Volume 26 · Number 2
Meet Tonda Benge — The K9 Nanny
2018 NAPPS Forum Highlights How to Deal with a Bad Review Guide to Effectively Hiring Staff Solutions to Cat Pee Cleanup Why Background Checks are Vital
Benefits of Hiring a
MID-DAY DOG WALKER THESE PAWS WERE MADE FOR WALKIN’
GOOD for YOUR DOG Members can access an interactive version of this infographic and even add his/her own personal contact information.
SHED A FEW POUNDS
DRAIN EXCESS ENERGY
Daily exercise is crucial to help keep your pup at a healthy weight. An estimated 52.7% of dogs in the US are overweight or obese.* Studies show that 30-minute walks, 5 days a week will help keep your dog in shape.
Mid-day walks allow your dog to release some of their built up energy, resulting in a calm and well-behaved dog at home.
*Association for Pet Obesity Prevention
Find this in the Members Only area on our website.
ESTABLISH AND MAINTAIN A ROUTINE
SOCIALIZATION Mid-day dog walkers or pet sitters provide companionship to your dog when you must be away from home. This socialization also provides mental stimulation which leads to a happier and healthier companion.
A dog walker can help create a routine for your pet, which can help relieve stress or anxiety your pup may feel when left home alone. Having a mid-day walk will also give them something to look forward to and help alleviate their boredom.
GOOD for YOU
no need to
Need to stay late at the office or run errands after work? With a mid-day dog walker, you won’t have to worry about rushing home to make sure your pup can go potty. This will give you a greater peace of mind while you’re away from home and your pup will get all the exercise they deserve.
When Mother Nature calls, she doesn’t wait for the rain to stop. A dog walker will be there rain or shine to make sure your pup can answer Nature’s call and you can make sure that you (and your floor) stay nice and dry.
Hire a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PROFESSIONAL PET SITTERS
You can often feel guilty knowing that your pup has been alone indoors all day. Hiring a dog-walker gives you the confidence that you are providing the best care for your furry family member.
All NAPPS members agree to take the Pledge of Professional Conduct.
NAPPS members have access to unlimited educational resources and training to help increase their knowledge on providing excellent pet care.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT PET PARENTING OR PROFESSIONAL PET SITTING www.petsitters.org FOLLOW US ON:
INSIDE SUMMER 2018 PROFESSIONAL PET SITTER COVER: Meet Tonda Benge – The K9 Nanny
Media Mewsings............................................... 4 President’s Message......................................... 5
INDUSTRY NEWS OF INTEREST How to Deal With a Bad Review........................ 6
TIPS OF THE TRADE Guide to Effectively Hiring Staff......................... 8 The Importance of Website Speed.................. 10 Tune into DogTV............................................. 11
PROFESSIONAL PET SITTER
S TAT E M E N T
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 2018. 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 Time to Review Your Coverages....................... 12 Forum Highlights............................................ 14 MEMBER SPOTLIGHT Meet Tonda Benge – THE K9 Nanny.............. 16 FEATURES Answers to Cat Pee Cleanup........................... 18 Why Background Checks Are Vital.................. 20 Protect Pets from Bees and Wasps................. 21 CONNECT WITH NAPPS About Your Association................................... 22 NAPPS in the News........................................ 23 NAPPS Chat Message Board.......................... 25 New NAPPS Members................................. IBC Summer Safety Graphic................................. BC
10 11 18
ONLINE ALL THE TIME www.petsitters.org 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: NAPPS@petsitters.org • www.petsitters.org
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Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2018
TMIPS ED IA O FMTEHWES T IN RG AS DE
Article By Arden Moore
Arden Moore, Executive Editor
Several States Crack Down on People with Making theAnimals Doggone Right Choices Fake Service
ohn a bad decision. boy As made pet professionals, you The may16-year-old have bought some marijuana from an undercover felt powerless as well as frustrated cop. a result, John is living at the Illinois eachAstime you encounter a person Youth Center (IYC) juvenile detention clearly sporting fakeChicago, service aanimal vests facility the next six months. John is not a on theirfor pets. hardened And maybestates if he have hadn’t been Goodcriminal. news: Twenty-one caught athis earlycrackdown in the game, he might still be on staged major on people the streets, perhaps now stealing to buying larger who falsely claim their pets as service quantities of marijuana—maybe and emotional support animals soeven thatcocaine or crack.can bring them into supermarkets, they But landing IYC is perhaps theplaces best thing restaurants, movieintheaters and other pets thatnot could have happened to John and the other are traditionally allowed. 12-17-year-olds like him. They’re receivingand the The latest states include Minnesota discipline, counseling, education and Arizona. In training, Minnesota, people passing off their programs they’llanimals need to can reinvent once pets as service face themselves a $100 fine and completed their stay, via a program called athey’ve misdemeanor charge. In Arizona, people who Lifetime Bonds. misrepresent their pets as service animals can be fined Created $250. by Best Friends Safe Humane, this program targets youth whonew have been involved Supporters of these laws compare in illegal people with activities. “fake” service Each week, dogsatogroup people of who dog handlershandicap acquire and theirsigns dogs so visit that thethey teens. can park in spaces Theintended teams teach for disabled the young people. men the proper way toInapproach an NBC News a dog,report, a fewRepublican commands Arizona and a chanceSenator State to socialize John Kavanagh with the dog. said, By“Ireceiving couldn’tthe go immediate into a storegratification or an airportoforaeven happy anwagging office without tail, friendlysome seeing lick on disorderly the hand,four-legged or the roll-over creature request for a bellyits dragging rub, owner thesearound, youngsters wearing begin a vest to realize— that sometimes said ‘serviceforanimal.’ the firstI time wouldinsee their people lives—that in the kindness begets kindness. And that sets the stage for profound behavioral change. Lawmakers and officials of Best Friends Safe Humane National Director Cynthia Bathurst believes Lifetime Bonds is an legitimate animal integral componentservice of the program in that it aims to stop violence in its tracks before it has organizations recognize that a chance to grow further. “Safe Humane” gives these knowledge and skills they canbut thisyoung is amengrowing problem, use to positive advantage for the dogs they and their or familyrecords members encounter in the do friends not keep of people streets, especially dogs viewed as ‘fighting dogs,’” caught she says. with illegitimate
serviceBeliefs animals Changing Is The or Firstso-called Step The young men could hardly wait for the bell support toemotional ring, signaling it’s time for the pets. Lifetime Bonds program, or, as they call it, “Dog-Play Time.” The group breaks five smaller groups and supermarkets withinto animals in the shopping cart or begins each session by learning how to approach walking around sniffing all the food.” a friendly dog. One the boysnationwide take turns Currently, therebyisone, no uniform holding out the backs of their handsfor forlegitimate the dogs certification or registration process to sniff,animals then gently side. service whopetting undergotheatdogs leaston onetheyear of Then the boys hold treats theirthe hand while specialized training. And, in under Americans asking the dogs to andbusiness lie down,owners then give with Disabilities Actsitlaw, canthe only treats—and give and receive more love. After 20 Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2018
PROFESSIONAL PET STAFF BySITTER Amy Abern
minutes, the groups switch to new handlers and dogs. All the participants are anxious to spend time with Rou, the pit bull. One boy commented on how Rou resembled his American Staffordshire terrier. It was surprising to hear him refer to his dog with the official breed title. “That’s because we’ve seen all these different guys fight and we know who the best ones are,” he says. And this offers the perfect segue to talk about you think ask twodogfighting. questions of“Do anyone who the saysdogs theylike have asksIsTriptow. Most ofanimal, the boysand nod. “Do afighting?” service dog: this a service what youthe think the dogs liketobeing stroked?” is animal trained do. They cannotAll askthefor documentation or ask about the person’s specific disability. ...ifThis you don’t getting makes it easy like for people to scam the system by purchasing so-called service dog hurt and the dog doesn’t like harnesses and vests online and putting them on their oftenhurt, ill-mannered, undertrained dogs getting do you really and other pets. And, to get their doctors to sign letters that their help them reduce thinkdeclaring the into a pets situation depression or anxiety. and where officials of they legitimate likeLawmakers fighting most service animal organizations recognize that this certainly willbutget hurt? is a growing problem, do not keep records of people caught with illegitimate service animals or so-called support pets. boys nod. Under“Do theyou ADA, likesupport the feeling animals of being are not hurt protected when someone by thishits lawyou?” with All thethe exception boys shake of those their trained head. “Do to comfort you thinkmilitary dogs like veterans the feeling suffering of being from post-traumatic hurt, like when another stress disorder. dog bites them?” Tentative shakes “It’s allcompounded around. “So think by theabout confusing it—if you don’t terminology like getting hurt around andthis,” the dog saiddoesn’t Amy McCullough, like getting the hurt,national do you really director think of research the dogsand like therapy going into a programs situation like at the fighting American whereHumane they most Association certainly to willNBC-News. get hurt?”“People Definiteprey headupon shakes thatallwith around. the purpose Theofteens gaming havethe only system.” participated in the Lifetime A service Bondsanimal program is for trained two months, to be in public but and already, to bechanges under control in thought, and non-intrusive. attitude and They are behavior trained aretoevident. aid to perform Nikki Robinson, specific functions Assistantfor Superintendent/Programs Chicago, observes people who are blind, deaf,IYC wheel-chaired bound thehave boysother not only look forward to the sessions or disabilities. because they’re enjoyable, but that theyupreally On average, service dogs receive to two “get” of why the program is important. years training that can cost more than $40,000. There is often a waiting time of two years for these How You Can Help service dogs. Bestlong-term Friends Safe reliesa on The goalHumane is to create national donations and in-kindand services from certification program registry forlocal legitimately businesses anddogs individuals. If you’d like supported to make trained service — a move strongly a donation Humane Lifetime by officials to at the Safe National Education for Bonds program, send check payable to:Massachusetts Safe Humane Assistance DogaServices based in P.O. Box 7342 Chicago, IL 60680-7342. If you’d and the National Disability Rights Network. n like to learn more about volunteer opportunities
Cathe Delaney, Managing Editor Please send all letters to the editor: NAPPS@petsitters.org 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.
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: NAPPS@petsitters.org www.petsitters.org Cathe Delaney Administrative Director Cocee Baker Administrative Assistant Kattie Krewer Media Contact firstname.lastname@example.org Business Insurers of the Carolinas PO Box 2536, Chapel Hill, NC 27515-2536 Phone: (800) 962-4611 ext. 224 www.petsitterinsurance.com 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: email@example.com www.wwins.com Contact: Alan Leafman For Dental and Health Insurance For pet sitting questions contact: www.petsitters.org www.petsitters.org
PR ESID EN T ’ S M E S S A G E
By Jessica Abernathy, President
The NAPPS Forum Was a Big Success! Summer is finally here! Bring on the sunshine, put on the flip flops and open sunroofs to bring in the welcoming breeze. First, I would like to give a big shout out to the 2018 NAPPS Forum Committee! The feedback received has been overwhelmingly positive. Check out just a few of the testimonials below: “The most valuable event I can attend. It motivates, inspires, and keeps my business moving forward.” - Tonda Benge, Professional Dog Mom “Incredible speakers with so much knowledge, motivation, and practical petsitting information!” - Elizabeth Clawson, Dog’s Next Best Friend If you were not able to participate in Atlanta or via the live stream, you can still take advantage of this fantastic educational event. Click this link: https:// petsitters.org/2018_forum.php to purchase the Forum archive. I highly recommend that you take advantage of this opportunity to view speaker presentations which will help you catapult your business to the next level. There are so many great ideas and information to share that you really can’t afford to miss it. You can locate the speaker presentations at this link: https:// petsitters.org/2018_forum_schedule.php.
“The most valuable event I can attend. It motivates, inspires, and keeps my business moving forward.” - Tonda Benge, Professional Dog Mom – Tonda Benge, Professional Dog Mom
The Forum is just one of the many benefits which your membership provides. As a 501 (c) 6, your association is governed and operated by its’ members. You are the stakeholders on the Board of Directors, within each committee and each activity the association participates in. And, we have more news. A Call for Nominations broadcast email was distributed on May 1. Your association needs your help to move beyond the cutting edge and lead us into the future. I ask that you consider nominating yourself for a Board of Directors position or let us know of that ideal candidate. Your participation is vital in the success of this association – the time is NOW. Learn more by visiting this link: https://petsitters.org/docs/Call_for_Nominations_info_page.pdf. I wish you an enjoyable and prosperous summer! Jessica Abernathy Dedicated NAPPS Volunteer and President www.petsitters.org
Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2018
I ND USTRY N E W S O F I N T E RE S T
When Bad Reviews Happen to Good Pet Sitters
don’t know what the heck is going on lately, but I have received a massive amount of calls and emails from frustrated and despondent pet sitters who are ready to throw in the towel after getting a bad online review from a client. I get it. No, really I do. I’m not just saying that. I, too, had the experience a few years ago. One of our one-time pet sitting clients wrote a horrible review about my company. It was a client who had used my pet sitting company about six months ago. Here’s an inside peek into my brain after I saw that review: Six months ago? And you never called me to tell me you were unhappy? Instead you write a horrible, scathing online review about us for all the world to see? Six months later?! What the ???! (Went the very negative chatter in my head.) I paced around my office for a few minutes, scowling and muttering under my breath and then yelling AGGGGHHHHHHHHHH a few times. (My poor neighbors.) What I got in touch with when I stopped pacing and yelling was that this experience was disheartening. I got in touch with how I try to run the best possible pet sitting business and when I’m not running my business, my dear managers are doing their best to run the best possible pet
Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2018
sitting business. And in spite of that: We got a bad review. It was disheartening. Still, it was easier to calm down than it might have been say, a few years ago, because guess what? In my more than 17 years of owning a pet sitting business, my business has gotten our share (a small share, thankfully) of negative reviews. It happens. Sorry guys, you can’t work with the public for years and years and years without getting a negative review. It’s true. Here’s the truth: You are going to make someone out there unhappy. You are, at some point, going to have a client who has expectations that aren’t going to be met by you or your company. It happens. Here are the actions I took to make peace with myself and the client who wrote the bad review: 1. I allowed myself to fully feel the spectrum of feelings that came up around this review. These included (but were not limited to): anger, sadness and (owie) grief over
this review. It hurts. The word ‘grief’ may sound extreme but getting a bad review brings up the perceived loss of reputation which is a type of death for a business owner. Allowing myself to feel the yuck feelings fully then allowed me to move into action with all of my energy present. 2. I called the pet sitter who had taken care of this client and I asked her for her side of the story: What actually had happened with this client? I had the client’s point of view (from the review that was posted for all the world to see, gosh darn it) but what happened from her perspective? When we spoke, I could hear the honesty in her voice and was able to determine that she really hadn’t done anything wrong. The client hadn’t given clear instructions about the pet’s needs. 3. Next I thought carefully about what I wanted to say to the client. I got crystal clear in my head and on paper about what needed to be said so I could refer back to my notes if need be. I waited until I was in a relative place of equanimity (it took a few hours) before contacting the client. 4. Next, I called the client. You read that right. I didn’t email him. I called. On the phone (it’s an old-
By Kristin Morrison
fashioned tool that some of us still use for communication). And if you are like most people and the thought of actually talking to a client who wrote a negative review about you terrifies you, here’s a word of advice when dealing with a negative review or feedback from a client: never, ever email the client a response. Is it much harder to call than email? Oh my God yes. It takes a heck of a lot of courage. That’s where you want to put on your big girl panties or big boy briefs and JUST DO IT. You are not going to die or pass out from the anger or fear. You may feel like you are. But trust me, you won’t die. Or pass out. 5. When I got the client’s voicemail I left a calm, loving (yes, loving) message that went something like this: Hi John. (Deep, relaxed breath) I saw your review and I just wanted to contact you as soon as possible so we could talk about it. I feel awful that you had a bad experience with my company. As the owner, I’m 100% committed to you having a good experience with my company and it was such a shock to see that you weren’t happy with the pet sitting you received from us. I realize that we sat for you about six months ago and perhaps you tried to contact me, but somehow I never got the message. (Deep relaxed breath.) I want you to know that I want to do whatever I can to make this right. Can you please tell me what I can do to make things right? Please give me a call at ______. I’m in the office today. Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you. 6. When he didn’t respond by phone that day or the next then I emailed him. Here’s what my email said: Dear John, I left you a phone message and I’m just contacting you to see if you got it. Forgive me if I’m bugging you. I want you to know that my intention
So here are the Cliff Notes if you get a Did I have second thoughts bad review: about using the word ‘it 1. Feel the full spectrum of feelings. Get it up and out of your body (yelling, hurts my heart’? You betcha. talking and/or crying with a friend) so you can then be free to take action. But I did it anyway because 2. Contact the staff member who provided care to get more it was hurting my heart information. If you were the person who cared for the client, think clearly (owie). And I felt like I had back to that day and if what the client said happened, happened. nothing to lose by sharing 3. Think carefully about what to say to that and perhaps everything the client. Don’t say a word to the client before you have had time to to gain by sharing that. calm down. in contacting you is to make things right. What can I do to make things right? I’m committed to you having a good experience with us and it hurts my heart to know that you weren’t happy with the care we provided. Please give me a call or send me an email so I can take care of this as soon as possible. Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you. Warmly, Kristin 7. Keep your email and your phone message authentic and loving. Did I have second thoughts about using the word ‘it hurts my heart’? You betcha. But I did it anyway because it was hurting my heart (owie). And I felt like I had nothing to lose by sharing that and perhaps everything to gain by sharing that. Here’s how my story ended: I got an email from John (not a call, an email. I guess he wasn’t wearing his big boy briefs that day). Here’s what his email response was: Hi, I did get your phone and email message. Things have been busy today. I do still think that your pet sitter didn’t do things right. but I will take the review off. Please don’t contact me again. John
4. Call the client. Don’t email. Call. On the old-fashioned instrument called a telephone. 5. Leave a calm and loving message or talk directly to the client in a loving, calm manner. Include the words “How can I make this right?” 6. If the client doesn’t respond in a day or two, email them a loving, calm email. Include the words “How can I make this right?” Have you noticed I’ve brought up the words ‘kind and loving’ a couple of times? Being kind and loving can (and often does) change everything. 7. Breathe. A lot. Know that you are a good person and a good pet sitter and realize that occasionally bad things (and reviews) happen to good pet sitters. Soon this review will be a distant memory. It’s not the end of the world. Your right clients will find you, bad review or not. Trust me. n © All Rights Reserved by Kristin Morrison and SixFigure Pet Sitting Academy.com™ Kristin Morrison is the author of the book “SixFigure Pet Sitting” and the founder of Six-Figure Pet Sitting Academy™. Kristin has created a six-figure pet sitting company while working 3 days a week and taking months off each year to travel abroad. She coaches other pet sitting business owners on the fine art of creating a successful pet sitting business while maintaining a fun and successful life. You can email Kristin at: Success@ SixFigurePetSittingAcademy.com
Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2018
T IPS O F T H E T R A D E
Here’s Your Inside Guide to Effectively Hiring Staff
If you’ve been in the pet care business for any length of time, you’ve probably discovered that dealing with pets is the easy part. I remember those days of loving my dog walking business, my clients, and my extended animal family — but not loving my staff quite so much because training them all individually was, frankly, a bit of an ordeal. The word “frustrated” only begins to encompass how I felt. After taking a couple of steps back to get a higher-level view of the situation, what became painfully clear to me was that without a well-trained staff, I would very quickly be without a business. Fast forward a couple decades and three more businesses, and I personally feel that I’ve mostly solved that problem for FetchFind, because I do love my staff. They’re dedicated, loyal, multi-talented, and eager to learn. But – and this is a big BUT, I had to kiss a lot of ‘frogs’ before I found my princesses and princes. If you’re still in the amphibian osculation phase of your business, don’t despair. You can make it better, and easier, and I’m here to help you do just that. I posted this on our FetchFind Approved Facebook group recently, and one of the responses was “I hire for the intangibles because you can train dog/cat handling. Look for people who are dependable, stable, detail oriented, honest, kind, enthusiastic, and honest.” So much this. So very much this. When I started Out-U-Go!, I hired new dog walkers every week (and a few months later, I’d hire their replacements). Hiring and training took up the majority of my time for more than a year after the company opened for business. But the hiring cycle eventually stabilized, and I am proud to share that many of my original dog walkers from the early ’90s are still friends and colleagues today. Some of that might have been luck, and some of it was just the decade placement of my company; hopefully, some of it was because I made good hiring decisions and relied on tools I learned from early mentors and my dad, who happens to have his master’s degree in human Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2018
resources. It was a little easier staffing AnimalSense, because by then I had more contacts in the industry, as well as more personal referrals. With CanineLink and FetchFind, the process was more organic. In many cases, I had taught these people myself, and I already knew their strengths and weaknesses. (It was like having my own farm team.) This not only gave me a decided advantage in the human resources area, but also in the development of the companies themselves. With all of that having been said, how can you, the sometimes slightly frazzled and frustrated pet business owner, find and keep good people who can help you grow your company?
The ideal candidate Loves — and respects — animals. Let’s get this one out of the way first. “Loves animals” should be a foundational trait, but it shouldn’t be
the sole qualification. I would also challenge you to reframe your thinking on the concept that someone loves animals and dig deeper to find out how much they respect animals. As you know, respect for animals translates to longevity in this industry, whereas love can be fickle. Experience. Experience doesn’t just mean “has worked with pets.” For me, “experience” encompasses previous work experience as well as reliability and accountability. I think those last two traits are far more important than industry-specific credentials. You can teach basic animal handling to anyone who wants to learn. You can’t train them to show up without fail, rain or shine. Reliability and responsibility are important habits, and it takes inner discipline to do the right thing, day in and day out. In fact, I believe that a person with no animal experience is often a decidedly stronger candidate. Again, hire for character and train for skill. Willingness to learn. If education and www.petsitters.org
By Jamie Migdal, CEO | FetchFind
training is something that you value, then you’ll want staff who aligns with that. (I know, I know, easier said than done, especially when you’re short-staffed going into a busy season.) Obviously, this is something that should be discussed during the application and interview process, but you’ll need to dig a little bit deeper during due diligence to see if that willingness to learn truly exists. Check LinkedIn and social media, and ask about continuing education, micro-degrees, first aid courses, etc. Lifelong learning takes initiative and curiosity, and some of the best employees are self-starters who aren’t afraid to ask questions.
The ideal team member I had an interesting conversation with a frustrated business owner who provides her staff with training opportunities that can help them perform their jobs better and enjoy them more, but they don’t take advantage of these opportunities. This is where sound hiring decisions can pay off, big time, because if you hire the right people for the right reasons, you won’t have to spend valuable time cajoling them into learning more than the absolute minimum. Team members who are willing to learn their jobs well are the ones you’ll be happy to keep forever. For me, the worst situation was having to keep a disengaged employee on staff just because I needed that extra warm body, even though that person was unreliable, uninterested, and untrainable. I’m a big fan of the adage, “hire slow, fire fast,” but for pet care jobs that require a physical presence, you sometimes have to fire more slowly than you’d like. It’s not a good situation for anyone. It’s terrible for morale, customer service, safety, and your bottom line.
Links FetchFind link: http://www.fetchfind.com/ Out-U-Go! Link: http://outugo.com/ AnimalSense link: http://animalsense.com/ CanineLink link: http://learning.fetchfind. com/p/fetchfind-academy FetchFind link: http://learning.fetchfind. com/courses FetchFind Approved link: https://www. facebook.com/groups/fetchfindapproved/ Dog Day Afternoon link: http://www. dogdayinc.com/index.php FetchFind Premium link: http://learning. fetchfind.com/p/premium www.petsitters.org
NAPPS is excited to announce our new partnership with FetchFind is the pet industry’s #1 online staff training and business solutions platform. FetchFind and NAPPS will be working together to help members train and onboard staff, so that you can focus resources on providing great customer service, reducing risk, and growing your business. Access the Pet Sitter Toolkit Section of Members Only (link) where you’ll have access to members-only discounts on all FetchFind subscriptions. My advice for staff training is: don’t overthink it. It can be as simple as making it into the job description. Make regular training mandatory. Tell candidates before you hire them that one of the non-negotiable expectations of the position is spending a minimum 15 minutes a week learning how to do the job better. This requirement is easier to enforce with regular employees, but if it’s an upfront condition even independent contractors shouldn’t balk at it. And, truly, it shouldn’t be any less of an expectation than having staff wear a company-branded shirt or not smoke in a client’s home. You can also make a few basic lessons part of the interview process. It’s a good way to gauge enthusiasm and curiosity, as well as weed out the candidates who can’t be bothered to expend the effort or follow simple instructions. Incentivize and motivate. There are lots of ways that you can make learning a fun and compelling part of the job. Give out gift cards, promotions, or more overtime pay assignments for the team members who show initiative, responsibility, and interest above and beyond the basic job requirements. Another easy way to motivate staff is to tell them that they’re doing a good job and that you appreciate their hard work. Praise and appreciation can sadly fall by the wayside when you’re slammed with client calls. Bonus: regular, genuine praise gives you, the business owner, a chance to evaluate and reinforce the desirable character traits of your employees. Walk the walk. Don’t just tell your team to do things you wouldn’t do yourself. You know how to walk dogs and scoop kitty litter, and you should be right there with the rest of your staff continuing your education and honing your craft. A lot of people who go into the pet industry because they love animals have a hard time admitting that they don’t actually know everything (nobody knows everything!) and seeing the management team
learning new things and doing their jobs with gusto is a great example for everyone to follow. Obviously, this just scratches the surface of all of the pieces and levers we need to consider when building a pet business dream team. I’ll leave you with these parting words: every person you hire is another learning opportunity. Outstanding team members teach and reinforce for you what an extraordinary hire is supposed to look like, while the bad hires give you a chance to take another look at your hiring processes and get honest about why you hired them. Remember, hiring mistakes are all a part of growth. Don’t beat yourself up (we’ve all been there), and always feel free to reach out to me or my team at any time. You got this. You really do. n Jamie Migdal, CPDT-KA, has been working with dogs and their people, and innovating within the pet industry, for nearly 25 years. Having successfully built three national pet service companies, Jamie is an expert across all aspects of the pet industry, including education, technology, business development, sales, marketing, and management. Her fourth and current company, FetchFind, sells staff training and other business solutions to pet care service companies around the globe. In 2018, Jamie received the Pet Age Women of Influence award, and was shortlisted for the Information Age Women in IT Rising Star award. In 2016-2017, Jamie completed the prestigious Prosper Women Entrepreneurs and WiSTEM-1871 Chicago accelerator programs and received Pet Age ICON and Women Tech Founders Midwest Women in Tech awards. FetchFind was selected as one of the top five most innovative pet care companies via the Purina Pet Care Innovation Prize, completed a successful crowdfunding campaign on Republic, and increased their market share with the acquisition of PawedIn.
Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2018
T IPS O F T H E T R A D E
By Amy Toman
The Importance of Web Speed Recently, my site was loading slowly, which I know is a bad sign for my visitors and for Google. What to do? First, I logged onto a website speed test to see where I stood. And the results weren’t bad, but definitely could be better. This made me wonder: is there a recommended load time for a site? Has Google announced any set numbers to go by? And I found out that actually, they had.
hy is website speed important? Speed is important because it affect the customer experience. If clients have to wait for a page to load, they won’t. You’re always just one click away from someone backing out of your site. And now, guess who’s making this their big issue of 2018? Google. Yup, they’ve said that they are using page speed as a ranking factor. This means that if there’s another site that offers what you do, and their site is faster, that site may come up higher in search results. Of course, it is one of many ranking factors, but it’s a new one that seems to be as important as SSL certificates and mobile-friendly design.
What is website speed? Page speed can be described in either “page load time” (the time it takes to fully display the content on a specific page) or “time to first byte”
If clients have to wait for a page to load, they won’t. You’re always just one click away from someone backing out of your site. And now, guess who’s making this their big issue of 2018? (how long it takes for your browser to receive the first byte of information from the web server). The end result is that your page speed can be measured, and Google does it. They prefer if your site loads 5 seconds or under on mobile or 3 seconds or under on desktop. But I’ve also seen Google’s John Mueller mention a two-second loading time (yikes!). More research and numbers may be found on Google’s Think With Google page, updated in February 2018.
Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2018
How can I view my speed? There are a few different tools out there, but the ones I find most effective are GTMetrix, which uses a few different systems to “grade” your site, and Think With Google’s Test My Site Tool. I am more fond of GTMetrix’s tool because the results are more consistent and easier to understand.
How to read the results I’m not fond of technical jargon, so let’s just say you need to look at your load time. It should be 5 seconds or lower. If you achieve that, you’re fine. If you don’t, close to it is great too. This screenshot is from GTMetrix (https://gtmetrix. com): You can then go below and look at the individual grades and see if there’s anything you recognize that might help things. And…
What to do if your results aren’t great Look at the results and see if they tell you what needs to be worked on. They usually outline it in great detail. The easiest thing you can do for yourself is to compress your images. Another way is to load a plugin that will help. If you built your site on a builder from a host (like Squarespace or GoDaddy), contact them directly to see what they suggest. But if you have a WordPress site, I would have a professional do it for you. The company I used changed some of the settings in my plugins and then uploaded a few more that compressed my images (more!) and did the same for some of the site’s script that I don’t want to touch on my own. I would seriously recommend optimizing your site this way if you have speed issues.
Bottom Line Website speed will be a Google ranking factor starting in summer 2018. In advance of that, you should test your site and make appropriate changes so your site loads efficiently. I use the folks at WP Fixit to optimize WordPress sites, and they did a great job on this (PetSitterSEO.com) site. I recommend them wholeheartedly. n If you would like help analyzing your website results or for other website editing or an SEO review, contact Amy Toman at firstname.lastname@example.org, or text or call her on 732 820-0103. To learn more, visit www.petsitterseo.com.
T IPS O F T H E T R A D E
By Arden Moore
DogTV Unleashes Special Offer for NAPPS Members As all professional pet sitters know, creating a safe and secure home environment for dogs is extremely important. Whether it’s your dog or a client’s dog, having tools at your disposal to provide an interactive environment for pets is critical to good behavior. We at DogTV are excited to offer the elite members of NAPPS one more tool for their pet-sitting businesses! Mobile K9 Enrichment for Pet Professionals
A TV Channel for Dogs?!
Dogs can become stressed, anxious, and bored when left home alone. This often leads to destructive behavior, separation anxiety and behavior issues. For many years, leading animal rescue organizations and animal behaviorists around the world have recommended leaving some form of media entertainment for your dog when you’re away from home. A television can potentially provide all important mental stimulation for dogs and help prevent boredom behavior, according to officials at the Petcare and Information Advisory Services (PIAS).
When DogTV was launched six years ago, people laughed at this crazy idea. “A TV channel for dogs? You must be kidding me!” But after six years of providing stimulating and engaging content for dogs and cats, people don’t laugh anymore. Millions of homes around the world understand the benefits of DOGTV. They have discovered that providing the proper home enrichment for pets will help their dog cope with stress and anxiety. It may even help pets live a longer life with fewer cognition problems as they age. DOGTV works — particularly with dogs who suffer from separation anxiety and other stress-related problems. No, we’re not expecting dogs to sit all day in front of the TV, become couch potatoes and eat “pup-corn” (see what I did there?). Studies show that dogs still benefit from the positive effect of programming, even if they only listen to the channel.
There are several reasons for these recommendations: 1. There are many noises outside or inside the house, which tend to stress dogs when they are left alone. Anything from an ambulance driving by to construction works to a washing machine — dogs can become overstimulated by this type of “noise pollution.” 2. Leaving the radio or TV on for the dog can give him some sort of feeling of presence, so he will feel less alone and more safe and secure. 3. DogTV provides the dog with stimulation that he can’t otherwise get while owners are away from home.
Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2018
FREE No-Obligation 30-day Trial for NAPPS Members We’re so excited about our new programming that we want to give you and your clients the opportunity to use it for free. No credit card, no account, just sign up and cast it to any device. If you discover the pets you care for love this service, you can also share the opportunity with your own clients a free 30-day trial! Just click on this link and enjoy DogTV: https://dogtvonline.com/napps-dogtv.
Time to Review Your Care, Custody or Control Coverage Chances are, if you have ever purchased liability insurance for your pet sitting business, you are aware of the 3 C’s: Care, Custody or Control. Care, Custody or Control (CCC) is one of the primary coverage needs of all pet service providers, as it provides coverage for the pets and personal property while in your care. For this briefing, let’s discuss CCC, where if comes from, what it does, and the importance of maintaining an adequate limit to protect your business.
rior to the mid 1990’s, if you purchased liability insurance for your pet sitting business, chances are you likely did not have any coverage for the pets or client’s personal property while in your care. That is because most all commercial general liability policies utilize the same coverage form (CG 00 01) that contains exclusion “j,” titled “Damage to Property.” It excludes property you own, rent or occupy (as this would be covered under a property form if you lease or own a facility, or a homeowner’s form if you work out of your home). It also excludes property you sell, give away or abandon, as well as property loaned to you. And right in the middle is the infamous pet sitter exclusion, exclusion “j. (4) personal property in the care, custody or control of the insured.” At first glance, you may ask why is this exclusion so important? The reason is twofold. First, pets are considered personal property under the laws of all states, so when you, the pet sitter, takes care of a client’s pet(s) and their owners are not around, that pet(s) is going to be considered personal property in your care, in your custody or in your control. The second reason, a lot of professional pet sitters, and even some pet sitter insurers often overlook, is when your client gives you the keys to his home and leaves town for a few days, a week, or longer. Now all of your client’s personal property in his home is considered in your care, in your custody, or in your control while the client is away. A brand-new pet sitter, and/or even some who have been in business for a few years, may have no idea that they could be held liable for damage to the contents of their client’s homes. So, what does the commercial general liability policy form (CG 00 01) cover, if it does not Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2018
cover pets and client’s personal property, and how do I get coverage for pets and clients personal property? Great questions! The commercial general liability policy covers you against bodily injury (such as dog bites to a third party) and property damage (such as injuries to another pet not in your care, and/or if you were to only perform dog walking and do not have the client’s personal property in your care, it would cover damage to client’s property caused by your negligence). Obviously, you wouldn’t want insurance if it did not cover your client’s pets and personal property, as this is the primary exposure of your business. In order to provide coverage for care, custody or control, insurance companies now add additional endorsements (policy forms) to specifically cover pets and personal property and limit the amount they will pay. Under the NAPPS liability policy, care, custody or control coverage is included via an endorsement titled “Property Damage Coverage Extension and Veterinary Expense Coverage.” This endorsement covers both the pets in your care, and the client’s personal property in your care, custody or control up to the limit you choose ($10,000 - $200,000) when you take out the policy. In addition, the endorsement also covers veterinary medical expenses regardless of fault up to the limit you choose. Today, there are a lot of insurers writing insurance coverage for pet sitters. Most of them will include the commercial general liability coverage form or similar form, and in lieu of changing or giving back coverage for personal property in your care, custody or control like the NAPPS Liability policy does, they will offer a property or inland marine form titled Animal
Bailee Coverage to cover pets in your care, and some will also include a Pet Groomers Professional Liability Form that covers liability arising out of or rendering or failure to render professional services in the course of pet sitting, boarding, grooming, etc. But when reading these forms carefully, they only apply to animals/pets in your care, custody, or control, and neither include coverage for the client’s contents/personal property. Some other insurers in the marketplace will provide some additional endorsements to cover client’s property on a limited basis, but typically not for more than a $10,000 limit. So regardless of who you are insured with, make sure you have coverage and an adequate limit for both pets and client’s personal property in your care. Now let’s take a look at some claims examples to illustrate what is covered under the NAPPS Liability policy, first in terms of injuries to pets, and then in terms of property damage to the client’s contents in your care.
CCC Claims to Pets: 1. A cat in an insured’s care was given the wrong medication and had to be hospitalized. Total paid: $10,000. 2. A dog in a pet sitter’s care was running in the yard, stepped in a hole, and can www.petsitters.org
By David Pearsall, CIC, CWCA
no longer move his back legs. Total paid: $16,735. 3. While on a walk, a dog slipped out of collar and was struck by a vehicle, requiring multiple surgeries. Total paid: $22,634. 4. A dog ingests a foreign object while on a hike and becomes very sick. The dog walker takes the dog to the veterinary clinic and has multiple tests done followed by multiple surgeries. Total paid: $17,900.
CCC Claims to Client’s Personal Property: 1. A pet sitter used a client’s toilet and left home. The client came home to find toilet had overflowed, leaving an inch of water throughout the home, damaging rugs and contents, which had to be replaced. Total paid: $26,546. 2. A pet sitter did not properly latch the puppy crate. The puppy got out and chewed up the sofa and throw rug. Total paid: $6,478 3. A pet sitter left a key under the mat for next sitter. When the next sitter arrived, she discovered the key was missing and house had been burglarized. Total paid: $10,475. 4. A pet sitter set an aquarium light on the arm chair. It melted and caused damage to the rug on the hardwood floor. Total paid: $11,692. As you can see from these claims, $10,000 may not be enough to adequately cover care, custody or control claims anymore. What is disturbing is that approximately 65 percent of all pet sitter/dog walker clients insured via Business Insurers of the Carolinas only choose a $10,000 CCC limit. And most other insurers offering insurance for pet sitters and dog walkers typically will not offer more than $15,000 in coverage for pet injuries, and only $1,000 or $2,500 for veterinary medical injuries (regardless of fault), which indicates that the vast majority of all pet sitters and dog walkers are underinsured for covering the pets in their care. In terms of a client’s personal property, be sure to consider your client’s furnishings and contents when selecting your limit. Can they be replaced for $10,000 if you or one of your sitters were to incur a large water damage or fire damage claim and destroy your client’s contents? Yes, it is a little more expensive to purchase www.petsitters.org
a higher CCC limit, but when it comes to being insured properly, the cheapest insurance products on the market are not always what’s best for your business. We have seen a number of claims over the last 18 months where pet sitters did not have a large enough CCC limit to cover the claims. In one recent case, the veterinary bills exceeded $25,000, and the sitter only carried a $10,000 limit. So again, please be sure to choose an adequate CCC limit to cover your business. And, as a reminder that accidents and injuries can occur any time, take a look at some of our recent claims we paid:
Recent Liability Claims: 1. During pet sitter’s visit, a client’s dog had problems breathing and was rushed to the veterinary clinic. Total paid: $2,619. 2. A pet sitter was caring for a dog and was scheduled to visit three times a day. The client’s dog suffered from diarrhea and stained the carpet during the visits. Total paid: $1,417. 3. While on a walk, a dog got into fox tails and was taken to the veterinary clinic. Total paid: $580. 4. A client’s dog was in the pet sitter’s care for six days. Upon returning, the owner noticed the dog was lethargic and had lost weight. The dog was taken to veterinary clinic. Total paid: $12,257. 5. During a walk, a client’s dog backed out of his collar and ran in the road and was hit by a car. Total paid: $7,938. 6. A pet sitter was in a client’s home cat
sitting when she stumbled and fell onto the coffee table, causing it to break. Total paid: $600. 7. A pet sitter was taking care of a diabetic dog. The sitter gave the dog too much insulin and the dog was taken to the veterinary clinic. Total paid: $3,009. 8. A dog walker lost control of the dog while on a walk and the dog attacked and injured another dog. Total paid: $10,692.
Workers Compensation Claims: 1. An employee was driving a vehicle and rear ended another vehicle, causing injury to hand and finger. Total paid: $5,076. 2. A pet sitter was attempting to trim a dog’s nails and was bitten on her hand. Total paid: $596. 3. An employee was carrying a small dog up the outside stairs in the house. The employee’s knee gave out, causing her to fall. Total paid: $25,389. 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 DP@business-insurers.com. Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2018
Highlights from the 2018 NAPPS Forum For the first time in Forum history, NAPPS offered a brick-and-mortar event with a “live” streaming component. Members from across the country had the ability to Connect, Learn, Interact and Participate in their own way.
he brick-and-mortar event was held in Atlanta, GA and in the words of Laura Maddox of Daydream Pet Services, LLC, the networking opportunities alone was worth the trip. She wrote: I must say, I’m attending the NAPPS Conference in person for the first time. I brought a pet sitter I’ve been mentoring with me to Atlanta. I cannot tell you how the sessions have been so informative for me. The networking opportunities alone was worth the trip, however, all of the vendors, speakers and NAPPS staff/volunteers have been outstanding! I’m leaving with a new renewed vision for taking my business to the next level. Thank you so much!
The “live” streaming component offered outstanding audio and video as well as an interactive chat for members who were not able to participate in Atlanta. Karen Sykes, of K9 Kids Pet Sitters and More, took advantage of the live streaming option and writes: Just wanted to let you know what a wonderful experience I had participating in the recent NAPPS Forum via the live streaming option. I am a one-person pet sitting business and did not have the opportunity to attend the event in person, but the way the live streaming was set up, I felt like I was there. The audio and video were outstanding, but more importantly for me was the ability to participate via the live chat option. My
NAPPS members came to Atlanta to learn, network and have some fun with their professional colleagues.
Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2018
questions and comments were addressed immediately and I had the option to chat off line with other live streaming participants. Loved the format and hope others can take advantage the taped sessions as the speakers were fantastic! Thanks for giving me this option. Adds Elizabeth Clawson, of Dog’s Next Best Friend: “Incredible speakers with so much knowledge, motivation, and practical pet-sitting information!!! The 2018 NAPPS Forum included a diverse array of sessions, ranging from Avoiding Legal
Key leaders of NAPPS were in attendance at the Forum, always ready to guide members and answer their questions.
By Cathe Delaney
Upper left corner: Amy Mattison Toman of Pet Sitter SEO, offers website tips to the Forum attendees. Top right photo: Roger Morgan of pawTree answers questions about his company and its benefits to pet sitters. He was one of many vendors at the Forum. Bottom left photo: Bryan Bailey, of Taming the Wild, educated attendees about dog aggression.
Landmines, PAWsitive Communication for a Winning Team and Technology is the Cure for Burnout to Enter at Your Own Risk, Wild Health Nutrition and Fur Covered Wisdom. Dr, Kathy Gruver, of Alternative Medicine Cabinet, delivered an inspiring keynote address on the power of animals and the lessons they teach us. Jamie Migdal, CEO and founder of FetchFind, addressed business issues in her talk entitled, One Paw in Front of the Other (How to Separate Yourself) and Dr. Lynn Bahr, founder of Dezi & Roo, gave a talk entitled, Just For Cats. Other speakers and presenters included Therese Kopiwoda of Social Media Hound, who explained how to effectively use Facebook Live; Amy Mattison Toman of Pet Sitter SEO, who shared the ins and outs of Google My Business; John Curtis of Walk and Sit, who taught attendees how the make SEO a strategic marketing initiative that produces long-term results; and Cindy Baccus of Outta the Box Marketing, who helped us discover 10 steps to running an effective influencer social marketing campaign. Also, this year, we were happy to welcome back David Pearsall of the Business Insurers of the Carolinas. He shared a risk management overview of the various insurance coverages all www.petsitters.org
pet sitters should consider. Speaking of considering, Gary Reed of Reed Financial provided various options of setting up plans should you consider retirement. During the networking reception, individual NAPPS members were recognized for their contributions to the association: • Business of the Year — Carrie Leensvaart-Feinberg, owner of Safe Haven Advocate Pet Care & Photography, LLC located in Elgin, IL. • Member in Action — Lennox Armstrong, of Canine Care, LLC located in Glencoe, IL • President’s Award — Karen Sykes, owner of K9 Kids Pet Sitters and More located in Dover, FL • Spirit of NAPPS Award — Jamie ZegarLobaugh, of iCompanions located in Sugar Hill, GA NAPPS President Jessica Abernathy also recognized active volunteer members for their service to NAPPS. A BIG thank you to our many exhibitors and sponsors. • Alternative Medicine Cabinet • Business Insurers of the Carolinas • Center for Workplace Happiness
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Dezi & Roo Dog Is Good DoTimely, LLC FetchFind Handlr OmniCall Outta the Box Marketing pawTree Pet Sitter SEO Power PetSitter Reed Financial Group Royal Animal Health University Social Media Hound The Steering Group, Inc. Walk and Sit
The 2018 Forum was like no other as we drew members attending from near and far who share a common goal: Connecting, Learning, Interacting and Participating. If you couldn’t attend the 2018 Education & Networking Forum? No problem. You can still purchase the stream recording which includes the audio, visual and live presentations. For more details, just click on https://petsitters.org/2018_ forum.php. n
Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2018
Meet Tonda Benge — THE K9 Nanny She unleashes business know-how and dog knowledge to cater to clients in Nevada. By Arden Moore
onda Benge took an early retirement in 2016 from an international business career that took her all over the globe, but she was anything but ready to put brakes on her life. All she knew is that she was ready to become a small business owner, but it took a visit to a favorite aunt in Reno, Nevada to identify her next strategic career move. In Reno, Benge noticed dogs, lots of dogs. She decided to conduct a demographic analysis on the pet population and discovered that Reno had one of the highest dog-to-people ratios in the country. In fact, in 2016, it was listed seventh. Upon further digging, Benge found a major need being unmet. “I looked for licensed pet professionals in the area and could not find anyone with business licenses or certified by any organization,” she recalls. “There were just people caring for pets and doing it on the side for cash. I said, ‘Okay, maybe this is my niche.’ I love business and I love dogs. I don’t want to be back in the corporate level with shareholders.” So, as she aptly describes, she “traded in my corporate badge for a dog leash.” And Professional Dog Mom was born. Or rather, unleashed in a strategic way that emphasizes professionalism, ongoing education and genuine compassion for pets. Serving on the NAPPS Member Benefits committee, Benge taps her business skills she honed for 25 years as a former global supply chain analyst to help update NAPPS documents and descriptions. “I like to use my professional skills to give back to improve the organization,” says Benge, who earned a bachelor’s degree in business management and a master’s degree in international business strategy. For her work in her company and her volunteerism for NAPPS, Benge has been named the NAPPS Volunteer of the Quarter. In addition to being profiled in this issue of the Professional Pet Sitter Magazine, she received a one-year extension of her NAPPS membership. “This is very well deserved and we thank Tonda for everything she does for NAPPS,” says Cathe Delaney, NAPPS Administrative Director. Benge likes the nonprofit nature of NAPPS and its commitment to be of service to its members. She credits NAPPS with helping her get her dog business started by reaching out to seasoned NAPPS members and by attending the Forums last year in Chicago and this year in Atlanta. “In four days at the Forum, I got to sit down and talk with pet professionals all over the country and I took away so much,” she says. “NAPPS members have helped me learn about policies and procedures, employee benefits and much more.” In just two years, Benge has obtained licenses to walk, operate a pet taxi service and become certified in pet first aid/CPR and transition three Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2018
independent contractors into full-time employees plus hire five more. A quick visit to the ProDogMom.com website and you will be impressed by her informative dog health and behavior blogs as well as her list of achievements. Benge’s company is FetchFind approved, licensed in the state of Nevada, insured and bonded by the Business Insurers of the Carolinas, conducts background checks on all staff members and is an active member of the Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce. Recently, Pro Dog Mom was selected as one of the two Nevada Small Business Champions this year in the contest sponsored by SCORE and Sam’s Club. Pro Dog Mom is in contention for one of three $15,000 grand prizes with winners named later this year. Here is an excerpt from Benge’s winning submission: What makes your business one of the best small businesses in your community?
What People Are Saying About Tonda Benge
Benge: “Professional Dog Mom is a customized in-home dog nanny service. Just like a traditional nanny, we bond with the dogs in our care acting as the surrogate parent. We mimic the parents care and keep to the dogs’ regular routine. We diminish the impact on the dogs’ normal schedule, thereby minimizing the level of stress. In other words, we adjust to the dog, the dog doesn’t adjust to use. We are members of NAPPS and PSI, the two largest pet professional organizations in the country which give us a strong network of other professionals and access to a plethora of resources. We are unique in that we are not a boarding or kenneling facility. All our services are one-onone and take place in the dogs’ own homes, their comfort zone. Our team is closely connected to the local Humane Society including a fulltime employee and a volunteer dog handling instructor.
We are a small local team, living and working alongside our clients in the community.” Benge is focusing her business on dogs and on being a professional K9 nanny. She networks and refers clients who have only cats to professional cat sitters in the Reno area. “We are dog experts, not cat experts,” she explains. “And, we do a lot of overnights as we saw a need for this service. I now have six employees to keep up with the demand. I have written a 30-page employee handout that covers everything from how to handle various situations. Every month, we have a two-hour staff meeting and training session. I want my nannies to have the skills to be good business representatives.” And, Benge has an ambitious five-year goal. And she has the business and dog skills to achieve it. “My five-year goal is to have every dog owner in our area know who we are and what we do. We have a five-star business review and I want to keep it that way,” she says. n
Client William Blanding: “My wife, Ellie and I reside in the foothills of Sparks, NV with our three miniature longhair dachshunds, Darla, Gabby and Abbey plus our mini-mini longhair dachshund, Sophie. When we moved to Sparks three years ago, we needed a qualified pet sitter who would do overnight stays for our pups. We used a company called Rover, but they were just okay. We found Tonda and she was on time, detail oriented, caring, welltrained and organized. She constantly plays with all the pups and our pups adore her and her team. Tonda treats our pups with care and concern and is very well trained. She always listens to our suggestions and input. She and her team are the only pet sitters for us.” Staffer William Heron: “I work full time for the Nevada Humane Society. That is actually how I met Tonda. She is a very active volunteer. She was looking to hire new dog nannies and I applied and have been working for Tonda for more than nine months. Tonda has taught me so much about both dogs and how to run a small business. Not all dogs learn the same way. Tonda has taught me to find the best technique for different dog personality types.”
Clients Michelle and Louis Rachel: “We live in Reno with our Corgi, Ruby; our Brittany spaniels, Hewie and Herbie; and Beatrice, our cat. I met Tonda at the Reno Mini Maker Faire last summer and was really impressed with her professionalism and the many qualifications she has. Pro Dog Mom has enabled us to go on vacation and visit friends and family and be assured our pets are well taken care of. Tonda and her team are reliable and communicate very well. We love getting texts with pictures of our dogs and cat!”
Fun Facts About Tonda Benge • She loves reading old books. • She is half-Cherokee and her first name translates to “something sweet” in Cherokee. • For 14 years, her beloved Rhodesian Ridgeback named Mitch often traveled with her to Prague France and Amsterdam and had his own international passport. • During staff meetings, she tosses out Tootsie rolls to staffers who are first to give the right answer to her questions. To learn more about Tonda and Professional Dog Mom, please visit the website, www.prodogmom.com.
Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2018
Seeking Solutions to Cat Pee Cleanup This cat expert offers clues on safely removing urine odor. By Dusty Rainbolt, ACCBC [Editor’s note: This is an excerpt we obtained with permission from the book, Cat Scene Investigator: Solve Your Cat’s Litter Box Mystery, written by one of the leading cat authorities, Dusty Rainbolt.]
ho hasn’t visited a cat lover’s home and inhaled a lungful of ammonia? Ah, Eau de Toilette Feline. Your friend’s holds out a World War II gas mask, saying, “You might want to put this on before you come inside. I’m having a little trouble with my cat.” Getting rid of the cat isn’t the answer. The problem will persist long after the perpetrator has left your home. Imperceptible pee clings to surfaces, posting an invisible olfactory signal that instructs any new pet (both cat and dog) to, “Pee here.” There is hope. You can reform your cat and rid your home of the odor of cat pee. Even the most odoriferous home can be restored to a pollution-free zone. Before you reply, “That’s easy for you to say,” please understand I have been in your pee-covered shoes. If I escaped the smell of ammonia, you can too. To uncover the causes and answers for house soiling, I studied feline behavior, attended veterinary conferences and joined the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. I have interviewed the planet’s top veterinarians and behaviorists and scoured countless research papers and veterinary proceedings. I’m sharing what I discovered with you. I’ll walk you through the process of regaining your home and help you rekindle your love affair with your kitty. Take a deep breath. I smell fresh air in your future. Inappropriate elimination is more complicated than a congressional health-care bill. To arrive at a fresh-smelling home, you’ll need to: • Figure out who’s making the mess if you have a multi-pet home. • Take your kitty to the vet. • Determine if he’s marking or going to the bathroom. • Find out what’s upsetting your cat. • Fix it. • Retrain him. Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2018
• Find all the soiled spots. • Remove the smell of pee from the floors and walls. • Make the target area unattractive. • Enjoy the new feeling of calm. For the NAPPS members, let’s focus on cleanup strategies with this except from my book. As soon as you notice the mess, clean it up. Removing all traces of ammonia and pheromones from the carpet is the first step in persuading the cat to return to the litter box. After all, if it smells like a toilet, Fluffy will use it as a toilet. Cat pee and poop in a carpet is like a ghost. It contains pheromones that continue to attract cats to the soiled areas. It is as if the cat has posted an olfactory sign saying, “Bathroom.” If you simply mask the pee odors, you may be able to fool your nose, but Fluffy, with his superior sense of smell, will be able to find his alternate potty every time. Completely banishing the odor ghost requires treating the entire affected area, including the carpet pad and subflooring. Here are your needed cleanup supplies: • Ultraviolet light • Flashlight • Masking tape • Odor neutralizer • Old sponges • White towels or paper towels • Spatula or putty knife • Cheap, large crystal silica gel cat litter • Mop Before you can clean up the cat pee, you’ve got to find the pee spots — all of them. That’s
not as easy as it sounds. Hydrogen sulfide, a gas emitted by poop and pee, deadens the nerve endings in your nose. You may be able to smell ammonia, but your nose, confused by locations, can’t pinpoint them. Fortunately, those inconspicuous pee spots are visible under the right conditions. The soiled area in the carpet resembles an iceberg. You are only seeing the tip. If the surface stain appears to be the size of a silver dollar, it has likely spread to dinner plate diameter beneath the pad. You must clean all the layers. Even the best odor eliminator won’t work if it doesn’t fully saturate the soiled layers. You may want to use a large medical or cooking syringe (a needle is not necessary) to inject sufficient quantities of chemicals deep into the carpet pad. When the ammonia odor persists or your cat returns to the spot, pull the carpet up and treat the wood or concrete subflooring. When the subfloor has dried, seal it, then saturate the carpet with odor removers. Failing that, you may need to replace floor boards, in addition to carpeting and padding. Don’t forget to scrub the walls and baseboards. You may have to treat the carpet www.petsitters.org
multiple times in order to pass the feline muster. You can safely and cheaply remove cat pee from your concrete slab by steeping it with hydrogen peroxide. It will “boil” on contact. Repeat the process until you can apply the peroxide without a boiling reaction. My industry specialist said it may take a week of repeated treatments to thoroughly purge the odor. Once the odor has been removed from the foundation, apply a concrete sealer. This creates a vapor barrier. When cleaning up a fresh mistake (translation: still wet), place a white cloth or paper towel over the spot and blot it by pressing down. Do this until you pull no more moisture from the carpet. Avoid printed designs or borders because the dye could bleed into a lightcolored carpet. Also, don’t rub the carpet with the cloth, as this will only force the pee father from the original spot and deeper into the pad. Left untreated, cat pee will eventually fade the color of the carpet — another reason to clean a pee spot as soon as you find it. Before you buy a cleanup product, find out how it works. Read the label warnings. These cautions list a cleaner’s wide range of potential injuries, from irritation of the gastrointestinal tract to chemical burns in mouth, esophagus and stomach. While the warnings are alarming, the more frightening part is they are intended for people. Your cat is more at risk. Next, look at the ingredient list. Look for ingredients ending in “-ol” or “-ene,” which typically indicates toxic solvents. “Chlor” usually includes chlorine. “Glycols” contain petroleum-based ether. “Phenols” can include coal tar derivatives. None of these things are good for your cat. Never allow your cat into areas where you use or store cleaners. Clean up spills of concentrated chemicals immediately so your cat doesn’t walk across it and later ingest it while licking his paws. When you think the site is clean, rinse again. The same logic should be used whether you are cleaning carpets or mopping the floor. Avoid cleaners containing ammonia. Because cat pee contains ammonia, cleaning a pee stain with ammonia is basically inviting your cat to refresh the spot with his own ammonia — pee. Most products are safe for use around cats when you follow the directions. Three factors determine the dosage of what is toxic to cats: • Concentration: Is the concentration of the chemical 2 percent or 98 percent? • Quantity: Did the cat get one or two licks or two tablespoons? • Size of the cat: Is he a 2-pound kitten or a 14-pound adult? Size makes a difference. www.petsitters.org
You may turn to “natural” cleaners to protect your cat, but just because the active ingredient comes from a natural source doesn’t ensure its safety. Here is a rundown of odor neutralizers, how they work and the advantages and disadvantages of each: Molecular odor eliminators: This class of product bonds with odor molecules, permanently converting an odor molecule into a non-odor molecule. They aren’t affected by chemicals previously applied to the carpet. They work immediately and permanently, but they are rather expensive. In my experience, Zero Odor is my favorite odor neutralizer. I also like the CritterZone Air Naturalizer. Oxygenators: These products cause a chemical reaction that adds oxygen to the odor molecule, changing its composition. These products break down odors into carbon dioxide and water. The process is frequently used in wastewater treatment plants and in the purification of drinking water. You can buy ready-to-use liquids or powders. Fizzion is my preferred oxygenation odor eliminator for carpets. Disinfectants: Antibacterial agents kill the bacteria – the source of the odor. If the bacteria are destroyed, so it the odor. Most bactericides can be used on soiled spots with results in under an hour. The carpet should then be cleaned immediately and liquids extracted. Allow the floor to thoroughly dry before giving pets access. Disinfectants should not be used at full strength. Check the label and use according to directions. Enzymatics: Enzymes are made of proteins that work like saliva, breaking down the odor molecules, but they do not digest it. Since they’re not living organisms, they are not vulnerable to chemicals and extreme heat and cold, like live bacteria. Chemicals in other products, such as detergents and pesticides, won’t affect the
enzymes. Enzymes will dissolve detergent residue from earlier carpet cleanings. Enzymes are pH sensitive and pH fluctuates as the odor breaks down, working best at a neutral pH between 6 and 8. They only work when they are moist, and like bacteria, can take about 24 hours to break down odor molecules. Deodorizer/Masking Agents: These products use fragrance to cover up a stinky molecule with pleasant-smelling molecule. The foul reality is temporarily overpowered by the fragrant smoke screen. The odor’s true nature will return when the masking perfume wears off. Deodorizers usually contain fragrances, alcohol and water, which mask the odor-causing molecules but do not change them. These products may fool your nose, but not your cat’s. He knows where to find the pee. Detergents: Detergent cleans and odor absorbers (such as foaming spray carpet cleaners) use surfactants to loosen organic material and dirt from fabrics, but some odor may remain. They may contain cationic detergents that can burn your cat’s skin or mouth. If your carpet is too heavily soiled, you may need to bring in a professional carpet cleaning company to completely remove urine odor. Before hiring a company, find out what kind of chemicals the company plans to use. Ask your veterinarian to see if those chemicals are pet-safe. Also, check with your local Better Business Bureau for complaints. n Dusty Rainbolt, ACCBC, is past president of the Cat Writers’ Association, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants and editor-in-chief for AdoptAShelter.com. She is the award-winning author of Cat Wrangling Made Easy, Kittens for Dummies and the author of eight science fiction/fantasy novels.
Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2018
Meet Jason Waggoner of ACUTRAQ Learn the Benefits of This Background Screening Company By Arden Moore
ooking for peace of mind when it comes to hiring pet sitters? That’s what Jason Waggoner delivers. Waggoner is vice president of marketing at ACUTRAQ, a company that specializes in performing federally-compliant background screenings. “We do background screenings for any kind of employer, landlord or volunteer organization,” says Waggoner. “Background screening is especially important in the pet sitting industry. After all, who has more access than a pet sitter? A pet sitter has the keys to your home, security system codes and they have the care of your pets inside your home when you are away. Your pet sitter should be someone who is background screened and trusted.” NAPPS has recently partnered with ACUTRAQ to make this service available to members. “NAPPS is looking forward to a successful partnership with Jason Waggoner and ACUTRAQ,” says Cathe Delaney, NAPPS administrator. “Employee selection is one of the most important responsibilities NAPPS members have as business owners. I trust that ACUTRAQ will provide the best services at the most cost-effective rates possible.” ACUTRAQ, in business since 1998, is nationally known for its reliable service, timely delivery of the results, and 100-percent compliance with all the hiring laws. According to a recent study by the Society for Human Resource Management, almost half of all employers conduct some kind of background check. Pet sitting companies who do background screenings on their members build their reputations and trust among their clients. “Pet-sitter screening should include at least a criminal check with the applicant’s current city/county court and federal court. Ideally, it should go back to residences for the last seven years. “ACUTRAQ provides a central location in which pet sitters can order and manage their background check,” explains Waggoner. “Having a uniform way of handling the background check helps create consistency across the profession. ACUTRAQ can help with proper procedures such as denying an applicant, handling disputes regarding background information and much more.” Waggoner is no stranger to the pet industry. He often serves a dual role as ACUTRAQ vice president of marketing and a musician/videographer at many pet conferences. “Family time is what I most enjoy, but in between work and Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2018
“When I wake up each morning, the first thought that pops in my mind is, who might I meet today,” says Waggoner. “Some of these people do change my life and help me be a better person.”
family I still play live music and also still work with many artists as a studio session guitarist,” he says. “I dabble in amateur film work and enjoy filming interviews for my motivational project the UmeetU Movement.” His go-to guitar is his electric Gibson Les Paul and he enjoys all genres of music, but his favorites are blues with a little mix of country. He also stays in shape by practicing Brazilian jiu jitsu in which he has earned a blue belt. A people person and pet advocate, Waggoner is on a mission to keep pets safe and give peace of mind to clients. “When I wake up each morning, the first thought that pops in my mind is, who might I meet today,” says Waggoner. “Some of these people do change my life and help me be a better person.” n Jason Waggoner is the vice president of marketing for ACUTRAQ based in Houston, TX. The company provides background screening solutions. Learn more at www.ACUTRAQ.com.
Protect Pets from Bees and Wasps By Arden Moore
ith the arrival of warm weather, the nose-sniffing curiosity and predatory nature of dogs under your care could land them on the losing end in a confrontation with stinging insects on the client’s property or inside the home. And forget about trying to train an indoor cat, who is hardwired to be pursue moving prey, to not chase, swat or even eat a wayward stinging insect flying inside the client’s home. “In regards to bees and wasps, the real issue is the number of stings the animal gets and whether he or she is allergic to the sting,” says dermatologist William H. Miller, VMD, a director of the Companion Animal Hospital at Cornell University School of Veterinary Medicine.
The Buzz on Bees Honey bees are work-driven insects on pollinating missions. They are more out and about during the heat of the day, flying from one patch of flowers and ground covers to the next to collect pollen. They tend to sting only when they’re protecting their hives or dogs or cats are aggressively stalking them. However, killer bees can be provoked enough to inflict a swarm attack on dogs and cats. If you can easily see the stinger on the dog or cat, slide the edge of your driver’s license or credit card against the stinger to push it out. Refrain from using tweezers or even your fingernails — you can unintentionally rupture the venom sac. Monitor the pet and if necessary, consult a veterinarian about giving the pet a pet-safe antihistamine to reduce mild swelling www.petsitters.org
It can take hours for an oral overthe-counter medication to effective. However, some pets can have a severe allergic reaction to insect stings. If the pet’s throat swells, cutting off his air supply, and begins breathing rapidly, wheezes, vomits, trembles, displays pale gums or collapses, immediately take him to the veterinarian. He could be going into anaphylactic shock, an emergency in which the blood circulation shuts down. “Be prepared to do CPR if necessary, especially with swelling around the throat that may block breathing,” says Dr. Miller. “And get to the clinic as quickly as possible.” If a bee enters your home, shuttle the pet into a closed room and then try to usher the bee back out a door. Restrict access to popular bee areas: flower beds with pollen-producing plants and yards with clover.
The Word on Wasps Unlike honey bees, wasps, including yellow jackets, paper wasps and hornets, tend to be aggressive attackers who repeatedly sting their targets. Heed the same care advice as given for bees. Wasps tend to make nests in holes in the ground and the eaves, under porches, sheds and even fencing. Regularly inspect these areas for signs of wasp nests, especially during summer. Contact a professional pest control company if you find multiple nests or a large one. For a small nest, don long sleeves and pants, follow the instructions on the pesticide container and spray at night when wasps are less active and more apt to be inside the nest. n
Test Your Knowledge and Earn CEUs! Take the NAPPS Professional Pet Sitter Test to earn renewal CEUS. Answers can be found in this issue. Be sure to email your answers to email@example.com and include the subject line: Summer 18 Issue Quiz. 1. How many states have laws to crackdown on fake service animals? A. 12 B. 18 C. 21 D. 24 2. Who wrote the article on Pages 6 and 7? A. Arden Moore B. Dorinne Whynott C. Jaime Migdal D. Amy Toman 3. What is the big issue of 2018 for Google? A. Website speed B. Website names C. Website images D. Website trademarks 4. Which is not the name of a business created by Jamie Migdal? A. Fetch Find B. Animal Sense C. Canine Link D. Cats R Us 5. What is the topic addressed in this issue’s NAPPS Chat? A. Hiring independent contractors B. Tips for vacation coverage C. Pet first aid certification D. Renewing NAPPS dues Email your answers to Cathe Delaney at firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck! Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2018
NA P P S ME MBE R B EN EFI T S ABOUT YOUR ASSOCIATION
Apply for NAPPS Business of the Year!
Is your business an example of an outstanding pet sitting service that pursues excellence in every area? If so, share your success story with other pet sitters by applying for the NAPPS Business of the Year Award. The Business of the Year Award is presented annually to one NAPPS member who has demonstrated outstanding business practices and vision in maintaining and growing their business. Member businesses who wish to apply will be required to address each of the following areas: • Business Platform/Vision • Response to Obstacles or Challenges • History and Market • Innovation in Product or Services • Management Philosophy • NAPPS Involvement • Community Involvement and Public Recognition • NAPPS Resources The selection committee seeks applicants who demonstrate excellence in each category. The award recipient will receive: • Complimentary participation to the next NAPPS Education & Networking Forum, inclusive of registration, lodging, and transportation • Professionally prepared customized Public Relations Press Release to local media by national office • Your company logo displayed on the NAPPS website for one year • Recognition of your company during the next NAPPS Education & Networking Forum • Recognition of your company in the Professional Pet Sitter Magazine • Indefinite use of the “NAPPS Pet Sitting Business of the Year 2019” logo Your business can be nominated for this award. Encourage your clients to nominate you! Applications must be received at NAPPS Headquarters by September 17, 2018. For complete details and an application, please visit the Member Recognition Section of the NAPPS website. Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2018
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. PR efforts have surpassed many milestones! • NAPPS has a total number of Facebook “likes” of over 5,680. • NAPPS has increased the number of Twitter followers to 6,008 as of June 6, 2018. • 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.
The ASPCA is hoping to spread awareness that cruelty to animals is still a prevalent problem in the U.S. In fact, every 10 seconds an animal is experiencing some form of cruelty. 695 people reached April 6, 2018
We hope today is full of cuddles and hugs! #NationalHugYourDogDay 1, 102 people reached April 10, 2018
Need ideas on how to spoil your fur babies on National Pet Day? Try giving them some extra snuggles or take them to the pet stores for a special surprise. 972 people reached April 11, 2018
It’s #TakeAWalkInTheParkDay! Go grab your pup and head out for a nice long walk to enjoy the outdoors together. 2,234 people reached March 30, 2018
Happy #NationalPetParentDay! Did you know that NAPPS offers a program just for you? 782 people reached April 29, 2019
Do you know what to do in an emergency? #PetFirstAidAwarenessMonth 646 people reached April 3, 2018 www.petsitters.org
Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2018
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NAPPS CHAT SEEKING THE BEST TIPS FOR VACATION COVERAGE ORIGINAL POST: What do you do if you have a vacation planned? What do you do with the regular scheduled clients? I’m currently a sole owner of my business and not sure that I want to hire another person on, as volume doesn’t warrant it yet. If I wanted to take some days off, how would I get it covered? Christopher ___________________________________ RESPONSES: When I was running my business alone, I always gave enough notice to my regular clients so they could make other arrangements or I had someone who I trusted fill in! I didn’t take as much vacations when I ran my business alone, but now that I have employees, it’s much easier to take time off when needed. Hallie, K-9 & Katnip Pet Services LLC ___________________________________ Well, I’m a solo rural sitter. In my area, at present, no one needs things like M-F dog walks or potty breaks, it is all vacation/business trips or trips to the Valley for surgery or some such thing. On the rare occasion I want/need to be gone for a couple days to a couple weeks, first I check with all my active clients to see if they think they will need me during the timeframe I plan to be away, or if they can work their trips around mine. I email my availability dates to all my active clients so they know well ahead of time how to plan their trip dates. In 6 years, there have only been three conflicting date situations. One client I did lose to another sitter. The other two clients, I was able to set up with a sub I enlisted for temporary use (someone I know and trust) — that worked out very well. It’s always a risk we may lose a client to a competitor. If I didn’t have this friend to use once in a while as a sub, I would have to consider: a) never take a vacation, b) have to hire temporary I.C., c) risk losing this client to a competitor and accept that loss if it happens. But first, I would try to get all active clients to position themselves, if possible, to working around my “gone” dates. If you’ve got regulars (like the M-F scenario), that’s going to be much harder. If I had that, I would probably hire a temporary I.C.
Actually, I’ve been the sole owner /operator of my business. I give my clients MONTHS notice in advance when I am going on vacation. I have no coverage. Now I have to hire employees. Ursula, D’tails Pet Service I’ve thought about trying to find another smaller pet sitter in the area who’s also working solo and seeing about using each other as a backup. And not just for vacation, either. We’re in the midst of flu season and if I get sick and I’m laid up in the bed for five days, I’m in trouble. It would be nice to have someone I could rely on in an emergency and I’d gladly return the favor if/when needed. Joey , All Critters Petcare ___________________________________ Another sitter in my area, and I back each other up, as we are solo owners, and do occasionally want to get away. I also have friends and other pet clients who help me out, when I take an infrequent trip. I’m very fortunate that the other sitter in my area that I use as a backup and vice versa both charge similar amounts, and neither one of us has any desire to “steal” each other’s clients! We’re actually good friends and I’ve helped her through a rough period in her life. There are a few other sitters in the area that I don’t know very well or at all and would probably NOT even consider asking them to be a backup for me. I know that one charges extra for everything, which I don’t. Since I rarely travel, I don’t have a problem, but when I do have a special event coming, I do like several other sitters have mentioned in that I let my “regular” travelers know I will be gone, and most are willing to change their dates. The two who are going the same time I am, have made arrangements with good, reliable friends to care for their “babies” during that week I’ll be out of the country, but will continue to use me for future trips. Being a small, rural sitter is much easier (in some ways) than finding a solution in big, more competitive cities. Rusty, Fur Feathers and Fins Pet Care
Christi, Paws ‘n Ponies Pet Sitting Services www.petsitters.org
Hi. I’m a solo pet sitter and have tried in the past to find other solo pet sitters in my area. It may just be my experience, but twice now the other sitter has wanted to discuss what I charge and said they charge more. They ask me to charge the same and then undercut what I charge and “steal” the client. The agreement ahead of time to not take each other’s clients is a MUST and also, I have decided to never discuss my charges with other sitters. I have had clients do this also...hire another sitter when I’m not available (they hired me when they already had a sitter as well), and then tell me the other person charges less than I do. I stuck with my price with them and still get calls! Who knew this was so competitive? Good luck. Jane, Jane’s Dog and Pony Show ___________________________________ We have IC’s working for us on a regular basis and at times, we work with other pet sitting companies, as temp IC’s, when we have an overflow or when they need our help. They and we always sign a non-compete agreement and other forms we feel are necessary. We bill our clients at our rates and then pay the IC at an agreed upon IC rate. When another company needs coverage for their clients, they bill their clients and pay us at the rate we both agreed to. We attempt to meet other sitters whenever possible. When we see them in the field, we introduce ourselves, arrange a coffee clutch meeting with them, etc. We try to meet several times and if it feels right we discuss the benefits of covering for each other and we offer to work back and forth with them. John, A Pet Sitter Plus ___________________________________ I contacted a couple other solo sitters in my area, and we just met and talked, and now we refer to each other if necessary. I absolutely can’t afford to take on an employee - way too expensive. If I’m going to take a vacation, I let my regular clients know way in advance that I’ll be gone at a certain time, and if they still need coverage during that time, one of those other pet sitters covers for me. I know it’s crazy, but I don’t have any kind of non-compete agreements or anything like that. If a client really wants to switch, I figure that’s their right. I’ll get more business somewhere else. n Kristen Tate’s Creek Pet Sitting
Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2018
NAPPS BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Opportunity is NOW! Your association needs your help to identify NAPPS members who move beyond the cutting edge and will lead us into the future. Share your experience, nominate yourself for a Board of Directors position or let us know of that ideal candidate. Why should you consider a Board of Directors position? Quite simply, because you will be rewarded. Directors have the opportunity to learn from members and fellow directors, to build new relationships that will last for years to come, to derive satisfaction from making a contribution, and yes, definitely some benefits for your business. What does the commitment involve? Members of the NAPPS Board of Directors are the stewards of the association and are responsible for reflecting the views and interests of all NAPPS members/owners. In addition the board provides leadership, supports the vision and mission of the association and shares the responsibility to oversee the fiscal health of the association What is the time commitment? Up to two in-person board meetings per year Three telephone conference calls per year, approximately two hours in length Governance Committee participation Newly elected Directors at large shall serve initially for a term of one year and upon recorded affirmative vote by a majority of the Board serve two additional years to be counted as one three year term
Ready to share your experience and expertise? Complete details are available here. Deadline to receive nominations and requested information is Thursday, August 2nd.
Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2018
Welcome Our New Members NAPPS welcomes new members who joined between February 9, 2018 to May 10, 2018. Here they are in alphabetical order by state: Alabama
Sharon Rudolph, Paws and Reflect, Gulf Shores Arkansas Robin Lindsey, The Dog House Pet Sitter, Lakeview
Anna Eaton, Terra Anna Pet Sitting Services, Des Moines
Jack and Kathy Hamlett, 4 Paws Dog Walking and Sitting, Scottsdale Cindy Rettinger, Canines and Colts LLC, Glendale
Brandi Kishner, Brandi Lea Kishner, Chicago Robin DiBuono, Chicago Dog Nanny, Chicago Martha McSims, Martha McSims Pet Sitting, Savoy Alyssa Ojeda, Pawtastic On-the-Go, Park Forest Lina Pakrosnyte, Urban Leash, Inc., Chicago
Kimberly Tank, Apronstrings Pet Sitting, Inc., Pollock Pines Birgit Kalvelage, B’s Pet and House Sitting, San Jose Kimberly Jones, Big Dog Pet Service, Hayward Chad Clattenburg, Chad’s Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Service, San Diego Cindy Price, Critter Sitters, El Cajon Sherry Cote, For the Love of Dogs, Stockton Travis and Marsha Joslin, Happy Little Rascals, Rocklin Ashley Harmon, Home Sweet Home Kritter Sitter, Bakersfield Mindy Harper, Just Bark, Long Beach Dani Agnello, LA Doggers Dog Walking Service, Sherman Oaks Stacey Eckenrod, Life of Purr’C Pet Sitting Services, Placerville Mason Barkhurst, Loving Dog Care, Santa Cruz Cindy Swan, Pawpee Dog Walking Service and More, Long Beach Linda Jones, The Extra Mile, Sebastopol Lisa Goetz, The Vegan Petsitter, San Pedro
Ray (Chip) May, RJM Petsitting, Littleton
Raymond Connors, RTC Pet Sitting Services, Woodbury Adriana Valle, Shoreline Happy Paws, Essex Sandra Larson, Someone to Watch Over Me, Coventry
Susan Hurst, Susan Sits Pets, Wilmington
Maria Estes, All About Cats Pet Sitting, Tallahassee Charlene Murphy, Tampa Christine Dodge, Chris’s Pet Service, Ocoee Julie Gajewski, Fuzzy Friends Pet Care, Brandon Christina Cain, Jet Pet Care LLC, Orlando Ursula Landsman, No Lonely Pets, Pinellas Park Tina Hager, Peace of Mind Pet Care, Pensacola Patricia Griswold, Pi’s Paws, Jacksonville Danielle Slinger, Slinger Pet Care, Palm Beach Gardens Amy Currey, Tails of Air Excursions, Jacksonville
Charity and Jerry Baker, FarmCare, LLC, Covington Virginia Voll, Going To The Dogs, Covington Darla McKay, Paws2Pet Pet Sitting Service, LLC, Villa Rica
Jack Lewis, Pet & Home Pro, Kihei
Carole Boylan, Kindhearted Care, Indianapolis April Tchiguka, Premier Pet Sitting & Photography, LLC, Indianapolis
Christine Rossini-Elliott, Muttz-N-More, LLC, Marriottsville Patti Leedham, Patti’s Pet Sitting Services, Silver Spring, MD Patti Brorsen, Pet Sitting by Pat, Manchester Jeryl Tannen, California
Pamela Withee, Happy Feet Adventures, Scituate Joan Sullivan, Joan of Ark Pet Sitting, Rockland Maria Andrews, Maria’s Menagerie, Quincy Lisa Hart, Upper Cape Pet Sitting, East Falmouth
Christina Reese, Reese House & Pet Sitting, Swanton Charla Blair, Walks & Wags, Belle Center
Annette Wallis, Bella Blue Pet Care, Dallas Jeanette Blanchard, Fleabag’s Pet Sitting, Portland Pamela Williams, Hillsboro
Sarah Moureau, For Paws Philly, Philadelphia Jordan Potts, Iron City Walkies, New Kensington
Gretchen Bell, Funshine Dog Walkers & Sitter, LLC, Mount Pleasant
Annette Rashid, Annette’s Pets, LLC, Royal Oak Nichole Uzelac, Lone Pine Pet Service, LLC, Grand Rapids
Justine Hemmer, A Waggin Good Time!, St. Peters LeAnne Sehnert, Paw Paw’s Pet Services, Dittmer
Amy Rosendahl, Missoula Dog Mom, Missoula New Jersey Alexandra Fredericks, Alex’s Four Seasons Pet Care, Roseland Peter Danyell, FourPaws of South Jersey, LLC, Morrestown Juanita Velazquez, Jay’s Paw Place, Avenel Julie Baumgardner, One Compassionate Concierge, Ocean City Valerie McGraw, Paw Walkers, Deptford Nancy Patterson, Prancing Pets, LLC, Middetown
Gillian Silverstein, Gillian’s Pet Au Pair Service, Santa Fe Kathryn Kohn, Katie and Joe’s Pet Care, Santa Fe Andy Snyder, Sunnyside Pups, Albuquerque
Mallory Gilbraith, Care.com, Batavia Nick Biondo, On & Off The Leash, East Northport
Jean Robbins, Barn & Home Pets Sitting, Fairview Dana Glenn, Gone to the Dogs Pet Sitting Service, Albemarle Melissa Eller, ME Luv Pets, Morrisville
Rebecca Clarke, House N’ Pet Sitting, Rapid City Jessica Milam, Fur Services Fur Pets, Savannah Stan Braley, Happy Tails Pet Services, Tyler Janice Moore, Jan’s Home Pet Care, San Antonio JC Smith, K9 Nannies of San Antonio, San Antonio Katherine Schmidt, Kat’s Community Care, Fort Worth Brianna Pfluger, Keeping Tails Wagging, LLC, San Antonio Shannon Huaracha-Lewis, Shan’s Fur-Ever Pet Sitting, San Antonio Susan Schaefer, Susan’s Paws and Claws Pet Services, LaPorte Sue Valladares, Tiny Paws, Austin
Lewis Horowitz, CB Horowitz Pet Services, Alexandria Barbara Peake, Chantilly Solutions, LLC, Herndon Jennifer Doherty, Puppy Love, Springfield Nicole Powell, Skippy Paws Pet Services, Suffolk Hillary Hutcheon, The Fairfax Kitty Sitter, Fairfax
Kelly Brammer, Kelly’s Creature Comforts, LLC, Buckley Simone Tunc, Lucky Break Dog Walking and Pet Care, Sammamish Michelle Whitmarsh, Michell’s Pet Sitting, Tacoma Linda Elmes, Myriad Petsitting, Renton Ruth MacIntyre, Ruth’s Dog Walking, Woodinville Timothy Shoen, The Pup-House Inn, Sammamish Emily Rosenzweig, Urban Dog Trekker, Seattle Beverly Luther, Valley Tails Pet Sitting, North Bend
Anita Daggett, Bonita Farms Pet Care, Montello Casey Brown, Casey’s Pet Sitting, Birnamwood
PET SUMMER SAFETY GUIDE Beat the heat and keep your pets safe this summer! APPLY SUNSCREEN Although fur helps provide protection, areas around your pet's mouth, ears and belly remain susceptible to sunburn. Use sunscreen made specifically for dogs to give your pooch an extra shield from the harmful rays.
Members can access an interactive version of this infographic and even add his/her own personal contact information. Find this in the Members Only area on our website.
DON’T WALK YOUR PUP DURING PEAK SUN HOURS
Don’t Walk Your Pup During Peak Sun Hours. Avoid walking your dog during the hottest part of the day. If you're unable to walk your dog when it's cooler outside, hire a professional pet sitter.
FIND SHADE When playing outside, make sure there’s plenty of shade for cooling down and always make sure your pet has clean, fresh water.
DODGE HOT ASPHALT Hot concrete and asphalt can burn your pet’s sensitive paw pads. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pet.
KEEP YOUR PET HYDRATED. Always use caution when leaving your dog outside, especially when you're away from home. If your pet is outside, make sure they have access to shade and clean, cool water.
SOME PETS ARE MORE LIKELY TO OVERHEAT Special care and observation should be taken with dogs who are prone to overheating. This includes short-nosed dogs (such as pugs), senior and geriatric pets, as well as pets on medication or those who have specific health conditions such as diabetes and liver or kidney disease.
DON’T LEAVE YOUR PET IN THE CAR
DOG HOUSES AREN’T COOL
NEVER leave your pet alone in a parked car—even if it’s just for a few minutes. Cars can heat up quickly and can cause heatstroke and hyperthermia, which can result in death.
DON’T rely on a dog house to shield your pup from the sun. Make sure dog houses are in the shade and have proper ventilation because a dog house can be just as dangerous as a hot car.
KEEP YOUR YARD PETFRIENDLY
Make sure you use pet safe products in your yard. Azaleas, lilies and certain plant food can be fatal to pets.
PET D PLANT FOO
KEEP GRILLING SUPPLIES OUT OF REACH Dogs love hanging out by the grill and they might mistake something like charcoal briquettes for food and become sick.
BE AWARE OF CAR COOLANT CAR COOLANT
Coolant that leaks from your car or is left out is extremely dangerous for pets. Pets enjoy the smell and may drink the coolant, which can be fatal.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT PET PARENTING OR PROFESSIONAL PET SITTING www.petsitters.org