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Policies

Policies and Procedures

Consultation Visit  At this visit we can get to know each other to make sure both parties are the right fit, answer questions, and tour your home while discussing detailed instructions on how to care for your pets. This required meeting will be scheduled at least 1 week prior to service.

  • It is important you complete the online profile prior to our first meeting.
  • Two (2) copies of your house key must be provided at this time. We ask that you please test each key to ensure that it works properly. Please also provide any access fobs or codes necessary for entry into your community. If you do not have two copies, another can be created for a $5 charge.
  • Please note, your free consultation is performed by BCPS management. If you’d like to schedule a consultation with the professional performing your service, a $20 fee is required to compensate the sitter for their time.

Minimum Number of Visits for Vacationing Clients To best attend to the needs of your pets, we require a minimum of 2 visits per 24-hour period for all adult dogs, a minimum of 3 visits per 24-hour period for crated dogs and puppies under 1 year, and a minimum of 4 visits per day for puppies under 6 months. It is vet recommended that cats are visited no less than once every 24 hours. We may agree to every-other-day visits for healthy adult cats (with no history of urinary, diabetes, thyroid or other chronic illnesses). We may require more than these minimums for a particular pet if we feel it is necessary for the pet’s well-being. BCPS is trusted to always use best judgement in caring for pets.


Visit Time and Duration Due to traffic, emergencies and unexpected events, all visits are scheduled in time blocks. Morning visits for dogs are completed before 9:30AM. Preference is given to dogs and insulin-dependent cats. Daily Dog Walks will be completed between 11AM and 2:30PM. Training Walks may be completed between 10AM and 4PM unless otherwise arranged. Requested 60-min and 45-min visits may be adjusted as schedule allows. Overnight stays are typically 11 hours and start between 8PM and 9PM, ending between 7AM and 8AM the following morning.


Sitter Substitutions In order to provide the greatest amount of coverage and flexibility around our clients’ schedules, we will introduce two professional pet sitters to your account. Your pet’s sitter will typically remain consistent. However, in the event of our own vacations and personal days, we will introduce a new sitter. We are all professionals: skilled and insured, and we will have all of your directions to care for your pet properly. BCPS will always use our best judgement in sending a new sitter to meet your shy or anxious pet. You can get to know a little more about all of our sitters here.


Payment  Payment in full is due within 5 days of invoice date. We accept Checks, Cash, ACH and CC/Debit. Any outstanding balance is subject to a 20% late fee every 30 days. In the event your account has an outstanding balance past 30 days, we will not be able to schedule new service until account is paid in full. Any balance outstanding after 90 days will be turned over to a collection agency or suit filed in Small Claims Court. All accrued late fees, collection fees and/or court filing fees will be added to outstanding balance and are to be paid by client. There will be a $30 service charge for each returned check.


Cancellations  We understand that you may need to cancel your travel arrangements. However, late notice cancellations make it impossible to re-book time that was reserved to care for your animals.

  • 7 – 3 days’ notice prior to the start of service = 25% of the entire service up to $75.00.
  • 48 hours or less notice prior to the start of service = 50% of the entire service up to $150.00
  • 24 hours or less notice prior to the start of service = 100% of the entire service up to $300.00
    *Major holiday cancellation fees override.

We do not charge cancellation fees for daily walks cancelled prior to your requested time block. (We love you too) During the day we cannot guarantee that we will see any cancellations made after daily walks have begun. In the event that we show up to visit your pet, and a walk is not needed, a $10 “sitter compensation fee” will be assessed. Frequent cancellations forfeit any discounted rates.

  • Why do we have a cancellation policy?
  • We wouldn’t be where we are without our amazing  pet sitters and dog walkers, driving house-to-house morning, noon and night, often sleeping away from home for a large part of the summer. Rockstars, that’s what they are. Unsung heroes. We also know we have the very best clients the Bull City has to offer (we’re talking about you). Having a cancellation policy ensures that all parties will be treated in an equitable manner. Because there are a finite number of hours in a day and the demand for our (very personalized, time-intensive) services continues to grow, we book services weeks, sometimes months, in advance. When we take reservations it sets in motion a litany of events; contacting sitters to assure coverage availability, juggling multiple schedules, reassigning jobs, key pick-up/drop-off, etc. We take reservations on a first-come, first-served basis, and we do not overbook. Late notice cancellations make it impossible to re-book the time that was reserved to care for your animals. Imagine a job were the work you depended on to make a living could be cancelled at any moment with no pay. We want to keep all of our experienced pet sitters around for a very long time so we choose to pay them for services on their schedule that are cancelled short-notice. It’s the right thing to do. Our cancellation policies are the same for everyone. This transparency allows us to schedule clients who understand in advance that our cancellation policy is in place to be fair to all. We hope you understand and thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Refunds If you cancel services after making full payment, you will receive a credit to your account minus any applicable cancellation fees. If you request a refund to your credit card/bank account, we will retain a 5% service charge to cover the cost of bank/credit card processing fees. If service has commenced, and one or more visits are canceled due to your early return or change in schedule, no refund will be issued for those unused visits. Account credits do not expire.


Last Minute Requests Due to the work that goes into finding coverage and as an incentive for our sitters to give up their downtime, a $5 surcharge will be automatically added to single visits (excluding mid-day dog walks) scheduled within 24 hours. Last-minute, multiple visit requests are subject to a $5 charge per visit for the first 48 hours of your trip, up to $25. We understand that our clients may need emergency visits from time to time. While we are not a 24-hour, on-call service, we will always do our best to cover late notice schedule requests. Please note this service is based on the availability of our pet sitters.


Major Holidays Overnights  Due to the looong work days and the need to sleep in our own beds, BCPS does not schedule overnight stays during Thanksgiving and winter holidays.

Holiday Surcharges  A $5 surcharge will be applied to each visit scheduled on the following holidays: Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day & day after, Christmas Eve & Day and New Years Eve & Day. This surcharge compensates your sitter for working through their own holidays.

Holiday Cancellation Fees (Thanksgiving and winter holidays)

  • 14-7 days’ notice prior to the start of service = 25% of the entire service up to $150.00
  • 7-3 days prior to the start of service = 50% of the entire service up to $300.00
  • 3 days or less notice prior to the start of service = 100% of the entire service up to $500.00

Keys/Lockouts We encourage you to allow us to retain your key for future services. Keys are kept in a secured location and are coded for customer super-confidentially. Your name or address is never attached to a key. Keys can be returned after your travels for a $10 delivery fee. Avoid this charge by allowing us to keep a key on file, so future travels can be scheduled with ease.Please check the keys you plan to provide to BCPS to ensure they will open your door. In the event that we need a locksmith to gain entry into your home due to the malfunction of the lock, or failure to provide a functioning key to BCPS, it is your responsibility to reimburse BCPS for all costs incurred.


Security Systems Please make sure your security system is in good operating condition before leaving town. BCPS is not liable for any charges resulting from the malfunction of a security system or inadequate profile details. Please provide alarm passcode, password, setting instructions and alarm company phone number whether you intend to set your alarm or not. It is preferred that you set up a separate entry/exit code and emergency passcode just for BCPS and please let your alarm company know that this code is for your pet sitting service. BCPS will not depend on contact with you to gain access to your home each time we visit.


Secured Communities Keys and fobs may be checked out from the front desk, however, the length of visit will be affected by the amount of time it takes for the the sitter to be provided with access to the home. The sitter will report this and deduct up to 10 minutes of your visit time. If waiting time is up to 15 minutes, we will contact you and let you know of the additional charge for an extended visit.


Shared Pet Care/Property Access To avoid situations such as overfeeding, missed feedings, incorrectly set alarms, unlocked doors and (heaven forbid) lost pets, any introduction of other caretakers into your household during your absence will result in our immediate inability to continue care. If you think your situation is unique, please contact us prior to your departure and we’ll be happy to discuss it with you.

While we understand that circumstances arise necessitating additional individuals’ presence in your home, we require advance notice of such a circumstance in order to determine a mutually agreeable course of action to minimize BCPS’ liability for potential actions taken by visitors to your home. We cannot grant entry to third party vendors (housekeepers, service repairmen, etc.), nor can we manage pets while these people are in your home. It’s awkward and sometimes it doesn’t feel safe. Not cool.


Outside Pets We urge you to keep pets indoors while we are watching them. BCPS reserves the right to adjust visit routines based on extreme weather (i.e., thunderstorms, extreme heat, extreme cold, etc.). Additional visits may be added to bring pets inside at pet sitter’s discretion.


Containment of Pets BCPS will not accept clients whose dogs are chained or tethered in any way. BCPS will not be responsible for the safety nor liable for the death, injury, disappearance or legal consequences of any pet with unsupervised access to the outdoors. BCPS will not leave dogs unattended in electric or invisible fencing. (This isn’t about liability. We just worry.)


Loss of Animal BCPS strongly encourages you to maintain legible and accurate identification on all pets, even if not normally provided access to the outdoors. Please insure that any animal, which may be quick to spring from the premise upon the opening of a door or gate, is additionally restrained from the exit (i.e. crate, internal door, etc.). We all have a solid Sideways Shuffle but, if you have a particularly wily cat, BCPS can not be held responsible for the loss of such pet.


Dog Walking Equipment All dog walkers working with BCPS are committed to force-free methods and will not use prong, choke or shock collars. If you currently use these tools, BCPS will will loan you our favorite gear and offer a free Loose-Leash Walking lesson. (Contact us, if we don’t contact you first!) We will no longer be using retractable leashes due to safety hazards and lack of control. Each walker will have a 6’ leash to use in the event you do not own one. We ask that you please ensure that all harnesses and collars are free from tears and properly fitted to avoid your dog slipping out.


The above are important highlights of the Service Agreement. The agreement, in its entirety, is found within the Client Profile Management System once the account has been created.