August 17: Today, he comes in at 18.1 pounds and is feeling great and much healthier. Keep up the good work, buddy!

Office manager Christy VanRavenswaay hoists the once 24-pound Kruzer.

Kruzer has weekly weigh-ins and has lost nearly six pounds in a year.

In addition to receiving measured meals, Kruzer also slims down by treadmill walking and harnessed walks.

White is happy to report that Kruzer displays more energy and mobility. And the only aspect that he has blossomed into is that of a lovable office cat. “Kruzer is super friendly with people and loves attention,” she notes. “People are always drawn to him­—he is a very cool cat!” For Kruzer updates, visit


Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2016

A Close-Up Look at Your NA Volunteering is at the heart of every successful association and NAPPS By Arden Moore is certainly no exception. As a leader in the field of professional pet sitting, our association depends on the collective talent of many and a dedicated leadership team. We shine a spotlight on your NAPPS board of directors. Some of their responses will inspire and perhaps, even surprise you. For example, did you know the 2017 NAPPS board includes someone who has lived in 12 states, a person who has swam in every sea on the planet and a former NAPPS president opting to return to serve on the board? Let’s shine a spotlight on your NAPPS leaders: President Yvette Gonzales, Owner of As You Wish Pet Sitters What inspired you to serve on the board? NAPPS gave me a great foundation to grow my business and allow it to succeed. This is my way of giving back. Our association is completely run by volunteers. You have every opportunity to shape us. You just need to give some of your time and your talent. What can you say to convince other NAPPS members to serve on the board? Board service is an amazing opportunity to see how our association functions and you can really make a difference. The friendships and networking that goes on will change your business and your life. What time management tips can you offer to others? Time Management, look at your day, journal the areas where you spend your time. Then take a critical look and ask, “Is that a time stealer?” What can you do more efficiently? One of my favorite time management quotes is, ‘If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way. If it’s not, you’ll find an excuse.’” What is the biggest challenge facing professional pet sitters today? I think this still has to do with being respected and being taken seriously. The only ones who can do something about this though is our members putting their most professional foot forward. This includes running your business within the purview of state laws, carrying insurance, and gaining certifications. Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2016

What issues do you hope to address as a board member? My focus is on making our association the best one for our member’s money. I want to educate them and open their eyes to the value of our association. What is something about you that will surprise others? I love to spend time on the golf course with my husband and friends. Also, I love to cook— just wish there was time for that.

Past President Sherry Suhosky, Owner of Animal Aunts 4 Pets What inspired you to serve on the board? I’m passionate about professional pet sitting and have previous nonprofit board experience and thought that I could help. What can you say to convince other NAPPS members to serve on the board? Service to others is the greatest gift that you can give to others. Some people just haven’t unwrapped their gifts yet. Everyone has something to give to our association and our board is extremely diverse which reflects our membership. What time management tips can you offer to others?  Pre-plan your year, your quarter, your week and then prioritize your day. Invoice 10 days before the first visit. Finally, arrive 10 minutes before any appointment.


What is the best part of being a professional pet sitter? You create your destiny. Whether you choose to remain a sole proprietor or a large corporation with many employees, you get to choose. What issues face professional pet sitters that you hope to address as a board member? Getting new pet sitters to understand and totally grasp that this is a business. Soon, I’ll be taking applications from NAPPS Members who have less than two years in business for a very limited class that will be taught on the day before the 2017 Education and Networking Forum. The course will give selected individuals a wonderful opportunity to launch their businesses to success quicker. What is something about you that will surprise others? I have visited every state in the United States and every continent on earth and swam in all the seas. I would like to go at least into outer space if not another planet.

President-Elect Jessica Abernathy, Owner of Professional Pet Sitters, Inc. What inspired you to serve on the board? I love NAPPS and everything about it. I felt this was my way of supporting an association that I believe in.

APPS 2017 Board of Directors What can you say to convince other NAPPS members to serve on the board? Serving on the board is a great way to get involved in NAPPS as well as help make positive changes in the pet sitting industry.

week. Prepare an email form that is ready to send. Verify start and ends dates and times, checking for any changes or modifications in routine(s) for pets. Occasionally, there may be last-minute changes but getting all info a week prior can be a time saver.

What time management tips can you offer to others? Set aside 30 minutes a day to work on projects that you need to get done.  Make a list of things you want to get done during the day. Finally, prioritize the top 5 things that have to be done and do other tasks as time permits.

What is the best part of being a professional pet sitter? The best part of being a professional pet sitter is the actually time I spend whether walking, playing with, petting or just talking with my furry friends and meeting wonderful caring pet parents.

What is the best part of being a professional pet sitter? Walking into the house and getting all the love from the fur babies. They are happy to see you no matter what’s going on in your life or what the weather is like outside.  What is the biggest challenge facing professional pet sitters today? Competing with the hobbyists who are not professional pet sitters, and educating clients that this is a professional job and not just a hobby. What is something about you that will surprise others? I am not sure what would surprise anyone these days. I have lived in 12 states so far and looking to end up in Texas one day.

SecretaryTreasurer Cyndy Lippert, Owner of Whiskers and Wags Professional Pet Sitting, LLC What inspired you to serve on the board? NAPPS helped me get my business up and running. The benefits NAPPS offered: teleconferences, Pet Sitting 101, liability insurance, necessary forms and general pet sitting information that saved me from having to start from scratch. What time management tips can you offer to others? Select one day each week and call or email those clients to confirm pet sitting for the following

What is the biggest challenge facing professional pet sitters today? I think burnout is a challenging issue that pet sitters face today, especially those that are solo practitioners. Secondly, dealing with the loss of pets in our care and the effect that grief has on pet sitters. What is something about you that will surprise others? I enjoy cooking, which has become more challenging since I am wheat and gluten intolerant.

Director Marc Wolf, Owner of Wolf’s Pet Sitting & Services What inspired you to serve on the board? NAPPS and our members helped me to make my business stronger by educating me when I was just starting out. I want that to continue for other new pet sitters. I remain a member of NAPPS and on the Board, because the education continues. What can you say to convince other NAPPS members to serve on the board? If someone doesn’t think they are qualified to be on the Board, consider that all the current board members were at one time new to the association. The Board needs all levels of experience to be represented so that fresh ideas keep emerging. What time management tips can you offer to others?  Stay focused on the task most important. Set aside some time for yourself, even “schedule” this time, if necessary.  


What is the best part of being a professional pet sitter? Being my own boss and owning my business. Also, for me, it is knowing that I’m giving my clients some peace of mind. Pet parents who care enough to hire a professional pet sitter should not have to worry about their pets while they are gone. What is the biggest challenge facing professional pet sitters today? Owners and employees who are able to offer/ afford good health and dental insurance coverage. What is something about you that will surprise others? I volunteered at a wolf/wolf-dog rescue and sanctuary for about 5 years. 

Director Jerry Wentz, Owner of Home Sitters of Raleigh What inspired you to return to being on the board? My previous experience volunteering with NAPPS was both challenging and rewarding. I have a preference for participating in volunteer activities that are related to my business and this seemed like a good opportunity to return to serving on the board again. (Wentz served as president from 2005-2006 and on the Board from 2001 to 2008.) What can you say to convince other NAPPS members to serve on the board? The opportunity for learning both business and life lessons abound, especially when working with like-minded and dedicated professionals toward common goals.  What time management tips can you offer to others? The best tip I know is to start every day with a prioritized list made at the previous day’s end. What is the best part of being a professional pet sitter? The best part is the enduring relationships and trust built with clients, their pets, and my employees. I had not imagined in the beginning the number or importance of those relationships. n Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2016


with a Wildlife DJ By Arden Moore Photos by Ben Mirin


olklore proclaims that Doctor Doolittle could talk to the animals. Well, Ben Mirin does one better. He knows how to musically jam with lemurs, tigers and even humpback

whales. Mirin, also known as DJ Ecotone, is a wildlife DJ – and much more. He is also the creator and host of the television series called Wild Beats that airs on National Geographic Kids, serves as a Fellow at the Safina Center, is the artist in residence at the Bronx Zoo and collaborates in producing nature sound recordings with the Cornell University Lab or Ornithology. When he isn’t in his music recording studio in New York City, he can be found honing his beat box style to nature at Central Park or even as far away as Madagascar and the Sonoran Desert. He lives by the motto: “Traveling the world making music from nature.” He shares, “Music is the universal language for sentient beings, big and small, on land and in the water. By combining my beat box style (music made entirely with your mouth) and animal sounds, I am able to bridge nature to people.” Your ears are in for a treat. Click here to get a sampling of the composition he created by combining beat box with the sounds of lemurs, Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2016

birds and trees in Madagascar. Click here: “This is my way of telling the story of the relationship between the trees there and lemurs, who are critically endangered,” says Mirin. Next, let’s head to the Sonoran Desert and tune into this recording from Mirin that features cougars, bobcats, coyotes, prairie dogs and desert winds. Click here: https://soundcloud. com/benmirin/sonoran-desert-cougars-bobcatsbirds-desert-wind. “When animals wake up in the morning and announce themselves, they are tuned


into their own frequencies that reflect their landscapes,” he explains. Now, let’s dive deep into the ocean at the Great Barrier Reef where Mirin serves as orchestra conductor for humpback whales, bottlenose dolphins, yellow fish and even shrimp. Click here: benmirin/great-barrier-reef-sample. “Under water, sound travels four times faster than on land, so I am able to get larger sample sounds,” he says. “Yellow fish follow the sound of snapping shrimp until suddenly, dolphins pick up the sounds and know where the dinner bell is and head for the reef to feed.” Although beat box and nature tie as his top passions, his major objective is to support wildlife and ecosystems, such as rainforests. “On our show, Wild Beats, our music videos travel to five unique ecosystems in the world,” he says. “It is my privilege to share my brand of science education to people of all ages in all places. It is exciting to have a job creating music out of animal sounds. It does not feel like work.” You can catch more about Mirin’s mission by tuning into my Oh Behave Show on Pet Life Radio. Click this episode: http:// Or visit his website: and on his Sound Cloud site at https://

Gulp! It’s Time to Drink Up, Kitty! Here are some ways to keep your cat well hydrated and healthy.

Drink up these tips

By Arden Moore In the middle of a sound sleep, I am often rousted awake by the noise of Casey’s metal identification tags clanging against the stainless steel water bowl in my bedroom. Instead of being irritated, I smiled knowing that my orange tabby is staying hydrated by lapping up water. Unlike dogs, most cats are not big gulpers or slurpers at the water bowl. And I’ve yet to see any feline expert able to consistently train a cat to drink water on cue. But like dogs, cats need ample daily supplies of water to keep their coats shiny as well as their skin and organs well hydrated. In fact, a cat’s body is made up of about 70 percent water. For insights into H20 for cats, we turned to a champion of all cats: Ernie Ward, DVM, America’s Pet Advocate and a member of the American Association of Feline Practitioners’ cat friendly practice advisory council. How much water should an adult cat drink each day to stay hydrated? Dr. Ward: Because cats evolved in the desert plains of Mesopotamia, they require a little less than an ounce of water per pound of body weight each day. An average 10-pound domestic short hair indoor cat will typically need to drink 7 to 10 ounces of water per day. Why should we care if our cats don’t always drink this recommended daily amount of water? Of if they seem to be drinking excessively? Dr. Ward: The biggest problem of water consumption in pets involves excessive drinking. If your cat is suddenly lapping at the water dish frequently, drinking from unusual sources (like the toilet bowl) or is urinating more than normal, have

him examined by your veterinarian immediately. Diseases that cause increased thirst include kidney and liver disease, diabetes, hormonal imbalances and cancer. One in three cats will experience kidney disease.

Serve water in wide, stainless steel bowls as most cats do not like to have their whiskers scrunched inside narrow food or water bowls. Locate a few water bowls throughout your house, strategically placed near areas your cat spends most of his time. And park the water bowl far enough away from the food bowl so that food pieces don’t end up as floaties in the water bowl—a big ‘yuck’ for most dignified cats. Provide your cat with bottled water when traveling to minimize his chance of gastrointestinal upset from drinking lessthan-pure water from a hotel faucet.

— Reprinted with permission from Catster Magazine

If a cat isn’t a big water drinker, is there a Plan B to ensure he stays hydrated? Dr. Ward: Feeding a canned diet is an excellent way to provide water for your cat. Canned food is between 70 to 80 percent water. Any ideas to jazz up water sources for our cats, especially if their primary food source is kibble and not canned food? Dr. Ward: Many cats seem to prefer fresh, running water from a pet drinking fountain or circulating water bowl. While it’s unclear why many felines prefer bubbly water, one theory is that running water signals safety. Cats may have evolved with a preference for running water because still, stagnant water can harbor infectious parasites, fungi and bacteria. n — Reprinted with permission from Catster Magazine


Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2016

Tis the Season for Giving! By Arden Moore


rofessional pet sitters often brace themselves for the onslaught of clients needing their services to care for their pets during the upcoming busy holiday season. Yet, many find time to give back during this time by staging Presents 4 Pets (P4P) campaigns to benefit designated non-profit groups. P4P is a popular nationwide collection drive conducted by NAPPS members in their communities. “Through the Presents 4 Pets initiative, NAPPS invites members to get involved and give back to the community while providing your business the exposure it deserves,” says Cathe Delaney, NAPPS Administrative Director. To inspire you to get involved, let’s take a closer look at a few P4P fundraisers hosted by The Wag Pack in Springfield, VA; Priority Pet Services in Washington, DC; and Park Cities Pet Sitters, Inc. in Dallas.

About The Wag Pack: Founded by Isabel Alvarez Arata in 2008, The Wag Pack offers care for cats, dogs and small animals in the Northern Virginia area since 2008. For this article, Operations Manager Beth Wherry Acker responds: What motivated you to get involved with Presents 4 Pets in your community? Isabel and I are always looking for ways for TWP to give back to our community. P4P is a really easy and fun way to do so. Isabel has been doing P4P for a few years. What advice you can offer fellow NAPPS members about making P4P successful in their communities? Reach out early in the fall and, in communicating all the good things P4P does for the community, explain to them why it will be good for them. I always explain that I will empty the donations when they stack up; I will mention their business in social media and on our website whenever I promote P4P, etc.

Many businesses that hosted boxes for us were thankful that we would handle everything as they were looking for ways to give back during the holidays as well. What group did you select to sponsor last year and why? We split our donations between Fairfax County Animal Shelter and The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria because those are our two service areas and we wanted to support both. We had boxes and boxes of high quality wet food for kittens and cats, dogs, and someone donated an entire case of leashes and collars. Last year, Whole Foods donated around 100 bags of dog food to us, this year we had more supplies, toys, and blankets.  Which group will you be helping this year and what are the dates for P4P in your area? We will start reaching out to the businesses that we work with around the middle of October and we drop a box off early November. We pick the boxes up right after the New Year. This year we will likely support our community’s shelters again unless we find another group that needs us!

About Priority Pet Services: Founder Jonann Wild has been providing pet sitting services to people in the Washington, DC area since 2007. What motivated you to get involved with Presents 4 Pets in your community? A desire to help local rescues and shelters to maximize their resources as they help local animals. A side benefit was that I could use it as part of my CEU’s for my NAPPS Certification. This will be my fifth year.

The Wag Pack, led by Isabel Alvarez Arata and Beth Wherry Acker, display some of the donated items they collected in the 2015 Presents 4 Pets campaign.

Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2016


What advice you can offer fellow NAPPS members about making Presents 4 Pets successful in their communities? I kept it very simple since I am a solo operation with only limited assistance during holidays. I started to see more success when I encouraged people to donate old towels, sheets and blankets. It was a great way to get people involved when money is tight. Many of the clients are now annual donors to our P4P event.

Jonann Wild, owner of Priority Pet Services, shows one of the marketing flyers created to generate donations for the Presents 4 Pets program in the Washington, DC area.

Humane Society of Dallas County. We realized quickly that we should pick only one group to focus on each year. Please share what you did last year, for what organization and how you got others involved. In 2014, we raised $9,240 for Duck Team 6 and filled the SUV three times. This group has a large following. Last year, we selected Angie’s Friends and helped raise $3,148 for this worthy group. What are your P4P plans for this year and what group is benefitting? We are in the process of finalizing our selection and our game plan for this year, which will mark our fourth year of being part of Presents 4 Pets. It is a great event! We have raised more than $14,000 for a bunch of hardworking organizations. n

Please share what you did last year, for what organization and how you got others involved. The primary beneficiary has been the Washington Humane Society. Their cat adoption center was very convenient for drop-offs and was very donor friendly. The campaign usually generates between $1,200 and $1,400 of donations and financial gifts annually. What are your P4P plans for this year and what group is benefitting? People are constantly moving in and out of the D.C. area. It is a difficult place to get to know people as well as to connect. In an effort to be a good neighbor as well as aid community animals, I am adding a “Getting Involved” page to my website with my move to WordPress. It will highlight ways to get involved in helping animals in the community. This year, I am promoting Pet Food Bank donations. Stretching dollars is a huge issue due to the high cost of living in the District. To make it even simpler, I am also going to hone in on Amazon Wish Lists this year.  A win/win for all of us… quick and easy plus I don’t have to pick items up and deliver them. There will be a set of Wish List links on the “Getting Involved” website.

About Park Cities Pet Sitters, Inc. In Dallas: Led by President Joette White, the PCPSI staff has earned Angie’s List Super Service Award for the past five years.

What motivated you to get involved with Presents 4 Pets in your community? This is a great way to get involved in our community and to let people know more about Park Cities Pet Sitters. We began participating in P4P in 2013. What advice you can offer fellow NAPPS members about making Presents 4 Pets successful in their communities? In our initial year, we split the proceeds to two organizations—Big Fix 4 Big D and the

Park Cities Pet Sitters, Inc. President Joette White and her staff filled this SUV three times with donations to give to the Big Fix 4 Big D group during a recent Presents 4 Pets campaign in Dallas.


Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2016

ABOUT YOUR ASSOCIATION Do you have a relationship with a local shelter or animal rescue in your area? If so, the NAPPS Pet Parent Resources Committee needs your help! We need to make the Pet Parent Community aware of the NAPPS Pet Parent Membership — that is where you come in. NAPPS is offering complimentary promotional rack cards which we are asking that you personally deliver to your local shelter of animal Pet Parents, Join Us Today, rescue. Help get the Education, Benefits, Resources. word out on why new Pet Parents should become NAPPS Pet Parent Members.

Since 1989, the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters has been providing education and resources to professional pet sitters. We are the only non-profit national organization for professional pet sitters. We are member-run and member-driven. NAPPS now extends membership to you, the Pet Parent! Let’s take a closer look at how a NAPPS membership can improve and enhance your relationship with your pet.

Order your rack cards today, contact NAPPS at napps@ and share what NAPPS can do for new pet families.

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Pet Parent Membership as easy as 1-2-3 1. Visit the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters website at:

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• Virtual library of informative articles • Quarterly Pet Parent teleconference with special guest speakers • Quarterly e-newsletters • Coupons and discounts • Emergency Preparedness Documents • Pet Parent Message Board • And Much More

Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2016


WHAT’S NEW ON NAPPS CHAT MESSAGE BOARD SHOULD I REQUIRE DEPOSITS FROM MY CUSTOMERS? One of the many benefits of NAPPS membership is the ability to network with fellow pet sitters from around the country when you need advice or support. Check out some of the recent conversations in the NAPPS chat room and be sure to participate even if you don’t have a question of your own. Other members might benefit when you share your experience! (Editor’s Note: Responses have been edited for clarity and space concerns. Check NAPPS Chat Message Board for the full responses.)

We don’t take deposits. Due in full first day of service, cash, check, credit/debit or PayPal. We understand stuff happens with last-minute cancellations, but we also have a feel for who we can trust to hold their dates and who not. Have you asked her why the change? Maybe something going on that will make sense if you knew about it. Ray Sugar Land, TX

Hello all!

Hi Monika, I’ve been pet sitting for going on 13 years now and I don’t do deposits. I just ask for full payment left in either check or cash on the kitchen table. I’ve only had 1 complaint for payment before work— from my richest customer.  Go figure.  Lori Oakdale, CT

Just wondering how important you think receiving deposits are for upcoming vacations. I have a client who I’ve worked for three times since March of this year. She goes away for 4-7 days at a time and she is very good client, but is asking to not have to send me a deposit, and just leave the total payment out for the first day of service in the future. I have all vacation clients send a half deposit to hold their dates, and pay the other half for first day of service. This helps with upcoming expenses for the job, as well as confirmation of times for everyone involved. I mean, what if she has me hold the dates, and then cancels last minute? I could have missed out on filling that time slot with another job. I don’t think she would do that, because she’s really good about reserving ahead of time. How do you handle these things? Monika Londonderry, NH

Accepting credit cards (and/or PayPal) can help with this issue. The fees are less than 3 percent and greatly improve my cash flow. One of the forms I have for the contract/meet and greet is a credit card authorization form. There are 2 boxes with the options of “run my credit card on the date of the first visit” for vacation clients, or “run my card weekly” for my midday clients. I don’t process cards until I’m done the first sit, to avoid the fees if a trip cancels and they want a refund. (If you’d like a copy of that form, please EMAIL, subject: CC Auth form please.”)

II only take deposits for new clients. I have not had a problem with that. Once they are on-going clients, we pick up payment at first visit or bill through PayPal. Lois Mount Laurel, NJ

The system is very easy to set up, and I use a “virtual terminal.” I sign into the processor’s website, log into my account, and with a few clicks the money is on its way to my business checking account. I never swipe a card, and the processor stores client information according to federal banking rules. I run cards weekly, in a batch, on the day I do payroll.

I never take deposits. I invoice entire amount through QuickBooks. Been in business 22 years and have had only a few problems. William San Francisco, CA

Yes, our first year in business, we had a couple bad experiences with cancellations, and even had to deal with a bad check. Instead of deposits, we became credit/debit card only. We require a card to keep on file, and that is how they pay. And instead of billing people for their pet sitting visits, we changed it to charging for their schedules.   Clients are allowed to create a pet sitting schedule of visits they need.  We then email them a copy of their schedule with the amount. Clients understand they are not paying for their visits, they are paying for their schedules. Once the client confirms this is the schedule they need, we then charge their credit card for the amount.  They can simply keep the email for a receipt if they need one.  Once their card is charged, their pet sitting reservation is confirmed.  They understand that if their card has not been charged, they do not have a schedule reserved.  So they typically confirm their schedule immediately to ensure their pet sitting visits before we are booked up.  We have a strict two-week cancelation policy.  If the client provides two-week’ notice upon cancelation, they are given a credit to their account.  If less than two weeks’ notice, they receive nothing.  Timothy Scottsdale, AZ

All my clients pay in advance. I make out a draft invoice for their review and approval, and they leave the payment on the counter when I come for the first visit.  If they forget to leave payment there is a $25 penalty.  So far no one has complained, especially since they have the final say on the final amount. n Lori Pooler, GA

I signed up with the NAPPS partner US Merchant Services. Your bank may offer similar programs. Accepting credit cards has eliminated the time and stress involved with becoming a collection agent! I hated the feeling that came with begging to be paid for work already performed. Christi Beltsville, MD


Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2016

ME M B ER BE NE FIT Are you taking advantage of one of the exclusive benefits offered to all NAPPS members, the Virtual Member Resource Library? The library can easily be accessed through the “Members Only” section of the NAPPS Website. In the Virtual Library, you can find information on various business and animal care issues: • Animal Behavior & Care • Business Management • Pet and Sitter Health and Safety Many of the articles have appeared in the NAPPS Professional Pet Sitter Magazine. In addition, other valuable resources have provided important information to provide a strong body of knowledge. Access the Member Resource Library today, you may just find the answers you have been looking for!

Pull Clients in with This Great Tool! This tri-fold brochure is great for distributing to your clients and in your community. The brochure contains all the valuable information any pet sitter would want to offer. Rubber stamp your name on the back and leave at veterinary clinics and area businesses. The more you distribute... the more exposure you will have! The brochures can be purchased (packs of 50) in the Store Section of the NAPPS website, www.petsitters. org. Remember to access the Store with your login/ password to obtain Member pricing!

Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2016


NA P P S IN THE NE WS NAPPS PR EFFORTS Your association has an active public relations and marketing campaign that raises the visibility of NAPPS and its programs, and establishes NAPPS as the authority in professional pet sitting. Each month, the NAPPS PR team provides regular story ideas to national media outlets designed to increase awareness of the organization and the entire profession. The press room, located on our website, houses a library of all the recent releases that have generated lots of media interest. PR efforts have surpassed many milestones! • NAPPS gained more than 350 new followers on Facebook, bringing our total number of “likes” to over 4,240. • NAPPS increased its social media presence by reaching 1.5 million people in just six months. • This was an average of reaching 250,000 social media users each month. • NAPPS gained more than 1,000 new followers on Twitter, bringing our total number of Twitter followers to almost 5,520 as of November, 2015. • NAPPS is helping to increase awareness of pet safety and caring for animals during extreme weather conditions through shareable content like digital media and infographics. n


Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2016

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NAPPS Fall 2016  

Professional Pet Sitter Magazine - published by the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters