I've been called my pet sitting clients' Best Kept Secret and with good reason. I (ironically) don't have any pets of my own! (I started volunteering at my local shelter after my dog died and, before long, shelter dogs starting coming over for visits. As the rescue community got to know me, I started getting pet sitting requests and, before you could say "Fetch!" I had a very thriving pet sitting business. )
No pets of my own means no compatibility issues for your pet, and I never book more than one family at a time. I don't have kids, either, so your pet really does get undivided attention in a very calm home on a lovely wooded acre adjoining an extensive bike trail and forest preserve system.
I have hosted close to 60 dogs at my home (1/3 of them are 'pittie' type dogs) and have also watched pets in their own home, as well. Because it is extremely hard to find a pet-free pet sitter who is home all the time, my calendar books up really fast and very far ahead (ten months out is not uncommon). If you are even remotely thinking of having me sit your pup(s), don't hesitate to contact me, just to see if I will have an opening for you.
Pet Sitting Includes:
Undivided attention for your pet(s). I do not have pets of my own and do not sit for more than one family at a time. I manage my life to stay home as close to 24/7 as I can when I am pet sitting. When I do leave my house (for dog walking, which I do on a limited basis, or necessary errands) time away does not exceed 3 hours. Pets can be restricted via gates as needed to limited areas of the house. You are also welcome to supply a crate if you prefer. Non-smoking household. No kids. One very awesome husband. I only allow friends to visit when I am sure the dog can handle it and you are informed first. I supervise all interactions.
High quality treats and toys (you are welcome to view the selection and give input) I may be the only person without pets who subscribes to Bark Box.
Homemade chicken or beef bone broth (with your approval…a magic elixir to coax nervous pups to eat)
Bed sharing okay for small/medium dogs. If we get a very large insistent dog that simply must sleep in bed, I’ll probably end up with them in our guest room but I do try to keep my husband first. I have a nice big dog bed here, as well as couches, for larger dogs to sleep on.
Special attention to maintaining a calm environment: Soothing dog friendly music, aromatherapy (specific for canines). We only watch TV in the late evening and, yes, we do stay away from certain shows if they will upset the dogs (as some nature and dog rescue shows might, depending on the arousal level of the dog). Same with music…no ‘free jazz’ or screaming guitars.
Games and feeding toys (for pups that need more activity or just like them)
An understanding that nervous dogs sometimes pee in the house. We take things in stride here. I keep a supply of puppy pads and cleaning supplies on hand and we are right now in the process of getting new carpeting...pet tolerant!
Ability to work with your dog’s special charms and quirks. Quiet neighborhood allows me to walk reactive dogs at off times. Adjacent forest preserve and bike trails allow for lots of exploration and enrichment. If your dog needs ice cubes, or to be carried down the stairs, or a lullaby before bedtime, or medications given, I can work with that.
Understanding of learning theory (I have PhD training in psychology) and ability to continue with your positive reinforcement training. (I’m not a trainer, but do reinforce good manners and work to redirect problem behaviors). I have ready access to training friends if challenges arise.
Knowing that pet sitting can make dogs nervous (Mom, why did you give me away to this strange lady?!), I take extra precautions to keep them safe (may double leash to make sure they can’t break free). Give them ample space and time to feel comfortable (some dogs need a while to warm up in a strange environment so I don’t force petting or cuddling on them).
Basically, I treat every guest as I would a new adoption, taking time to learn and observe who they are and what they need to feel at home. I am continually problem solving on what can help them settle in and feel relaxed and secure, as well as adequately exercised and entertained while here. I do a lot to lay a strong foundation which is good for them and great for their future stays with me.
BEFORE YOUR PET STAYS WITH ME, we would have you visit (plan to spend an hour here). If you are planning a longer stay and want your pet to ease in with some days here or some shorter overnight stays, that can certainly be arranged (provided my schedule allows it).
I'm located 35 miles directly west of Chicago in the town of West Chicago (between Wheaton and St. Charles). Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 630-750-2365 with questions or to set up a time for me to meet your pup!