I have been volunteering with German Shepherd Rescue for more than a decade. That is a lot of years, a lot of homeless dogs, a lot of leaving dogs behind at a shelter because the sad truth is that we just cannot save them all.
So, you would think I would have a pretty thick skin when it comes to leaving my dogs behind for a few days while I take a much needed trip. However, this is not even close to the case. I am only slightly embarrased to admit that leaving my dogs behind causes me so much anxiety that I have to wonder if it is even worth it. So, I do what any neurotic poochie mommy does… I plan.
I am leaving for them for 4 days. I have a petsitter who I have known and loved for almost 8 years. She came this week and spent three hours hanging out with us and the dogs, so they know she is a good person and we love her. As I was going over the schedule, where they eat, who gets what food and what supplements, who gets fed first, who sits where, who sleeps where, what time they go to bed, what time they get up… etc, etc… I saw her eyes glaze over. I know it is excessive. I also know there will be 5 pages of these details left out in writing for her to refer to.
So, I thought I would put together a few “must do's” if you are leaving your pet with a petsitter.
- First, make sure the petsitter is someone you can trust with your babies. Check references. Get a reference from his/her vet. How they treat their dogs may be an indication on how they will treat your animals.
- Have the petsitter come over and meet your pack and see how they interact with him/her.
- Give your petsitter a number of a friend or family member who has a key to your house in case of an accident or emergency and she can't come.
- Leave out an extra bowl of water.
- Lock your gates. If you don't keep your gates padlocked all the time (which you should with dogs) make sure you padlock it when you are going to be gone.
- Leave a written list of instructions. Even if you have verbally gone over everything with the petsitter, make sure you leave instructions for her to refer to.
- Do a double check of your home and pick up things that your dogs may get into if they are bored (or mad at you for leaving them) that they wouldn't normally bother with.
- Ask your petsitter to text you pictures daily so you know all is ok, and you get to see their smiling faces.
I hope you are like me, and as soon as you pull out of the driveway, you relax a little. You did everything you could to make sure the babes are well cared for and safe… and they get so much love all the time. After all, maybe they need a vacation, too.