Bull City Pet Sitting was created in 2010 from pure love and sweat.
Heather and Jen were 2 solo sitters with some big dreams and lots of poop bags. With calculated growth, it’s become a decent livelihood for about 25. It’s how we pay our mortgages, our power bills, buy our coffee drinks and it’s how we give back too. I’m beyond grateful to work with this group of professionals. With our passion, dedication and training we’ve proven to be probably the best in Durham. But we couldn’t have done it without the amazing, continuous wave of support this awesome community has provided over the years. There’s always been that Durham magic at work. We’ve loved the heck out of the Bull City and it has always loved us right the heck back.
Sadly, the culture of Durham seems to be changing as quickly as the skyline. Relationships are becoming less important than convenience. Local doesn’t seem to mean as much when you’ve just moved to town. And, in the words of Dorothy Gale “My! People come and go so quickly here!” This place is primed for the job sharing economy model and hometown service-based businesses like Bull City Pet Sitting are already starting to feel the effects of this shift.
Maybe you have heard of Rover, DogVacay or Wag. You may have used their services, in a pinch. (That was before we met. We forgive you.) They’re trying to take over the in-home pet care market. Their money is never ending and their marketing is stellar. But that doesn’t make them professional pet sitters, it makes them tech-companies. These tech companies allow anyone to join their sites and that means anyone could be taking care of your pets. Now, don’t get me wrong. I believe most people have good intentions but good intentions do not equate experience, skills, knowledge, insurance, and all the other traits and certifications one needs to be a true professional.
Then there’s me: a certified professional dog trainer with a near obsession for safety and positive experiences for your pets. I cringe when I’ve seen it on Facebook, Nextdoor and other social media sites. “My dog walker is Wag” or “We use Rover pet sitters.” No training required, folks. I bet they even let dogs greet on-leash. (we don’t)
Emergencies happen from time to time (knock on wood). Pets may need to be transported to the vet. Do you want an experienced professional who is trained at preventing unnecessary stress to your pet and to you? Or do you want Sydney, who has “loved dogs their whole life” to make that call? You want a professional who is part of a local, established, fully-insured business in case something happens. Accidents and mistakes can happen to anyone. We’ve made a few of our own over the years. The difference is that you open yourself up to more when using hobbyists from these sites. More than half of these pet lovers don’t have the training to handle serious situations, and I don’t see any legal responsibility to care for your pets properly.
Your BCPS pet sitters and dog walkers have not only completed Pet CPR & First Aid Training, I’m certified to teach it (PTI #2271 and Fear-Free Certified too). We share our knowledge and that makes us all smart to the nth degree. We’re all pretty squeaky clean and I have the background checks to prove it. We use a scheduling system that keeps us all in the loop while caring for your pets. When you’re on vacation or at work you can receive a notification when we check-in on your pets with whimsical (yet information-packed!) notes and lovely pictures so you’ll never be in the dark. It’s constant contact!
Experience and knowledge combined with passion and care in a legal business will always be the best option for pet care. And, after caring for thousands upon thousands of dogs and cats in Durham over the years, I’m confident I can say that I know exactly what exceptional pet and home care looks like, I know how to find just the right people to provide that and, as one of the founding members of the Living Wage Project and an advocate for the Work-Life Balance, I support these amazing folks as well as I can so that they stick around for years.
What you lose when you hire services from a peer-to-peer site is accountability and oversight. When something doesn’t go right (which, by the way, is hardly ever when you have a team of professionals), you can call me, right here in Durham, on a 919 number, no less. I have the ability to make things right almost immediately, even if that means me coming to see you in person.
For contrast, here is part of Wag’s official disclaimer:
“WAG! MAKES NO REPRESENTATION, WARRANTY, OR GUARANTY AS TO THE RELIABILITY, SAFETY, TIMELINESS, QUALITY, SUITABILITY OR AVAILABILITY OF ANY SERVICES, PRODUCTS OR GOODS OBTAINED BY THIRD PARTIES THROUGH THE USE OF THE SERVICES. YOU ACKNOWLEDGE AND AGREE THAT THE ENTIRE RISK ARISING OUT OF YOUR USE OF THE SERVICES, AND ANY THIRD PARTY SERVICES OR PRODUCTS REMAINS SOLELY WITH YOU, TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW.”
It’s one thing when the timeliness and quality of your service makes you late for dinner, like with Uber, it’s another thing altogether when that means your pet- your family member- is suffering as a result.
If you’re feeling brave, take a look at the search results for “rover horror stories.” Of all the ones you read online, trust me, I’ve heard more.
What it comes down to is who you trust to not just walk or feed your pet, but to take responsibility for them- trained professionals who have served the area for nearly a decade with stellar reviews, or a tech company based in Los Angeles.
Disclaimer: I know you can find sitters and dog walkers within these sites that are conscientious and skilled. I know a few I would personally trust and hire. But “I’ve loved dogs (cats, iguanas, etc) my whole life” and is not what I consider hiring criteria and I hope that you feel the same. For the sake of your pets.