NAPPS: Professional Pet Sitter Magazine_Summer 2022

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Bracing for a Rush of Clients Plan to Attend the NAPPS 2023 Conference Apply For NAPPS Business of the Year Learn Ways to Be Eco-Friendly with Doggy Poo Beware of Toxic Mushrooms on Dog Walks

Learn to Communicate with

Joan Ranquet

What are the benefits of

JOINING NAPPS? HISTORY AND VISION First professional pet sitting organization in the U.S., founded in 1989 by a group of pet sitters.

Share this with your colleagues.

NON PROFIT Focused on beneeting our members rather than generating revenue and increasing proot. LEADERSHIP Managed by a committed group of elected board members and volunteer committee members. INCLUSIVE We welcome national and international members with varied backgrounds and specialties.

What is included in a NAPPS MEMBERSHIP?

PROFESSIONAL RESOURCES Resource Library including information on

Webinar Library of industry experts

everything from pet care to taking care of your

speaking on trending topics, so you


can maximize your education, on demand.

Continuing Education Courses to satisfy your annual requirement to maintain your NAPPS Certiicate.

Customizable Forms, Templates, and Infographics to assist with daily

Exclusive Partner Discounts & Incentives on

operations and customer

valued perks, such as professional insurance and


screening services.



. Find a Pro Locator to help potential customers nd you quickly. . Cooee Talks provide the chance to chat directly with members and board members, from the comfort of your own home ooce.

. Discounts for NAPPS University . NAPPS Certiication Course - self-paced and on-demand. . Additional Certiication Courses to reassure your clients that you are more than prepared for whatever may come your way.

. Continuing Education Courses to satisfy your annual requirement to maintain your NAPPS Certiication.

INSIDE SUMMER 2022 PROFESSIONAL PET SITTER COVER: Photo courtesy of Joan Ranquet Benefits of NAPPS Membership..............................Inside Front Cover Media Mewsings............................................... 4 President’s Message......................................... 5

INDUSTRY NEWS OF INTEREST Tactics to Stretch Your Company’s Budget........ 6

4 7

TIPS OF THE TRADE Newsletters Can Benefit Your Pet Business....... 7 Bracing for a Rush of Clients............................ 9 BUSINESS Identifying the Right Insurance Coverage........ 11 NAPPS 2023 Conference Details.................... 13 Apply for NAPPS Business of the Year............ 14


M I S S I O N 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 2022. The Professional Pet Sitter is published four times a year in March, June, September and December by NAPPS Headquarters: P.O. Box 362, Huron, OH 44839. 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, P.O. Box 362, Huron, OH 44839. 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: P.O. Box 362, Huron, OH 44839

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT Give Me a “V” for Volunteerism....................... 16


FEATURES Watch Out for Toxic Mushrooms..................... 17 Making Dog Pee and Poo Eco-Friendly........... 18 Learn to Communicate Better with Pets.......... 20 CONNECT WITH NAPPS About Your Association................................... 22 NAPPS Facebook........................................... 23 Member Benefit............................................. 24 NAPPS in the News........................................ 25 New NAPPS Members................................. IBC NAPPS Summer Info Graphic........................ BC

ONLINE ALL THE TIME National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, Inc. P.O. Box 362 Huron, OH 44839 Phone: (856) 439-0324 • Fax: (856) 439-0525 Email: •


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18 @the_napps National Association of Professional Pet Sitters 3

Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2022


By Arden Moore

PROFESSIONAL PET STAFF By SITTER Amy Abern Arden Moore, Executive Editor

Going Global for Pets

Making the Doggone Right Choices


s professional pet sitters, you are often the go-to people ohn made sought a bad by pet decision. parentsThe who 16-year-old are boy treats—and give and receive more love. After 20 seeking bought information some marijuana about the from latest an undercover pet minutes, the groups switch to new handlers and toys,cop. theAs newest a result, trends Johninispet living nutrition at the Illinois dogs. YouththeCenter and buzz on (IYC) theChicago, coolest techy a juvenile pet detention All the participants are anxious to spend facility for the next six months. John is not a gadgets. time with Rou, the pit bull. One boy commented hardened To stay criminal. up-to-date And maybe on pet ifindustry he hadn’t been on how Rou resembled his American Staffordshire caught this early happenings, I encourage in the game, you tohepay might still be on terrier. It was surprising to hear him refer to his the streets, attention to perhaps what happens now stealing each year to buying at larger dog with the official breed title. “That’s because quantities the Global Pet of marijuana—maybe Expo. even cocaine or we’ve seen all these different guys fight and we crack.Every spring, thousands of pet know who the best ones are,” he says. company But teams landingflock in IYC to the is perhaps Global the best thing And this offers the perfect segue to talk thatExpo Pet couldforhave threehappened very busytodays Johntoand the other about dogfighting. “Do you think the dogs like 12-17-year-olds showcase their pet likeproducts him. They’re and receiving the fighting?” asks Triptow. Most of the boys nod. “Do discipline, hope to be training, part of thecounseling, rising waveeducation and programs of popularity they’ll among needpet to lovers. reinventAlso themselves once ...if you don’t like getting they’ve completed attending are leading theirpet stay, influencers via a program called Lifetime that include Bonds. Dana Humphrey, president hurt and the dog doesn’t like of Whitegate CreatedPR by based Best Friends in NewSafe York Humane, City. this program But targets she is best youthknown who have as The been Petinvolved getting hurt, do you really in illegal—activities. Lady® yep, she has Eachregistered week, a group that of dog handlers and trademark andtheir is considered dogs visit atheleading teens. think the into a situation expertThe in pet teams trends. teach the young men the proper way toShe approach attended a dog, the early a fewshows commands and a like fighting where they most chance of GlobaltoPet socialize Expo with withits thehumble dog. By receiving the certainly will get hurt? immediate gratification beginnings in San Diegoofmore a happy than wagging 17 tail, friendly years ago. lick on the hand, or the roll-over request for a belly “Global rub,quickly these youngsters outgrew its begin San Diego to realize— location and moved to Orlando where all the booths fit sometimes inside a building for thethat firstistime 66 football in their fields lives—that long,” she says. you think “Bringthe comfortable dogs like being shoesstroked?” because you All the do kindness miles of walking begets kindness. each day at And thethat show.” sets the stage boys nod. “Do you like the feeling of being hurt for profound To be precise, behavioral the most change. recent show featured 727 when exhibiting someone companies hits you?” andAll 2,695 the boys booths shake and their drew more Best Friends than 5,400 Safeattendees Humane National to this trade Director show. In head. addition, “Dothe youshow thinkincluded dogs like800 thenew feeling product of being Cynthia Bathurst launches, 40-plusbelieves educational Lifetime sessions Bondsand is an an all-newhurt, Global likePet when Expo another app. dog bites them?” Tentative integral Dana component identifiedofthe thehottest program trends in that from it this year’sshakes trade show, all around. which“So marked thinkthe about firstit—if time ityouwas don’t aims to stop in-person after violence being on in its Zoom tracks duebefore to health it has safety issues like surrounding getting hurt COVID-19. and the dog doesn’t like getting a chance “There to grow is a huge further. interest “SafeinHumane” pet supplemental gives products, hurt, doespecially you reallyCBD thinkproducts the dogsaslike wellgoing as into a these young dental pet products men knowledge and definitely and skills keepthey interest can in hydration situation products like fighting for dogswhere and cats,” they most she certainly says. use toHere positive is a sampling advantageoffor products the dogs garnering they andattention willatget thishurt?” year’sDefinite expo that head mayshakes attractallthearound. their friends interest of your or family pet-sitting members clients: encounter in the The teens have only participated in the •streets, Kangaroo especially Dog’sdogs liquid viewed turmeric as ‘fighting touted todogs,’” help canines Lifetime deal Bonds with seasonal programallergies for two months, and much but she says. more. already, changes in thought, attitude and • New dental treats unleashed by Einstein Pets that behavior include edible are evident. bacon-flavored Nikki Robinson, dental Assistant sticks. • Eco-friendlyBeliefs Changing line of pet Is carriers Thefrom First A Pet with Paws Superintendent/Programs company. IYC Chicago, observes • The revolutionary Revol dog crate (now available inthe Step multiple boys not sizes) onlydesigned look forward to betofashionable the sessionsand The young men functional in homes couldbyhardly the Diggs wait for company. the bell because they’re enjoyable, but that they really to ring, signaling it’s time for the Lifetime Bonds “get” why the program is important. program, Keepor,inas mind theythat callpeople it, “Dog-Play spend more Time.”money on pet products than candy, toys and baby items The group breaks combined. According intotofive APPA’s smaller latest groups industry and report, sales How reached Younearly Can$110 Help billion in the pet begins each industry in 2021, session up six by learning percent from how to 2020 approach despite being in aBest pandemic. Friends The Safereport Humane alsorelies pointed on out a friendly that aboutdog. 70 percent One by one, of American the boyshouseholds take turns have some donations type of and pet that in-kind theyservices share their fromlives localwith. holding Global out the Pet backs Expo isofopen theirtohands independent for the dogs retailers, distributors, businesses and mass-market individuals.buyers If you’d andlike other to make to sniff, then qualified professionals gently petting as well theas dogs theon media. the side. It is presented a donation by thetoAmerican the Safe Pet Humane Products Lifetime Association Bonds Then theand (APPA) boys thehold Pet treats Industry in Distributors their hand while Association (PIDA). program, n send a check payable to: Safe Humane asking the dogs to sit and lie down, then give the P.O. Box 7342 Chicago, IL 60680-7342. If you’d Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2022


Cathe Delaney, Managing Editor Please send all letters to the editor: like to learn more about volunteer opportunities Letters should include your name, address, and with Safe Humane, call 312-409-4790. Fore more daytime telephone number. Letters may be edited information on orBest Friends, visit their Web at or for length clarity. Submissions may be site mailed emailednas 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 P.O. Box 362 Huron, OH 44839 Phone: (856) 439-0324 Fax: (856) 439-0525 Email: Cathe Delaney Administrative Director Roger King Social Media Contact Business Insurers of the Carolinas PO Box 2536, Chapel Hill, NC 27515-2536 Phone: (800) 962-4611 ext. 224 For Dishonesty Bond and/or General Liability Insurance The National Group Insurance Exchange 3210 Doolittle Dr., Northbrook, IL 60062 Phone: (800) 955-0418 Fax: (847) 559-9499 Email: Contact: Alan Leafman For Dental and Health Insurance For pet sitting questions contact:


By Jessica Abernathy, President

Heading into Summer with Determination It is hard to believe that 2022 is already half-way over. Summer is here. It is a time for many pet parents to take vacations. And, for many, it is a time to return to work offices now that COVID-19 is finally subsiding. All of them, including our loyal customers and first-time pet parents, need our professional pet sitting services now more than ever. As NAPPS members, we face challenges with plenty of resources and support. In this issue, well-respected industry expert Erin Fenstermaker, of EF Consulting, identifies key economic issues facing us and offers some savvy business advice to help us maintain healthy bottom lines on Page 6. President-elect Amy Sparrow was recently quoted in a New York Times article as a NAPPS spokesperson. On Pages 9 and 10, she also shares some business strategies she uses to help ensure her FurKid Sitting & Services company in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, evolves smartly to meet the needs of her clients. We love having NAPPS garner national attention! Active NAPPS member Amber Van Denzen Suarez graciously pens an article on pages 7 and 8 on the value of company newsletters. She is the owner of Atta Boy! Animal Care, based in Lakeland, Florida. Amber goes into depth on ways to maximize the use of newsletters to keep customers, attract new customers and establish your business as a go-to authority in your areas. We value contributions on topics from all our NAPPS members!

“I encourage all of you to consider applying for the coveted NAPPS Business of the Year honors.” – Jessica Abernathy NAPPS Volunteer and President

We are grateful to David Pearsall, vice president/co-owner of Business Insurers of the Carolinas, for his insurance columns he writes for each issue. This time, he tackles the topic of determining which specific insurance coverage plans meet your specific company’s needs. Check it out on Pages 11 and 12. I encourage all of you to consider applying for the coveted NAPPS Business of the Year honors. Please apply now as the deadline is Sept. 16. Our past winners have included owners of solo practices as well as large pet sitting companies coast to coast. For more details, please see the article on Page 14. I am excited to announce that we have confirmed the date for our next annual conference. It will be March 3-5, 2023 in New Orleans. Please save those dates and plan to participate. More details are on Page 13 of this issue. Our conference concludes on March 5, which is the start of Professional Pet Sitters Week (March 5-11), so the timing is perfect! As your president, I thank and appreciate all of you for continuing to make NAPPS the No. 1 organization for new and veteran professional pet sitters in every state.

Be well and be safe! Jessica Abernathy Dedicated NAPPS Volunteer and President


Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2022


By Arden Moore

Tips to S-t-r-e-t-c-h Your Company’s Budget


rin Fenstermaker makes a living helping pet company owners make a living. She is adept at fielding whatever the economic issues are thrown at her clients, especially those in the professional pet sitting industry. “The world is definitely changing due to the pandemic and there is a change in how people view the world and their jobs,” says Erin, president of EF Consulting based in Dallas, Texas. “I look at the big picture for my clients and purposely look at wages, how to hire and how to retain good people.” Parting advice: Rising inflation, soaring Raise your prices for your pet services and gasoline prices and the everincreasing challenge to find and slowly and carefully raise your staff wages. keep quality staff represent major challenges for pet sitting company owners to make profits and expand says. “Think about incorporating your mile reimbursement plan in your their operations. job ad to make it more attractive to potential hires.” “Every client of mine has raised prices in the past six months and And, don’t overlook that mileage reimbursement is beneficial from every one is still having to turn away clients because they do not have a tax perspective for your business. Keep a log of miles driven by your enough staff to make those pet care visits,” she says. “You need to team members and choose the federal level of 58.5 cents per mile for increase prices and try to improve benefits to attract staff.” maximum tax benefit. She points out that in this pandemic time in which many people Do not go with a flat fee for mileage. retired early or resigned from their jobs, there has been a shift in “If you offer a flat fee and not track the mileage, then it is priorities. considered a wage and is taxed,” Erin points out. “Do not call it a “Historically, pay was a priority, but now, people want more job stipend, either because it is considered a nonaccountable plan and that benefits like time off to be able to have more work-life balance,” she plan does not have tax benefits.” says. “Employees also want to feel valued.” She recommends looking into companies offering mileage software programs, such as Time to Pet because the technology is improving and Reimburse Staff for Work Mileage making it easier to track odometer readings. Her top suggestion: Implement a mileage reimbursement or a Parting advice: Raise your prices for your pet services and slowly milage allowance plan for your staff. and carefully raise your staff wages. “Mileage reimbursement is already mandatory in some states, so I “If you are turning away clients, that tells me you can raise encourage my clients to come on board before being forced into it,” she prices,” she says.” n

MORE ABOUT ERIN Erin Fenstermaker is president of EF Consulting, a Dallasbased company. She specializes in pet industry mergers and acquisitions, business owner exit planning, product and business development, strategic planning and financial oversight. She works with some of the largest pet sitting and dog walking businesses in the country to help them understand financial statements, identify their KPIs (revenue, labor costs/margins and the number of new clients a business must get monthly). She also advises clients on pricing and profit margin issues, converting independent Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2022

contractors to employees and operational issues. She has two bachelor’s degrees ­— in sociology and in Spanish — and a master’s degree in business administration from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. She has been certified as a professional dog trainer since 2008 and earned a Certified Exit Planning Advisor certification from the Exit Planning Institute in 2019. She shares her Dallas home with a senior rescue dog named Snowball and two sweet cats named Finn and Pippi. Learn more at



By Amber Van Denzen Suarez

Newsletters Can Benefit Your Pet Business


hen considering if you want to add a newsletter to your businesses “to-do” lists, you need to think about all the PAW-sitive potentials and then also the not-so-good POO-ticulars before committing. Newsletters drive sales. Most pet sitting and dog walking company interactions with their human clients in person are low. But we still need to hit those five to seven “touches” before these humans will want your services. So, what do we do?


Potential clients who are in what they call the “consideration stage” of a buyer’s journey are putting together options that could be right for them. Your curated newsletter can help guide them to the decision stage and get them to press “CONTACT US” or “SCHEDULE NOW.” Your newsletter can do this by including these tactics: • Add call-to-actions to direct users to your services or content downloads about pet care, such as tips for a new kitten or puppy. • Offer special “first-time client specials” only available in the newsletter. • Give subscribers early access to policy changes, holiday scheduling or new services. • Provide in-depth service descriptions and behind-the-scenes actions (Humans are nosey!) • Highlight positive Google or Facebook reviews and showcase your staff.

Making Canine Connections Let’s face it. The average person gets dozens of emails a day, and not all of them are worth reading. However, those who care about your business and are interested in what you have to offer will take the time to read what you have to say. A newsletter can create a bond between you, your team and your customers. It puts your name front and center in their minds when they consider scheduling pet care services.

So, how do you get them to ACTUALLY open it? Consider these ways: • A Catchy Tagline. Google pet puns. Enough said. • An emoji within the tagline — not too many, not too cheesy — but eye-catching for sure! • A snippet of info from the content — the most eye-catching part without giving anything away. • Frequency. You have to figure out what works best for your audience, but on average a once in a month vibe can be a great guide!

Boost Social Media Following Social media is a MASSIVE part of success in business nowadays. There is no avoiding it. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, the more fans and followers you have, the better you can communicate information about your business, how it will help them, and thus, create growth in your business.


Be sure to pick one to two of the social media options that you know and are most comfortable to start. Most professional newsletters include links to social media profiles and even specific social media


posts, when relevant. This increases the reach of your social media pages, attracting new fans to visit your pages and ensuring existing followers see your important info.

Increase Website Traffic To keep your readers attention, typically newsletters only contain snippets of information to then hook the reader. As such, in order to get access to all information, clients reading should need to click on links to continue reading more info. Some of those links should go to your website and website blog, thus creating traffic to your website. You may say, “ Uh, why does traffic to my website even matter NAPPS?” We will then say: “GOOGLE LOVES WEBSITES WITH HIGH TRAFFIC.” If you want your website to show easier when someone searches for pet sitters in your area, and get more clientele, you want high traffic.


In order to make sure you get the traffic bump you need, make headlines plus snippets creative and intriguing. Give readers a reason to want to follow your links and explore your website beyond the article they came to read. Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2022

T IPS O F T H E T R A D E Create Value to Customers Professional pet sitting on its own is valuable to the client. You exchange time for funds and in return, they get the freedom to do what they need to do in life- work, travel, family events, etc. Add information related to pet care, tips, tricks, and local events that are pet friendly to your newsletter to establish yourself as an authority in your readers’ mind. Examples of content: • Tips for Choosing Products • New Laws • Seasonal Tips • Local Pet-Friendly Businesses When they have questions about products or services in your industry, they will know that you have access to information. You will be well-positioned as a quick, authoritative source of trustworthy information in their minds. The more you are in a client’s mind- the more they are going to book you for your primary services.


This also leads to easier future potentials of expansion into other pet care categories for sales for you if wanted, or needed.

More Tips from Professional Marketers Newsletters are a great way to engage with your audience and to keep them informed about your business on a regular basis, reports Mailjet. Audiences need to get what your newsletter is about as soon as they read the subject line. Once they open it, they also need to understand quickly what they should focus on and which calls to actions to take. Otherwise, you won’t see good open and engagement rates. Here are three reasons people will read your newsletter: 1. It is relevant. It relates directly to the readers’ interests and topics they care about. 2. It is interesting. The newsletter entertains, educates or delights the readers. 3. It is valuable. The newsletter teaches the readers or provides them with something they find useful. Mailjet identifies these seven strategies to produce a successful newsletter: 1. Choose your focus. Know who your readers are so you know who you are writing Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2022

By Amber Van Denzen Suarez

Your newsletter should provide readers with something that they can’t get from your other channels.

for. Conduct a survey to ask your existing subscribers what they would like to see in your newsletters. 2. Keep it simple and keep it catchy. Because your audience will spend less time reading an email than a blog post, they need to understand the point of your newsletter as soon as they open it. Keep the content simple and straightforward. 3. Include third-party content for more engaging newsletters. Your newsletter doesn’t always have to be only about your company. Incorporating content from leaders in your industry is a great way to align your brand with experts. Try including quotes, tweets or links to content from respected experts. 4. Include user-generated content. Switch the focus from your company to your audience. Think about incorporating content from your

community, such as comments or answer questions that are frequently asked on social media. 5. Connect to trending topics or events. Provide your own commentary on popular topics or events in your area. 6. Use social media as a teaser. Social media is an amazingly effective channel to get people excited. Have some big news or exclusive content to share in your upcoming newsletter? Reveal a little snippet on social media to build some buzz around it. 7. Be consistent, but provide something unique. Does your current newsletter just regurgitate everything that your company is doing on your blog, social media or website? Your newsletter should provide readers with something that they can’t get from your other channels. n

MORE ABOUT AMBER Amber Van Denzen Suarez is the founder and owner of Atta Boy! Animal Care, providing professional pet care in the Lakeland, Florida area. She is a certified professional pet sitter, dedicated NAPPS volunteer and a retired veterinary nurse of 13 years. She knows pet first aid and CPR and has completed nine Fetch Find certification courses. She also has a bachelor’s degree in animal sciences. She lives with her two dogs, 15 chickens, three fish aquariums and two hermit crabs with her human family in Lakeland. Atta Boy! Animal Care has been caring for pets in the Lakeland area since 2013. Services include dog walks, pet sitting visits, administering medications to clients’ pets, pet taxi, plant and home care, helping special needs pets and much more. The company is licensed, bonded, insured and certified. The company’s motto is: “Happy Pets, Happy People!” To learn more, please visit:



By Arden Moore

Bracing for the Rush of Clients


APPS Presidentelect Amy Sparrow remembers the more “predictable” days of 2019. Operating FurKid Sitting & Services in Baton Rouge, Louisiana was certainly challenging, but she, like many pet sitting company owners, could identify and overcome hurdles to steadily grow their businesses and bolster their bottom lines. By March 2020, however, COVID-19 emerged, crippling many pet sitting companies as well as other businesses in other fields. Now in 2022, Sparrow and other pet sitters face a new challenge: the still-lingering pandemic is creating a new normal. Words like “pivot” are spoken more in making business decisions on hiring, luring back loyal clients returning to offices and handling the needs of new clients, many whom have adopted dogs and cats for the first time.

NAPPS Cited in The New York Times This situation caught the attention of one of the country’s top daily newspapers: The New York Times that ran a story with the headline: “It’s a Dog’s Life, if You Want It.” Among experts interviewed for this story was Sparrow, representing NAPPS, the nation’s oldest and largest non-profit professional pet sitting organization. An excerpt from the newspaper article reads: The repercussions of the Great Doggy Surge of 2020 are being felt nationally, said Amy Sparrow, president-elect of the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters. “It’s exploded everywhere.” “The New York Times reporter interviewed me for a long time, but I ended up with one line, but that’s okay,” says Amy, who started her pet sitting business in 2014. “I was glad this article gave NAPPS a national spotlight. When you look up pet sitter, NAPPS will come up and that is huge.” Cathe Delaney, NAPPS administrator, added that the newspaper article has generated more media requests to key NAPPS members. During the peak of the pandemic, Amy

“I let my clients know that we take care not only of their pets, but their houses. We find out in the house where the water cut off is and where the circuit breaker is.” felt fortunate. Many of her loyal clients are in the medical and legal fields — doctors and lawyers — who have multiple homes in multiple states. They continued to travel, but needed Amy’s company to care for their pets. “They put money in our accounts during what was a down time for many businesses during COVID, so I felt fortunate,” says Amy. Amy acknowledges that members in NAPPS are diverse in terms of geographic locations, number of clients, hiring independent contractors or opting to have full-time employees. Some are solo-run while others are large. NAPPS members include veterans with 10 or more years in pet sitting as well as newcomers just completing their first years of operation.

Know Your Capabilities and Limitations She shares some of the business strategies she employs: • Be flexible with loyal clients. “Many of my clients I have had since I started my business nearly 10 years ago,” she says. “I have learned to be flexible because I have some clients who are doctors on call. I can’t justify charging them a last-minute fee because they got called in to the hospital.” • Be available. “When I am in my office, I do


my best to answer my phone and not let it go to voice mail,” she says. “Some people are impatient. If you do not answer the phone, they will just go down the list of pet sitters until someone answers their call.” Hone relationships with quality clients. “I work in building trust with my clients and that results in them referring their friends to me,” says Amy. “I am selective about handing out my business cards. I don’t leave my business cards at veterinary clinics because I’ve discovered that some working the front lobby think they are sitters and think I’m competition. I always find out from new clients who referred me to them.” Be thorough in your meet-and-greet visits with new clients. “In Louisiana, we have gone through floods and hurricanes and other natural disasters,” she says. “I let my clients know that we take care not only of their pets, but their houses. We find out in the house where the water cut off is and where the circuit breaker is.” Make that extra step in providing professional service. “We ask if the client is returning by driving or flying so we can prepare for any type of weather or traffic delays, she says. “And if the pet is on insulin, we ask when was the last time it was Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2022


given to the pet. Staying in touch is key.” Build connections with businesses in your community. “There is a small mom and pop neighborhood pet supply store in our area called Neighborhood Pet Market,” she says. “They refer clients to me and I refer clients to them. It’s a great example of local businesses supporting each other.” Be willing to turn down demanding clients. “The other day, I refused to take someone as a client because she was balking about how much my fees are,” says Amy. “Another called and wanted to have me share duties caring for her dog. I’m not going to do that. It is too much of a liability, a red flag that I avoided.” Pay attention to pet chatter in your community. “Next Door in my area works for me,” she says. “I get two free business postings a month. I pay attention to which neighborhoods I post and I avoid areas where pet parents are balking about prices for pet care. A new client from California wanted us to come every other day to her home to care for her cats. I was able to show her the importance of making seeing her cats every day for their health and safety. Plus, she has

By Arden Moore

the reassurance that we would be coming to her house every day.” Make creating a business plan every year as a top priority. “I do a business plan every year as well as 5-year and 10year plans,” says Amy. “No one could have predicted the impact COVID would have on our businesses. I definitely encourage all NAPPS members to create detailed businsess plans to help deal with unexpected challenges.” n

In 2014, Amy Sparrow left the medical, legal and insurance fields to become the owner of FurKid Sitting and Services based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She is also presidentelect of NAPPS. Learn more by visiting www.

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 and include the subject line: Summer 2022 Issue Quiz. 1. Where is the Global Pet Expo held every spring? A. Boston B. Chicago C. New York D. Orlando 2. What is the name of the active NAPPS member who wrote an article in this issue about the benefits of adding a newsletter to your business marketing plan? A. Erin Fenstermaker B. Amber Van Denzen Suarez C. Jessica Bartlett D. Heather Branch

Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2022

3. In David Pearsall’s column, what was the amount of the claim paid to treat a client’s dog who had eaten half of his leash during a pet sitting visit? A. $488 B. $588 C. $688 D. $788

5. In the article about the environmental impact of dog poop and pee, it is estimated that the average dog produces how many pounds of poop each year? A. 224 B. 274 C. 304 D. 334

4. In the article on volunteerism, which NAPPS member was quoted as saying, “I became a volunteer because I wanted to be able to give back to NAPPS”? A. Casey Brown B. Lucy Cryan C. Joni Sullivan D. Mary Vallavanti 10


By David Pearsall, CIC, CWCA

Ask Yourself: What Insurance Coverage Does Your Company Need?


he NAPPS Liability policy was created back in the early nineties to cover professional pet sitters against bodily injury and property damage claims, as well as provide care, custody or control coverage for the client’s pets in your care. Over the years, as pet care has evolved, other services/coverage options have been added to the NAPPS liability policy, to cover similar pet care services and insurance coverage needs. As most members are aware, we are required by our insurance company to submit renewal applications every year, and have you sign off as to whether or not you desire coverage for any of the optional coverage/services your business may provide. Therefore, to give all members a better understanding of the various coverage options now offered under the NAPPS Liability policy, as well as the many services that are excluded under the policy, I would like to take this opportunity to go through each coverage option. I will also talk about whether you may need another policy if offering other types of services in your business. Before we get into the various options, we do cover under the NAPPS Liability policy, it is important to point out that the policy does not cover all services. We often receive calls or emails inquiring about a variety of services a business is looking to cover via a pet sitting policy.

Know What the Liability Policy Does Not Cover Unfortunately, the NAPPS Liability policy was never meant to cover services outside of the pet care industry. Key examples are concierge services or providing personal services to clients, such as delivering groceries or medications. Other services outside the liability policy include janitorial or cleaning services, swimming pool cleaning, landscape/gardening, minor home repairs, and taxi services for people (not pets). Please be aware that all of these types of services fall outside the realm of pet care, and for that reason are specifically excluded under the NAPPS Liability policy. If you offer any of the above the services, or any other services that don’t involve pets/pet care, please be aware you will likely need another policy to properly cover your business.

Coverage for Bonding Is Explained Bonding coverage is now offered under the NAPPS Liability policy. In the past, this was offered separately via Travelers Insurance company. But in 2020, Travelers was looking to increase the cost of their bonds and require individual policies in some states, which would have cost members quite a bit more for the coverage. Therefore, we now offer bonding as a coverage option under the NAPPS Liability policy at same cost/coverage Travelers offered before. The NAPPS Bond covers all owners, as well as all employees and independent contractors who work for you. Unlike most bonds, it does not require a conviction clause, but rather a burden of proof (such as being caught stealing on a nanny cam or the employee or IC confesses to the theft). Please also be aware that a bond is not insurance, but rather a coverage option that provides peace of mind to your clients that their contents will not be stolen when you or your team member comes into their homes. If someone is caught on a nanny cam or confesses or is proven guilty, the bond company will reimburse your client for their loss, and then go after the guilty person to recoup their loss. If you are just starting out or trying to market your business, it is a good idea to take this coverage option, as it shows the general public


that they can feel secure about allowing you or your team into their home. And the more ICs and clients you have, the more you need this coverage.

What About Coverage for Pet Grooming? Is it pet sitting or is it pet grooming? This is a question we hear from many of our insureds. Under the NAPPS Liability policy, the Pet Grooming optional endorsement should be strongly considered if you are cutting or styling hair and/or clipping nails. When this coverage is elected, the Pet Groomers Professional Liability form is attached, which provides coverage for wrongful acts/errors or omissions caused by the rendering or failure to render pet grooming professional services. You do not need to add Pet Grooming coverage if you are simply brushing or bathing the pets in your care, as this is considered routine and contemplated under pet sitting.

Coverage for Client Pets in Your Home If you, your employees, volunteers or independent contractors are caring for client’s pets in your personal residences for any reason, then you will need the In Your Home Pet Care optional endorsement. If purchased, this endorsement extends your care, custody Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2022


or control coverage to cover all personal residences, including your home, and the homes of your employees, independent contractors, and volunteers. This optional endorsement provides coverage for taking care of up to five pets at a time, during the day/daycare or boarding overnight. Please note this endorsement covers clients’ pets only. It does not cover your personal pets. You will need pet health insurance to cover your personal pets or your personal property (contents of your home) if damaged by clients’ pets at your home.

Coverage for Housesitting Do you take care of client’s homes when there are no pets in the household? Do you pick up mail, water plants, turn on and off lights/ alarms or other housesitting services when no pets are in the home? If so, you need the Housesitting endorsement. This coverage option was created after our insurance carrier denied a number of claims where damage occurred at the client’s home, but the client did not have any pets in the home. The NAPPS Liability policy is designed for pet sitters, not house sitters, so we limit the amount of housesitting to no more than 45 percent of your annual receipts.

Coverage for Pet Training Do you offer pet obedience training as an optional service in your pet sitting business? This coverage option is designed to cover your liability arising out of dog training. It covers bodily injury/ property damage up to $1 million limit. It covers the pets in your training classes up to your care, custody or control limit, whether teaching one

Recent Workers Compensation Claims Here are recent examples that represent various workers compensation scenarios: 1. When attempting to place a leash on a client’s dog, an employee was bitten on the elbow by that dog. Total paid: $260. 2. A client’s dog bit an employee on the hand when the person was attempting to place the dog in a crate. Total paid: $626. 3. While playing with a client’s dog, an employee got bit on the right ear by the dog. Total paid: $102. Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2022

on one, or group classes. It does not cover any training for protection, fighting or law enforcement work.

Coverage for Pet Taxi and NonOwned Auto Please note that pets are already covered under your care, custody or control coverage, where ever you go with them. If they are injured while on a drive to a veterinary clinic or a park or elsewhere (pet taxi service), you are covered for those injuries. However, you will need to maintain a personal auto policy or commercial auto policy (if your vehicle is titled in a business name) to make certain your vehicle is covered. The Non-Owned Auto coverage option covers your business for claims arising out of vehicles (not owned by you) driven on behalf of your business. For example, this option would apply if your employee or IC is driving their personal auto on behalf of your business and they are in an at-fault accident while working for your business. Examples include running into a client’s home or into another vehicle or pedestrian while in route to your client’s home(s). Please note that your employees/IC’s personal insurance will always be primary and pay first until their limit of insurance is exhausted. However, your business can also be brought into a suit, and this coverage form will defend your business and pay in excess of your employees/IC’s personal auto insurance. The limit of liability for this coverage is $100,000. Please also be aware that this does not cover physical damage to your employee of IC’s vehicle, so they will want to make sure they carry physical damage coverage if they want their vehicle repaired if involved in an atfault accident. 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@


Recent Liability Claims Here are recent examples that represent general liability scenarios: 1. Two dogs in the care of a pet sitter got into a scuffle and one dog was injured. Total paid: $420. 2. A pet sitter placed a cleaner on top of a client’s dresser. The cleaner leaked out, causing damage to the top of the dresser. Total paid: $580. 3. During a pet sitting visit, a client’s dog was playing and wrestling around with other dogs when the dog landed on a board with nails and suffered puncture wounds. Total paid: $1,027. 4. A tip of the tail of a client’s dog got stuck in a door and resulted in injuries to the tail. Total paid: $165. 5. While staying at a pet sitter’s home, an older dog attacked and injured a younger dog. Total paid: $942. 6. A client’s pet escaped from a dog walker and was on the loose for approximately 11 days. When found, the dog was skinny and suffered damage to his paws. Total paid: $339. 7. A client’s dog was running with a pet sitter and suffered an injury to his knee. Total paid: $5,000. 8. An employee noticed that a client’s dog had eaten half of the leash. The dog was taken to the veterinary clinic for treatment. Total paid: $688. 9. While on a walk with a client’s dog, a pet sitter lost the dog’s e-collar. Total paid: $291. 10. A client’s dog suffered a cut on the paw when attempting to exit a pet sitter’s vehicle. Total paid: $1,327.

Let’s Meet in New Orleans for the 2023 Conference! Mark your calendars. The NAPPS 2023 conference will be March 3-5 in New Orleans. The theme for this in-person gathering is on-target:

The Conference Centre on 11 in New Orleans, Louisiana

Refresh. Rethink. Revive.

March 3-5, 2023

The NAPPS Conference Committee members are in the process of drafting relevant topics as well as identifying respected experts on these topics who are also engaging speakers. “Members, if you have ideas on topics and on dynamic speakers, please share them with NAPPS,” adds Cathe. “The fact that we are meeting in person finally is a big deal.” The conference ends on March 5, 2023, which is the start of the annual Professional Pet Sitters Week. It will be March 5-11, 2023. More details about the conference are to come, including registration links, later this summer. Look for updates on the NAPPS website.

Conference registration fee options: • Early bird registration is between July 18 and September 18, 2022. It is available to NAPPS members only. The early bird fee is $195 for NAPPS members and a discounted rate of $175 for NAPPS Certified members. • General registration is between Sept. 19, 2022 and Jan. 15, 2023. Cost is $225 to NAPPS members and a discounted rate of $202.50 for NAPPS Certified members. • Please note that after Jan. 15, 2023, a late registration additional fee of $50 will be added to all pricing.


Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2022


By Arden Moore

The NAPPS 2023 Business of the Year award is presented to a member who has demonstrated outstanding business practices and vision in maintaining and growing his/her business.



Your association recognizes members for their outstanding service to fellow members, the association and the pet sitting community.


Apply Now for the NAPPS 2023 Business of the Year Award!

Award winners receive: • Complimentary attendance at the next NAPPS Conference • Professionally prepared customized Public Relations Press Release to local media by the national office • Your company logo displayed on the NAPPS website for one year • Recognition of your company during the next NAPPS Conference • Recognition of your company in the Professional Pet Sitter Magazine • Indefinite use of the “NAPPS Pet Sitting Business of the Year 2023” logo Don’t delay! You must complete and submit your 2023 Business of the Year application by Sept. 16, 2022. Your business can be nominated for this award. The nomination form and the business of the year application form can be found on the Member Recognition area of the NAPPS website. And, encourage your clients to nominate your business! The Member Recognition area also includes a flyer you can download the distribute to your loyal clients to nominate your business.

Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2022


Give me a “V” for Volunteerism! By Arden Moore


he continued success of NAPPS is fueled by the continual dedication of members who volunteer to serve on committees, to mentor colleagues and much more. As you know, NAPPS is the only national, non-profit professional pet sitting association created to provide education, certification and resources to its more than 1,500 members. NAPPS committees cover a wide range, from governance and bylaws to marketing, conference, NAPPS university, pet parent, membership and member benefits, just to list a few. What all these committees share in common is the open invitation for you to volunteer your talents. To help motivate you, here are a handful of NAPPS members sharing why they are active NAPPS volunteers:

Casey Brown of Casey’s Pet Sitting in Birnamwood, Wisconsin: “Volunteering with NAPPS is one of the best ways to connect deeper with NAPPS as an organization and with your peers. I chose to volunteer with the Pet Parent Committee because it was something I was interested in and I wanted to connect more with the organization and make some new friends in the industry. It has been a great experience which has given me and my business a big boost. It is also a fun way to earn CEUs for your recertification.” Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2022

Lucy Cryan of Cryan Enterprises in Westerville, Ohio:

Mary Vallavanti of At Your Door Pet Sitter in Fairhope, Alabama:

“Being a volunteer committee member for NAPPS has given me the opportunity to learn so much more about the organization than I would have by just being a member. It has given me a voice to help guide the organization in a positive direction. I have always felt that being engaged is a win-win or all of us.”

“I joined NAPPS so that I would be well informed of the latest trends and procedures in the industry. When an opening came up on the pet parent committee, I knew that is where I could help by getting the word out on specific topics that relate to pet parents. Every NAPPS member should consider joining a committee. The knowledge you will gain and the committee members you will meet will benefit you and your own business, which you then can take to your clients.”

Heather Branch of Best Friends Forever Pet Service, LLC in the San Fernando Valley, California: “I volunteer for NAPPS as much as I can. I’ve always gone to the NAPPS conferences and even won the esteemed NAPPS Business of the Year award in 2014. I’ve helped out on the membership committee and the university committee and currently serve on the Board of Directors. The association is a collective “we.” There is no “they” in a non-profit association. Every member has a gift they can bring to the association — whether it be proofreading, event planning or being social and calling other members from time to time to check in or helping to keep the certification courses current.”


Joni Sullivan of Joan of Ark Pet Sitting in Rockland, Massachusetts: “I became a volunteer because I wanted to be able to give back to NAPPS. It’s hard to run a business plus volunteer, but I know that if we each did a little, it would help. My volunteer experience has been great. I have met some wonderful people. During COVID, volunteers were asked to call every member of NAPPS to see how they were doing. It was a privilege to be able to listen and to give some support. Members should consider volunteering because we need you. This is our NAPPS. Together, we can help make it the best it can be.” n

Watch Out for Toxic Mushrooms on Your Dog Walks By Arden Moore


ogs delight in dropping their heads on leashed walks to better sniff out smells and maybe on the ground that they can eat. Whether you are taking clients’ dogs for neighborhood walks, hikes in nearby parks or even simply spending time with them in fenced-in backyards during visits, be aware of an unexpected toxic threat: poisonous mushrooms. Yes, many types of mushrooms are safe and edible. But some are downright deadly if eaten by a dog. Back in 2015, megastar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson tragically had to deal with the death of Brutus, his beloved French bulldog who ate a toxic mushroom growing in his backyard. “I encourage all of you out there to be mindful of mushrooms in your yards, parks or anywhere outside where your dogs play,” Johnson told the Los Angeles Times. “What looks innocent can be deadly to your lil’ family members.”

Which mushrooms are safe? First, the good news. Most varieties of mushrooms are not toxic. Mushrooms found in cans and glass jars at grocery stores are safe to give to dogs if you serve them plain without any garlic or onions. These safe types include portabella, shiitake and cremini. Now comes the reality check. But some wild varieties of this fungi are very, very toxic. Here is a rundown of other dangerous wild mushrooms: • Galerina marginata • Gyromitra spp. • Inocybe spp.

taking the dog to a nearby clinic. Response time is critical because you want to minimize the absorption of the toxin in the dog.

Reduce Your Dog’s Risk Level Definitely, be in preventive and protection mode for your personal dogs and your clients’ dogs. On walks and hikes, keep a dog on a 6-foot leash or less so that you can rein him in before he can drop his head and attempt to eat something on the route. Bring a bag of his favorite treats and reinforce key training cues, including “leave it” and “drop it.” On long ventures far from your home and veterinary clinics, bring a pet first aid kit than includes hydrogen peroxide. If a dog does eat a toxic mushroom, call a veterinarian immediately who is likely to guide you on how to give the hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting in that dog before transporting him to the veterinary clinic for medical care. Finally, safety begins at home. Patrol your yard often to spot any mushrooms popping up. Keep your lawn, bushes and trees trimmed. Rake up grass clippings that can spur on mushroom growth. Avoid overwatering your lawn because mushrooms grow quickly in damp conditions. To learn more about poisonous mushrooms and other poisons to pets, please visit the ASPCA Animal Poison Control ( or call 888-426-4435. The center is staffed 24-7 by veterinary toxicologists. n

There are many types of mushrooms that can cause stomach upset in dogs. Symptoms can surface quickly – within 15 minutes of nibbling on these mushrooms – or delayed up to six hours, according to experts at VCA Animal Hospitals. Among the worst toxic types of mushrooms belong to the Amanita family that sport the nickname of “death cap” mushrooms. These mushrooms give off a fishy odor and taste that can be hard to resist by dogs. These mushrooms attack a dog’s liver and can be deadly. Dogs who eat toxic mushrooms can experience mild to severe symptoms, such as: • • • • •

Diarrhea Drooling Dehydration Vomiting Muscle weakness

• •

Severe abdominal pain Staggering gait Jaundice

• • • • •

Liver failure Slowed heart rate Seizures Coma Death

If you suspect your dog ­— or a dog under your care — has eaten a wild mushroom, please seek immediate veterinary care by


Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2022

Making Dog Pee and Poop Eco-Friendly Change your pottypickup-up habits to help the planet. By Arden Moore


’m betting that many you don’t spend a lot of time analyzing the environmental impact of your dog’s poop deposits during a walk. You pull out a plastic bag, scoop up the stinky deposit and plop it in the nearest trash can. You feel good that you didn’t leave your dog’s doo-doo on a neighbor’s yard or on the edge of a hiking trail. But did you know that dog poop and pee are causing major threats to our eco-system? Fortunately, there is a growing movement aimed at changing how we dispose of these canine bodily functions in kinder-to-the-planet ways. And you can play a small but vital part. Just ask Ryan Torres, vice president of parks operations at Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) in New York City. Fittingly, on Earth Day 2019, BPCA launched its Zero Waste Initiative and more specifically, the Dog Waste Compost Pilot program. Since then, her agency has collected more than 3,200 pounds of dog poop from special bins located along three dog runs at Battery Park. The goal is to compost dog waste to remove all pathogens and then use it safely on its gardens and open spaces. That’s the goal set for 2022. The agency has replaced conventional plastic dog bag containers with stations featuring cut newspaper sheets for people to use to grab their dogs’ poop and then put it inside specially-marked bins. “Newspaper sheets are a happy balance between not having to touch the poop with your hands and not overloading our carbon source by using plastic doggy bags,” explains Torres. In Colorado, Rose Seeman shares a similar quest. She is the owner of EnviroWagg, a company dedicated to collecting and composting dog waste into healthy, safe, nutrient-rich garden soil. She is also the author of The Pet Poo Pocket Guide that offers details reasons and ways to safely compost and recycle pet waste. “Far too long, pet people have worried and focused on what goes in one end (food), but not paying attention to what comes out of the other end (poop and pee),” says Seeman. “Dog poop can be composted and not taken to landfills in plastic bags where it produces methane.”

are so feces focused. Well, for starters, we need to zoom in on the three S’s: stinky statistics, sound science and suggested solutions. • The average dog produces about three-quarters of a pound of poop a day, or about 274 pounds of poop each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Now, factor in that there are more than 89 million dogs in American households pooping every single day. That brings the yearly total to more than 24.5 billion pounds of dog poop going into the environment, landfills or incinerators. • Bagged dog poop takes up about four times more space in landfills than discarded clothing and textiles. In fact, dog poop alone accounts for about 4 percent of everything in landfills, reports the EPA. • Dog poop is nasty. It contains bacteria and other foul parasites that can cause illness to people and contaminate waterways. • Dogs leave big carbon pawprints — about two times more damaging to planet Earth than gas-guzzling vehicles, according to Darcy Matheson, author of Greening Your Pet Care.

Dog Poop Meets Science When dog poop breaks down, it produces methane gas and other toxic fumes. That is far more potent than carbon dioxide at trapping heat and contributing to global warming. The type of bag you use to pick up your dog’s doo-doo does matter to Planet Earth. Here are some tips to help you select smartly: • Nix using grocery plastic bags. Yes, they are free, but our environment pays a price. These bags are typically made out of ethylene, a material that does not degrade naturally. • Read the bag label carefully. Not all biodegradable dog poop bags are truly eco-friendly. According to the Federal

The Stinky Facts Let’s back up a bit and look at why Ryan, Rose and others Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2022


Trade Commission, some of these bags take a few months to degrade. Others do not break down at all. Tons of dog poop inside these bags cannot break down properly and end up producing methane gas in landfills. Solution: shop for biodegradable bags sporting an ASTM D6400 certification. This verifies these bags are made out of cornstarch and other eco-friendly ingredients and will break down within 90 days or less.

Searching for Green-Friendly Solutions Dog poop isn’t going away. In fact, it is on the rise as more and more people adopt puppies and dogs. Here are some ways — big and small — to make dog poop more eco-friendly: • Flush it down by popping it down your toilet and toss away the emptied pick-up bag. But, if you have cats, do not attempt to flush your cat’s littercovered poop down the toilet as you may need to pay for costly plumber repairs.

• •

Diluting the Damage of Dog Urine on Your Lawn Blame canine chemistry for those brown, dead spots in your lawn. Dog urine contains a four-fold nasty threat to green turf known as the nitrogen cycle. Urea nitrogen, ammonium nitrogen, nitrite nitrogen and nitrate nitrogen team up to keep cells in grass blades from properly absorbing moisture needed to sport a lush, healthy green hue. Heed the key word: nitrogen. So, don’t compound the problem by adding fertilizers that contain nitrogen. Be sure to let your local garden store know you have dogs and need guidance on picking out the right grass-growing fertilizers. Factor in H20. How much water your dog drinks can also impact how benign or damaging his urine can be on your lawn. Urine is more diluted in dogs who drink a lot and thus, causes less damage to your turf. Bring out the garden hose and spray your dog’s fresh urine spots to dilute nitrogen damage whenever possible. Finally, try to train your dog to head for a spot in the back or perimeters of your backyard to piddle. Or, treat him to a patch of artificial grass that you can easily keep clean and odor free.

Shop for dog bags made out of water-soluble polyvinyl alcohol (PVA). That ensures that the bags will dissolve in mere minutes once in contact with water and are safe to flush down your toilet. But first make sure your municipal’s wastewater treatment plants — and your toilets — can handle this doo-doo dump. Ask your city’s officials to stock public dog poop stations with biodegradable bags. If you have the yard space, learn how to compost your dog’s poop. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, canine compost can be used safely on your flower garden and potted plants as well as mulch material and as a soil additive booster. Done right, you can do your part to help remove doggy doo from polluting waterways and groundwater.

For a step-by-step guide to composting dog waste at home, here is helpful USDA document: https://www.nrcs.usda. gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/nrcs142p2_035763.pdf “There are so many reasons to compost dog poop,” says Torres. “You would be reducing dog waste from being sent to the landfill. Dog poop releases gases that negatively impact the ozone level, especially when ‘cooking’ in plastic bags.” Battery Park City Authority’s efforts are featured in a 10-minute video called “One Small Step” produced by Lucy Biggers of NowThisEarth: Here is the link to view: She hopes that the Battery Park’s Zero Waste Management movement takes hold in dog-loving communities all over the globe. “Ten years from now, I hope we are talking about dog poop in a positive way that is positive for the environment,” says Torres. n Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the April/May 2022 issue of Dogster Magazine.


Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2022


oan Ranquet doesn’t just talk to animals. She engages in two-way communication with cats, dogs, horses and yes, even orangutans, leopards and lions. And, she is on a global mission to help pet professionals, wildlife experts and pet parents hone their animal communication skills. Ranquet, based in Santa Clarita, California, is the founder of Communication with All Life University (CWALU), which offers certification programs for animal communication and energy healing. She conducts webinars, TEDX talks, workshops, private sessions and even virtual weekend retreats for people all over the world. A best-selling author, she is known as the “Celebrity Animal Communicator” and she has a special affinity for professional pet sitters. One of her most popular TEDx talk, entitled, “The Rainbow Bridge: Animals in Transition” has garnered more than 305,000 views.

Joan Supports Pet Sitters She has been a popular expert giving presentations in recent NAPPS Member Webinars. Her recent topics have focused on how animal communication can help alleviate separation anxiety experienced by pets and their pet sitters. “As a pet sitter, you are the touch point for many companion animals as people go back to work,” she says. “As people are leaving the home for longer periods, relationships with their pets will be put to the test. That’s where animal communication comes in handy.” She continues, “Being able to recognize the emotional states in companion animals can make you even better pet sitters. What are the signs as to why this dog is acting differently? Is it physical? Is the dog depressed or anxious? It is Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2022


important to take in a breath, look around and be better tuned into nature. I love that NAPPS feels this is important. I look to work with groups who take animal communication seriously.” Joan incorporates hands-on animal communication, communion, energy healing and more in her courses. She has worked with hundreds of thousands of animal guardians, animal trainers, barn managers, veterinarians, animal sanctuary staff, wildlife and animal rehab centers to teach animal communication. “Being able to learn animal communication and maybe even energy healing makes you better connect with animals, including those under your care as a pet sitter,” she says. “Think about it. All of us are sending and receiving information at all times. But companion animals are experts at being in the present. They don’t lament. They are in the here and now.” Recently, she was spotlighted on a local television news story for using her animal communication skills to find a lost horse wandering in Redmond, California. The 800-pound mare named Gemma somehow wandered off a ranch, sparking a massive search for her. Joan tuned into Gemma and got an image and sound of rushing waters. She helped the search team find Gemma, who was trapped on a ledge in a ravine by river. She believes that the ability to genuinely “talk” with animals can be developed in people. “The capacity to attune to animals and work with them energetically is not a gift for the select few, but an innate ability we can all access with guidance,” she says. “Animal communication, very simply put, is telepathy – the transference of pictures, words and feelings. Animals’ survival in the wild is dependent on their ability to track or pick up on the pictures, words and feelings of the pack, pride, herd or flock.”

She firmly believes that pet sitters can make positive impacts on clients’ pets who are struggling with separation anxiety or other issues. “Understand that the pets are focused on you as the leader/ provider the minute you step into the (client’s) door,” she says.

Tips to Help Pets With Separation Anxiety Joan shares these steps designed to ease anxiety in pets through animal communication: • Acknowledge that we are all animal communicators. Always be aware of how much pets are picking up on what we are thinking, seeing and/or feeling. Whether you speak out loud or connect silently, always have an even voice and a positive view of what they will do. • When we think things like, ‘Oh, but when I leave, they are going to trash the curtains,’ guess what? We just gave them permission to trash the curtains. Expect them to take a nap on the couch or in their crate after you leave. Set up for them some calming activity in your mind,” says Joan. • Stay neutral. While you may be empathic by nature, don’t let your feelings of anxiety from this pandemic spill over into the emotional state of a pet you are caring for. “While it may

More About Joan Ranquet •

In conclusion, Joan believes that we all can learn to engage in two-way communication with animals. “I start every class by having students take the moment to breathe into the bottom of their feet and really letting go of their day,” she says. “Get into that state you are letting go of everything, connecting with the Earth. You will amaze by how animals will respond to your sudden quietness.” n

Growing up in Seattle, Washington in a pet-loving family, Joan remembers being able to communicate with her horse and even household plants in her bedroom that thrived when she talked to them. She aspired to be a writer or an actress, but realized in the late 1980s that “the universe sent me a different plan.” Now, her school has trained thousands to be come animal communicators or to hone their animal communication skills with personal pets. “I enjoy watching my graduates get out there and become successful,” she says. She shares her home and ranch with three dogs, four cats and three horses. “Everyone in my household is at the very least a soul mate, a familiar energy that belongs with me,” she says. She was invited by MSNBC in the late 1990s to talk with horses at the Kentucky Derby. She says now, “I don’t love the horse racing industry, but thoroughbreds love to run and are competitive with each other in a playful way.” She has spearheaded trips to swim with wild dolphins as well as wildlife excursions to South Africa and was invited to teach animal communication in Beijing, China. She is an author of two popular books: “Energy Healing for Animals: A Hands-On Guide for Enhancing the Health, Longevity and Happiness of Your Pets” and “Communication with All Life: Revelations of an Animal Communicator.”

Jane Ranquet Hits the Airways Hear Joan share more insights about her life as well as animal communication and energy healing in this special episode of the Oh Behave Show on Pet Life Radio hosted by Arden Moore: https://www.petliferadio. com/behave_player450.html

Learn more about upcoming events and classes and Joan by visiting

seem a little cold and counter intuitive, having detached compassion is the kindest thing you can do,” she adds. Be the emotional leader. During the heart of COVID, dogs, cats and other companion animals had 24-hour companionship with their people. “These animals now being left alone could feel like the biggest danger of all. Coming in being calm, cool and collected will set the tone for the animal to chill with you,” she advises. Don’t be stuck in a routine. Joan suggests, “Sometimes creating a little fun, a celebration, a toy parade, whatever creative activity you can do will help to distract them to calm. Bringing a sense of fun and games is what animals crave and thrive with.” Create mini-rituals with your clients’ pets. “Creating a little ritual between you and the pets will help them to feel special and attracted to your energy as a place of refuge,” she says. “This will help them to relax. It also helps the animal to create a little intimacy with you. It is helpful to create a ritual for how you leave as well.” Pet with a purpose. For many animals, petting or stroking is calming. Adds Joan, “The one thing that all energy modalities have in common is: Intention. Having an intention to ground and calm the animal with each touch will go a long way.”


Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2022


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.

All nominees should answer the following questions: 1. Provide biographical background information, including an overview of your pet sitting business. 2. List relevant accomplishments or services. 3. Tell us what contributions you feel you could make. 4. Tell us why you wish to serve. 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.

Deadline to receive nominations and requested information is Monday, Aug. 1. Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2022



Got an issue? Looking for answers to a situation? Turn to the private NAPPS Facebook page. This issue’s topic centers on how to best accept payments from clients. SEEKING STRATEGIES TO HIRE RELIABLE PEOPLE Is anyone having trouble hiring new and reliable people “post-COVID”? Why doesn’t anyone want to work anymore?? How are people surviving and paying their bills these days? I feel like there are so many people out there who want to make $50k a year with little to no qualifications and then also want everything handed to them upfront (like benefits). I recently started using ADP for payroll. They give access to ZipRecruiter for free, which I am finding is terrible. I don’t know if anyone else feels the same way. I decided to just go ahead and post on Indeed again and pay for it, because I at least get some people applying and feel like I have better candidates to access for sending invites to apply. I’m offering sign-on bonuses after 90 days, 3x yearly performance-based bonuses, a small gas benefit, accrued PTO (to be used after 90 days, and with the ability to roll over up to 8 hours each year), the opportunity to accrue unpaid sick leave that is actually paid back at a percentage for those who don’t use it or

The NAPPS private Facebook group is another way to connect with our members. Having this page will allow NAPPS to directly communicate our various benefits and programs as well as share information regarding various committees and how you can participate. All of this while allowing you to connect with your NAPPS colleagues across the country.

use less than 20% (because we all know how call-outs create a huge burden in this business, so I want people to not call out unless absolutely necessary). I’m offering twice yearly inside/outside car cleaning, access to a mileage tracker for employees to track and write off mileage (because I can’t afford to reimburse mileage specifically), 10% off booking of dog walks/cat visits for employees if you live in our service area. Why am I having so much trouble? I am working myself to the bone to cover additional work due to staffing shortage. Then I come home and work all night doing the things I can’t do while doing visits during the day, and I don’t even know how I’m going to find time to interview and train people. — Erin ___________________________________ COMMENTS I’m sorry I don’t have any good answers for you right now, but I did want to point out that employees can no longer write off their mileage. We do pay mileage and adjust wages accordingly. By paying mileage as a reimbursement, we don’t have to pay payroll taxes on it and neither does the staff so it’s something to consider. — Kim

I don’t have any employees, but I can tell you that sitters I know here are either having the same trouble hiring or they are getting out of the business themselves. It seems to me like most of the young people who would be good hiring prospects are preferring to go it alone using platforms like Rover and Thumbtack. Sitters I know with employees are reporting the same issues — trouble finding anyone to help, finding people who will work reasonable hours and days. I’ve heard a lot of horror stories like yours - I’m sorry. You’re not alone. — Kristen Maybe recruit people who are in school to become vet techs and the like. As a parent of 20- somethings, many want nothing to do with making the rich richer. They feel the odds for a decent future are against them with the environment, economic game, college, systems put in place by the one percent and politicians. Many feel it’s better to go on their own and do what makes them happy or creates change. Not all of course, but many. — Abigail Don’t pay for Indeed Ads. Post ads on a free account. Then after a week, pause the ads and open another account with a different email address. It will keep your ads toward the top of the post. — Lora


Search either National Association of Professional Pet Sitters PRIVATE group or contact NAPPS directly at napps@ Submit a request to join (you will need to answer a few questions regarding your NAPPS membership). Once membership has been confirmed, you will have access to the group. Please become familiar with the rules of the private Facebook group as they are in place to make this a pleasant, informative place to share and network. Moderators are available if you have any questions or concerns. This is a NAPPS member benefit, so please be aware that if your membership falls into a lapsed status, your connection with this private group will be removed.


Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2022


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Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2022


N AP P S IN THE N EWS 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 6,990. NAPPS has over 5,700 Twitter followers. 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 first week of May is National Pet Week! Take extra time this week to show them how much you love them! Need a professional pet sitter to look after your pets? Just enter your Zip Code to find a NAPPS member near you! #petsitter #professionalpetsitter #petsitterassociation #NAPPS #NAPPScertified #FindAProNAPPS #DogWalker #catsitter #nationalpetweek 379 people reached May 3, 2022

Save the date!! NAPPS Conference 2023 dates have been set! More details coming as we get closer. www.petsitters. org #petsitter #professionalpetsitter #petsitterassociation #NAPPS #NAPPScertified #FindAProNAPPS #DogWalker #Catsitter #NAPPSconference2023 #savethedates 695 people reached April 14, 2022

It’s 4/20 and we want you and your pets to be safe! Humans and animals do not react the same way to marijuana! Can marijuana intake kill your dog? Yes, it can. The effects of marijuana will likely be more intense and last much longer for dogs because they have a lot more cannabinoid receptors in their brains than humans. Keep edibles away from your pets!! #420 #marijuanadangersforpets #ediblesanddogs #petsitter #professionalpetsitter #petsitterassociation #NAPPS #NAPPScertified #FindAProNAPPS #DogWalker #Catsitter 616 people reached April 20, 2022

Here’s something that could come in very handy for pet parents! A Do It Yourself pet first aid kit for under ten bucks! Read all about it in the NAPPS blog! DIYPetFirstAidKitforLessthan10 #petfirstaidkit #firstaidkitforpets #nappsblog #petsitter #professionalpetsitter #petsitterassociation #NAPPS #NAPPScertified #FindAProNAPPS #DogWalker #Catsitter #petparents

Happy Star Wars Day! #maytheforthbewithyou #maythefourthbewithyou #starwarsday #petsitter #professionalpetsitter #petsitterassociation #NAPPS #NAPPScertified #FindAProNAPPS #DogWalker #Catsitter 620 people reached May 4, 2022

Celebrating those who lovingly consider their pets a part of their family! Check out our blog saluting pet parents! NAPPSNationalPetParentDay 369 people reached April 24, 2022

1,129 people reached April 15, 2022

Small Dogs With Big Problems! Training is just as important for small breed dogs as it is for large breed dogs. Because their small size allows some people to overlook a small dog’s bad behavior, dog owners don’t always put as much time and energy into training their small breed dogs as they should. Read the blog from Dog Behavior Specialist Deb Nabb on the link below. https://petsitters. org/page/SmallDogsWithBigProblems. #smalldogsbigproblrms #trainingsmalldogs #dogbehavior #NAPPSblog #petsitter #professionalpetsitter #petsitterassociation #NAPPS #NAPPScertified #FindAProNAPPS #DogWalker #catsitter 373 people reached May 19, 2022


Professional Pet Sitter · Summer 2022

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Call us today at 1-800-962-4611 ext 214 or visit us online for a no-obligation quote.

Specializing in:

Pet Sitters • Dog Walkers • Pooper Scoopers • Doggy Daycares • Pet Taxi • Groomers

We Provide All of the Following Coverages:

General Liability • Property • Workers Compensation • Auto • Inland Marine/Grooming Equipment • Bonding • Employment Practices Liability • Umbrella

Welcome Our New Members NAPPS welcomes new members who joined between March 1, 2022 and May 31, 2022. Here they are in alphabetical order by state and foreign countries:



Kris Cabreira, Kris Cabreira’s Sit & Stay Services, Rocklin Elizabeth Newman, Betsy Newman Pet Care, San Diego Amy Collins, All Things Pets, Camarillo Diane LaDouceur, Pet Sitting for a Cause, Simi Valley Nikole Klinkhamer, Finest City Pet Sitting, San Diego Cris Wolf, WolfWorx, Rancho Cordova Jazz Aubin, Cats With Jazz, Mission Viejo

Cassandra Magnus, Sweet Peas Doghouse, Danville

Colorado Catherine Fraser, Cathy’s Dogs, Silverthorne Tiffany LeMasters, Just Like Home Pet Sitting & More, Colorado Springs Dani Fuller, Nanny D’s Petsitting, Colorado Springs Shaela Marquez, Care Fur Pawz, Aurora

Florida Mary Evans, Koolin’ K-9s, LLC, Miami Tiffany Phillips, All Out Paw Ventures, LLC, Saint Johns Kelly Winter, Pam Coast Pet Sitters, Palm Coast Gemma Trimarchi, Furry Friends Dog Walking Services, Royal Palm Beach Kathy Stomber, Small Paws Cat Sitting, Bradenton Amber Page, Dog Care by Amber, Winter Garden

Georgia Zoie Key, Key Equestrian Services, Canton Gloria Hernandez, My Pet’s Nanny, LLC, Alpharetta

Iowa Abigail Feng, Des Moines Kansas Nancy Van Buskirk, Homebodies Pet Care, Lawrence Sharon Ladd, The Pet Geek KC, Olathe

Louisiana Donna Steele, Donna’s Pet Services LLC, Lake Charles

Maryland Kathryn Blanco, Wild at Heart A Pet Care, Adelphi Amanda Mohr, Mohr Paws to Please Pet Care, LLC, Baltimore County

Massachusetts Andrea Quinn, Best-In-Class Pet Sitting, North Easton George Larson, The Bounding Pup, LLC, Burlington Jessenya Flores, Pawsitively Safe At Home, Marlborough Patti Davis, Patti’s Pampered Pets, Attleboro Morgan Atkinson, The Microfarm, Lunenburg Rachel White, Brookfield Barks, Brookfield Christine Ledin, Dog Day Solutions, Duxbury Lindsey Looney, Hike with Sky and I, Dedham


Jacob Kehler, Kailua Kona

Corinne Eisenman,, Midland Betsy Adams, Mags of Wags Pet Care, Dexter James White, JWW Pet Care, LLC, Novi



Samantha Fay, Samantha Fay, Glendale Heights

Nadya Groneman, Poocharini, Henderson


New Hampshire Siaoli Wright, Buddy Trails Dog Walking and Pet Sitting, LLC, Nashua Krista Rodrigues, At Your Dog’s Service, Rochester

New Jersey Melissa Coleman, Shore Sitter Services, Brigantine Deborah Bruvik, Two Paws Up Pet Sitting, Delanco

New Mexico Dennis Deshaies, Bow Wow Meow Pet Care, Placitas

New York Janelle Rosario, Lovetheanimoos, New York Ramona Lupu, Romade, Saratoga Springs

North Carolina Melissa Whitman, Lissa Loves Dogs, LLC, Durham Ruth Ellen Warren, REW, WinstonSalem Brittany Harry, My Pet Nanny – RISE by Britt, Carthage Jennifer Hunter Lee, GoFetchGo Franklin, Franklin Amelia Davis, Alice in Petland, LLC, Charlotte Carlyn Kepple CK PetVentures, Oakboro Gwendolyn Waller, Pampered Roommates Professional Pet Sitting Services, Durham

Pennsylvania Amanda Wellener, Lucky 7 Pet Sitting Plus, Telford Heather Garges, Handful of Leashes, Warrington Cara Squires, Cara Squires, Friendsville

Stephanie Karina, Philadelphia’s Paws and Claws, Philadelphia Rebecca Shoener, Ladybird Pet Services, Cressona

Rhode Island Lisa Vincent, Vincent’s Sit and Stay, West Greenwich

South Dakota Keli Bolstad, Pet Pals, LLC, Sioux Falls

Tennessee Randa Kilby, Poke-A-Nose, Jackson Libby Knight, SniffVenture, LLC, Nashville

Texas Bailey Crouch, K9 Care LBK, Lubbock Eve Meyer, Eve Marie’s Pet Company, Austin Estella Martinez, Dogs Fur Life, LLC, Dallas Brandon Klein, Cowboy K9 Care, Conroe

Virginia Dianne Tubridy, Wags, Wiggles & Walks, Arlington Rachel Cary, Rachel Cary, Alexandria

Wisconsin Jamie Rothfuss, Aunt Jamie’s Pet Service, Hayward

Benefits of Hiring a




You can download this infographic via the Members Only Section of the NAPPS website.

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


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.


no need to


no more




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.


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.