frequently asked questions

 

 
 

general

 
 

Do you have a referral program?

Yes, we do! For every referral you send our way that books services, we will credit your account $10. There is NO limit on the number of referral credits!

What areas do you cover?

We currently cover the greater Auburn/Opelika, Alabama area. We have a service map listed here. Contact us at 334-758-0033 if you have any questions regarding our service area.

Do you provide references?

We do not provide direct references in order to protect the privacy of our existing clients. Instead, view our glowing reviews on Facebook, Yelp and Google for unsolicited reviews of our services.

How long have you been in business?

We have been professional pet sitters since 2004. Our original business, Sitter Solutions, was started in Upstate New York and successfully operated there until 2010 when we relocated to Auburn, AL. We started Sitting Pretty in 2013 and have loved every minute since!

What are your office hours?

Our office hours are 8 am - 6 pm Monday through Friday and by appointment on the weekends. If you contact us before 5 pm, we will be in touch with you the same day; otherwise we will be in touch the next business day. Emails are the best way to contact us, as we routinely check our inbox throughout the day and evening. We always respond to emergency calls, texts, and emails as soon as they are received.

Why should I use Sitting Pretty's services rather than boarding my pets?

For most pets, being transported to an unfamiliar facility filled with strange animals, sights, smells and schedules, is very stressful. Often pets won't eat for extended periods of time and are exposed to diseases and bad behaviors carried by other boarders (such as kennel cough). Sadly, these behaviors and illnesses can follow your pet home, leading to additional stress for you and your pet. When you use our home boarding or pet sitting services, you don't have to worry about transporting your pet to and from a boarding kennel (pet taxi service is available for home boarding), and your pet will be kept in a home environment where they are more comfortable.

Do you board pets of care for them in their home?

We offer both services! Take a look here for more information.

Why should I choose Sitting Pretty for my pet care needs?

We provide a wide range of services to meet your every need. From care updates every time we visit your pets, to emergency care, transportation and nail trims, we have you covered. We have decades of combined pet care experience and are licensed, insured and bonded with Pet First Aid and CPR training. All of our employees are extensively trained and love caring for our client's pets!

What are professional pet sitters?

Professional pet sitters care for your pets in the comfort of their natural environment, your home. They are serious about the well-being and safety of your pets and, as such, are licensed, insured and bonded. They often have additional certifications such as Pet CPR and First Aid as well. We are licensed, insured and bonded and have been trained on many topics including Pet CPR and First Aid. Click here to learn more about what makes us different!

What kind of pets do you care for?

We care for pets of all shapes and sizes! From cats and dogs to cattle, horses, sheep, reptiles, fish, and hamsters. We have never turned down caring for a client's pets based on their breed. (We love pit bulls and other bully breeds!) We do not provide care for venomous or poisonous species due to safety concerns for our employees and home-boarding specialists. We are also unable to provide care for pets that are aggressive or have a bite history.

How do I know how my pets are doing while I am away?

Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Services

We provide you with visit updates by email or text immediately after each visit is concluded. Each update contains detailed notes on how the visit went and what we did during that time, a picture of one or more of your pets and GPS check in/out confirmation to show we were at your home caring for your pets. Additionally, we are available by phone call, text or email if additional updates are needed.

Home Boarding

Our boarding specialists will keep in touch with you via your preferred method of contact whether it be through your online account, phone call, text, email or written summary upon your return. Discuss your preferences with your boarding specialist during your meet and greet.

Can You give my pets medications?

Absolutely! We have experience in giving pets many types of oral, topical and injectable medications. Let us know what your pets need, and we will gladly accommodate them. There is NO extra charge for administering medication; however, a signed consent form is required.

 
 
 

services

 
 

Do you require vaccination records in order to provide services?

Home Boarding Services

The health and safety of your pets are very important to us, which is why we require your pets to be vaccinated against common diseases. We require that all cats and dogs (ferrets must also be vaccinated against rabies) have the following current vaccinations (rabies vaccination every 1 or 3 years, depending on the state) if they are over 6 months of age. Puppies and kittens under 6 months of age will require a signed release form prior to boarding if they aren't fully vaccinated. We recommend dogs also have the flu vaccine, but this does not require a signed waiver. All dogs and cats must be flea free, or they may be administered a Capstar to kill any fleas they carry upon arrival. This is to avoid the spread of fleas to other pets and our boarding specialists’ homes.

Dogs

  • Rabies
  • Bordetella (Kennel Cough)
  • *Distemper
  • *Hepatitis
  • *Adenovirus
  • *Parvovirus (Parvo)
  • *Parainfluenza

*These vaccines often administered together in a vaccination referred to as DHAPP.

**We also recommend Leptospirosis, Canine Influenza and Lyme Disease Vaccinations, if needed in your area.

Cats

  • Rabies
  • FeLV negative
  • FIV negative
  • *Viral Rhinotracheitis
  • *Calcivirus
  • *Panleukopenia

*These vaccines often administered together in a vaccination referred to as FVRCP.

**We also recommend Feline Leukemia vaccination, as many cats, especially kittens, are very susceptible to infection.

Submit vaccination records via email: info@sittingprettypetsitter.com.

All Other Services

We require proof of current rabies vaccination for cats, dogs, and ferrets older than 6 months (every 1 or 3 years, depending on the state), as applicable by local and federal regulations. We highly suggest having your pet up to date on all additional vaccinations. We will take extra safety and health precautions for pets that are too young to be vaccinated, and we always sanitize our footwear and hands before entering your property.

Submit vaccination via email: info@sittingprettypetsitter.com.

What should I do when I return home?

For our pet sitting clients, please call us to let us know you have returned home safely. For our home boarding clients, review any care notes your boarding specialist may have given you and contact us with any questions or concerns. All clients should check their pets and their living areas (pet sitting clients) to make sure everything is clean and orderly. If you are unhappy with anything, notify us immediately so we can address your concerns!

How do you keep my pets safe while I'm away?

We take many precautions to preserve the safety of your pets. First, we use the safest and most effective disinfectant available to sanitize our footwear and equipment, and we wash our hands before entering your property. Also, dogs are never allowed off leash (without signed consent) or unsupervised during our visits. We are also trained in Pet First Aid and CPR. We keep accurate records on your pets, their medical history and needs. Additionally, we follow your directions and schedule needs explicitly. We practice many more safety precautions; however, an exhaustive list would take too much space to describe here. Contact us if you have any other questions or needs, and we would be happy to accommodate them!

Do you allow dogs to be walked off-leash?

We have a leash policy that we always enforce when pets are not inside or within an enclosed yard to prevent pets from getting injured or running away. Our clients do have the option to sign a waiver to allow for off-leash play if you have an invisible fence.

Do you group walk dogs or one-on-one?

We only walk dogs one-on-one unless they are from the same household, and the client requests they be walked together. Multiple clients’ pets are never walked together. This is to preserve the safety of all pets involved and to prevent the transmission of disease.

What will happen if my pet gets sick while I'm away?

We will immediately notify you and describe the situation in detail. Then, we will take your pet to your vet if they are available, or the local emergency vet if they are not. During our meet and greet meeting, we request that you sign a vet release, notify your vet that we have permission to bring your pets in to their practice, and place a credit card number on file. While your pet is receiving care, we will keep you updated on their condition and continue caring for your other pets as usual. Should your pet be released from your vet while you are still away, we will continue caring for them at your home as directed by you and your vet.

Do you require a minimum number of visits per day?

For dogs, we require a minimum of one visit per day for those that have ready access to the outdoors. For dogs with no outdoor access, we require a minimum of two visits per day. For cats, the minimum we require is a visit every day. We have established minimum requirements to reduce the possibility of bladder infections from infrequent access to the outdoors and the possibility of mischief, illness and death that could result from unsupervised pets.

 
 
 

scheduling & signing up

 
 

Can I meet with you before scheduling services?

Absolutely! We always schedule a time to meet with you and your pets before providing our services. This gives us a chance to get to know each other, learn your pet's schedule and care needs, and, of course, go over paperwork.

How do I sign up for services?

If you have any questions before booking with us, call or email us today! Our contact information can be found here.

Want to sign up for our services without speaking with us directly first? Click here to sign up now!

How much notice is required before scheduling services?

We do not require a set amount of notice like most pet sitters. We schedule services in the order they are received, so it is always best to schedule early to guarantee your spot. This is especially important during our busy times including major holidays and spring break. Services booked with less than three days' notice may be subject to additional fees. Holidays have additional late booking fees for services scheduled with less than 2 weeks' notice. See more on scheduling and fees here.

How do I schedule services?

For new clients, contact us by phone or email to set up a meet and greet meeting before the first service is to be performed. For existing clients, all service requests (other than emergencies) must be scheduled through your online account.

What do I need to bring with my pet for home boarding?

Bring anything your pet needs to feel like they are at home. Here is a list of some of the items you can bring:

  • Food Bowls
  • Toys
  • Cage/Crate
  • Medication
  • Treats
  • Blankets
  • Puppy Pads
  • Leashes/Restraints

what should i have prepared prior to pet sitting services?

Make sure you and your pet’ information is up to date on your online account so our staff can properly care for your pet. Pay any outstanding balances with us prior to the start of services and call your vet to make sure we have permission to bring your pet in if there is an emergency. We also recommend putting a credit card number on file with them. Leave out any supplies, food or last-minute instructions somewhere that is easily accessible to our staff. Then, sit back, relax and enjoy your time away, knowing your pet is being well cared for.

do you charge a registration fee?

We charge a $20 account set-up fee for in-home boarding, pet sitting and dog walking services. After booking your first service with us (within 3 months of account set up) we will credit your account for $10* of the account set-up fee. If you do not book any services with us within 3 months after account set up, no portion of the set-up fee will be credited to your account. The $10 portion of the fee we retain goes towards the following that we provide to you during the registration process:

  • Meet and Greet Meeting (30 minutes)
  • Account set up and in-person tutorial on how to use your online account for scheduling, updating care information, processing payments, etc.
  • A metal engraved pet ID tag that has our contact information on it. (We recommend you put our ID tags on any pets that are an escape risk so that if they ever escape from your care, the person that finds them can contact us in the event you cannot be reached.) Additional tags available at $2 each.
  • A household pet emergency plan for you to customize to fit you and your pet's needs
  • A window decal that al emergency responders that you have pet(s) on the premises.

*Meet and Greet meetings scheduled less than 2 weeks before a holiday will not have any portion of the set up fee credited back to their account.

 
 
 

Employees

 
 

What is your screening process for hiring employees?

Potential employees go through a rigorous application, interview and training process. Applicants are screened by phone, are interviewed in person, and then participate in a second working interview before being eligible for hire. During the interview process, they answer several essay style written questions, provide references, and pass a background check prior to employment with our company.

What training do your employees receive?

After their hire date, employees go through a comprehensive training program (see here) which includes on the job training by management. During and following training completion, management is in constant communication before, during and after work shifts to provide support and to ensure the employee is following client directions and our company policies.

Will the same employee always provide care for my pets?

In most cases we schedule more than one employee to care for our client's pets. Why? Our employees work one shift per day, and most are not available all day, every day, especially for clients that need visits starting early in the morning and ending late in the evening. Our employee-training program enables our staff to confidently care for any of the pets in our care. Our staff knows how to approach nervous or anxious pets to help them to feel comfortable and safe. In addition, your online account with care instructions is available to our staff when they visit with your pets, so they always have the most up-to-date care information right at their fingertips. If you are concerned that your pet will not adjust to having more than one person visiting with them, we would be happy to schedule meetings with our staff (at normal visit prices) prior to the start of services. If that is not an option that works for you and your pet, we may not be the best fit for you and your pets. As a reminder, for the safety of our staff, we do not care for aggressive pets or those that have a bite history.

 
 
 

holidays

 
 

Do you charge extra on holidays?

Our employees often miss spending time with their friends and family to work with us on holidays. We charge holiday fees for services on major holidays to adequately compensate our employees for working these holidays. Our holiday fee ($5 per visit/$10 per day for in-home boarding) only applies to the following days:

  • *New Year's Eve and New Year's Day (12/31 and 01/01)
  • Easter Weekend (Saturday and Sunday)
  • Memorial Day Weekend (Saturday – Monday)
  • *Independence Day Holiday (July 3-5th)
  • Labor Day Weekend (Saturday – Monday)
  • *Thanksgiving (Tuesday – Saturday, week of Thanksgiving)
  • Christmas (Dec. 22-27th)

*We create holiday schedules weeks in advance of these major holidays. Last minute reservation requests often require us to completely rework holiday schedules. We charge a holiday last minute booking fee of $25 for requests placed on these dates with less than 2 weeks' notice. To avoid these last-minute booking fees, make your holiday reservations more than 2 weeks prior to the given holiday.

How far in advance should i make holiday reservations?

We recommend making holiday reservations as far in advance as possible to guarantee a reservation on a holiday and to avoid last minute booking fees. Our schedule is often fully booked 3-4 weeks in advance of a given holiday. Make your holiday reservations today!

 
 
 

Billing & Payments

 
 

How will you bill me?

We will send you a service confirmation email after we confirm your reservation request. An invoice will be sent to you by email before the start of services (unless you are signed up for automatic billing). We recommend keeping a credit card on file.

What are your payment terms?

We require payment in full before providing our services. Services that include holiday dates must be paid in advance and before reservation requests are confirmed. Accounts with regularly occurring services such as dog walks or doggie daycare can be put onto auto-payment. Failure to pay in full for services will result in the service being cancelled, the card on file being charged, or late payment fees being added to your account. Requests for alternative payment terms are processed on an individual basis.

What forms of payment do you accept?

We accept cash, checks, PayPal payments, and credit cards (through your online account only).

what is your cancellation policy?

There is no refund for services canceled on the day of a holiday unless 2 weeks' notice is given for the cancellation. This is because we often are fully booked months in advance for holidays, and last-minute cancellations may result in being unable to fill that reservation slot. Our full cancellation policy is listed in our service agreement that we will review with you during our meet and greet.

Dates, excluding Holidays:

  • Payment in full is charged (no refunds) unless 2 weeks' notice is given
  • 0-48 Hours' notice: 50% of Service total is due (50% refund)
  • 49+ Hours' notice: No charge, full refund
 
 
 

Keys & Property Access

 
 

I have an alarm/keyless entry system. Can you use it?

Absolutely! We have used many different alarm and keyless entry systems. Often, it is possible to set a temporary passcode for our use while you are gone. Otherwise, just let us know what your normal passcode is, and we will keep it safe and secure.

what are key lock boxes?

Key lock boxes are miniature safes used to securely store keys. They can hang from a doorknob, railing, pipe, or can be attached to flat exterior surfaces. They are usually metal in construction and are secured by setting a unique code that consists of letters or numbers (we recommend a minimum of a 4-digit code, such as 1234). We recommend that our clients use key lock boxes to store keys for us to use during services.

Where can I purchase key lock boxes?

We purchase key lockboxes in bulk and sell them at cost to our clients ($15). You can see an example of the key lock boxes we have under our services page here. Key lock boxes of many shapes, sizes and security features can be found online (for example, Amazon.com), and at hardware and home supply stores such as Lowes, Walmart, or Home Depot. Lock boxes purchased at these retailers often cost $15-35 each. You have the option to purchase a lock box from us at our meet and greet meeting during which time we can also demonstrate how to install, remove and set your unique access code.

Can I keep a key on file with you?

Yes! In fact, we prefer that you do. Why? We require that you provide us with two key copies before scheduling services. A single key copy can be kept on file with us if you want to utilize a key lock box on your property (a second key must be kept inside the lockbox during services). This way, if you ever have an emergency or have to leave town last minute, we can provide our services without worrying about how to access your property. Can't get away from work to let your dog out in the middle of the day? We can take care of that too because we have a key on file. Also, please note that dropping off/picking up keys will incur a small fee.

How do you return my keys to me?

There are several different ways we can return your key. We can drop off your key at your location (advanced scheduling only), we can destroy the key and discard it, or we can utilize a key lock box to leave the key behind after services. Please note that if you decide against leaving a key on file with us, we will have no way of accessing your property if you need last minute care and do not have time to get us a key. Picking up/dropping off keys will incur a $10 fee per occurrence.

How do you keep my keys safe and secure while I am gone?

We never have your keys on us unless we are going to visit your property, otherwise your key is kept in our secure key safe in our main office that is only accessible by secure code and key access. Your key never has your name or your pet's name and/or address attached to it. Instead, it is identified by a numbered code that only we can associate with you and your property.

When do I give you my keys?

We ask that you give us keys and any other access codes that may be necessary to enter your property during our initial meeting. If you do not have keys made prior to our meet and greet meeting, we can reschedule for a time when you do or we can charge a separate key pick up fee. We also ask that you give us two methods of entry, either two copies of your house key or a single key and keyless entry codes (in case battery/electricity fails). If you do not have a second copy, we will make one for you for a small fee.

What if I don't want to keep keys on file with you?

If you don't want us to keep your keys on file at all, we can utilize a key lockbox attached to the door handle, railing or exterior location of your choice to store a key while we are providing services. We will return the key to the lock box after every visit and will never take it back to our office. To utilize this method of access, we ask that you sign a waiver acknowledging that we will not be able to provide last minute emergency services or access your home if there is a key issue, such as a bent/broken key, key cut incorrectly, key sticks in lock or other issues that would require another key to gain access (there is no refund for missed services due to a faulty key copy when we do not have access to a second key).

 
 
 

emergency preparedness

 
 

What preparations do I need to do before I leave to keep my pets safe in the event of an emergency?

During our meet-n-greet meeting, provide us with several local emergency contacts as well as instructions for what you would like for us to do in the event of an emergency. Make sure you have extra supplies on hand, such as food, bedding, medications, cleaning supplies, and crate/cage materials.

Do you have a disaster plan in place?

Yes, we do! We would be happy to review it in detail with you, as well as take note of your specific instructions during our meet and greet meeting. Additionally, we will gladly discuss the details with you at any time, should you require more information. Our company reviews the disaster plan on a semiannual basis and provides refresher training to all employees after each review.

What happens to my pets in the case of severe weather?

We have a comprehensive written disaster plan that we have prepared in case of a natural disaster or other emergency. We would be happy to review it with you in detail upon your request. The short version of the plan would be to notify you of any impending danger, provide your pets with food and water sufficient for several days, notify your emergency contacts/neighbors that service may be interrupted, place pets in the most secure place/room on property, and, if needed, we will walk or ride bikes to care for your pets should other transportation methods fail. Alternatively, you have the option of having us transport your pets to a boarding facility, pending availability, until the severe weather has passed.

 
 
 

Insurance & Bonding

 
 

Are you insured and bonded?

Of course! Our business and employees are covered under general liability, bonding and workers compensation insurances. Our home boarding independent contractors are covered under their own insurance policies.

Are your home boarding specialists insured?

Yes, as a requirement to work with us, all home boarding specialists must carry their own insurance. Please contact your home boarding specialist with any further questions regarding their coverage when you schedule a time to meet with them.

 
 

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