5 Important Questions When Hiring A Professional Pet Sitting Service

** Guest post by Amber Kingsley**

Recently we posted an infographic on travelling tips for hitting the road with your pooch, but sometimes it’s just not possible to take them along with us in every instance. In these situations, it’s often best to leave them at home with a professional pet sitter.

This alleviates many worries, everything from helping to avoid separation anxiety by keeping them in a familiar setting, to giving them freedom from being trapped inside a crate, cage or kennel situation. When you’re considering bringing a sitting service into your home to care for your beloved pet, you should ask them some very important questions:

#1 – Why are you a pet sitter?

This may seem like an open-ended or unnecessary inquiry, but think of it this way: Is pet sitting something that is a passion for them or just a way to profit from pets? This simple question could find out if they’re truly a service that cares for animals or just a front for some quick canine cash.

#2 – Is there information available online?

If you’ll be using a service, you certainly want one that’s reputable and has a place you can access online where you can meet their team of animal experts. A company that’s committed to canines and cats should at least show some pictures of their staff interacting with animals to show they’re truly qualified to care for your beloved pet.

#3 – What about other services?

Will your pet sitter do more than simply feed your animal? What about exercise, walking, playing and interacting with your best friend? Do they have the ability to stay overnight with your animal if that’s necessary?

#4 – Do they have a protocol in place in case of an emergency?

While this seems like a no brainer, it’s still an important question to ask. While you’re sure to leave your veterinarian’s contact information with them, what happens if a problem occurs outside of normal business hours or your vet is unavailable? What is an alternative plan?

#5 – How can I communicate with you?

While you’re away, you’ll want to reach the person in charge of your pet’s care and not get the run around from an answering service. Will you have the caregiver’s direct contact number?

Can you text or email them with questions or concerns?

For more information on this important topic, see this infographic on “Picking the Right Pet Sitter for Your Dog.” See all the facts and stats associated with this valuable service so you’ll feel more secure leaving your dog in someone else’s care while you’re away.

Dog-Friendly Lodging in Vancouver – The Pinnacle Hotel

If you’re seeking a pet-friendly place to stay in Vancouver, British Columbia, situated on a paved trail that leads to all the outdoorsy joys of Stanley Park, look no further than the Pinnacle Hotel on Hastings Street. We stayed here in late November and paid $150 per night for two queen-sized beds and an inspiring view of the water and mountains.

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This view is even prettier at night, however I lack nocturnal photography skills.

Considering that Vancouver is the most expensive city in North America, the Pinnacle seemed like a steal. We paid a one-time fee of $30 for Felix-the-staffie-mix to join us in the room, and $25 per day to park in the garage. With one Canadian dollar currently equaling .73 USD, this was a bargain. During the reliably-good-weather months of summer, the Pinnacle’s rates go up dramatically, although we had sunny conditions all four days of our November stay, so you might want to risk a winter trip to get the great rate. Continue reading “Dog-Friendly Lodging in Vancouver – The Pinnacle Hotel”

Five Faces to Meet at Town Lake Animal Center

Austin Animal Center houses 60 pups at their Town Lake Animal Center overflow shelter. Co-located with Austin Pets Alive! downtown near the hike and bike trail (1156 Cesar Chavez), all the AAC TLAC dogs are spayed, neutered, vaccinated, and ready to take home immediately!

Here a few of the precious faces that  would love for you to take them out to one of the center’s four spacious play yards for a visit. Don’t forget that we offer 10% discounts to anyone who adopts from Austin Animal Center, Austin Pets Alive!, and Austin Humane Society.

All photos below were shot by longtime AAC Volunteer/Homeless Dog Hero, Devon Steiner.
Bjorn (because a Scandanavian name is suitable for a Texan dog)

Continue reading “Five Faces to Meet at Town Lake Animal Center”

Using a Cat-Detection Dog to Find a Lost Feline

After plastering flyers around the neighborhood, posting on all the state’s lost pet forums and Craigslist, setting out a humane cat trap, updating my contact information with Home Again microchip, and going on daily walks with my dog through the area, I decided to hire a cat detection canine to look for Lomé.

Cat Detection Dog

Because 10 days had passed since Lomé was lost, his scent wasn’t strong enough for a sniffing dog to track. Instead, we used a dog trained to point at any cat or cat-related scents in the area. For $250 and three hours of service, Mu-the-Cat-Detection-Dog combed the vast ravine into which Lomé bolted two weeks ago. There are no trails through this ravine, which made slogging through it unpleasant. Western Washington is a beautiful place to hike on groomed trails, but its dense underbrush consists of thorny blackberry bushes, rotting tree limbs, ferns galore, dense ivy and ankle-turning holes made by mountain beavers. I love hiking and camping, but wading through this mossy jungle for hours was not a blast.

Continue reading “Using a Cat-Detection Dog to Find a Lost Feline”

White Cat Lost in Bellevue, Washington – $300 Reward for His Return

I adopted Lomé-the-Cat in August 2005. Exactly ten years later, August 2015, he disappeared.

Lomé was my first friend in Austin. I adopted him a few weeks after moving to the city for grad school at UT. It was my first time renting a place alone, and I was excited about adopting my own cat from the shelter. Animal Control picked up Lomé as a stray without a microchip, but the fact that he was front declawed and gregarious indicated he had previously lived indoors.

Feline Longhorns fan.

Continue reading “White Cat Lost in Bellevue, Washington – $300 Reward for His Return”

Adopt This Rad Running Buddy from Austin Animal Center

** Oreo was adopted at long last!!**

This oreo-colored cutie is Roscoe, who was recently featured in the Huffington Post for his extremely-long stay at Austin Animal Center (AAC). Despite being stunning, sweet, healthy and happy, Roscoe has been a shelter inmate for more than 500 days! He’s managed to maintain his mental health despite limited potty breaks, playtime or walks during the excessive amount of life he’s spent in a concrete kennel.

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Get fit with a friend!

Today is National Running Day, and we would like to recommend Roscoe as your running buddy. Shelter dogs have helped us get and stay in shape, and they can do the same for you! There is nothing more motivating than a Canine Fitness Coach smiling enthusiastically while you exercise together. Roscoe hopes you’ll visit him at AAC’s Town Lake Animal Center location (1156 Cesar Chavez), fall in love and become running buddies!

Tips for Air Travel with Pets

**This guest post is by Allison Luxenberg, also known as The Austin Optimist, whose much-loved Rottweilers we’ve watched for years. We also want to mention that Delta now offers a GPS tracking device for pets on flights so human travelers can be aware of the location, temperature and condition of their pets during the journey. Read more here.**

Five years ago I flew my Rottweiler from Los Angeles to Florida for a dog show. I was so terrified; there was no amount of Bloody Mary at LAX to numb my fears.  At the special animal check-in they had to scan my dog to make sure he was not smuggling in any drugs; treats were alright though. Then they sent him on his merry way, in his crate, down a conveyor belt into the cargo holding area. I lost it. I cried so much the attendant felt so bad she actually let me back in the area to see where he would stay until he boarded and let me meet the people who were handling him so I could tell them he was a nice boy and ask them to handle with care.

Continue reading “Tips for Air Travel with Pets”