Sitters happy to spoil other people's pets
THE busiest time of the year, Christmas, is just around the corner for pet sitters.
Many retirees are finding they can indulge their love of pets and earn more than a few dollars at the same time.
Catherine Tucker, spokeswoman for PetCloud, says many pets, particularly dogs, are social animals and can get very lonely if left at home alone while their owners are away for the holidays.
"That can then manifest into destructive behaviour such as excessive barking, digging and escapism,” she said.
"A pet sitter will be able to provide your pet with personal attention as well as mental and physical stimulation to keep them happy, healthy and relaxed while you're away.
"Many baby boomers don't have the funds to retire but PetCloud allows an affordable and flexible way to supplement their incomes and get job satisfaction.”
PetCloud is an expanding, nationwide organisation which connects pet owners with loving pet carers - like the Airbnb accommodation website, but for pets.
Pet sitter Debbie Taylor left her 20-year career in pharmacy to run her at-home pet sitting business in Queensland.
"I'm 57 years old this year, and I have the best job in the world,” she said.
"I registered with PetCloud in May 2016 after attending the RSPCA Million Paws Walk at Southbank as both our dogs are former RSPCA dogs, one being an abuse case.
"I decided my dream job had just found me.”
Debbie set up her basic profile on the PetCloud website.
"I applied for a voluntary police background check and registered to enrol in the RSPCA accredited pet-minding course,” she said.
"Both have fees to complete but also give pet owners peace of mind by showing my commitment to their pets' care and also show as badges on my profile.
"I look after both dogs and cats, and I have a listing to care for 'others' which includes birds, fish, guinea pigs, etcetera. Although I have had no inquiries for those pets, I leave the service available on my listing in case an owner may require emergency care.”
Debbie has a swag of stories about her pet-sitting experiences.
"I've slept in the bedrooms with pets scared of storms and had one sleep in the bed with me because he missed his parents badly - he had never been away from his owners and had lost his mate a few months prior,” she said.
"I have met some lovely pets, some extremely well-trained, well-behaved, funny, sooky, smart and just plain cute.
"My youngest booking was just 11 weeks old and the oldest 18 years old.
"One sweet guy had a three-course meal at night just like his pet parents requested, because of tummy problems.
"My pharmacy training has been an advantage when reading labels and administering eye drops, tablets and medication as directed by vets.
"The advantage of using PetCloud for pet owners is knowing that, in my home, their pet is treated as part of my family and any directions they give me will be followed exactly.
"Pets have their own fully furnished bedroom with ceiling fan and can even watch TV on the couch if their parents allow.”
Debbie even posts photos and updates in the message section on the PetCloud platform to keep owners informed.
Pet sitter Jolie Wheeler, also in Queensland, jumped at the chance to run her own business, at times to suit her.
"I retired from the corporate world after 45 years,” she said.
"I had minded my friends' dogs for a long time and, after my beloved Jett passed away after 18 years, I didn't feel I could replace him, but I kept minding dogs to fill the gap.
"I only look after dogs, however I am passionate about all creatures great and small.
"I am blessed to have minded the most beautiful dogs ... and they keep coming back.
"People tend to take more holidays when they know their pooch has a second home with a trusted minder. I have regular day care dogs, as well as dogs who stay longer and the dogs love to see each other.
"I have also made some wonderful friends with the parents who I would never have met.”
PetCloud provides the online platform to link up the pet sitter and pet owner.
A small percentage of income goes to the RSPCA.
"Petcloud also provides support, privacy and learning courses of choice,” Jolie said.
"I receive a booking request showing a photo and details of the dog looking for a minder.
"If I feel I could mind the pooch, it is only then that I give the owner my contact details and arrange a 'meet and greet' so we can all meet and the owners can check out my backyard, etcetera, and I can judge if it all feels right. If not, I can decline the booking.
"PetCloud makes it easy for pet owners to locate a trusted sitter in their area.
"You can find minders, walkers, pet taxi service, as well as home visits and stays if required.”
Any pet owners looking for the perfect pet sitter, go to www.petcloud.com.au.