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Ring! Ring! It’s Melissa Garvan Calling! Top 5 Pet Trends Pet Taxi Service Pros and Cons Tapping into Technology Ick! A Tick! Is Your Business Killing You?

Let the



March 11-13, 2016 • The Florida Hotel & Conference Center

Orlando, FL

INSIDE FALL 2015 PROFESSIONAL PET SITTER COVER: Ring! Ring! It’s Melissa Garvan Calling!


Photo by Lucy Cuneo

Media Mewsings............................................... 4 President’s Message......................................... 5 Industry News of Interest.................................. 6

TIPS OF THE TRADE Are You Really Prepared?.................................. 7 Is Your Business Killing You?............................. 8 Pet Taxi Pros and Cons................................... 10





BUSINESS Meet NAPPS Member Beth Anne Coffman..... 12 NAPPS Welcomes Dog Tranquility Couple....... 13 Tapping Into Technology................................. 14

13 14

The mission of the Professional Pet Sitter is to provide tools for members to enhance their business, help them expand their knowledge of professional pet sitting, and communicate association news and events. Copyright 2015. 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

FEATURES Ring! Ring! It’s Melissa Garvan........................ 16 Anti-Bullying Message Unleashed................... 18 Ick! A Tick!...................................................... 21

CONNECT WITH NAPPS About Your Association................................... 22 NAPPS Chat Message Board.......................... 23 NAPPS Member Benefits............................... 24 NAPPS in the News........................................ 25

18 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: •

ONLINE ALL THE TIME Like us Follow us @TheNAPPS Join us @National Association of Professional Pet Sitters 3

21 Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2015


By Arden Moore

Arden Moore, Executive Editor

Top 5 Pet Trends for the Next Decade

Making the Doggone Right Choices


he pet market continues to rank as among the healthiest of industry sectors in the ohn made Uniteda States. bad decision. According The to 16-year-old the American boy Petbought Products some Association, marijuana overall from anpet undercover spending reached cop. Asnearly a result, $60John billion is living in 2014, at the a five Illinois percent Youth growth Center over (IYC) 2013.Chicago, a juvenile detention facility Paying for the attention next six months. to key economic John is not trends a hardened in the petcriminal. industryAnd canmaybe help you if he achieve hadn’ta been caught healthythis bottom early line in the in game, your pethesitting might business. still be on the In streets, a recentperhaps report published now stealing in Pet to Product buying larger quantities News International, of marijuana—maybe leading pet market even cocaine expertsor crack. identified these five hot trends: But landing in IYC is perhaps the best thing that could 1. have People happened want safe, to John pure andfoods the other for 12-17-year-olds theirlike pets. him. A recent They’resurvey receiving indicated the discipline, training, that 61 counseling, percent of dog education owners and programs they’ll 50 percent need toofreinvent cat owners themselves are strongly once they’ve completed concerned theirabout stay, via product a program safety,called Lifetime Bonds. particularly looking for assurances Createdthat by Best the food Friends or treats Safe Humane, they provide this program targets theiryouth pets are whosafely have been processed. involved This in illegal activities. has ledEach to more week, petafood group companies of dog handlers andtotheir shiftdogs manufacturing visit the teens. from China The teams to production teach the facilities young men in the the proper United way to approach States a dog, and aCanada. few commands and a chance to socialize with the dog. By receiving the immediate 2. gratification Baby boomers of aand happy millennials wagging tail, friendly lick on rule. theAmericans hand, or the born roll-over between request for a belly rub, 1980 these andyoungsters 2000 (millennials) begin to realize— and sometimes for those the born first time between in their 1946 lives—that and 1960 kindness begets (babykindness. boomers)And rank that as sets the top thetwo stage for profound generations behavioral change. in terms of spending Best Friends power Safe on pets. Humane Companies National that Director cater Cynthia Bathurst to these believes two groups Lifetime within Bonds theisnext an integral component decade of should the program enjoy healthy in thatand it aims to stopsteady violence revenue in its tracks streams. before Bothitgroups has a chance to grow are looking further.for“Safe pet products Humane”and gives these young services men knowledge that save andthem skillsboth theytime canand use to positive money. advantage for the dogs they and their friends or family members encounter in the streets,3. especially Big dogs dogs areviewed back. as ‘fighting dogs,’” she says. While the number of small dogs adopted Changing Beliefs continuesIstoThe grow,First Step The young trends menincould urbanhardly living wait for the bell to ring, signaling (suchit’s as time greater for the Lifetime Bonds program, or, acceptance as they callofit,larger “Dog-Play Time.” The group breaks dogs in intohighfive and smaller groups and begins each mid-rise session by apartments learning how to approach a friendly dog. andOne condos) by one,arethe boys take turns holding out the triggering backs of more their hands for the dogs to sniff, thenpeople gentlytopetting adopt the big dogs on the side. Then the boysdogs. holdLook treats forinsavvy 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 2015


marketers, retailers and pet sitters to find ways to profit from catering to large minutes, thedogs groups in cities. switch to new handlers and dogs. All 4. theGrocery participants copycatting are anxious is ontothe spend rise. time with Rou, Giant thegrocery pit bull.chains One boy likecommented Kroger and on how Rou mega resembled retailers his like American Wal-Mart Staffordshire recognize terrier. It was that surprising shoppersto hear him refer to his dog with thelove official theirbreed pets title. “That’s because we’ve seen all andthese preferdifferent one- guys fight and we know who the stop best shopping. ones are,” he says. And this Look offers for more the perfect segue to talk about dogfighting. natural “Do pet you think the dogs like fighting?” asks products Triptow. to Most of the boys nod. “Do you think thebedogs offered likeinbeing stroked?” All the these stores, making it more ...if youchallenging don’t for like getting pet specialty stores and even large pet retailers like Petco hurt and the dog doesn’t like and PetSmart.

getting hurt, do you really 5. Tap. Click. Everyone is online. More people from all are turning think the into a generations situation to their laptops, smartphones and tablets to where purchase pet products like fighting they most online. According to a Packaged Facts certainly will get recent survey, one hurt? in five people report “buying more online than I used to.” Look for more companies to improve boys nod. “Do theyou ease likeofthe ordering feelingonline of being andhurt to offer when someone freehits home you?” delivery All the of pet boysfood. shake their head. “Do you think dogs like the feeling of being hurt, like And,when I saved another a bonus dogpet bites prediction them?”forTentative shakes last. Veterinarians all around. and “So animal think about behaviorists it—if you are don’t like gathering gettingscientific hurt andproof the dog that doesn’t supportslike thegetting direct hurt, connection do youbetween really think pet ownership the dogs like andgoing enhanced into a situation human health. like fighting They predict wherea they day inmost the not-toocertainly will distance get hurt?” futureDefinite when “get head a pet” shakes becomes all around. an The teens have only participated actual prescription in the Lifetime Bonds program for twoand months, not merely but a already, changes in thought, attitude recommendation and behavior are evident. Nikki Robinson, among doctors Assistant Superintendent/Programs IYC Chicago, treating depression, observes the boys not only look forward to high theblood sessions pressure because they’re enjoyable, but and thatobesity they really in their “get” why the program is important. patients. And, yes, you guessed it; the How You Can Help growing popularity of Best Friends Safe Humanepetrelies means on more and donations and in-kind servicesmore fromwill local be looking businesses and individuals. If to you’d professional like to make pet a donation to the Safe Humanesitters Lifetime to provide Bonds program, send a check payablecare. to: Safe n Humane P.O. Box 7342 Chicago, IL 60680-7342. If you’d like to learn more about volunteer opportunities


Cathe Delaney, Managing Editor 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 O’Brien Meeting and Exhibits Manager 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

The American Heritage Dictionary defines recruit: v. re-cruit-ed, re-cruit-ing, re-cruits: 1. To enlist (persons) in military service. 2. To strengthen or raise (an armed force) by enlistment. 3. To hire or enroll, or seek to hire or enroll (new employees, members, or students). 4. To renew or restore (health or vitality, for example). We’re all familiar with definition #2, but it was especially interesting to see definition #4, “To renew or restore (health or vitality)” and upon reflection that’s very true, especially for an association. By recruiting new NAPPS members, we add diverse life and business experience, fresh ideas and a new perspective. New members infuse fresh life into our committees, our Board and our Association. We all benefit from the simple act of sharing our experiences to fellow pet sitters, both new and old. How does NAPPS help its’ members? Well, the answer can be found in both our Mission Statement and Membership brochure. NAPPS provides various educational opportunities and outlets, which help increase a sitter’s knowledge of business management and the care and welfare of animals. These outlets include our mentoring teleconferences, NAPPS University, the member resource library, the Education & Networking Forum and last but definitely not least, each of you. We’re all teachers, mentors and cheerleaders! How is it possible to meet or stay in touch when we may be thousands of miles apart? NAPPS has provided its’ members these opportunities: 1. The NAPPS Chat message board garners a ton of interactive activity on interesting and informative topics. 2. Committee Volunteer Opportunities are a great way to meet members from across the United States. 3. The Education & Networking Forum is a fantastic place to meet new colleagues, make new friends as well restore old friendships. I think back to the many pet sitters who I’ve come into contact with over the years. I always encourage them to research all of the wonderful NAPPS benefits. Why? Because I believe in our organization! I believe it offers many tools and resources to build and grow a business. How can you overlook all the benefits offered ~ for a membership fee of $160? I believe our organization allows me to build personal relationships with like-minded business owners and it has aided me in growing my business. I’m passionate about NAPPS because it’s the ONLY non-profit organization providing education and resources to pet sitters. NAPPS affords me the opportunity to get involved and make a difference in the future. Recruitment is vital for our Association, to keep it relevant and to continue to offer viable programs for all members. Let someone know you’re a proud member of NAPPS today! Kindest regards, Yvette Gonzales Dedicated NAPPS Volunteer and President


Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2015


By Jill Hourihan

The State of Animal Welfare We spotlight pending legislation affecting animals in five states.


our state legislators have been busy working on new laws to protect animal welfare and prevent cruelty and abuse. Across the country, we are seeing more and more legislators debate the issues of dog breeding, pet shops, animal cruelty and more. Some of these bills do much to help protect animal welfare. Others, however, such as Missouri’s new House Bill 479, are designed to restrict data collected about animal health and well being. To assist you in being informed on potential laws that impact you as professional pet sitters, I have researched current legislation being considered in different states. Here is a roundup of some key issues being considered by elected officials in five states:

Louisiana LA H.B.710—Commercial Dog Breeder Registration Sponsor: Representative Thomas Carmody Currently in Louisiana, commercial dog breeders do not face any regulation at all, including the need to register with the locality. This bill would require all breeders to register with the parish (equivalent to a county) for which they reside. The bill would also include a requirement that commercial dog breeders be inspected annually.

Maine ME L.D. 335—Prohibition on the Sale of Commercially Bred Dogs and Cats in Pet Stores Sponsor: Representative Kimberly Monaghan It would prevent new pet stores from selling dogs and cats purchased from commercial breeders and require pet stores to sell animals from rescues or shelters. This would be a first in the nation law that could not Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2015

only reduce the harm done in many pet stores, but could also bring Maine’s stray/ shelter population down very quickly. Supporters hold this law would also reduce euthanasia rates by increasing turnover at shelters.

Missouri MO H.B. 479—Certain Exemptions for Data Collected by State Agencies Under Missouri’s Sunshine Law Sponsor: Representative Jay Houghton This should just be called the “Animal Abuse by Corporations is Classified” bill. It would exempt animal health and environmental impact reports from disclosure requirements, effectively keeping information about animal abuse secret. It is a variation on the more common “Ag-Gag” bills, which make it a crime to report misconduct on the part of farms to the public.

North Carolina NC H.B. 159—Commercial Dog Breeding Care Standards Sponsor: Representative Jason Saine This bill is similar to the one in Louisiana,


requiring commercial dog breeders to register with the state and setting minimum standards (food, water, exercise, veterinary care) for the care of the animals. The fine for noncompliance is small ($25 per animal) and limited to a total of $1,000.

Massachusetts MA Protections for Puppies and Kittens (HD 2126, SD 974) Sponsors: Representative Garrett Bradley and Senator Karen Spilka These bills would protect puppies, kittens and consumers by forbidding the sale of puppies and kittens until the animals are at least 8 weeks old. It also improves the state’s existing options under the “puppy lemon law” for families that unknowingly purchase a sick pet. It ensures pet shops only sell puppies and kittens from breeders that adhere to certain standards and don’t have significant or repeat violations of the Animal Welfare Act. n Jill Hourihan is the owner of Running the Pack Dog Walking and Pet Sitting in Boston. She is also the Chair of the NAPPS Animal Welfare and Law Action Team.


By Joyce Rheal

Are You Really Prepared?

Although September is National Preparedness Month, maintain a safety plan year round.


isasters and emergencies can happen at any time to anyone. And, as professional pet sitters, we may be the ones rescuing pets when tornadoes, floods and other weather calamities strike. I will never forget that day in 1986 when I was working as a volunteer animal control officer when flooding from heavy rains in New Martinsville, WV forced the evacuation of residents along an overflowing creek spilling into the Ohio River on the edge of town. That river had flooded its banks and the only way to rescue or assist anyone in the low-lying area was by using boats. I got the call to rescue a dog, whose owner had left him chained to his doghouse. This dog, a retriever was normally put outside during the day, and slept inside with the family at night and during bad weather. But when the floods came, his owners could not get across the creek to rescue their dog as the foot bridge had been washed away. The water was quickly rising, and the dog was trapped. We came up with a rescue plan. We fired up a chain saw and downed a tree that would cross the creek. I got a long rope, and with the pet owner’s assistance, tied the rope to a tree and the other end around myself. I crossed the raging creek

using the downed tree, and then transferred the retriever to a leash and guided the dog and myself back over the creek the same way. Falling into the raging water meant almost certain death for the dog, and wouldn’t be good for me, either. This marked my first disaster rescue not only as an animal control officer but also as a Red Cross blood drive coordinator and a disaster volunteer. This event made me more aware of the critical importance of disaster preparation for people and for pets. Let’s fast forward to May 8, 2009. A massive hail storm struck Carbondale, Ill. Although I didn’t have to evacuate my home, I was left without electricity for two weeks and with storm damage to the roof. I was lucky that I didn’t lose water, gas for cooking, or even worse, lose my dogs and home. But I knew I needed to be more prepared. We all know that nature has her temperamental days resulting in disasters — everything from flooding, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, fires, blizzards and more. And there are also man-made disasters like oil spills, terrorism and nuclear accidents. Ask yourself: If you are told to evacuate while at a client’s home, do you know what to do? In your haste to depart, do you know if they have an evacuation kit and if so, where it is? A pet evacuation kit often includes important documents, food, water, toys, bedding and if necessary, medications for their pets. Be sure to discuss this with your clients before a disaster strikes. Professionals who work with animals should be prepared to tend to animals in their care. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) indicates there are four main stages of emergency management: Mitigating, Preparedness, Response and Recover. Mitigating is an effort to reduce or eliminate risks associated with the impact of emergencies and disasters on your business, people, animals and property. Preventing the loss or death of pets in part of this step, so take a look at your business and identify what you can do to mitigate the impact of an emergency or disaster. Preparedness includes having an emergency plan, evacuation and first aid kits and supply of water ready in advance. Part of


preparedness will include planning, training and practice drills. Be sure to include your pets in the training and drills — essential to their cooperation and survival. Share your plan and evacuation kit content ideas with your clients. Responding to an event is putting the plan into action that can result in a safe and coordinated response to an emergency or disaster. Recovery is the final step, after a disaster or emergency has passed. It is not uncommon for people and their pets to be disoriented when they return to their homes that have been damaged. It is vital to repair, replace or rebuild to regain a balanced environment. A disaster cannot be prevented, but it can be managed through proper preparations. Create your own emergency plan and assist your clients in reducing lost of life and preventing losing a pet. After all, we know far too well that disasters and emergencies can happen at any time to anyone. n Joyce Rheal is based in Southern Illinois and is a nationally certified pet care consultant, trainer and the author of Preparing Your Pets for Emergencies and Disasters and Disaster Plan: Preparing Your Pets for Emergencies and Disasters.

Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2015


Is Your Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Business Killing You?


am the type of person who, when someone asks me whether I want the good news first or the bad news, I always pick hearing the bad news first. Here’s why: I want to get the bad news out of the way and end the conversation on a lighter note and with positivity. A lot of the pet sitting and dog walking business owners that I coach do that also. It happens when we are going over their successes and disappointments at the beginning of their coaching session.

“Which do you want to share first: your disappointments or successes?” I will ask. Inevitably they will pick the disappointments first. So…that’s what I’m going to do here, pet sitters and dog walkers. I am going to start with the “bad news.” Here it is: It’s been said that ‘compassion fatigue’ is killing some members of our pet business industry. Compassion fatigue has many of the symptoms of PTSD, among them being depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide. Sophia Yin, DVM, was a well-known and beloved veterinarian and animal behaviorist who committed suicide last year. Many of those closest to her believe that her suicide was caused from compassion fatigue. Jessica Dolce is a certified compassion fatigue educator. She says:

Compassion fatigue is an occupational hazard of our work with animals, whether you are an animal control officer or kennel attendant in a small town or an internationally recognized veterinarian. Our work requires that we compassionately and effectively respond to the constant demand to be helping to those who are suffering and in need. Compassion fatigue comes from caring for people and pets and forgetting to care for ourselves. It comes from not putting the oxygen mask on ourselves first. Pet care providers (dog walkers, dog trainers, pet sitters, pet groomers, doggy day care owners and other pet business owners) often find themselves shelving their needs and wants for those of their human and animal clients. This Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2015

leads to burnout which leads to exhaustion which can then lead to compassion fatigue and all that comes along with it (depression, anxiety and wanting to ‘end it all’). Are you at the burnout stage or are you experiencing compassion (and business) fatigue? Psychotherapist J. Eric Gentry tells the Sacramento Bee:

Animal care professionals are some of the most pain-saturated people I have ever worked with. The very thing that makes them great at their work, their empathy and dedication and love for animals, makes them vulnerable. Here are just a few ways of how compassion fatigue can manifest to the detriment of some the pet sitters and dog walkers that I’ve worked with: • No time for family and friends. This can result in a deep and dark loneliness and despair over time if left unchanged. • No downtime to just BE. The compulsion to check smart phone, pet sitting and dog walking business software, voicemail, computer, Facebook and other social media sites becomes an obsession/addiction. This results in always feeling like the pet sitting business owner is “on” and always working. • No time for guilt-free vacations. The pet business owner finds it


challenging (and in some cases impossible) to follow through on that vacation or take that day off due to client’s needs and neediness. This results in a sense of life being only about work by placing client needs above the needs of the pet business owner. I know compassion fatigue from personal experience because I suffered from it though I called it ‘business burnout’ when I had it. I was working 12-14 hours a day in my pet sitting businesses (working to the point of exhaustion) and I felt anxious and depressed a lot during that time. It took me a long time to recover and it started with working less and setting more boundaries in my work and in my life. It wasn’t easy. But I did recover. And you can, too.

By Kristin Morrison

So how can pet sitters and dog walkers combat (and recover from!) compassion fatigue? Okay so I promised you good news and here it is. There are tangible ways to deal with compassion (and business) fatigue. Just a quick note before you read the tips below because… You can read all the tips in the world, but if you don’t follow them then they won’t help. The key then is to begin to make some big and small changes in your business and your life. Start small by picking one from the list below. And yes, it probably will feel uncomfortable. Changing behaviors and ingrained ways of being always does feel uncomfortable when we first begin. But this is your LIFE we are talking about here. You are worth it. Your pet business will be just fine and your clients will respect you more too when you follow these tips. 1. Set office hours and keep them. This means NOT checking email, text messages, computer and voicemail at times other than your scheduled office hours. I know — it’s not easy. Be sure to have these office hours posted on your automatic email to clients as well as listed on your voicemail so clients know when they can expect you to contact them. 2. Stop sending and receiving business texts. Clients and staff members often expect instant replies when they text. And when you reply quickly and outside of your office hours, this gets them in the mindset that you are available all the time. If you REALLY need to continue receiving and sending texts then let your staff and clients know you will only be texting between your office hours. Hide your business phone from yourself. Turn off the ringer. Stick it in a drawer. Do whatever you need to do to separate yourself from your business cell phone. 3. Set up a minimum of two one-week vacations each year. Put these dates in your calendar. Make them sacred and immovable by not letting clients or business get in the way of your actually going away. These two weeks a year are yours. You deserve them. 4. Put exercise in your schedule and do it 4-5 times a week. Exercise helps with depression, anxiety and despair and these are all symptoms of compassion fatigue. I recently coached

a pet sitter who had the hardest year she’s ever had (family members died suddenly in an auto accident, her business was struggling, etc.) She kept exercising in spite of the challenges that had come her way and she not only lost 20 pounds, but she was also able to deal with her stress and anxiety in a healthy way. 5. Enjoy your hobby once a week. If you don’t have a hobby, write a list of things you’d like to explore doing and pick one to see if you enjoy it. A good hobby will refresh and energize you. If yours does, then keep doing it. If it doesn’t, find something that takes your mind off work and allows you to expand and grow in new ways.

You can read all the tips in the world but if you don’t follow them then they won’t help. The key then is to begin to make some big and small changes in your business and your life. ‘business brain’ a well-needed rest). These life goals could include dating and/or getting married, starting a vegetable garden, buying a home, or perhaps learning to play piano. The world is your oyster. What sounds fun and exciting to you?

6. Cultivate your relationships like the living, growing beings that they are. Many pet business owners that I’ve spoken with have few or no friends. It’s sad but true. The reason for this is they turn down invitations from friends or don’t initiate getting together and after awhile, friends will stop asking and/or you will grow apart. Make time for your friends. Getting together even once a month can make a world of difference in your emotional and mental outlook in your business. Friends are worth it and so are you. 7. Pick two exciting-to-you goals that have nothing to do with your pet sitting business and set out to accomplish them. Focusing on non-business activities creates a rich inner and outer life (this will give your


It can be very challenging for pet sitters and dog walkers to put themselves first, above their clients and client pets. Your very life may be at stake if you don’t so please, please take (good) care of yourself. 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 SixFigure 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 Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2015


Pros and Cons of Offering Pet Taxi Service Proving pet taxi service can be another source of revenue for your pet sitting business, but it can also open up a whole new world of liability exposures. Since we receive questions on a daily basis as to whether a pet taxi is covered under the NAPPS Liability Policy, I would like to take this opportunity to examine the various exposures involved and how they are best covered by insurance. We’ll take a look at some claims from the archives to clarify what is covered under the NAPPS Liability Policy, and what is excluded or not covered. In addition, we’ll examine what insurance policies and coverage endorsement forms are best to carry when transporting pets in your vehicles.


nder the NAPPS Liability Policy, all pets in your care, custody and control are covered where ever you go with them, including in your vehicle, in your employee’s vehicles and in your independent contractor’s vehicles. Clients’ pets are covered up to the care, custody and control limit you choose when you take out the policy, ranging from $10,000 up to $200,000 for any one occurrence. Veterinary medical injuries to pets in your care, custody and control are paid regardless of fault (negligence), up to the limit you choose. Therefore, if you are transporting more than one pet at a time, be sure to choose the appropriate limit to cover all the pets you are transporting at one time. Please note: if you are insured via another insurer under a liability policy or via a business owners policy, you will want to review the coverage forms to be sure coverage is provided for transporting client’s pets in your care. Most policies (if designed for a pet sitter) on the market today will offer an endorsement/coverage form and cover pets where ever you go with them, but the insurer may label the form as Animal Bailee or Veterinarian Expense coverage. Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2015

Be sure to read the actual form though, as coverage for pet injuries regardless of fault may be limited to $1,000 or $2,500, and this may not be adequate to cover those claims that the pets bring upon themselves. As an example, if a dog got injured jumping out of a car or ingesting something in the car, the pet sitter may not be considered negligent, and the amount available to pay this claim would be limited. Here are 10 examples of claims that have been paid over the years involving transporting pets in vehicles/pet taxis: A dog jumped out of car window and landed on his head and suffering a seizure. He was transported to the veterinary clinic. Total paid: $718. 1. A dog jumped out of a sitter’s car. Later that night, the sitter found the dog who had been hit by a car. Total paid: $8,527. 2. A dog ingested a pet sitter’s medication that was in the back of a sitter’s car and required veterinary care. Total paid: $836. 3. A client’s dog was stolen out of a pet sitter’s vehicle. Total paid: $3,508. 4. A pet sitter shut van door and







accidentally caught a dog’s tail. Total paid: $1,122. A dog attempted to get out of a pet sitter’s vehicle and fell and broke his leg. Total paid: $5,125. A dog attempted to jump out of a car and his foot got stuck in window. Total paid: $9,488. Multiple dogs were exiting a sitter’s van when a small dog was struck in the eye by a larger dog. Total paid: $2,703. A dog went to jump out of the sitter’s vehicle, but when the sitter attempted to stop the vehicle, the dog fell, broke his tooth and cut an artery in his tongue. Total paid: $800. A dog jumped out of a moving vehicle while en route to a park, causing multiple injuries. Total paid: $14,224.

As you can see, many different incidents can take place while pets are getting in, being transported and getting out of pet sitters’ vehicles. Pets are the first part of the insurance equation when operating a pet taxi, so please be sure to take

By David Pearsall, CIC, CWCA precautions and learn from these claims so they do not occur in your business. If you have employees or independent contractors driving pet taxis on your behalf, be sure to share these claims examples with them, so they too can be aware of the various things that can happen if not careful. Now let’s turn our attention to the pet taxi, meaning the pet sitter’s owned or leased vehicle(s), and look at how to best cover the various exposures associated with using a vehicle in your business. We often receive claims called into our office which are denied, as pet sitter’s vehicles/auto liability insurance is not covered under the NAPPS General Liability policy.

Photo by Arden Moore

Six Claim Examples Here are just a few examples of claims we have heard through the years: 1. A pet sitter backed into a client’s mailbox when pulling out of the driveway to take the client’s dog to the veterinary clinic. 2. A pet sitter struck and dented a car door against the side of a client’s home upon returning with pets. 3. A pet sitter’s employee hit the accelerator while vehicle was in drive in lieu of reverse, and ran into a client’s garage door with her vehicle. 4. A client’s dog chewed through a seat belt strap of a pet sitter’s car. 5. A client’s dog chewed the upholstery of a pet sitter’s vehicle while riding in backseat. 6. A pet sitter attempted to open her car door, but before she could, a client’s dog scratched and damaged a side door panel. All of these claims could potentially be covered via a commercial/business auto insurance policy, so long as proper coverage (adequate limits and coverage endorsements) is maintained. A business auto policy provides coverage for liability resulting from the use of your business auto. It can also provide coverage for loss to your vehicle if physical damage coverage is purchased. In the first two denied claims listed above, the client’s mailbox and the client’s house would both be covered by the pet sitter’s auto liability policy. The remaining claims of damage to the sitter’s vehicle would be covered under the physical damage section of the sitter’s auto policy (if purchased). Please be aware that physical damage coverage is broken into two parts: comprehensive coverage (also known as “other than collision”) and collision coverage. It is important to understand the differences in these coverage’s since physical damage is not required by state

laws, but may be required by a finance company if you finance or lease your vehicle. Comprehensive coverage typically covers the following causes of loss: theft, vandalism, fire, wind, hail, earthquake, flood and damage to your car by animals. So if you want coverage for your seat belts, upholstery and damage caused by clients’ pets under your care to your vehicle, you will need to purchase comprehensive coverage under your commercial auto policy. Collision coverage covers your vehicle for damage sustained in a collision with another vehicle or object. If you are at fault accident running into another vehicle, the liability coverage under your auto policy would pay for the other person’s vehicle to be repaired. But if you want your vehicle repaired, you would need to maintain collision coverage. And if you were to accidentally run into a client’s mailbox, garage or house, and want your vehicle repaired, you would need collision coverage to cover the damage to your vehicle.

Don’t Expose Your Business to Further Risk As some of you already know, when you have your employees or partners driving their vehicles on behalf of your business, you expose your business to further risk. Under a business auto policy, coverage can be purchased for non-owned auto liability. Non-owned auto covers those autos in which you do not own, lease or borrow that are used in connection with your business. It includes coverage for autos owned by your employees, partners, members of an LLC or members of their households so long as the auto is being used in your business or for your personal affairs. Consider if your employee damaged your client’s garage or home with his or her auto. In most cases, the client is going to look to your employee and/or your business to cover this claim. In most cases, the auto driven by your employee (assuming


the employee carries adequate insurance) would be primary and pay the claim. However, the non-owned liability coverage under your business auto policy would be secondary, and would provide coverage for your business over and above the employee’s policy, if your employee’s personal auto policy did not have adequate limits to cover the claim. So if you are utilizing employees, you should consider carrying the non-owned auto endorsement to properly cover your exposure. Last but not least, we have also had many inquiries over the years where pet sitters wish to use their pet taxi to run errands and pick up / drop off clients at airport, etc. Once you begin driving people around for hire or for a fee, you are now operating a true taxi service, which adds a new layer of exposure. Similarly, if you are running errands, such as picking up or dropping off dog food, pet supplies, groceries, packages or acting as more of a concierge service, this also adds a new layer of exposure. Please keep in mind that these are exposures in which you will need to make your business auto insurer aware of, as they are outside the realm of a pet taxi or a pet sitter. Many insurance companies will not cover these types of operations and may ask you to go elsewhere for coverage (usually an insurer that specializes in a taxi service or courier service). So be sure to check with your insurer before you have a claim and make certain you have adequate protection. 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 Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2015


By Yvette Gonzales

Meet NAPPS member Beth Anne Coffman “Do some research and understand there are great organizations out there like NAPPS.” That’s what Dog Gone Walking & Pet Care owner Beth Anne Coffman advises those starting out in the pet sitting profession as well as sitters serving the Northern Virginia city of Alexandria.


ince 2010, Coffman has been a member of NAPPS and has built her business adhering to high standards and the professional guidelines that NAPPS sets. She understands that clients “love the satisfaction of knowing you belong to a national organization.” Once her clients conduct their own research on her company, they begin to have peace of mind and are willing to entrust the Dog Gone team for their pet care. Beth Anne states, “That peace of mind is invaluable and puts our company on the right

Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2015

pedestal from the first phone call on.” As a lifelong animal lover and pet parent, Coffman had always known that she would excel at working with animals if only the opportunity presented itself. She grew up in Vero Beach, Fl and graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in psychology. She worked as a physical therapist from 5:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. and would walk a patient’s dogs in the afternoon. One doctor suggested that Coffman open her business when he saw how much she enjoyed caring for those dogs. Coffman quickly realized her heart was pulling her in the direction of pet care. She decided the time was right to officially work for herself as a pet care provider. Today, she oversees about 15 employees at Dog Gone Walking and Pet Care. This fullservice pet care business specializes in mid-day dog walks, cat care and overnight services as well as in the sitter’s home boarding for those clients demanding even more personalized care. She still acts as one of the primary overnight sitters, handles scheduling and is the direct contact for clients in addition to providing daily support for her field team. She says one of the biggest challenges


is finding the right people to hire who represent her company and meet expectations on care from clients. She cultivates them into team members and delights that she is able to provide an “outlet/ opportunity for a job they absolutely love.” One would think with such a thriving business that all Beth Anne does is work, but she just got married last October and has a wonderful 10-year-old daughter in addition to raising a trio of canines: Zeke, a 13- year old golden retriever mix; Maisy, a 1-year-old Pomeranian; and Noctavious, a 13-year-old Shih-Tzu. It’s clear that Beth Anne has built a wonderfully successful life and business, surrounded by a supportive family, hardworking, talented employees and loyal, trusting clients. Here are testimonial excerpts from happy clients on her website, • “If there were 10 stars to give, I’d be giving them all to Dog Gone Walking! Beth…has brought that peace of mind that’s always been lacking when we’ve had to leave Winston.” — Tasha • “DGW is tops in our book and we’d highly recommend them to anyone else.” — Steve • “Even though my little guy can be challenging at times, Beth has always been there to take care of him when we need her the most.” — Tiffany Coleman is grateful for the support she receives from NAPPS, too. “Many industries may just see the competition as just that, competition, but the pet care industry does not,” she says. “We all truly want each other to succeed because, at the end of the day, it’s all about our furry friends.” n


By Arden Moore

NAPPS Welcomes Dog Tranquility Couple “To be able to reach out to others in the NAPPS organization has been very helpful to us both.” ­­— Colleen Dermott learned the importance of sitting down with the client and going through the terms of the contract so that they have a clear understanding of our agreed upon terms.”

Photo by Christine Durgin


olleen and Ian Dermott know and love dogs. But they quickly realized that they could not make a living by solely conducting dog training classes. Their loyal clients would consistently ask them to recommend pet sitting and dog walking services. They knew that they needed to expand their offerings. In doing research, they discovered NAPPS and officially became members on March 17, 2015.

Ian Dermott, who served six years in the Army, learned marketing strategies and is proud to offer a 10-percent military discount. Adds Colleen, “To be able to reach out to others in the NAPPS organization has been very helpful to us both.” To learn more about their growing business, please visit n

Dog Tranquility Even Offers Cat Classes Today, their Dog Tranquility, LLC company, based in Burke, VA, offers a variety of pet services, including wilderness walks and even cat behavior consultations. And, they took the necessary steps to be licensed, bonded and insured. The Dermotts were named “referred member” winners in the recent NAPPS PR Package incentive. “We wanted to make sure that we were part of this professional organization and learn how to properly expand our business to pet sitting and dog walking,” says Colleen Dermott, a certified professional dog trainer and member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. Case in point: The Dermotts relied on independent contractors to help teach dog obedience and training classes. But they recognize the value of hiring employees for their pet sitting and dog walking services. “Our dog class clients want consistency of care,” she says. “After a dog graduates, we had to look for new clients. But pet sitting and dog walking gives us long-term clients.”

Learn About Liability Issues They also became quickly educated on liability issues associated with entering the homes of clients to care for their pets when the owners are away. “It was good to be able to reach out to veteran NAPPS members and learn from them as to how to deal with stolen items, injuries or things that go wrong in the home while you are pet sitting,” says Colleen Dermott. “A number of members responded to urge us to put in our contracts that we will not provide service if anyone else is given access while the owners are away. We


Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2015


Tapping Into Technology to Exceed in the Pet Sitting Industry One of the biggest challenges a pet sitting business owner faces is managing staff they seldom see. The same reason that most pet sitting business owners get into pet sitting — to not have a boss watching over their every move — becomes a potentially negative part of owning the business when suddenly they realize they have to trust that their staff is doing what they are supposed to do out in the field each day. This is one of the biggest stressors a pet sitting business owner has. Questions abound: How do I know if my new staff member is really trustworthy? How do I know if the training I provided my new staff member really sunk in? How do I know if they remembered to set their alarm to get up for their first visit? How do I know if they stayed five minutes at the client’s house or the required 30 minutes? How do I know if they went to do the visit in the appropriate time block? Over time, the worrying about staff activities, and what can potentially go wrong, can really wear a business owner down.

Web Cams Track Pet Sitting Visits These fears about staff activities are increasingly prevalent now that the average client has multiple technology tools at their disposal to monitor what the pet sitter is doing. Almost every alarm company today can send email alerts to their customer whenever someone disables or enables their alarm. Suddenly, the pet sitting client knows exactly when the pet sitter arrived, and when they left or armed the alarm. Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2015

This information may provide peace of mind to the client when the sitter arrives during the proper time block and stays the correct length of time. But what if the sitter does not? Suddenly, the client knows the sitter was late or shorted the amount of time on the visit. But you, as their employer, have no idea that your staff member cheated that client and you by not providing the service as it was intended to be performed. The angry or disappointed phone call you receive from this client can be stressful for you. And, it is never a positive situation when the client has more information about your staff’s activities than you do. It simply is not professional. Similarly, “nanny cams” and “drop cams” are now incredibly affordable, so any client can choose to install one in their home without your knowledge to monitor the activities of who is coming and going in their home. This provides peace of mind to the client when the pet sitter is doing what he or she should be doing, but can


be disastrous if the pet sitter is doing anything improper. No pet sitting business owner wants to be confronted with video evidence about a staff member mistreating an animal or falling asleep at the client’s home in the middle of a visit. That is a real possibility these days because of technology. Client alarms, voice recorders and cameras aren’t going to go away. I personally view the increasing accessibility of technology — to everyone — as a huge opportunity for the pet sitting industry. This is a fantastic chance for the industry to get on the technological bandwagon, to start using these tools to improve pet sitting service delivery and improve its image as a legitimate, professional industry.

Two Success Stories Shared This can come in a variety of forms. I have recently worked with two pet sitting business owners who are converting to new scheduling software platforms that allow for electronic staff

By Erin Fenstermaker

More and more pet parents use web cam technology to be able to see their pets at home while they are at work or traveling. By Can Stock Photo

check-in and check-out at visits, and provide GPS technology to show staff locations. One business, Floofins & Co. in Elmhurst, IL, moved to the scheduling software provided by Precise Pet Care, and provided staff members early generation iPads to use in the field. In addition to the aforementioned check in, check out and GPS features that allow for management confirmation that visits are being done in the proper time blocks and for the proper length of time, Precise Pet Care’s software also allows for end-of-visit notes to be sent electronically via email to the client from the field. Clients love seeing the instant feedback that the service was performed as scheduled. Floofins owner, Kristin Skelton is able to monitor the messages her staff is sending to clients. “I love being able to see the notes and photos my staff sends to our clients,” says Skelton. “It allows me the opportunity to retrain and improve the staff member’s note content, if necessary, and it gives the office visibility as to what is occurring at visits. Being able to check in the administrative version of Precise’s software at the end of the day, and clearly see that all visits have been completed, is such a relief. I can literally sleep better because I do not have to worry about a visit being missed.” A second business embracing technology to improve the management of their pet sitting business is Dallas-based Park Cities Pet Sitter. Owner Joette White, an active NAPPS member, has recently implemented Pet Sitter Plus’s scheduling software and rolled out the use of iPads and smart phones to her staff of 30 employees. White knew it was time to utilize the new

software platform after growing frustrated with the lack of information she had about her staff’s daily activities. “Ongoing training on our company’s policies and procedures is critical to maintaining the service levels we strive to achieve as a business,” says White. “It was very difficult for me to know what areas of our service we needed to concentrate on improving, because I had so little information. The only way I would know that service was not being done the way it should be, was to receive a customer complaint. But waiting until a customer complains, in my opinion, is too late.” She continues, “It is not good business. I would rather be proactive in training and retraining my staff on a regular basis by having information about their activities before a client makes a complaint, instead of after. I could see how dangerous it was that clients had more information about my staff’s daily activities because of the alarm systems and cameras they had, than I did as the business owner providing the service. That had to change. I also believe this move will elevate our clients’ perception even higher about how professional our services are.”

Embrace Monitoring Technology Switching scheduling system software just to be able to manage staff activities more proactively may seem unappealing, but fortunately, it is not a requirement. Virtual Imprints is a company that provides a technology-based solution for managing pet sitting staff activities that a company can run in conjunction with their current scheduling system. Virtual Imprints provides QR-coded cards that can be left at a client’s home indefinitely.


When the client’s pet sitter arrives to do a visit at the client’s home, the pet sitter uses his or her smart phone to check in and check out by scanning the QR code on the Virtual Imprints card. In addition to providing visit time information, the Virtual Imprints system also allows the pet sitting business owner to create client-specific To Do lists that the sitter follows and can check off during a visit, as well as providing immediate email notification to the client of end-of-visit notes. Clearly, there are technology options for just about everyone, if you are open to them. I strongly believe these technologies are the future for the pet sitting industry, and those that embrace them earlier will most likely get a leg up on their local competition. I have spoken to a few business owners who were opposed to using these new technology tools, saying they were too much “Big Brother” watching you, and they didn’t like that. The reality is that “Big Brothers” have been watching pet sitters for quite a while. It is now up to our industry to use this to our advantage or to get left behind. 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. Erin’s ability to collaborate with business owners on developing strategic plans, and then assisting in their implementation, is what makes her an asset to her clients. She considers herself an accountability partner to her clients--many of whom admit they have a lot of ideas, but have difficulty turning their ideas into reality. With her direct manner and ability to break complex issues into workable pieces, she loves assisting pet industry businesses of all sizes reach their fullest potential. Learn more at www. Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2015

Ring! Ring! It’s Melis This busy co-owner of a Charleston-based pet sitting company finds time to aid NAPPS members.


By Arden Moore

eet Melissa Garvan, the face behind that friendly voice of knowledge and understanding for many NAPPS members. Yep, she is the one who may have called you after you joined NAPPS to welcome you, reassure you and help you really feel part of this association. Or she may reach out to you as your membership is up for renewal to alert you of key or new benefits NAPPS offers. Having trouble setting up your NAPPS membership password? Not sure how to utilize tips shared on the NAPPS Chat Forum? Or unsure how to network with local veterinary clinics to attract more clients? Relax. Help is on the other end of the line, courtesy of Melissa Garvan, co-owner of The Charleston Dog Walking, Inc. in Charleston, SC. “Melissa is our member-to-member lifeline,” describes Cathe Delaney, NAPPS Administrative Director. Adds NAPPS president Yvette Gonzales, “Melissa is that helpful voice to our members. She is a very hard worker and willing to answer questions and take the time to really talk with our members.”

Photos by Lucy Cuneo of Lucy Cuneo Photography

Garvan Calls Six Days A Week Each month, Garvan, as an active volunteer on the NAPPS membership committee, averages 100 to 300 calls to members. And, most likely, she is making those calls right after walking dogs in scenic Charleston or right before she heads to a home to cater to a pair of cats. And, while she does use a landline on occasion, most of her calls are made on her cell phone, as she walks around her home office or while she is out and about in this historic southern city known for its charm and friendliness. And if you happen to hear a friendly bark or yip during your call, it’s probably either her goofy Corgi named Bud or her sweet Basset Hound named Sarah. “I could be talking to a NAPPS member in California or Alabama and one of my dogs will bark and I just quickly say, ‘Oh sorry,’ and continue,” says Garvan. “I try to make calls every day except on Sundays.” Seeing the many benefits NAPPS has extended to her as she launched her company, Garvan is giving back even more. Earlier this year, she joined the NAPPS Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2015

Education and Networking Forum Committee to help with the planning of the NAPPS Education and Networking Forum set for March 11-13, 2016 in Orlando. “I love calling members and putting their minds at ease with questions they may have,” says Garvan. “And, I also recognize the importance of getting the opportunity to meet face-to-face and share ideas, which is why I encourage our members to attend the upcoming forum. After all, this is our professional organization and we have to support it by volunteering to keep it thriving for all of us.”

Garvan Aids Animals in Charleston Locally, Garvan is also making a difference in bettering the lives of pets (those lucky to have loving homes and those waiting to be adopted at local shelters and rescue groups). She contributes time, talent and donations for the Charleston Animal Society. “Melissa always meets her goal to help make homeless animals’ lives better,” says Kay Hyman, director of community engagement for the Charleston Animal Society. “Most recently, her efforts to raise much need dog and cat food for our pet pantry has helped many less fortunate animal guardians.” Clients, past and present, didn’t hesitate when asked to describe Garvan’s many talents. One of the major regrets of leaving Charleston to relocate and be closer to her new granddaughter in Sommers, CT was not having Garvan to pet sit Quincy, her golden retriever, and Leo, her Bengal


ssa Garvan Calling! cat. Lewis, and her husband, Peter, relied on Garvan for five years while their jobs in the medical field required them to travel or work long hours. “Melissa is a genuine animal whisperer,” describes Kelly Lewis. “You can sense the genuine, innate love she has for those in need — people and pets. She is also very fun and a real salt of the earth. I remember the day we were moving to Connecticut and there was Melissa cuddling Quincy on our front porch. What a very special lady she is.” Lucy Cuneo, a professional photographer who operates the Lucy Cuneo Photography studio in Charleston, appreciates that she can count on Garvan to shower her cats, Bandit and Agave, with plenty of love, attention and play when Cuneo has to travel as a destination wedding photographer. “We interviewed a few people, but Melissa was the most responsive and organized,” says Cuneo. “She came over immediately to meet the cats and they loved her right away. And, that’s amazing because Bandit and Agave are quite shy.” She adds, “Melissa is so reliable and is always messaging us photos of our cats, which is very comforting when we are so far away. She scoops the litter, takes care of our plants, feeds and plays with our cats every day when we are away. And our cats always seem very happy when we get home and I credit that to Melissa.”

Charleston Pet Sitting Competitors Merge A firm believer in working together, Garvan has never regarded any other dog walking or pet sitting company in the Charleston area as rivals. In fact, she actively introduces herself and welcomes those new in the business, including Mallory Cooper, who started Curious Paw when she moved to South Carolina in 2013. “I was new to the area and Melissa quickly reached out to me and invited me to be part of a local group of pet sitters she organized that meets to have breakfast, talk and help one another out,” says Cooper. “She answered lots of my questions. A year later, I was getting to the point in my business where I needed extra help and Melissa was using independent contractors at the time.” The light bulb illuminated in both Garvan and Cooper. They talked on the phone about merging their two businesses. By the end of the call, the deal was done. Since January, they co-own Charleston Dog Walking, Inc. and together, have expanded clients and converted contractors into part-time employees. “We have different strengths,” notes Cooper. “I like office and paperwork and Melissa loves being with the animals and meeting people. One of our top priorities for our new company was to implement a new software program that helps clients schedule appointments or visits online. It sends email updates to clients instead of leaving written notes.” Adds Garvan, “It’s been a good business decision. Mallory is younger, more techie and has taught me a lot. I bring years of customer service experience to help her learn how to deal with difficult clients.” As a visible sign of the merger, all employees wear Charleston Dog Walking t-shirts when on the job — except Garvan. “It helps our employees feel part of the team and it promotes our business,” says Garvan, adding with a laugh. “But I’m sticking with my Polo shirts with our logo. I’ve not a t-shirt-wearing gal.” Garvan, who grew up in Connecticut, moved to Charleston in 1987. Two years later, Hurricane Hugo struck, flooding and destroying the contents in her rented apartment.

KEEPING IN STEP WITH THE CHARLESTON DOG WALKER Founded by Melissa Garvan in 2010, Charleston Dog Walker serves clients in James Island, downtown Charleston, Folly Beach, and parts of West Ashley and Johns Island. In January 2015, Garvan and Mallory Cooper, founder of a pet sitting company in Charleston called Curious Paws, agreed to merge and co-run The Charleston Dog Walking business. Together, they and their staff of nine part-time employees specialize in dog walking, vacation visits, overnight visits, hotel and campground visits, and wedding services. Yes, you read correctly: wedding services. “Charleston is a top destination for beach weddings,” explains Garvan. “A lot of couples include their pets in their ceremonies. One time, I was hired to walk a Boston terrier mix down the aisle. I truly think the dog felt the love and knew this was a special occasion.” Learn more by visiting

“What little stuff I had in the car was all I had left,” she recalls. But it is the can-do spirit of Charleston in the hurricane’s aftermath that has made her recognize the value of being neighboring and volunteering to aid others. “I didn’t have a place to live after Hugo and people opened up their homes to myself and others,” she says. “I have so much to be thankful for and feel blessed every day to get to be outdoors and to be with pets. I love my job and my only regret is that I wish I had gotten into the pet sitting business 40 years ago.” n


Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2015

UNLEASHING ANTIBULLYING MESSAGE Helping Tales’ James Martinez champions shelter animals and children being bullied. By Arden Moore


he latest Jurassic movie — Jurassic World — features a people-eating dinosaur with a major attitude problem. But not all dinosaurs are mean. Animal advocate and author James Martinez has created a likeable dinosaur named Teddy T-Rex who is on an anti-bullying mission captured in the pages of his latest children’s book called, The Dinosaur’s New Shoes. Martinez, publisher of Helping Tales Publishers based in the Dallas metroplex, teams up with talented illustrator Timothy Civick to create a lineup of children’s books with a focused purpose. Martinez also donates two days a week as a volunteer to help animals at Operation Kindness in Carrollton, TX, the largest no-kill shelter in north Texas. At home, he enjoys cuddling with two rescue dogs, Toby, a Mexican hairless; and Sasha, a Shih TzuChihuahua mix.

Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2015

Martinez realized he could help animals beyond the shelter world by creating this small publishing company. “At Helping Tales Publishing, we’re on a mission to help those in need,” says Martinez. “Our motto is: ‘Helping those in need, one story at a time.’” Since its creation, Helping Tales Publishers have donated portions of the sales of their children’s books to various animal shelters and rescue groups. Now, they are expanding to assist children who are victims of bullies from the sales of their new book, The Dinosaur’s New Shoes. “For years, we have been helping dogs and cats in shelters who need permanent and loving homes,” says Martinez. “We have expanded our mission with this book to reach out to children who are being bullied. These children need a positive message of hope and that’s what we attempted to do in this book. In the back of the book, we list some very helpful anti-bully groups that can help these children and their parents.” The Dinosaur’s New Shoes tells the tale of a young dinosaur named Robby being bullied by a bigger student named Bruno at Fossil Elementary.


Robby comes from a poor family, as depicted in his worn out sneakers with holes in their soles. He is mocked and belittled by Bruno. Coming to Robby’s aid is an upbeat, confident older dinosaur student named Teddy T-Rex. The words appearing on the pages are written in rhyming verse, accompanied by colorful, beckoning illustrations. The late great Dr. Seuss would be proud. Here is an excerpt from The Dinosaur’s New Shoes when new student Robby arrives in the gym wearing his old sneakers, spotted by Bruno the Bully: Teddy didn’t see Robby’s shoes As they started to play, Until Bruno the Bully laughed And loudly said, “Hey!” “He’s wearing old shoes That are dirty and worn. One has a hole And the other is torn!” Robby’s face turned red And tears rolled down his cheek. As he ran off in shame, Teddy knew he must speak. Teddy told Bruno, “Being a bully is not cool. You made him feel bad, And made his cry ~ that was cruel!”

Anti-Bullying Resources Bullying is something you should never ignore. At the end of the book, Martinez offers a powerful rhyming message in this excerpted verse: Bullying can happen night and day, by texts, Internet or mean things others say. Finally, if bullying you happen to see, speak up and find an adult. Don’t just let it be. Knowledge is power, this is a fact. To stop bullying, YOU MUST ACT! To learn tips and insights on how you can reach out to someone being bullied, please visit the websites of these organizations: • Pacer: This is the portal for parents and educators to access bullying resources, including educational toolkits, awareness toolkits, contest ideas, promotional products, and more. • Stop Bullying: provides information from various government agencies on what bullying is, what cyber bullying is, who is at risk, and how you can prevent and respond to bullying. • Pacer Kids Against Bullying – “Kids Against Bullying” was created for elementary school children, with a unique emphasis on children with disabilities. This Web site is an informative and creative resource to educate students about bullying prevention and provide methods to respond to bullying situations. The site features an animated cast of characters, information, celebrity videos, Webisodes, interactive games, animation, contests, and other activities. Parents and professionals will find helpful tips, intervention strategies, and resources for use at home or school. • Pacer Teens Against Bullying: Teens Against Bullying Web site is a relevant, edgy, and unique educational resource for bullying prevention designed to engage, empower and educate all teens. Information is presented in an innovative, engaging and interactive style. There are solutions — creative resources that all teens ­­— can use to educate other teens and young people and to raise awareness in their community or to help other teens in bullying situations. • Girls was created in 2002 to help girls (ages 10 to 16) learn about health, growing up, and issues they may face. Promotes healthy and positive behaviors in girls, giving them reliable and useful health information in a fun, easy-to-understand way. The website also provides information to parents and educators to help them teach girls about healthy living.

There are three types of bullying: verbal, social and physical. Verbal encompasses saying or writing mean things, including name calling, taunting and threatening to cause harm. Social bullying involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships, such as leaving someone out on purpose, telling other children not to be friends with them and spreading rumors about them. Physical bulling involves hurting a person’s body or possessions, including hitting, kicking, spitting, tripping, taking someone’s tings and pushing. Not sure if a child is being bullied? Martinez says children being bullied may exhibit some of these warning signs: • Unexplainable injuries • Lost or destroyed clothing, books or belongings • Frequent headaches or stomach aches • Feeling sick or faking illness • Changes in eating habits • Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares • Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork • Not wanting to go to school • Sudden loss of friends • Avoidance of social situations • Feelings of helplessness • Decreased self esteem “We all have the power to make a difference in the world,” declares Martinez. “Let kindness, compassion and empathy be your tools.” n

Other Helping Tales Books The children’s books created by Helping Tales Publishers are available in print and e-book formats on, Apple and Barnes & Noble. Learn about new book projects at • The Final Pet Stop • The Most Incredible Journey: A Pibbles Path • Diamonds in the Ruff • Patches Awesome Day (Spanish edition also available)


Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2015

BE A VOLUNTEER Your association needs your dedication, enthusiasm and ingenuity to continue to provide the best possible programs and services. Committee members work together to accomplish the goals of the association, while growing it into the most powerful non-profit in the in-home pet sitting industry. We need your help to continue to provide the best possible programs and services. And, please note that continuing educations for participation will be awarded depending on your placement. Your project leader will provide more information. 

Specifically, we seek volunteers in these areas: EMERGENCY PLANNING  Fulfill your personal and professional goals by dedicating just 2-3 hours of your time to the Emergency Planning Committee. Our projects are broken down into small tasks so that committee members still have time to run their businesses. Members are needed to: • Update the Emergency Manual for both Pet Parents and Pet Sitters  • Add new topics and emergencies to the Pet Sitter Emergency Training Manual Your participation will give you greater credibility with clients, and it’s a great way to get more involved with your association’s needs!  

ing teams: Emergency Planning, Animal Welfare and Law, and Presents for Pets.   Helpful skill sets include:  • Marketing • Public Relations • Administrative • Writing • Proof Reading • Editing • Research • Strategic Planning • Creativity • Graphic Design  • Also, the Committee is seeking a Chair and Co-Chair.  Monthly Meeting Dates: 3rd Wednesday of each month at 3:30 p.m. ET


If you’ve answered YES to even one of the above — please join us for our upcoming meeting. Invest just one hour and check us out. Thanks for considering joining Pet Parent Resources. Also, this committee is seeking a Chair and Co-Chair. 

The Membership Committee is hard at work, making an impact n our industry and our organization. We want you to join the fun! Membership Committee volunteers connect with new members, current members and potential members in the effort to promote our organization, answer questions and expand NAPPS’ reach amongst professional pet sitters everywhere. We are looking for enthusiastic and outgoing volunteers who are dedicated to improving the NAPPS experience and bringing our membership together. The time commitment varies depending on the project. 

Monthly Meeting Dates: 2nd Wednesday of each month at 3:30 p.m. ET

Monthly Meeting Dates: 2nd Thursday of each month at 3:30 p.m. ET




Have you learned a thing or two about pet care over the years? Do you have any tips, tricks or techniques to share? Do you have the desire to share your knowledge, pet passion, information? Do you like to brainstorm, collaborate, write, research? 

Feed your entrepreneurial spirit by joining the NAPPS Marketing Committee! We are working on social media, the web site, and developing creative strategies for the overall marketing of NAPPS and its committees. The Marketing Committee also has several work-

The Member Benefits Committee is currently seeking a Host for our Mentoring Teleconferences. Mentoring Teleconferences are scheduled on the third Tuesday of each month at 8 p.m. ET.

What’s involved? • Hosts provide general instructions at the beginning of the calls, introduce the speaker and moderate questions during the Q&A portion of the conference. • Hosts take care of some behind-thescenes duties, including recording the conference so it is available to members in the APPS Mentoring Teleconference archive.  When? • Hosts are needed for the 4th Quarter of 2015. • The dates are Sept. 15, Oct. 20, Nov. 17 and Dec. 15. Why do it? • Networking opportunity with an industry expert, as well as other NAPPS members. • This is a great way to volunteer for your association with a small time commitment. 


Interested in creating or strengthening an area of your business? Willing to share what is working in your business? Enjoy helping others succeed? We need you! • You don’t need to know much about writing, simply be willing to share information. We are not asking for a longterm commitment, but to volunteer and collaborate. • Step up, your efforts will be appreciated. Meeting Dates: 2nd Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. ET

Please contact NAPPS Headquarters, Cathe Delaney at 856-793-0905 or if you are interested in becoming a NAPPS volunteer.

Ick! A Tick! These pesky parasites can cause diseases in pets from coast to coast. By Arden Moore It doesn’t matter if you live in a cold or hot climate, on either coast or in America’s heartland, ticks pose a year-round threat to dogs, cats and you in every state. The sad reality is that there are more than 800 types of ticks capable of transmitting more than a dozen diseases, some lethal. These eight-legged parasites are minute arachnids that have survived for centuries and often go undetected as they feed on their host’s blood.


ccording to the Centers for Disease Control, here is a rundown of the six serious tick-borne diseases in the United States affecting both pets and people:

bacterium and transmitted by the bites from the American dog tick, Rocky Mountain wood tick and the brown dog tick. Dogs and cats who have become infected may develop fever, headache, vomiting, muscle pain and abdominal pain as well as a rash. Some pets have stiffness when attempting to walk. Populations of the brown dog tick are in every one of the 48 contiguous states. • Tularemia – Informally known as “rabbit fever,” this disease, caused by a bacterium. As its name implies, tularemia is found in rabbits and rodents and transmitted to pets through bites by the American dog tick, most populated in the Midwest and Eastern part of the country. Symptoms can include a low fever, loss of appetite and listlessness.

• Anaplasmosis – Caused by a bacterium, this disease is transmitted chiefly by the black-legged deer tick. Symptoms include headache, chills, muscle aches, lameness, diarrhea, vomiting and fever. It is more common in the Northeast and in California. • Babesiosis – Caused by a protozoa, this disease infects red blood cells and triggers fever, anemia and weight loss. The deer tick is the primary transmitter of this disease that peaks during the warm months and is more prevalent in the South. • Ehrlichiosis – This is an umbrella term to represent a group of bacterial diseases caused by three different species and transmitted usually by the lone star tick and the brown dog tick. Symptoms include fatigue, muscle aches, fever and bleeding from the eyes. The lone star tick is more prevalent in the Southeast. • Lyme disease – This bacterial infection, left undetected, can cause extensive joint damage, heart problems, kidney failure and neurologic dysfunction. It is primarily transmitted by the deer tick. Lyme disease is more prevalent in the Northeast, but cases of Lyme disease in dogs have been reported in all 48 contiguous states. A vaccine is available to protect dogs against Lyme disease, so consult your veterinarian. • Rocky Mountain spotted fever – This disease is caused by a

Prevention is a better step to not acquiring tick borne diseases. Encourage your clients to keep their pets on year-round flea and tick control. And always check yourself and your clients’ pets daily, especially if you take a dog on a hike in the woods. If you find a tick, put on rubber gloves to avoid touching it directly. Use fine-tipped tweezers or a tick-removal tool. Never use nail polish, petroleum jelly or a hot match. Part the hair on the pet’s coat to better locate the entire tick. Grab the tick with tweezers by its head and steadily pull the tick away from the pet’s skin. Dab an antiseptic on the pet’s skin where the tick was removed. Dispose of the tick in a bottle of isopropyl alcohol and tightly seal the bottle. Don’t drop the tick in a toilet because ticks have air sacs that enable them to survive in water. n


Professional Professional Pet Sitter Pet Sitter · Summer · Fall 2015

ABOUT YOUR ASSOCIATION By Cathe Delaney Pet Parents, Join Us Today, Education, Benefits, Resources.

Do you have a relationship with a local shelter or animal rescue in your area?

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.

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.

Exclusive benefits offered to NAPPS Pet Parent members:

1. Visit the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters website at:

2. Click on the Pet Parent tab 3. Click on Membership and follow the prompts Your welcome e-mail will arrive shortly and you can start enjoying your membership right away!

• 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

NAPPS is offering complimentary promotional rack cards which we are asking that you personally deliver to your local shelter of animal rescue. Help get the word out on why new Pet Parents should become NAPPS Pet Parent Members. Order your rack cards today, contact NAPPS at and share what NAPPS can do for new pet families.

Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2015

Pet Parent Membership as easy as 1-2-3


WHAT’S NEW ON NAPPS CHAT MESSAGE BOARD LOOKING FOR IDEAS ON CARING FOR A BITING BIRD 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.)



2. If the wings are clipped, you can let the bird climb out of the cage and hopefully, let you reach inside. To get the bird back in the cage, take a large towel and hold it up and it should make him want to go back in his cage in his own.

One of my fairly regular clients is caring for his mother’s bird temporarily. The bird (a smallto medium-sized parrot) is very aggressive, protective of his space, and afraid of / aggressive towards me in particular. Had I realized the bird would be such a problem, I would have declined the assignment.  Whenever I even reach my hand towards the bird’s cage, he approaches and tries to peck / bite at my hand through the cage bars. It’s a small cage with two large perches inside and the bird can reach all parts of the cage easily. Bird people, I need your input. 

I have a few clients with aggressive parrots and it’s always a challenge, but you must get fresh water and food to them. I’ve been bitten and it’s very painful! 1. I try to distract the bird with one hand while I reach in and remove food and water dishes with the other hand. You can NOT take your eyes off the bird when doing this. I’ve actually had to ask my husband to come with me to keep the bird distracted while I reach in and grab the food and water dishes.

I would also suggest never grab the bird in any manner because they are extremely fragile! Good luck! Staci Friendly Paws Pet Sitting

I have two birds like this! The owner of one taught me a trick. I use an oven mitt when I open the cage. The bird is scared of it. He does try to bite it, but it’s thick so I don’t feel it. I distract him with the oven mitt in one hand while I reach in the cage with the free hand to get the food and water dish. It has worked well for the past eight years. Sandy My Favorite Pet Sitter

Louise Everest Pet Services Plus Hi Louise, For an aggressive parrot I watch, I distract him with one hand as I slide the door up and take out the dish. For an aggressive Cockatoo I watch, his bowls are a little harder to take


Speak with the client and find out more about this bird’s specific likes and dislikes and provide the distractions that he particularly enjoys. out. For his food, I just use a spoon and stick it through the bar and drop it in his bowl. I have to take out the water bowl so at that time I give him his favorite treats and he is usually busy eating them on the other side of the cage. I also talk to them in a soothing voice. Sharon Sharon’s Pet Sitting Services

Give him a slice of an apple (no seeds). The apple slice kept a client’s bird so happy that I could quickly fill the dish and the water. In the future, ask them to place food dishes only on bird cage food doors, which swing open independent and keep you from interacting with the aggressive birds! Meghan Petcare Aupair

As a bird care professional for 25 five years, I encourage you NOT to use any intimidating objects such as: oven mitts, ladles and certainly not large gloves. These are likely to make the behavior worse and make the bird more fearful. The suggestions of giving the bird items he enjoys to occupy his time while you work are the most appropriate. Speak with the client and find out more about this bird’s specific likes and dislikes and provide the distractions that he particularly enjoys. They may be food, but they may also be toys or chewing material. n Bob Bob’s Pet Sitting

Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2015


Special CATCH Discounts for NAPPS Members NAPPS members receive special discounts on dog training and behavior courses with CATCH Canine Trainers Academy. CATCH is a state-licensed program with courses that allow you to study alongside of a pro mentor from anywhere in the U.S. You can earn a course certificate or a full Certified Dog Trainer title. Choose the program that fits your ideal budget and level of study. The following tuition discounts apply to NAPPS members: Master Class: $350 off Basics Pro: $200 off Core Skills: $98 off 6-Week On-Campus Course: $450 off To learn more, contact their Student Support Team at 877-75-CATCH or visit their website and let them know you are a NAPPS member!

Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2015


N AP P S IN THE NEWS 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! • Over the last five months, NAPPS gained more than 600 new followers on Facebook, bringing our total number of “likes” to over 3,870. • 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 5,400 as of May 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. In fact, the NAPPS ‘Beat the Heat’ summer safety video is airing 3-5 times per week throughout the summer, as a PSA in the midwest. n

How to Hire a Trustworthy Dog Walker

https://www.angieslist. com/articles/how-hiretrustworthy-dog-walker.htm

How to Choose a Reliable Pet Sitter family/how-choosereliable-pet-sitter

Check out the NAPPSbranded infographic below that NAPPS members can use to help remind Pet Parents to beat the heat and keep your pets safe in warm and hot weather. Download your copy now.


Professional Pet Sitter · Fall 2015

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Get Involved with Presents 4 Pets Build Your Community Presence While Helping Animals As a NAPPS member, you have a fantastic opportunity to generate significant PR for your pet sitting service, develop or expand relationships with shelters, retailers and the media, and help pets in need. The NAPPS Presents 4 Pets Program is an annual collection drive conducted by NAPPS members, to benefit shelter pets. The P4P campaign will kick off on November 1 and run through December 15, 2015.

P4P is a nationwide campaign which supports NAPPS’ mission: Provides a powerful tool and support to foster the success of members’ businesses: • Advocates the welfare of animals by making a difference • Promotes the value of Professional Pet Sitting by connecting with the pet community and its supporters at a professional level.

How Do I Get Started? Step 1 – Visit the NAPPS website Step 2 – Access the Member Center Step 3 – Click on Advance Your Skills Step 4 – Click on Presents 4 Pets Step 5 – Read the online information and download all of the helpful documents

Tools in the NAPPS Member Center The following documents are available in the Member Center to help you run a successful P4P campaign. • 101 Tips for a Successful P4P Campaign • How to Find a Local Shelter • Full-Page Flyer Templates • Half-Page Flyer Templates • Business Support Solicitation Letter Template • Benefits of Hosting a Donation Box-For Business Owners • Postcard Template • Press Release Info Sheet • Donations Receipt Template • Shelter/Rescue Group Letter Template • Thank You Letter Template • Post-Program Press Release Template • NAPPS P4P Logo


Professional Pet Sitter Magazine - the magazine for the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, Fall 2015 issue


Professional Pet Sitter Magazine - the magazine for the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, Fall 2015 issue