What happened this past weekend at the Green Acre Kennel in Gilbert is a tragedy. Over 20 dogs perished after an irresponsible and unprofessional business left way too many dogs in a 10 X 10 laundry room. Still under investigation, it is believed that the dog(s) chewed the wire to the air conditioning unit that was in the window, sparking a fire or electrocution to the dogs that were trapped in that small room.
Our article yesterday about Lessons We Can Learn had over 1500 hits and today we hope to continue that education by expressing why, you, as a pet Mom or Dad should NOT be afraid to leave your pets this 4th of July weekend. Reading through all the comments on FB I have seen pet owners make remarks like:
“This is why I will never go on a vacation. I don’t trust anyone to leave my pets with.”
I understand 100% why any pet owner would be fearful after hearing about an incident like this but I urge you to arm yourself with education and facts. Fear often comes from the unknown. In this instance it is the unknown of “Will my pet(s) be safe?” “Will the pet care provider treat them like their own?” and more…
As a pet care provider who has been operating in the Scottsdale area for over 12 years I wanted to offer up these tips for pet parents who are looking for pet care providers:
(1.) Not All Options Are Best For Every Pet.
Pets are just kids trapped in fur suits, right? So every pet is different. Knowing your pets needs will really help determine which solution is right for you.
Kennels - Dogs that get along with others. Adapt to different environments better than others. Are socialized and love to play in play groups. Don’t mind loud sounds or change of environment. Love car rides! Downside to this is pick up and drop off times outside of business hours and inability to get daily updates.
In Your Home Pet Sitting - Some only will eat when they are at home. Some are old and like to lay on their bed and have all the sights, smells, and sounds say home. Pets have a strict routine and like to be walked. Pets don’t like riding in the car or parents can’t get them in the car. Parents like to come home to their pets without having to transport them. This option will also offer the pet parent a peace of mind phone call, email, or text message with pictures each day. So go, enjoy your day on the beach knowing your pet is well cared for.
In Another Home Boarding - Some simply can’t stay home alone, but being in a facility isn’t a good option either. For these pets, in home boarding is usually a great option. Although, if doing the in home boarding, it is always important to know if it is private (only your pets) or group (other pets as well). How often the person will be home. Will the pets ever be unattended. What their back up plan is? How safe is their perimeter including pool gates and multiple barriers to help prevent escaping. Warning: It is better to go with a professional company who makes it their full time living than someone you can find on the internet doing this work on the side.
(2.) What Is The Business’ Reputation?
Article we wrote for national pet magazine.
Key word is BUSINESS. Are they listed with the state? Do they have insurance? What types? There is business liability insurance (in case anything happens and they are negligent) bonding (dishonesty), and workman’s compensation (if the worker gets hurt on the job). I can’t tell you how many pet care companies would appear to be professional but don’t hold the basic liability insurance. Although, please be aware that just because they have paid for it, doesn’t mean that they are automatically a great company. Just take a look what happened with this pet sitting company.
If you are looking for a pet care provider, ask your veterinarian. Do they know anyone personally? Would they leave their own pets with the business? Ask your friends on social media who they trust. Take a good look at the business’ website. Does it look like they have enough pride in creating a professional website or does it look like a 3rd grader did it? Do they answer their phone when you call? Are they easily accessible?
(3.) How Did You Feel After Your Meeting Or Tour?
We all have a 6th sense. Use it! When you toured the facility, met the pet sitter, or did a visit to the home that was going to be taking your dog in… how did you feel? What did it smell like, if it were a a facility? Was the pet sitter punctual and professional? Was the home clean and safe for dogs? Did you click with the person. Did you feel warm and fuzzy? Were you able to reach them when you needed them via phone or email? Did your pets like them? This is the toughest part of explain because it is more of a feeling.
(4.) What Is The Companies Training?
Anyone who is taking care of pets NEEDS to know about how they function and basic first aid care. No, growing up with pets or just “loving” pets does not qualify them either. Knowing what to look for to see if a pet is experiencing heat stroke, or what to do if they have heat exhaustion, or perhaps knowing what temperature is too to hot to walk them because it will burn the pads of their feet. If it isn’t hot, does the professional understand what other conditions to look for, like bloat? There is so much to know about pets and equally as much to know about running a pet care business. Any dog kennel facility should have training on canine body language and breaking up dog fights. Don’t be afraid to ask “What would you do?” questions and ask how and where they learned.
(5.) Research Online
One of your best defenses, I believe, is doing a google search on the business’ name. Find out how much has been written about them. Do they come up on multiple pages? Have they done things in their community? Won awards? Written blogs? Been published? Good reviews? Bad reviews? (A note about bad reviews… no one on this earth is perfect. I would be weary of a business who didn’t have ANY bad reviews, but how they reply to them matters. Don’t be afraid to ask them about the review either!) Google can’t lie and once it is online, it is there forever. Check their social media. Are they socially responsible? Their online footprint will tell you a lot about them.
Don’t Be Scared To Leave Town!
I can’t tell you the countless amounts of people who have called me with bad experiences from previous pet care decisions. It is a tough hill to climb once your trust has been broken. You want to do everything possible to prevent it. A good pet care professional should know and understand this if you express it to them. Heck, we do! In fact we have a ton of respect for those who really put us through the tough questions and not just say “Hi! I found you on Google, here are the keys to my house and my pets.” As a business owner, I WANT to prove our integrity to you and I would say that any serious business owner who cares about their business would feel the same way. Please, don’t let these tragic events sway you to never leave your pets again. We get clients on a monthly basis who call us with these exact fears, and we are able to turn them into raving fans.
If you are reading this and still have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I don’t care where you are in the valley or what types of pet care services you are looking for. If you would like help in making your decision or know if we would trust our own pets with the company you are considering… shoot me an email. I would love to hear from you. The contact form is to the right.