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Pet Project

Creating a cozy space for friends or family when they pet sit in your home

Over the years, different friends and family members have volunteered for pet sitting duty for us. In some cases, we had reciprocal agreements and traded off to help one another out. Whether or not that’s the case, we always tried — and still do — to make the sitting as enjoyable as possible for the person doing the job. Here are a few tips for creating a cozy — and fun — retreat for your pet sitter.

Whether we have a sitter or not, we always clean the house before going out of town. It’s just a lot nicer to come home to a tidy space. It’s especially important to clean up before your sitter arrives, however, because a messy home is not going to be very inviting. We make sure there are no dirty dishes in the kitchen, and that all of the surfaces are wiped down. The bathroom also gets the once over. Beds are made up with clean linens and everything is in its place throughout the house. Even when the sitter knows his or her way around, if they are staying overnight, we put clean bath linens out on the guest bed.

Placing sticky notes around the kitchen so pet food and treats are easily located is also a way to simplify daily tasks for the sitter. Don’t forget to leave the name and contact information for the emergency vet handy too, just in case.

Since it’s no fun to use up smartphone minutes, we write down Wi-Fi passcodes and any passcodes and instructions for movie service subscriptions, too.

Years ago we got into the habit of keeping the menus of various restaurants that deliver in a folder for easy reference and to keep paper clutter at bay. We’ll place that on the kitchen counter in an easy-to-see spot, in case the sitter wants to dine in.

A note with any special instructions for pets, plants or anything else is also a great idea, so your sitter can reference it at their leisure.

Stocking the house with your sitter’s favorite beverages and snacks is a great way to keep them happy and make them feel appreciated. If he or she isn’t much of a snacker, a six-pack of his or her favorite beer, wine, pastries, fancy coffees and other specialty items also make for a nice little welcome gift pack. Leave a few magazines and books on the coffee table, too.

Finally, we always tell the sitter that our house is their house, to make himself or herself at home and to eat, drink and be merry.     
Comfort is at the heart of the things we do to get the house ready for a sitter. As most pet owners know, even if their pet doesn’t socialize much, it’s easy to tell by the way your dog, cat, turtle or other pet reacts when you get home what level of attention and care they’ve received. Making it so that your sitter has a good time and you don’t get accosted by an angry feline the moment you set foot in the door is a win-win.

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