Grateful Companion Pet Care

An Open Letter to Pet Owners During the COVID-19 Crisis

Monday, April 13, 2020, 12:00PM by Pet Sitters International under Pet Sitting

Professional pet-sitting and dog-walking businesses have provided trusted, reliable professional pet-services for tens of thousands of pet-owning households.

And now, pet owners have an unprecedented opportunity to repay the pet sitters and dog walkers they've been able to rely on all these years.

How? By continuing to use your pet sitter's services (or continuing to pay them) during a time when travel bans and work from home orders have brought pet-sitting and dog-walking businesses to a virtual halt.

Your local pet-sitting and dog-walking businesses typically operate on very small margins and a significant loss of revenue can cause them to go out of business.

Your pet sitter likely won't tell you this. Their primary concern—as always—is the wellbeing of your pets and on the service, they provide to you—their valued client.

Though you booked your pet sitter months in advance, they likely quickly waived their cancellation policy and offered you a refund when you canceled your trip last-minute amid coronavirus concerns. What your pet sitter didn't share is that the anticipated revenue from your trip was needed for them to cover important business expenses, such as insurance—or maybe even their health-care premium or mortgage.

When you canceled your daily dog walks since you are temporarily working from home, your dog walker likely politely thanked you for letting them know and said to give them a call when you were ready to resume service. What your dog walker didn't share is that virtually all their clients are canceling, and they are worried they will no longer be in business to offer dog walking once your normal work schedule resumes.

How can you help?

  • Continue to use your dog-walking service, even when you are working from home. This keeps your pet on his regular routine and keeps your dog walker in business!

  • If you'd like to walk your dog while you are working from home, do this but continue to pay your pet sitter. Remember, you had already budgeted for these dog walks and if you are working from home, you still get paid (but your pet sitter doesn't).

  • If you do have to cancel scheduled pet-sitting visits due to a canceled business trip or vacation, consider letting your pet sitter keep the deposit (or full payment)—or ask that they credit it to a future visit instead of asking for a refund. This will help them keep revenue when they need it the most.

  • Inquire about other services your pet sitter may be offering—such as cat enrichment visits, litter box cleaning, pet transportation or pet-food delivery—and utilize these services when you may not need vacation sits or daily dog walks.

  • If available, purchase gift cards from your pet sitter to use in the future (or inquire about a pre-pay option for future visits).

  • Remember, now is also a great time to leave positive online reviews for your pet sitter or dog walker and share their social media posts with your friends, family and colleagues!

  • No visits planned during this time? Consider sending your pet sitter or dog walker an encouraging note (with a tip, if possible)!

  • If you've been forced to reschedule trips (or have future trips already planned), contact your pet sitter as soon as possible to get these new visit requests on their schedules.

Now is your opportunity to repay your pet sitter or dog walker for all that they've done for you and your pets!

Your pet sitter or dog walker is likely such an integral part of your pet's regular schedule and, in many cases, feels so much like family, that you may not even think about what they offer as a business. But your pet sitter is more than your trusted pet-care provider—he or she is also a small business owner, and business owners have been hard hit by this pandemic.

In weeks—or months—you will be able to resume your regular work schedule and re-schedule trips you've canceled.  When this happens you will need the services of your local professional pet-sitting or dog-walking business—but will they have remained in business during the interim?

Please continue to support and use the services of your local professional pet sitters and dog walkers. People's livelihoods (and your continued access to reliable pet care) are depending on it!