Mr. Zen and I had a recent change in our work schedules and neither of us could come home to take the boys for a quick walk everyday. That put me in a search for a reputable dog walker.
And the search was STAT!
I was anxious to find someone we can trust with our dogs and feel safe letting in our home.
Mostly feeling safe with our dogs.
We had talked about what our must-haves were, what would make us comfortable and what we weren’t comfortable with.
Here’s some of critical points we ended up with:
- Key pad: We didn’t want to hand out a key to our home. We felt we couldn’t control copies. With a keypad entry, we could change the code anytime we felt we needed to. Just in case the person goes psycho on us.
- Video camera: Mr. Zen is more paranoid about someone stealing something from our home. Surprisingly it’s not me. I’m only concerned about the dogs. We ended up buying a camera, but have yet to install it. (Typical Mr. Zen. Hope he’s not reading this!)
- Meet the dog walker: As crazy as it sounds, we didn’t care so much about meeting the owner of the business. Rather we needed to meet the actual walker who would be visiting our home. Some businesses had the owner do the meet and greet. They were nice, but what about the walker? The business we chose not only let us meet the regular walker, we met the back-up walker too! This was the biggest relief for me.
Yes. I am a paranoid, crazy, don’t make me hurt you kind of dog mom.
- Communication: I’ll lump everything under this category. Going into this, I needed to make sure the items they needed daily were labeled and that they understand my dogs personality. I have a label maker…….which I LOVE, so I labeled the hook where their leashes hang (If they put the wrong harness on the wrong dog….I’m pretty sure I would die.) I labeled the treat jar and I wrote mini-novels on each dog.
However, to our surprise they leave a notebook behind which stays at our home. Everyday they write an entry on how the visit went. I have to tell you…honestly…..I got really excited when they mentioned this.
Almost like a shoe sale kind of excitement.
As if that wasn’t enough, they also text me pictures of them and the notes everyday. So I can read them while I’m still at work.
I have to say, this has been the most satisfying thing for my neurotic self.
In the end, we went with the business that fit all are criteria above. So far our experience has been wonderful and I love knowing my dogs are getting the attention they need during the day.
Finding the right dog walker is probably similar to finding a babysitter for your two-legged children. No one, in my world, will be a better dog mom to my fur babies than me. But defining your non-negotiable criteria is a great step in clearly defining what will satisfy your needs.
One thing we did not do, and I recommend, is a background check on the walker. In Wisconsin, we have free access to circuit court records. It’s easy to look up anyone. I don’t feel the need to do it now. The walker lives in our neighborhood. Actually, we know where she lives exactly. So our concern at this point is low. But I still suggest everyone do a quick check, even if it’s just a Google search.