For the Love of Pets and all things Holy, this is NOT a "side gig"
I was just scrolling on Facebook, like one does when they should be reading a book or exercising, and I came across a post from someone asking for "side hustle" ideas. I see these posts in all different pages, all the time, and it bothers me SO MUCH when people recommend pet sitting as a way to make extra money.
Let me explain why that irks me so much....
Pet sitting is not an ideal job for just "anyone." Not everyone truly, TRULY loves animals, and that should be an absolute requirement for this work. There is a huuuuge difference between being a pet lover, and a qualified pet care provider. We don't just "play with dogs all day," which is the allure for people looking for an "easy" gig. I would personally never leave my pet in the care of someone who's just looking to make some side money, it just doesn't sit right with me.
"Hobby" petsitters - like your neighbor, your friend's kid, or one of those people doing it as a side hustle for extra money can be flakier than a pie crust. I've lost track of the amount of messages I've had for last minute pet sitting, "My brother was supposed to watch them but now he's working a weekend shift and won't be able to make it," or "The neighbor's ended up getting tickets to the same concert we'll be at, so they can't let the dogs out for us," and the most annoying,"We had been using people from Rover, but some of them just never show up!" Your pets deserve better than this.
Your pets deserve someone who will do more than just scoop out a litter box and throw some food in a bowl, and who will do more than tug your dog along on a quick walk because they're in a hurry to go make their next buck. Your pets, and you, deserve someone who will pay attention to the litter box and know when something doesn't look right, someone who will take their time letting your pets warm up to them, someone who will clean - not just fill - the water bowls and food bowls, someone who will know the signs of fear, anxiety, pain, etc in your pet, and how to handle it.
They take away business from professionals - the people (like me) who are dedicated to providing the very BEST care for your pets (and your home) Professional pet sitters aren't looking to make a quick buck, or an easy buck, or an "extra" buck - We are animal lovers who have obtained the proper business licenses, carry pet sitter insurance and bonding (I personally use PSI) pay taxes on all income, pursue pet first aid training and continuing education, maybe even take an Animal Communication workshop (I did my first one on Tuesday!) and who's livelihood actually depends on providing the very best pet care.
Listen, you don't need to use me as your pet sitter - depending on where you are in the world, that may not even be an option, anyway (although I DO do travel pet sitting, message me for my very limited availability) but you DO need to make sure your pet(s) get the best care possible - so please, for the love of pets and all things holy, don't just hire some stranger to take care of them. Anyone can make a profile and claim to be a great caretaker, but make sure you meet them first, make sure you ask about references, insurance, and if you're going to be having your pet(s) stay at someone else's home/boarding area - MAKE SURE you go there, in person. Make sure you see the boarding license. Make sure you read reviews.
I'm going to leave you with one of the most recent Rover horror stories I've seen (today) posted on a page called Help find Louie:
I find things like this hard to read, so this is a head's up for other empaths that might read this one day
"Today our search team went through something I pray that nobody ever has to go through!
Last night a man posted about their dog Teddy, who had gone missing from a dog boarder - the same story as Louie “all the dogs were let out and they found all but Teddy at a local park”.
Michelle from our search team reached out and started helping him with the search process and walking him through the steps of what to do.
Today Michelle went out to search with him and in the process started interviewing the dog boarder. Her stories continued to change.
After many conversations Michelle finally got the truth out of the dog boarder - they left 6+ dogs unattended and this little dog Teddy got attacked. But instead of owning up to what happened or taking the dog quickly to the vet - they let the dog die and dumped it’s body in the desert.
My husband Mike, our son, and Michelle went out to the desert with Teddy’s owner Chris and made the dog sitter’s boyfriend show them where he buried the dog.
They just transported Teddy to the vet so he can be cremated.
They found Teddy’s dog sitter on Instagram. I’m sharing her profile so she can never watch another dog again. (Please warn family and friends)
Our dog sitter was found through Rover. There’s actually a Facebook page called “Rover kills dogs” that has hundreds of similar stories.
Please use EXTREME CAUTION when choosing a dog boarder!!
Please please please, keep your babies safe.