Paperwork / Frequently Asked Questions

Whether you are looking to find a house sitter through the internet, yellow pages or you are just getting a family member or work colleague to come over and look after your pets, here are a few documents that are necessary to insure both the owner, the sitter and pets have a wonderful experience. will be useful.

OWNER’S INSTRUCTION MANUAL PETS, HOME AND GARDEN

This basic manual needs to be filled out by the pet owner so the sitter will know how to look after your home and garden and how to take care of your pets.

If you would like a copy of this document, please Email me and request “OWNER’S INSTRUCTION MANUAL”

EXTRA QUESTIONS

These extra questions can be used in conjunction with the questions asked in the Owners Instruction Manual. They are more detailed than the instruction manual eg will your dog roll in poo, eat blow fishes, can he swim, etc.

If you would like a copy of this document, please Email me and request “EXTRA QUESTIONS”

THE LEGAL SIDE

This legal document covers both parties

If you would like a copy of this document, please Email me and request “EXTRA QUESTIONS”

THE FRIENDLY NEIGHBOURS LETTER

This document should be completed and given to your Neighbour so they know that you are using a sitter. The neighbours can also keep an eye on your home and pets to ensure the sitter is doing the right thing.

If you would like a copy of this document, please Email me and request “Neighbours Letter”

OWNERS TELL TALE WARNING SIGNS

This information will help you make a decision when choosing a sitter and then how to develop a good relationship with the sitter. You will know within the first 15 minutes if this is a good sitter.

If you would like a copy of this document, please Email me and request “OWNERS TELL TALE WARNING SIGNS”

TRAINING MANUAL FOR NEW SITTERS

This information will give you a step by step system on how to become a professional sitter.

If you would like a copy of this document, please Email and request “TRAINING MANUAL FOR NEW SITTERS”

Frequently asked Questions and Answers

I have been doing House Sitting/Pet Minding for many years. To help you reduce your worry and anxiety about having a stranger in your house, here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions

+What type of sitter should I look for?
Where possible, you want to choose a sitter who is compatible with your own personal circumstances. Getting a complete 100% fit is not always possible.Therefore, when you are interviewing the potential sitter for the first time on the phone or in person, always bear the following in mind…There are 7 areas you need to be aware of.1) Type/size of pet. If your dog is huge and strong like a “Rotty” or “Husky” and requires a daily walk, a 65 year old frail lady would not be appropriate for the situation. Maybe the 65 could look after your house and you could hire a dog walker for the exercise.2) Activity level of dog. If the dog is a highly active dog like a young jack russell, a kelpie or a husky that needs to be walked/ run twice a day, a 45 year old male with sports injuries, arthritic knees and a bad back  would not be appropriate for the situation. Maybe the 45 could look after your house and you could hire a dog walker for the exercise.3) Employment status If one of the owners is not working, the pets would be used to a person being at home most of the time. A potential sitter who is a busy executive who works 12 hours a day in the office, may not be appropriate for the situation.4) Hours of work. If the pets are left inside during the day and there is no doggy door for the pets to go and have a wee, and on Thursdays the potential sitter works at Target during  late night trading, could your pets hold on until 10pm when the sitter arrives home. You may wish to explain your situation to a friendly neighbor who could come around and look after the pets on the Thursday night when the sitter is away.5) Does the sitter like that type of pet.  You can ask the potential sitter if they like that type of pet. If they don’t love cats, then they may not give the necessary attention and cuddles and smooches that your cat requires. When you meet the potential sitter for the first time, you will be able to tell within the first 15 minutes if they love animals or not.6) Level of responsibility required. If you own a 5 acre property with ducks, dogs and cats and a big garden with no reticulation, you would be very weary of using a 22 year old sitter. I have nothing against young people but after having worked in a house sitting agency for 6 months, younger sitters usually have other interests after work and have not usually had the experience required for this situation. In this circumstance you may be better off looking at a husband and wife retired couple or a very experienced sitter who would not be overwhelmed.7) Is the potential sitter “well” After having worked in a house sitting agency for 6 months we knew the importance of using sitters who were “well”. I have been a house sitter for many years and it can be a very stressful and demanding occupation. Please do not be offended but if the potential sitter is a single person who has signs of dementia, extreme depression, drug dependency issues etc, they may struggle to cope with all the instructions on how to run your home and look after your pets. I bet sometimes you may even feel overwhelmed running your home and looking after your pets, and you are familiar with everything.

+It appears Trust is a very important ingredient in this arrangement. What do you do to relieve my fear and anxiety?
I will supply a copy of my Police Clearance Certificate, Drivers Licence, Passport and Testimonials.I will also give you a Neighbors letter which you can fill out and give to the Neighbor so they can keep an eye on your home and pets. Before you go, I will visit you 2 or 3 times to get all the necessary information. One of your friends or family members are welcome to come and inspect the property and your pets. All they have to do is make an appointment with me.

+Do I get to meet you before you move in?
Yes, I will always visit you 2 or 3 times. Depending on the length of the sit and complexity of the sit, I always come back a second and if necessary, even a third or forth time. We can walk the dogs together, feed the dogs, clear up any remaining questions, get a key etc

+How can I tell if the potential house sitter I am about to meet is the “right” sitter for my pets.
If you are a pet owner and you are trying to find a pet/house sitter, these are some “tell tale warning signs” that you should look out for.
There are three characteristics you are looking for in the potential sitter.
Are they doggy/pet people, are they trustworthy, and are they professional about what they are being asked to do

LOOK OUT FOR THE FOLLOWING WARNING SIGNS

They don’t return phone calls
. They arrive late for the first meeting without phoning ahead to inform you they will be late.
 They are dressed badly. If they have just come from a gym or tennis tournament, I would not find this a problem. You just don’t want daggy, scruffy dress
. They smell of alcohol, smoke or appear to be under the influence of drugs.
 They arrive with no pen and paper to take notes. 
They have not got a list of predetermined questions to ask you. 
They rely on their memory when you are giving them instructions
. They don’t acknowledge your dog and cats
. They push your dog away. 
They don’t want dog fur on their clothes
. They don’t make a fuss of your dog. 
They spend the first 10 minutes talking to you and not your dog
. They only allow 20 minutes for the initial appointment before they have to go somewhere else
. They feel that it is not necessary to go with you to walk your dog for the first time.
 They feel that they only have to meet you once to get all the information. 
They don’t bring copies of the drivers licence. 
They don’t bring any testimonials
. If the potential sitter has an attitude of “She’ll be OK mate, no worries, everything will sort itself out on the day”, this person would not make a good sitter.
 A good piece of advice for pet owners is “Trust you gut instinct and intuition”

+What do I have to provide?
All you have to do is clean your home, provide a bedroom and clean linen. Tidy up the fridge and make space in your fridge for the food I bring.

+Do I need a written agreement between the owners and the sitter?
Yes, I will supply a legal document which we both sign. This document covers items like no parties, number of guests allowed, no personal pets allowed etc.

+What do I do with my valuables like Jewellery, Laptops etc
Lock them in a room that is out of bounds to the sitter.

+Will the sitter use all the rooms?
No, in the paperwork you can stipulate that certain rooms are out of bounds, eg study, main bedroom

+Will you use my computer?
No, I have my own laptop, mobile phone and internet connection. If you have a Wi-Fi connection, you may allow me to use the internet connection.

+If my pets get sick, will you take them to the vet?
Absolutely. In previous assignments I have had to use my initiative and take dogs to the vet for cherry eye, dogs with ear infections and kidney problems, kennel cough, cats with cut limbs, sick birds with viral infections. I have even had to care for an asthmatic cat and use a ventolin pump.
In the paperwork, there is a section for Vets details. You can instruct your vet to pay any emergencies up to a pre determined amount eg $400. Any amount over this limit would need verbal agreement from you or one of your contacts.
Millie is an old Chihuahua from Wellard and she said “Once when I badly hurt my back and leg on the steps, Mike took me to the vet and then found a dog Reike massage lady who gave me weekly massages. I recovered fully within 4 weeks. During my recovery process, every afternoon Mike would lay me on my back on the warm tiles. The warm tiles acted like a hot pad. Pretty clever I thought”

+How can I be sure that you will look after my pets and property?
The reason I became a sitter was because I love animals and they are my first priority.
One of your friends or family members are welcome to come and inspect the property and your pets. All they have to do is make an appointment with me. I have had many people who use my services multiple times.

+How will the sitter know what to feed my pets?
In the instruction manual you will fill out all the feeding requirements. You can leave enough food for the sit or you can leave money and I can buy all the food. I am happy to give medication and injections.

+If I fall down in your home and knock my head and die, who would know that your pets are unattended?
In the paperwork there is a section called “Daily contact person” This is usually a friend or family member. I will text/phone that person every one or two days to say “All is OK” That contact person would either have a spare key or know where the spare key is hidden.

+Do you bring your own food?
Yes. If I do use any food out of your pantry like tuna fish, baked beans etc, I always replace them or leave money. You may ask me to finish off any perishables like milk, vegetables etc.

+Do I stay every night?
Yes, when you meet me, we can complete the paperwork and one of the questions stipulates I am contracted to stay every night.

+Will I have any visitors whilst I am away?
In the paperwork, you can stipulate the maximum number of visitors allowed at any one time. In all my years of house sitting, I have had very few visitors. I prefer to hang out with your pets.

+Do I bring my own pets?
I have no pets; your pets become my pets. It is usually not advisable to allow a sitter to bring their pets. There can be fights but the biggest problem is both pets begin to mark their territory and pee in the house.

+Do I have to pay you?
No, but if you live far from the city center, you may wish to help with petrol.

+Who pays for the utilities?
The owner usually pays for the utilities like gas, electricity, water etc for the first 3 months, After 3 months, I will begin to pay for the bills. It is just too difficult to work out exact usage for short sits.

I have my own phone, computer and internet facility so I will not need to use your computer.

+What happens if something in the house breaks and needs to be repaired eg washing machine, toilet etc
In the Instruction Manual there are sections where you can fill out all the plumbers and electricians details. There is also a section on “If there are any bills to pay, who do I contact”.

+If I don’t like the sit, will I leave half way through?
No, I am legally and morally obligated to look after your pets until you come back. Your pets are always my first priority.

+I have a pool maintenance, cleaner and gardener come in, what arrangements do I need to make?
I can arrange to let the pool person and gardener into your property.
You may wish to cancel the cleaner or come to some arrangement with me, ie let’s cancel it, lets go half/ half

+What if the owners need to come home early due to an emergency/ illness?
Just give me a few days notice to pack up and move out.

+What areas do you accept sitting assignments?
I accept sits in most area.
During school holidays I can do sits in any area.

+What is the length of time that I will do a sit?
I am happy to do sits from one week and longer. I am happy to do shorter sits, especially if it is an emergency and it fits into my schedule.

+Can the owner extend the sit?
Ask me if I am free.

+Can you give me any tips on what I should do before the sitter arrives to meet me for the first time?
Yes I can.
OWNERS… “HOW TO WIN OVER THE SITTER”

When the potential sitter arrives to meet you for the first time, they will also be making a judgement decision “Is this the place I want to live in for the next few weeks…Are these the type of people I want to help out…Can I handle these pets?” Therefore:

Ensure your house is clean and tidy. Pick up all the dog poo from the garden. Don’t have beer cans and cigarette buts stacked up in the lounge.

Be very nice and friendly. If the sitter likes you, they will accept the sit because “they are good guys, I would like to help them out”

If the potential sitter has asked you to complete the paperwork before they arrive, please do so. It shows the potential sitter that you are serious and committed.

Do the little things that show that you care and appreciate the sitter eg at the first meeting, if you live far away from their work, offer to give them a bit of money to pay for petrol.

Make their bedroom as presentable and attractive as possible.

Don’t treat them like a servant or cheap labour. If you are obsessive and dust your whole house every week, you can’t expect them to do that. If you normally only walk your dog once a day for 20 minutes, don’t tell the sitter he has to walk your dog twice a day for one hour.

If you have 3 spare rooms, don’t give them the smallest one with a single bed, hard mattress and gym equipment stored in the corner.

Tell them they can use up all the perishables in the fridge, eg bread, milk, fruit etc

Please always remember that the sitters are sitters, not gardeners. If you enjoy cutting the lawn weekly, please do not assume that the sitter is physically able to mow the lawn on a weekly basis.

If you have the newspaper delivered, you may wish to ask the sitter if they would like the delivery to continue. If the sitter sends you Emails whilst you are on holiday, it is always nice if you respond and acknowledge the sitter for doing a good job.

If you have a cleaner come in on a fortnightly basis, ask the sitter if they would like to cancel the cleaner or would they be happy to go half/half for the cleaner’s wages.

When you arrive home from your holiday, send them a thank you card, Email etc.

You may wish to bring back a small thank you present like a T shirt, key ring etc

You want to develop a good relationship with the sitter so you can use them again in the future. Using the same sitter every time you go on holiday makes it so much easier for you and your pets.

If you find a good sitter, treat them well and they will go well beyond the call of duty for you and your pets.