In 2021, pet parents are expected to spend $109.6 BILLION, yes, BILLION, dollars on their pets. A large portion of this will go towards caring for pets while humans are traveling or working from an office. 

There are several pet care choices: professional pet care, care provided by a hobbyist and care that is provided by a tech company (Wag! or Rover). 

VETTING PROCESS
Professional pet care services, like Top Dog Pet Sitters, live and breathe pets. We have an extensive interview process (which includes a background check) to ensure that the person entering your home and caring for your pet is of the highest caliber.  When a pet parent looks through the bios on our website, it is evident that our team LOVES pets. Every employee shares their home with a pet, whether it is furry or finned, or scaled! Our employees understand our client’s needs and diligently work to make sure our clients have “peace of mind” and that the pets we care for feel loved and safe while their humans are away.  Top Dog Pet Sitters has employees, not Independent Contractors. Employees can be supervised, trained, and held accountable. An IC cannot be supervised or trained. 

While companies like Wag! and Rover state that they have a thorough vetting process, this is often not the case. It is very easy to sign up to pet sit on these sites and be up and running within 24 hours. There is no one interviewing these sitters to determine their experience levels and no pet care training is involved. We asked our daughter to test the process with WAG! The application took her 5 minutes to complete and BAM!..she was hired! There was no interview.  There was no background check. Many pet owners end up with a sitter who does not have the same level of experience as those who work for a professional pet sitting company. In addition, these tech companies use Independent Contractors, which cannot be supervised or trained.

Ask a hobbyist for proof of their background check.

INSURANCE AND LIABILITY
A professional pet care service will be fully insured. This insurance will include damage to a client’s home, injury to a pet due to negligence of the pet sitter, and compensation if the pet is lost. Let’s say your pup had an accident and the pet sitter flushed the poop. Your commode overflows and damages your hardwoods. A professional pet sitter has insurance to cover the damage. 

According to Wag!’s and Rover’s Terms of Service contracts, the companies aren’t liable when one of their pet sitters is negligent: 
WAG! SHALL NOT BE LIABLE FOR… DAMAGES… RELATED TO, IN CONNECTION WITH, OR              OTHERWISE RESULTING FROM ANY USE OF THE SERVICES, EVEN IF WAG! HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.

Rover’s contract advises that:

YOUR USE AND/OR PROVISION OF PET CARE SERVICES IS AT YOUR SOLE AND EXCLUSIVE RISK.

A hobby pet sitter does not carry insurance.  

TRAINING
When a professional pet care service brings on a new team member the new pet sitter will spend time shadowing a senior pet sitter. In addition, the Top Dog Pet Sitters team is trained in pet CPR/First Aid and participates other educational opportunities. Training opportunities have included: dog aggression, how to understand dog/cat body language, how to properly walk a dog, how to administer diabetic shots, how to administer SubQ fluids, and more!

Tech Company independent contractors do not receive training. An online search will provide numerous stories of pets who were injured, lost, or killed, while under the care of a pet tech independent contractor.
By definition, Hobbyists are not trained. 

QUALITY CONTROL
A professional pet care service will require a “Meet and Greet” with new clients. This is an opportunity to review instructions, make sure the pet care service and client are a good fit, and meet the pets. Following the Meet and Greet, Top Dog will match  pets with a pet sitter that best meets the needs of the pet and the client. TDPS works to provide consistency between the assigned pet sitter and the client. We form a relationship with the clients and pets we care for. We understand a pet’s personality, health issues, and quirks. We know if a fur baby wants to be petted on the head, belly, or even ignored. We form a relationship with the pets we care for. Our pet sitting app allows a pet parent to provide detailed instructions about pet care. Because our sitters are employees, we oversee the service process. If there is an issue, we are available immediately to address any concerns. In addition, our pet sitters are covered by worker’s compensation insurance, and we are a fully insured company.
The quality control for a tech company is limited. What if something happens with your pet sitter on Rover or Wag? Who oversees them and who do you talk to if there’s a problem? How could they possibly keep track of the quality of service being provided? What if some of their pet care methods are questionable? If you read the fine print on Rover, they clearly state that they do not take responsibility for the level of service provided. Instead of being able to call a local company and speak with a manager or owner, you would be stuck trying to contact a corporate office to voice your concerns.

BACK UP/EMERGENCIES
What happens in an emergency if your pet sitter is sick, has a family emergency, or has car trouble? 
A professional pet care service has a backup plan so there is no need for a pet parent to take a day of PTO or cancel a fabulous vacation. With Top Dog Pet Sitters, another pet sitter is dispatched when an emergency arises. To ensure exceptional care, our pet sitters have access to Client Profiles and Pet Profiles. 
With a tech company, a pet parent must restart the process of finding a pet sitter.
A hobbyist is a “one person show”. 

COMMUNICATION
A professional pet care service will use pet care software. Top Dog Pet Sitters uses Precise Pet Care. Through PPC, we send a pet parent a Pet Journal after every visit. The Pet Journal includes photos and a report card of the pet visit. Did your pet poop? Was a meal served? Did your pet receive medication? Was the mail brought in? Were plants watered? As involved owners of the company, we see all the Pet Journals. In addition, once a pet sitter has arrived at an assignment, their time and GPS is tracked. How far was your pup walked? We can tell you. When did your pet sitter arrive and leave? Pet Parents know because the Pet Journal is time stamped. 
Pet Tech Companies and Hobbyists send a text message.

Pet Parents have numerous pet care choices. Please make an informed one.