Earn extra money pet sitting
• Pet sitting is becoming more and more in demand
• Pets are a part of the family
• Pets need to be cared for
Recently, I’ve seen stories in the paper about people earning extra money—even great money—pet sitting. One article I read describes a pet sitter in New York earning $3,000.00 a week. She walks dogs and cares for small house pets. (That’s great money, don’t you think?)
The demand for pet sitters is growing. Much of the demand comes from two-income families, single parent families, and apartment and condo dwellers. It’s coming from practically every walk of life. A pet sitter is becoming a daily necessity for many people. This provides an opportunity for you. You can make extra money pet sitting. You could even make it a profession.
Pet sitters have had a presence for many years—typically in large metropolitan areas, and primarily as dog walkers. (Dog walking is still a major service provided by pet sitters.) That given, historically, most daily pet care was handled by a stay-at-home member of the family or regulated around work schedules. When people traveled, family and friends were called on to help, or arrangements could be made to kennel animals. I’m not saying people didn’t love their pets, but the prevailing attitude toward their care was one of practicality. Pets were “animals.”
There has been a change of attitude: Pets are family members; they just happen to be animals.
There’s been another change: More people are working more. Often there is no stay-at-home member of the family. Other factors like extensive commute times and long work hours make it difficult for pets to accommodate human schedules.
Pets are family. Like any other member of the family, they need love and care. Just as people do, they need interaction and socialization. It’s become unacceptable to leave pets locked up all day, hoping they don’t make a mess (or punish them for doing so when they have no alternative). And, you can’t leave them tied up outside all day or night. Sometimes there are no facilities to do so; it’s cruel, antisocial, and many places have regulations prohibiting it.
Some pets suffer from separation anxiety. They act out, much as some children do when stressed. Transition periods are difficult and destructive, harmful behavior can occur while the owner is away. Here’s an example: When my wife was young, a single woman moved in next door to her family. She had a cocker spaniel. The dog barked and carried on everyday while her owner was at work. The behavior became more and more frantic. One day the neighbor returned home to find that the dog had chewed almost all the way through her metal back door. The dog’s mouth was ruined and she had to be put to sleep. Years ago that was a bad situation. Today a pet owner could face legal consequences for cruelty and endangerment. Among the possible solutions is a regular pet sitter, someone who becomes a familiar figure, keeping the animal calm by providing companionship (and if qualified, training). Sometimes pets have special needs like taking medicine, diet requirements, and social training. The services of a qualified pet sitter can be invaluable in these cases.
As I read back through what I’ve written so far, it seems I’m putting a lot of emphasis is on dog sitting, but remember the pet sitter in the first paragraph; she earned some of her money caring for small house pets. It’s becoming more and more common: Owners of small mammals, birds, and reptiles, (even fish) are opting to bring care for their pets into their homes—at least, on a part-time basis. I’ve also seen advertisements for pet sitters who make “house calls” for horses and other farm animals. There are opportunities to make extra money pet sitting.
Some things to consider
1) Do you like animals? If you are a pet sitter, you’ll be working with them.
2) Do you have experience with animals? More kinds than just your family dog or cat?
3) Are you willing to invest the time and money to be educated and certified as a pet sitter? (Depending on local laws, you may also need a license.) The more qualified you are, the more your services will be valued.
There are several organizations that provide this service: Pet Sitters International (PSI): National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS): Association of Pet Sitting Excellence (ASPE), to name some. Programs vary, but you can take courses in the care of a number of pet breeds—especially focusing on pet health and nutrition needs. Continuing education programs sometimes offer classes in pet training and behavior modification. Some of these organizations also provide help in setting up a small business.
About that last point
Thinking about point number 3 above… If you want to earn extra money pet sitting, it can be a part-time job. Or, it could be a full-time, major source of income. (Think about that New Yorker earning $3000 a week.) A good bit of your earning potential would depend on whether you work as an employee for a pet sitting company or become an independent contractor. As an employee you could be paid by the hour or by the job, but someone else would do the work of finding those jobs for you. As an independent contractor you would have to build your own market: Get to know vets, groomers, trainers, etc.: Contacts, who would recommend you. Your possible income would increase, but you would also have business related responsibilities—advertising and insurance, among them. Either path offers a feasible income increase.
In this article I’ve talked about the lucrative potential of pet sitting. I’ve explained why there is a growing demand for this service. I’ve touched on the value of education and certification, and given you the names of some organizations that can provide such. I’ve also suggested that you consider the depth of your commitment to the profession. I hope I’ve inspired you to consider the possibility that you can make extra money pet sitting.