Guilt-Free Travel Sans Dog

A high five from Grace!
photo by Rose + Anchor Photography

Confession: I love to travel! That’s not the confession. The truth is, I feel guilty when I travel because my sweet pup is like a human child to me, and it pains me to be away from her. Thinking of her little broken heart, well, breaks my heart.

By the way, before I’m knee deep into this post, here’s a business model for someone who wants to rule the hotel industry. Offer modern, clean rooms to folks traveling with dogs. Provide kennels in the rooms. Charge a deposit if you must, but not a fee. No weight or breed restrictions. Build a fenced area with a trash station. You might even offer on-site doggie daycare for an extra charge or at least provide a list of local dog walkers, sitters, and groomers in the same folio with the menu and general tourist info. Damage? Liability? I have five words for you: bachelors, bachelorettes, weddings, spring break, and rock stars. Technically more than five words, but you get the idea. My dog has never damaged a hotel room, yet I pay premium fees to stay in rooms that are often disgusting because that’s what is made available to people traveling with dogs. Rant over; huge market opportunity!

Back to the topic of travel without your pet. I can’t always take my furbaby along, so I use pet sitters who love my sweet girl and know how to care for her. They provide me with peace of mind while I’m away, but first I provide them with a Pet Care List. It’s like a user’s guide. Yep, I sure do!

The first time I produced the List to a pet sitter, I felt maybe I was going overboard, but it actually serves a few purposes.

  1. Look for the potential sitter’s reaction when you show them the Pet Care List. Dismissive? Smirk? You can weed out those who are not up to your standards right there.
  2. It makes the sitter and your pet more safe, and thus provides a more enjoyable vacation for both of you.
  3. It keeps your dog in her/his routine. Being separated from you can cause stress for some dogs; by having your sitter stick to your pet’s routine, you won’t be causing additional stress.

Here’s a perfect example of how the Pet Care List helped me flag a sitter who wasn’t a match for me. I dropped Grace off with someone who had been recommended by a friend. As I said my teary goodbye, I handed the Care List to him explaining what it was. I should have heard alarm bells when he didn’t acknowledge it and swiftly walked me to the door. I was new, but now I’m not and I do a bit more interviewing before scheduling someone, even when they come recommended.

When I returned from my trip, the sitter informed me that Grace had destroyed two water dishes inside the crate. Had he looked at the Pet Care List, he would have read my instruction to not give food or water in the crate for exactly that reason. He is no longer in my pet sitter rotation.

As I handed Grace’s Care List to the next sitter, she said “oh I love when clients give me a list because it’s so helpful.” Hired. She went on to ask if Grace could sleep in the bed with her. SO hired!

Click here for a free download of my Pet Care List. It’s a simple, 2-page list of instructions on how to care for your dog while you’re away. Now you can relax and enjoy your vacation!

I now have three pet sitters who I adore, and while it might sound like a lot, that is the minimum number for me to ensure one of them is available when I travel. Honestly, I’ve still found myself in a pinch a time or two because all three were booked! I need to increase the pool to four or five.

Good pet sitters are in high demand and for good reason. We are handing over our furry family members for goodness’ sake! It’s in the best interest of everyone involved to give your sitter the information they need to provide the best care possible. You’ll enjoy some guilt-free travel…and your pup will be happy, too!