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Serving Vancouver Island
In service since 2004

Fully Insured & Bonded
Pet First Aid Certified

Mick Howland KPA CTP
Professional Member of
VIATA (Vancouver Island
Animal Trainers Assocation)

Karin Howland:
IAABC Assoc Certified Dog Behavior Consultant
ABC Certified Dog Trainer
Certified Prof Pet Sitter (CPPS)
TTouch Practitioner 1
CASI Cert CBST



Contact: 
250-586-7387 (Office)

Parksville-Qualicum Beach, BC
                     
Email:
info@petsstayhome.ca   
 

 

 

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
This section provides additional information on pet sitter services. If you need additional information, feel free to ask. 
Q.  Why have a contract?
QWhat is pet sitting?
QWhat should we look for when hiring a pet sitter?
Q
What should we look for when hiring a dog trainer?
Q.  Does a Pet Sitter need insurance and bonding?
Q.
  Does Pets Stay Home abide by standards?
QWhat experience and training does Pets Stay Home have in training & pet care?
Q.  Will Pets Stay Home share care with someone else?
Q.  What is Pet Sitting as provided by Pets Stay Home Training & Care?
Q.  Are there benefits to hiring Pets Stay Home?
Q.  What is required to use the Pets Stay Home pet sitter services?
Q.
  What is required to use the Pets Stay Home dog training services?
Q.  What happens if my pet should become ill while the in the care of Pets Stay Home?
Q.  Will an update be provided of how my pet is doing during my absence?
Q.  What is the "ready-key program"?
Q. 
What are the payment options?
Q.  Does Pets Stay Home offer dog daycare or boarding?
Q.  Does Pets Stay Home offer live-in pet care in the pet's home?
Q.  Does Pets Stay Home shovel snow in winter/mow the lawn in the summer?
Q. 
What pets has Pets Stay Home personally owned?
QDoes Pets Stay Home employ independent contractors?
QMy dog suffers from separation anxiety if I have to leave them alone.  Is there anything I can do?
Q.  Is Pets Stay Home listed in the MTS telephone directory?

Q. 
Please explain boarding vs pet sitting.
Q.  How much exercise does a dog need?
Q.  Will Pets Stay Home walk my dog off-leash?
Q.  Will I still need to have my pets vaccinated if I use Pets Stay Home?

Why have a contract?

A contract defines expectations for both parties. The contract is written up before the service begins and it gives an opportunity to discuss what is needed. It helps prevent misunderstandings. For example, if you want certain areas of the home closed off to pets, special feeding instructions, visit times, etc. then ensure that is all written into the contract. Make sure you define what your pet's needs are, and of course, know what the full cost of the service will be prior to signing off on the agreement.
Basically, define who will do what. Cover all the bases and make informed decisions.

What is pet sitting?
Pet sitting, according to Pet Sitters International, is typically defined as pet care in a client's home. Your pet is in the comfort of their own home with their usual meals, sights, sounds and routine.  These visits also provide an important measure of crime deterrence as your home is checked regularly.  

Wikipedia has defined pet sitting as "A pet sitter is a contracted service provider who takes care of a pet in its own home." Read the full Wikipedia definition at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pet_sitting

What should we look for when hiring a pet sitter?
On the business side:  insurance and bonding, and a business license.
The insurance must be insurance created specifically for pet sitters / dog walkers. This provides Care, Custody and Control of pets in the care of the sitter or dog walker, and for damage in your home. ASK for PROOF of this insurance. The insurance companies will provide multiple certified copies of the policy to the business owner, and either the original or a certified copy should be available for you to see at the meet and greet.
The business license isn't an option in the city of Parksville. It is required.

On the practical side:  Pet First Aid, an emergency plan and a backup plan.
There are a number of other things to look for too that we didn't mention in the interview -  memberships in professional organizations, what records the service maintains on your pets, references.

What should we look for when hiring a dog trainer?
There are many things to check when hiring a dog trainer. What training does the trainer have? If the trainer has taken a course, is that all they have as knowledge? Owning dogs helps but it really doesn't provide the depth of knowledge that trainers need. Watching TV trainers doesn't provide much except techniques that should not be used. Don't believe everything you read on the web. Embellished credentials abound on the web. What experience does the trainer have? How long has the trainer been training? What methods does the trainer use? Do they understand what LIMA means?

Does a Pet Sitter need insurance and bonding?
Pet sitter insurance covers your pet and home while in the care of the pet sitter - the care, custody and control. Policies include lost key coverage as well.
As professional pet sitting has been around for more than 25 years, insurance policies are available specifically for this type of business. Pet sitter insurance provides protection in many different areas to the client's home and the pet.
Liability coverage is “negligence insurance” and covers expenses should the caregiver have an accident and damage the client’s property or do something that results in harm to the pets. 
Bonding is a part of the insurance and of course it protects the you, the pet owner, for the stranger coming into your home.
Pets Stay Home Training & Care is fully insured and bonded.  This policy will be available for you to see at the introductory meeting along with other relevant business-related identification.


Does Pets Stay Home abide by standards?

Pets Stay Home Training & Care is committed to providing exceptional care that will exceed your expectations.  We are committed to professionalism.  We maintain memberships with professional organizations and abide by the standards and ethics of organizations such as the Pet Professional Guild, Karen Pryor Academy, and the TTouch Guild.

What experience and training does Pets Stay Home have in training & pet care?
1.  We have over 40 years of experience in pet parenting.  We have owned many dogs, cats, birds and smaller animals.  
2.  We participated in obedience training (over 20 years) and in CKC competitive obedience trials.
3.  We attend conferences, workshops, complete certifications so that we have a well rounded educational background and to remain current.

4.  Karin has completed many training courses. She is an ABC Certified Dog Trainer, an Assoc Certified Dog Behaviour Consultant, TTouch Practitioner 1, and continues to learn more.
5.  Mick is a graduate of the Karen Pryor Academy. He is a Karen Pryor Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP) in good standing.
6.  We completed training in pet first aide.
7.  Finally, we have practical experience working with clients and their pets. We will work with difficult cases and strive to find solutions.
See
Training for a full list of experience and training.

Will Pets Stay Home share pet care?
Yes. There are times when you may want a family member to check in on your pets or have partial care by someone else. We respect those choices and will work with the other provider of care to your pet. However, we do expect that person to communicate with us. There are certain sharing options we will not accept - every-other-day sharing will be declined.

What is Pet Sitting as provided by Pets Stay Home Training & Care?
Our pet sitting service provides care for your pets in your own home when you are away either for the day or for longer periods.  Your pets will continue to have their regular pampering, brushing, medicine, gourmet meals or whatever your usually provide.  In your absence, the only thing that your pets will miss is you, and your pet will happily greet you when you return home.

Are there benefits to hiring Pets Stay Home?

Absolutely!  There are a number of benefits.  Here are just a few.  
1.  You save time.  You only need to make one call to let us know that you need our services.  See our Services section for other services we provide. 
2.  Your pets stay in their own familiar, comfortable environment.
3.   If you are a dog owner, your pet will be exercised.  Arrangements can be made for multiple walks during the day and evening.
4.  Your home appears lived in - a crime deterrent.
5.  It's convenient.  You won't need to impose on neighbours, family and friends who may not be available or worse, may forget.
   
6.  Your pets receive unhurried love and attention. A comment we frequently hear is how relaxed the pets are when the family returns home. 
7.  We engage the pets in play so that they are mentally and physically challenged. Okay, so we spoil them a bit too, but that's part of it, isn't it?

What is required to use the Pets Stay Home pet sitter services?
Call us or send an email.  We will then arrange an introductory meeting to meet you and your pet(s).  This no-obligation introductory meeting is to ensure that your requirements are recorded, mutual agreement has been reached, and that we had had an opportunity to meet your pet(s).
 

What is required to use the Pets Stay Home dog training services?
We ask that you pre-fill a History Questionnaire and email back to us. We then schedule a visit to meet you and your dog.

What happens if my pet should become ill while the in the care of Pets Stay Home?
During our introductory meeting we will discuss emergency procedures regarding your pet.  A veterinary release form is part of the required paperwork that we will go over with you.  It is required that you have an ongoing relationship with a veterinarian for your pets. 

Will an update be provided of how my pet is doing during my absence?
We would be pleased to provide this to you.  We will provide updates on how your pet is doing by email or through other means.  We will also supply other reports which we will discuss during the introductory meeting.

What is the "ready-key program"?
The optional "ready-key program" ensures that with one phone call prior to your departure, whether on a business trip or other reasons, your pets and home will be looked after.  The ready-key program is especially convenient for those who need to travel on business on short notice.  We keep a key on file of your home.  The ready-key program is free, and you only pay when our services are needed - whether once a week or once every couple of months.  For your security, your keys will never be stored or have an identifying label with your address.  We will discuss our privacy and security measures with you.

What are the payment options?
We accept payment by cash, cheque and credit cards (VI, MC, AE).

If you prefer to use PayPal, use the link on our site.

If you prefer to not use PayPal, and wish to use a credit card, we will process it with a reader.

Does Pets Stay Home offer dog daycare or boarding?
No, we do not. All services are in your home.

Does Pets Stay Home offer overnight pet care in the pet's home?
Yes, we do. We stay overnight and visit during the day as well.

Does Pets Stay Home shovel snow in winter/mow the lawn in the summer?
NO. We will sweep the steps, however we do recommend that you hire a snow removal service. We have a snow removal service for our own home and recognize that the work that they do is a separate service. Our goal is to provide care for your pets and to ensure your home looks lived in.

In the summer we will water your plants outside (gardens and greenhouses extra), but again, one of the yard services will ensure your lawn is mowed and your yard is beautiful.  They bring their own equipment so that yours remains unused.

What pets has Pets Stay Home personally owned?
Currently our family includes Polly, a rescue from Hull's Haven Border Collie Rescue. She is a Border Collie/Am Bulldog X. Scout, a Golden, passed away from cancer in 2013. Deke, a Golden, passed away in 2007. Prior to Deke, we had Tuke, also a Golden.  Tuke was trained in hand signals to work out in the field to do what he loved to do - retrieving.  Also, Joey, a cockatiel, was a member of the family for over 22 years.  We had Mika - a rescued cat, Prince - a rescued dog, Koko - a chocolate lab, and many other large and small pets over the years.   

Does Pets Stay Home employ independent contractors?
No.  Pets Stay Home is a family-owned and operated service. All consultations, pet services, and dog training services are handled by Karin and Mick Howland. However, we do have backup help when needed.

Our goal from the time we started in 2004 to today was, and still is, to remain small and personal, always providing the best that we can give. For that reason, and for your peace of mind, we limit the number of services we will do in a day so that we can provide the time and attention to detail that pets in our care need. When we are unable to accept new clients we are pleased to provide you with names of other service providers that we network with.

My dog suffers from separation anxiety.  Is there anything I can do?
We do work with dogs that have separation issues.  In fact we may be able to help. It all depends on the severity of the distress and the protocols that would need to be followed.

It is important, for many reasons, to teach your dog to be home alone.  Start teaching them when they are still young to spend time without you. 

My own dogs recognize the signals of when I am going out and they know they won't be going too.  When they see these signs they go to their beds and they know that they will have an opportunity for some quiet rest.  

Is Pets Stay Home listed in the Yellow Pages?
We sure are!  We are listed in the Parksville, BC telephone directory yellow pages under Pet Sitting Services.  On the online yellow pages you will find us under a couple of categories: Dog Training and Pet Sitting Services.

Boarding vs pet sitting - please explain.
The dogs that are better off being boarded are the ones that become bored quickly, those that cause damage by chewing, or those that need to be kept in crates because they haven't been trained yet. Keeping a dog in a crate for 20 or more hours a day is not fair to that pet and we discourage it, however if the safety of the dog is compromised when it is left loose then crating is necessary. Reasonable use of crating is encouraged, however, with plenty of exercise breaks.

Other pets do very well at home. Most cats do very well in their own home environment. Dogs that don't need to be confined also do very well. But even better, is when there is more than one pet in the home and they keep each other company.

Dogs and cats need mental stimulation and that is accomplished through exercise, play and interaction with humans. It is important to ensure that your pets receive enough stimulation each day.

How much exercise does a dog need?
There are a number of articles on the web regarding the required/suggested exercise for adult dogs.  Some say a minimum of 20 minutes a day of some activity that provides either aerobic or anaerobic activity for the muscles.  As it is actually possible to over-exercise dogs they need to be monitored and, of course, follow the advice of your vet and breeder. However, one exception is exercising puppies. Puppies need short bursts of exercise rather than sustained walking. Their needs are different. Also, their resistance to disease is lower until they have had their 3rd set of shots. Disease such as Parvovirus is present in the soil and unfortunately, it is very contagious.

Will Pets Stay Home walk my dog off-leash?
No.  For their safety all dogs are walked on a leash.  

Will I still need to have my pets vaccinated if I use Pets Stay Home?
There are many diseases and using a pet sitter will not ensure that your pet will not be exposed.  We ask that all cats and dogs be regularly examined by a vet, and we suggest that you follow your veterinarian's recommendations on vaccinations. There are always exceptions to the rule such as elderly pets and indoor cats.

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Email:  info@petsstayhome.ca           Telephone:  250-586-7387 (Parksville, BC)   
Copyright © 2004-2017 Pets Stay Home.   All rights reserved.
Revised: February 14, 2017