Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pet Sitting in the Snow

In the summer, when the weather is warm and sunny, and the Poconos are beautiful beyond compare, I get jealous looks when I say "I'm a pet sitter, I spend a good part of the day outside with dogs!" And then winter hits the Northeast, and my friends are in their cozy offices while I'm outside shivering!

But it's not all bad if you're prepared. It didn't take me long to learn that good cold-weather wear is a must, and makes the job so much easier. I wear a hat a scarf of course. But I also picked up cleats that I pull on to the bottoms of my boots outside to give me traction on the ice. Hand warmers can provide some extra comfort in the cold. I lucked out and found some good gloves that aren't so bulky I can't snap a leash onto a collar, but also keep my hands warm. (Mittens aren't always easy for a pet sitter to use - we need our fingers to get keys in locks and get leashes on dogs!)

Recently I was at a client's house, and I noticed that the indoor temperature was colder than it should have been. I gave them a quick call, and they called their fuel supplier. Turns out their fuel supplier forgot to make his December delivery and they were out of gas! With the freezing temperatures, they could have come home to frozen or burst pipes had I not been there.

Being a member of pet sitting organizations like the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS) and Professional United Pet Sitters (PUPS) allows me to learn from other pet sitters. I had heard enough stories to know that a cold house is not only uncomfortable for the animals, but potentially disastrous for the pipes (or even the furnace), so I didn't hesitate to call my client to let them know. They were very grateful that I knew enough to call and not just dismiss it or ignore it. When I checked back later, the heat was on and all was well. I was able to rest easy that night, and my clients were too!

How are you coping with the winter weather?


  1. Hi Kristin,

    I agree with you that our job is not all "puppies and sunshine!" I don't think I've ever shovelled so much snow in my life.

    I feed a colony of feral cats, and weeks of below-freezing weather has made their life very miserable. I put extra padding in their warming huts; I'm feeding them double and warming the food up first, and I put out an electric water bowl and outdoor heating pad. One cat was so cold and shivering that I picked him up, plopped him in a crate, and tucked him in my heated garage - with no protest from the kitty!

    There is beauty in a fresh snowfall, and soup and grilled cheese for lunch never tasted so good before. I just think of my feral cats when the weather makes me question my sanity in my choice of career:)