Wherein we shall address the sticky topic of job-sharing and allowing additional people in your home for any reason once we have engaged in services.

What does job-sharing mean, exactly? Job sharing is when the pet care responsibilities are split between a professional pet sitting service and, generally, a friend or neighbor. For example, the pros in the morning and neighbor in the evening or professional services are scheduled when friend is unavailable. Having another person in your home while we’re providing services is also considered job-sharing, for all intents and purposes. Unfortunately, these situations can be serious liabilities from which we must back. away. slowly.

Your well-meaning neighbors

To avoid situations such as overfeeding, missed feedings, key sharing, incorrectly set alarms, unlocked doors and (heaven forbid) lost pets, we would prefer not to job-share. There are too many variables and we know from experience that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong while Mr. Murphy is out of town. We have worked to create a communication structure within Bull City Pet Sitting which provides a safety net for your home and pet’s care and safety. When another caregiver is added to your household during your absence we are open to loads of liability, being in the middle of some he said/she said dispute or left with all of the litter box scooping and none of the snuggles. No, thank you. (but keep reading)

But what if you just want someone to have access to your home and they won’t be taking any responsibility for your pets? Maybe your sister is borrowing your sewing machine or something completely unrelated to your pets. Good question. Part of our job is home security and we have a sixth sense for things being off. If you have someone visiting while we are scheduled and we come in to find things were not as we left them, we will contact you instead of the police. What if we walk in while someone is robbing your house? If you tell us noone is allowed in the house and encounter something suspicious, we’re calling the police immediately. If you tell us someone else has permission to be in your home and we have never met them, it’s not up to us to determine if they are supposed to be there. We are pet sitters, not police. And, between you and me, since Erica moved to California, we’re not very tough.

You put a lot of trust in us and we do everything we can to honor that trust. It’s the cornerstone of Bull City Pet Sitting and why we get out of bed every day (besides the pets). Trust goes both ways. As professional pet caregivers, we go into hundreds of private residences each year at all times of the day and, as our livelihoods depend on it, that puts us in a vulnerable position. We need to feel protected and safe while caring for your pets and going into a home where a stranger will be staying makes us feel uneasy, at best. It may be your best friend since kindergarten or your twin brother but we don’t know them from Adam’s housecat. And that puts us on high alert. It’s human instinct. And I’ll never say “Suck it up, Buttercup.” when it comes to instinct. Not to a human or a dog.

Let’s all avoid awkward situations. We don’t want to see anyone in their pajamas (or what passes for pajamas). We value our relationship but we don’t want to know you like that. Not you, dear client, and most certainly not your cousin or family friend. If you have visitor staying in your home during your absence, please don’t schedule us to be there at the same time. We absolutely will not enter a home occupied by a human during “Skivvy Hours.” Some things cannot be unseen.

Life, like pet care, is messy sometimes. There is no one policy that fits every situation, every time. We understand that long trips can get pricey, a dodgy back may have you laid up on the couch and sometimes it truly does take a village to raise a terrier.* We’re not out to take your bottom dollar and we do want to try to work with you. And, ultimately, it’s your house and your pets we’re visiting. We are willing to take these jobs on a case-by-case basis but we will always require:

Sharing can work.

  • all contact info for the third-party before you travel
  • enough notice to make a plan and clear delineation of duties
  • release from liability for pets and property during the time the third party has access to the home, whether sharing responsibility for your pets or not
  • the right to decline these assignments, if it seems dicey

We are professionals. This is what we do for a living, not as a favor.
We take the care and safety of your pet and your home very seriously. We also take the comfort and safety of the professionals we work with very seriously. We hope you do too.

* credit to Beth Bakke