I am so very fortunate that my pet sitter is a veterinary technician who absolutely loves animals.

When I leave my crew in her care, I know they will be in the best possible hands. If you don’t already have a trusted friend, family member or vet tech to take care of your pets, Vetstreet has seven steps to finding your perfect pet sitter:

• Start your search early: If you wait until you need a sitter to start looking, you may end up rushing and not find the best fit for you and your fur family;

• Decide what kind of sitter you need: Do you want her to drop by once a day to walk and feed your pets, or do you want her to take your pet into her home while you are away? Do you want him to collect your mail and water your plants, or are you looking for someone who can give your dog training sessions in your absence?;

• Ask people you trust for references: Check with your veterinarian, friends and social media for the names of reputable people who have satisfactorily provided pet-sitting services. You may also want to check with the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters or Pet Sitters International to find people who have successfully completed their programs;

• Ask questions: What services are included? How much time will your sitter spend at each visit? How would they handle an emergency? Consider your conversation an interview, one of several, if necessary, to find the person you feel comfortable entrusting with your pets;

• Plan carefully for anxious animals: Ask your veterinarian for advice for dogs with separation anxiety or that may be defensive of their home. Would they react better to a daily visitor, to someone living temporarily in their home, or to a boarding situation?;

• Consider a boarding facility: Boarding facilities can be luxurious, offering spa-like facilities, meals and exercise. Some have webcams allowing you to check in on your fur babies while you’re away; and

• Consider your pets’ special needs: I have two senior cats, a dog who requires daily medication and a cat with the feline version of Crohn’s disease, so having a vet tech caring for them provides me with an extra measure of confidence.

mSeptember marks Pet-Sitter Education Month. Pet Sitter International, the world’s leading educational association for professional pet sitters, created Pet-Sitter Education Month to shine a spotlight on professional pet sitters’ commitment to continuing education and on the growing number of educational resources available to today’s professional pet sitters and dog walkers.

During the month, PSI is offering a 25 percent discount (with promo code: PSEM19) on its online courses available at www.petsit.com/shop. In addition to its professional pet sitting as a career online certificate course, PSI offers disaster planning for professional pet sitters and customer service skills for professional pet sitters, as well as courses on dog care, cat care,

To assist professional pet sitters in taking advantage of educational opportunities in the industry, health and sanitation, and more. PSI’s Pet-Sitter Education Month section on petsit.com includes links to pet-sitter webinars, ebooks, downloads and other resources.

— Pets and the People Who Love Them is brought to you by your friends at the Athens-Limestone Animal Shelter. To adopt a dog or cat, come to the shelter at 1701 U.S. 72 (behind Limestone Veterinary Clinic), visit our Facebook page or call us at 256-771-7889.

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