You’re far away from home, visiting family, or perhaps on your dream holiday, when the phone rings. You hear the voice of a frantic family member, telling you your vet just called and your beloved pet has been hurt.
Questions race through your mind. What happened? Why didn’t the pet sitter you hired call you? What’s going on?
A nightmare scenario for any pet owner.
But, it was reality for Alison Anderson whose beloved Greyhound was hit by a car, subsequently losing her leg, while being watched by a pet sitter. Anderson found the sitter through an online directory, which connected her with what it promised was a trusted, experienced pet sitter.
The first day Anderson was gone, her Greyhound, Beth, was hit by a car. The online directory, Holidog, claims the financial responsibility for Beth’s injuries were squarely on Anderson, who had failed to purchase the insurance it offered. The pet sitter, responsible for caring for Beth, simply disappeared, leaving Anderson with a sky high veterinarian bill.
Read Anderson’s story here.
Anderson’s story is a tale of caution. Here’s why you should always proceed with extreme care when considering hiring a pet sitter you’ve found in an online directory.
An online directory is NOT a company.
No matter how the online directory sells itself, it is not a company. It is only an online directory and, as evidenced in Anderson’s case, it will not accept liability for any problems that arise. Professional pet sitting companies and professional pet sitters will have liability insurance and can provide you with evidence of that insurance. Insurance provides you with peace of mind that you will not be out thousands of pounds, like Anderson was, should something happen to your pet or to your home.
Don’t expect the same protection from an online directory as from a professional pet sitting service.
A professional pet sitting company has insurance to protect both you and it. But, a professional pet sitting service, like Pet Sitters Ireland, also assigns all primary pet sitters a secondary pet sitter, who will fill in in case your original pet sitter gets sick or has an emergency. You will receive a phone call from Pet Sitters Ireland, not from a frantic family member or friend, in case of an emergency with your pet or with your home.
Do you really know the pet sitter to who the online directory refers you?
An online directory may claim that it vets all of the pet sitters it lists, but does it really? Or is there simply a fee for being listed in the directory? If you contact a pet sitter you’ve found on or have been referred to by an online directory, ask the prospective pet sitter plenty of probing questions, including whether or not that person has insurance, her experience, and references. Contact all references and do an online search to see if anyone is talking about this particular pet sitter.
Be careful when considering a pet sitter you have found in an online directly. Anderson ultimately had to pay thousands of pounds on veterinarian care and to return home, ending her holiday before it had a chance to start. And her greyhound suffered the trauma of being hit by a car and her life was permanently altered when her leg was amputated.
Have you ever hired a pet sitter from an online directory? What was your experience like? Tell us!