Pet Sitting: The One- Stop Guide for Pet-Sitters : Part One
21 Oct 2013
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Having been a pet-sitter and a dog-mom for the last few years, if you ask me what the pet-sitting scene is like in India, I have only one word to describe it: nightmare. Until 2 years ago, unless you had a trustworthy friend who was available when you needed, or you were super rich with a large house, owning a pet meant not being able to travel. Like ever. I once met a family who told me that they hadn’t been on a vacation for 15 years because they could never leave their dogs behind. Fifteen years! If that doesn’t spell nightmare, then what does!?
So what’s the deal? If you’re a compulsive traveler you can’t also be a pet-parent? Bolshevik, I say (for a lack of a better expletive). Pet-sitting has made an appearance in India, and while the concept has been around for a few years commercially, it’s only now that the awareness is there, and the network of people wanting to pet-sit is growing. So who are pet-sitters? Well, any animal lover willing to take care of another person’s animal can be a pet-sitter. Ok, it’s not that simple, but that’s why I present to you this two-part guide. If you’re looking at becoming a pet-sitter in India, then read on my minions, read on.
Can I be a pet-sitter?
Do you like pets? Have you the knack to handle other people’s pets? Are you a responsible person? If the answer to all these questions was “yes”, then congratulations, you are qualified to be a pet-sitter. Often people ask me , “But, I’ve never owned any pets. I’ve always wanted to, but I haven’t. Can I still pet-sit?” , and the answer is yes, you can. Just because your parents thought having a Labrador chewing on their Hush Puppies was a bad idea doesn’t mean you aren’t capable of handling a pet.
What does pet-sitting entail?
Let me warn you. Pet-sitting is not difficult, but then again it’s not easy. Most people’s pets have routines, and usually very fixed ones. Before you sink back into a chair wondering “Watsa routine, bro?”, let me tell you: Dogs can have a feeding time/walk time as early as 6.00AM. So if you’re against waking up before mid-day news, I suggest you keep away from pets. Then there’s feeding. As pet-parents we all know that our kiddos are to be fed a limited quantity and that’s it. But there’s something about other people’s pets that makes us want to spoil them with treats, cause ERMAHGERD PUPPY EYES! So, before you succumb to Mrs. Mehta’s Rocky’s puppy face, please understand that pet-sitting also requires discipline. Other things you have to be prepared for include cleaning poop, shedding, separation anxiety, barking, chewing, scratching (cats, and their retractable claws!), and general destruction.
Can I make money out of pet-sitting?
Of course you can! Pet-sitters are quite in demand, and as far as I know a lot of pet-parents are willing to pay to keep their babies in a comfortable house with a pet-lover rather than a kennel or dog-hotel. However, if you want to charge, you first have to build a reputation. No one is going to leave their pet with you AND pay you unless you are recommended.
What infrastructure do I need to be a pet-sitter?
Well, there are 2 types of pet-sitters. House pet-sitters and Self pet-sitters. Home-sitters are people who move in to your house for the period that you are unavailable, to take care of your pet in its most comfortable spot. To be a house pet-sitter requires you have a trusted personal relationship with the pet-parent. House pet-sitters are also hard to find. However, no infrastructure is required to be a house pet-sitter as the pet’s family should provide everything for your stay, including food/groceries
Self pet-sitters are what we consider “regular” pet-sitting, where the family leaves the pet at your place for the agreed period. For this, infrastructure required is minimal. A house (if your apartment has a no pet rule, screw them, you can take them to court!), and time is all you need. As a general rule, pet parents are supposed to provide all the necessities.
Decided you can handle pet-sitting? Great, continue to part-two of this guide to get your basics right!
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