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Pet sitters offer invaluable services during emergencies

by Therese on July 9, 2009

in Dog walking, Pet Sitting

dog-walker-courtneyWhen Christie Keith’s mom was hospitalized recently, she called on a professional pet sitter / dog walker to take care of her dogs Kyrie and Rebel while she spent time with her mom. Her pet sitter went above and beyond to make sure the dogs were well cared for and to give Christie peace of mind so she could concentrate on her mom.

The last thing anyone wants to worry about in the middle of a family crisis is a pet. When my mom, who has been struggling with breast cancer, was rushed to the emergency room and admitted to the hospital two weeks ago after suffering severe pain in her sternum, I didn’t have a thought to spare for anything but her.

But 14 hours later, somewhere around midnight, as I looked around her hospital room in a daze, I realized I had to do something about my dogs Rebel and Kyrie, who had been home alone without access to the yard since early morning.

“I have to go home and walk the dogs,” I whispered to my mom, who was lying in a bed connected to machines. “I’ll be right back.” She loves the dogs as much as I do, so she just nodded and lightly squeezed my hand.


Fortunately, I already had a dog walker I knew I could count on. Courtney Guntner, who runs San Francisco’s The Whole Pet dog walking and pet sitting business, had walked Rebel and Kyrie many times before when I was out of town. She knew their little quirks, I trusted her, and she had a key to my house.

For the next week, as my family and I took care of our mom, Courtney walked the dogs every day, leaving me a detailed written report of each outing on the kitchen counter. She told me where they went on their walks, how active each dog was, and what treats she gave them after their walks. She alerted me when Rebel started seeming depressed (probably because my mom and I had all but vanished from his life), offered to feed them or run errands if I needed it, and even made a copy of my house key to replace the one I’d given my brother.

Read the rest of Christie’s article: Family crisis, family pets – How to make sure the dogs get walked and the cats get fed when personal catastrophe strikes

Christie and I talked earlier in the week about her experience with Courtney and I was happy to hear she had someone she could rely on. I went through the whole hospital thing with my mom and I know what a huge relief it can be to have a good pet sitter to call on. From what I’ve seen, there are many pet sitters who are willing to help and go the extra mile when needed. In general, they tend to be a pretty sensitive bunch, and truly do care about their clients – humans and pets. As a result they’re eager to help in times of crisis and want to be sure their clients’ pets are well cared for. So, if you have pets, a pet sitter or dog walker is a good person to get to know!

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