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Tucker House offers tips on finding a petsitter

Cats like to stay home
You’re going on vacation? I think I’ll pass.

Make your dream vacation a dream for your pet, as you prepare to head for Tucker House Inn at Friday Harbor.

Some pets love to travel; we have all heard stories about the motorcyclist whose terrier likes to sit in his lap as they motor down the highway, and animal rights activist Cleveland Amory, who took his pet cat Polar Bear, on worldwide travels. Here at the  Tucker House, on San Juan Island, we love animals, love to pamper them as much as we do our human guests, but we recognize that some pets do NOT have travelling on their bucket list.

We offer these tips to you in case your pet would rather stay at home with their familiar surroundings. Hiring a house/pet sitter is an important process in creating a stress-free atmosphere for your beloved pet while you are away on vacation.

When to Start Looking?  As soon as you have your travel dates! The best house sitters are booked months in advance, and you will want the best.

What are you looking for?  Is your sitter going to stay the night or just stop in to feed and water the animals? Clear expectations are critical, and it will help you to consider making a list of your needs.

Where do you look?  First, ask your friends, fellow frequent travelers, and your veterinarian. If there are no results, check out classified ads at a local pet store.

What do they charge?  House sitters set their own rates, and those rates are based on how many animals, walking times, overnight stays, etc.  Because you have already taken the time to outline your expectations and have your dates, you should be able to get a price quote in the first phone call.

What next?  The sitter should provide you with three references, and you should call those references. If that all goes well, set up a meeting with the sitter, yourself, and your animals at your house. Trust your instincts and those of your pets when interacting with the potential sitter. Set up a second visit a week before your departure, to go over everything in detail. Lastly, call your sitter the day before you leave, just to ensure all is in place.

How do I prepare?  An experienced sitter will probably have their own checklist, but here are some of the subjects you need to cover before you catch that plane: Plenty of pet food on hand? Where do you want the sitter to sleep if it is a stay over? When does the trash get picked up at your house? Does the sitter need to water plants, get the mail or newspaper, start the family car, put out bird feed? Who can the sitter call if there is an emergency at the house? Can the sitter use the family computer while you are gone? More information is better than not enough.

Once you find a responsible and caring pet sitter, offer to serve as a reference. Stay in touch, by email or a call every couple of months – and tell your friends about this sitter. A busy house sitter will stay in the business and therefore be there for your next trip away! If you decide to bring Fido and need a pet sitter for an afternoon outing, let us know, there are some great resources in Friday Harbor.



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