Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

 

I’m ready to book.  How do I get started?

The first step is to contact me to confirm availability and discuss your pet care needs.  Then we’ll create and account for you in our online scheduling system and book your FREE meet and greet session to go over details.

 

Are you licensed, bonded, and insured?

I am bonded and insured through Pet Sitters Associates LLC.  You can view my current certificate of insurance and bonding here.  No professional licensing exists for pet sitters at this time.

 

What areas do you serve?

I offer pet sitting and dog walking services to pets and pet parents in the Central MA area which include:

Fitchburg, MA

Leominster, MA

Lunenburg, MA

Princeton, MA

Sterling, MA

Westminster, MA

If your area isn’t listed, feel free to contact me and ask!  I may be able to make an exception.

 

What are your rates?

My rates are based on the amount of work involved in caring for your pets.  If you’d like to get an exact quote, please contact me and we can discuss your pet care needs.  For most clients my rate for pet sitting and dog walking averages $20-30 per visit.

 

How do I pay for services?

Payment is due on or before your first day of service.  You may leave a check for me (made out to Gina Taylor) or you may pay by credit/debit card at any time.  There is a returned check fee of $30, however.  For regularly scheduled dog walks/puppy visits you may pre-pay for as many dog walks, I do recommend having a credit card on file in my online scheduling system.  Pre-payment is due on the first and fifteenth of every month for upcoming walks.

 

What is your cancellation policy?

I understand that unexpected things happen and plans change. You may even find yourself coming home early.  My cancellation policies are as follows:

  • No refunds will be given for any cancellations made with less than 24 hours notice (except for cancellations due to inclement weather).**
  • Clients on a discounted and pre-paid weekly dog walking schedule are limited to two weeks’ worth of unpaid or refunded cancellations per calendar year.  Please let me know by 9am if you do not need my services later that day.
  • For pet sitting visits: a 50% fee will apply for cancellations with less than 72 hours notice.
  • For services scheduled during Holiday periods: a 50% fee will apply for cancellations with less than seven days notice.

**All refunds will be given as an account credit.

 

Do I have to give you a key to my house?

I require all pet parents to give me two copies of their house keys to keep on file at our Meet and Greet Consultation.  The only exceptions to this are if you will be home when I am providing the service or if you have only outdoor pets or farm animals and I won’t have need to access the inside of your house to care for them.  I do not label your keys with any identifying information and keep them locked in a secure storage cabinet when not in use.

 

Why two keys?

Having two keys on file allows me to ensure consistent reliable care of your pets no matter what.  I will keep the first copy to use for entering your home for pet sitting visits and keep the other in my office as an emergency backup in case of accidental lockout or possible damage.

 

What if I don’t have two keys?

For a small fee, I can have extra copies made.  Or I can come at a later date to pick up the additional key(s).

 

Can I just leave a key under my doormat or other hidden location?  How about I leave my key in a secure lockbox outside my house and give my pet sitter the code?  Or access to the house with a garage door code?

No! This poses a security risk to your pets and home as well as myself if an unauthorized person was to find the key and enter your home.  It is also a liability for me if the key was to go missing.  I prefer to keep your key(s) on file to ensure reliable and consistent care of your pets.  If you happened to forget to put the key in the lock box or someone else who has access happens to remove the key, I will not be able to get into your home.  Lock boxes are also prone to freezing and rusting shut and can damage the door or doorknob they’re attached to.  In regard to the garage door code, again, this is an issue with me ensuring the care of your pets.  Power failures can happen.  Garage doors can malfunction.  I need to get into your home reliably.  If you prefer I enter your home via the garage, I am happy to accommodate that request but still require two copies of your key as a backup.

 

Dog Walking FAQ

Will my dog be walked alone or in a group of dogs?

I only do private walks in your neighborhood.  If you have more than one dog, I am happy to walk them at the same time or separately, depending on what works best for them.

 

What happens with my dog’s walk if it rains or snows?

When the weather is bad, I have a few options for making sure your dog gets his exercise and potty break:

  • I can adjust the visit time and come a little earlier or later to avoid the bad weather.
  • If the weather isn’t too severe and your dog doesn’t mind, we can go for our usual walk and have good towel off when we get back.
  • We can shorten the walk to a quick potty break and spend time playing with your dog indoors.

 

GENERAL Pet Sitting FAQ

What types of animals do you care for?

I have training and experience with all kinds of pets: cats, dogs, ferrets, rabbits, pocket pets, livestock, horses, and poultry.  The occasional betta or goldfish get attention too.  I do not have much training with reptiles, amphibians, or birds, however.  If they do not require much and they are in a secure enclosure, their care may be discussed.

 

How far in advance can I schedule services?

I schedule on a first-come, first-serve basis and recommend booking pet sitting and dog walking services as soon as you know your travel dates.  Most of the time, booking 1-3 weeks in advance is sufficient, but during major travel times, school vacations, and holidays I do sometimes book up a month or more in advance.

 

How many pet sitting visits should I schedule each day?

To keep your pet’s stress level at a minimum while you’re away, I recommend trying to adhere to your pet’s normal routine of eating, exercise, and potty breaks when you decide when and how often to schedule pet sitting visits.  For cats, I recommend 1-2 visits per day.  Most dogs need a minimum of 3 visits per day (usually two drop in visits for feeding, bathroom, and cuddles plus one quick potty break mid-day) to ensure kidney and bladder health as well as to avoid having accidents in the house.

 

Have another question I haven’t answered?  Contact me here.