We really encourage all of you to always have a meet and greet before booking - after all, this is the very thing that ensures it's a great match! You have the power to choose which pets you would like to take care of. It's helpful to get to know the owner and pet properly and make an informed decision.
At the bottom of this article, you will find a template that you and the pet owner can fill in together during the meet and greet.
They will guide you when it comes to learning everything you need to know about the pet and noting the pet owner's instructions. If you're not sure yet whether you would like to care for this particular pet, you can also fill in the form later.
You can either print it and fill it in on paper, or fill it in on a laptop or tablet.
Here are a few things to talk about when meeting and greeting to ensure your guest pet has a safe, happy holiday stay -
For pet sitters - think about the following:
1. What is the guest pet like? Discuss the following details
- Active, easy-going or maybe a bit demanding?
- Does the guest pet have any behavioural problems? Leash-pulling, barking, chewing, scratching furniture etc
- Is the guest dog/cat neutered, vaccinated, de-wormed?
- Does the guest pet have a cage/terrarium, which needs to be cleaned? How often and where are the supplies?
- Does the pet have any special needs? Special medication, feeding or a specific schedule?
2. Describe yourself to the pet owner - you should have covered most of this information in your profile, but can leave the specific questions for the meet and greet:
- Why have you decided to become a pet sitter?
- Do you have pets of your own? If so, how many? What are they like?
- What is your experience with pets, and have you done pet sitting before?
- Have you participated in any classes or workshops about pet care or first aid?
- What would you do in case of an emergency?
- Do you have a car? If not, how will the pet/s be transported in case of emergency?
- How can you reach each other? Do you both have an emergency contact, such as a friend or family member, that can step in to help out if necessary?
- Will you keep the pet owner updated every day via the Pawshake app?
3. Home Boarding & Daycare
- What does a regular day look like for you? Make sure this matches well with the guest dog's needs. Do you have a full-time job or hobbies which take up time?
- What are you planning on doing with the guest pet/s? Playing, cuddling, brushing?
- How long, where and when will dog walks occur?
- Is your home appropriately pet-proof? Secure fences and gates?
- Is your garden big enough? Are there quiet areas where the guest pet can sleep calmly?
- What about the surrounding areas - are there nice places to visit during a dog walk?
- What items should the pet owner bring for their dog? Favourite toys, food, basket, blanket?
- How does the pet behave at your home during the meet and greet? Or did the trial dog walk together go well? If the dog is sniffing around happily, this means they are relaxed and calm.
4. House sitting & House Visits
- What does a regular day look like for you? Make sure this matches well with your pet's needs. Do you have a full-time job or hobbies which take time?
- How long is each visit? What is included in them? Think about emptying the letterbox, watering the plants and taking out the bins etc.
5. Dog Walking - it's a good idea to have a trial dog walk during the meet and greet.
- Do you feel comfortable around the dog? Likewise, does the guest dog feel comfortable when you take the leash?
- Are you familiar with dog training techniques? What techniques do you use?
- Are you familiar dog behaviour and body language?
- Is training or playing included in the walks?
- How long are the walks (distance or time)?
- What will you do if it rains or is too hot during the walk?
- Remember to discuss practical matters too - request for a towel to be left near the front door in case of muddy pawprints and bring plenty of doggy poo bags!
In all cases: clear arrangements upfront prevent confusion and disappointment later on. Write down your agreements, ask the owner to prepare instructions for you so that both of you are super clear what needs to happen.
If the chemistry isn’t quite right or expectations aren’t landing on the same page, no one needs to feel uncomfortable saying ‘thanks but no thanks’! A meet and greet is always obligation free.