Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I have been a member of the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters since June of 2006 - I actually joined before I started my business! I have run businesses before and I know that there's no need to reinvent the wheel - there are resources out there (no matter what industry you're in) to help you. I get a lot out of my membership that has made me a better pet sitter and a better businesswoman, so I wanted to give back. NAPPS is a non-profit, volunteer-run organization, which means that it's not like a company that's in business for itself and tells it's customers what to do or what to buy. NAPPS is run by pet sitters all over the country who all come together to shape the future of the pet sitting industry.

I started on a committee, and earned a position as committee chair, and eventually made my way to a volunteer position on the NAPPS Board of Directors. There's a lot of work involved, but it is so rewarding. When you volunteer for an organization like this, your input doesn't just affect yourself, or other board members. It impacts pet sitters (and their clients) all over the country. Okay, okay, I'm not trying to grandstand here, what I'm driving at is that just by stepping up and saying "I have an idea that will benefit pet sitters and our clients, and I'll volunteer to help make it happen," you can make changes that help countless others. If I reach out to just one struggling pet sitter, and point them to NAPPS and all of the resources, education, and support they provide, and that pet sitter learns and uses that education to benefit their clients and take better care of pets, that benefits every pet sitter, everywhere. It benefits every client and every pet entrusted to our care.

This, to me, is a BIG part of the difference between a true professional pet sitter, and a "hobby" sitter - the hobby sitter has no motivation to improve their services, as it's not their primary source of income, and they don't invest money in their own education. They aren't running a real business, so if they remain uneducated about pet care and think it's as simple as clipping a leash on a dog, sure they won't have many clients, but that's okay - it's not their livelihood. For those of us who do this for a living, we have a STRONG motivation to be the very best pet sitters we can be. We have to continually delight clients and their pets with our service...or we won't have any clients! I'm glad I have NAPPS' resources at my fingertips!

I sound like such a cheerleader today because I was in conference call meetings with fellow NAPPS volunteers for over 3 hours yesterday. And I was thinking about it afterward - how 3 hours of meetings are enough to make anyone's head spin, but I was feeling energized and excited instead of burned out. And I realized that I felt energized firstly because NAPPS volunteers have become my friends, and I really enjoy talking to them, but mainly because we are doing so many great things, awesome, fun, exciting, beneficial things to help our fellow pet sitters. I love being a part of this process and adding my voice to the mix. I love hearing what other pet sitters have to say about where they want to see the industry go. I love that even though this is a solitary job, I have a legion of peers out there supporting me and helping me, and to whom I can lend support and help.

I never thought 3 hours of meetings could make me feel so good.

If you want to learn more about the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, visit their website at If you're already a NAPPS member, join me in my enthusiasm and get involved! The two or three hours per month you'd spend helping out is an investment that will pay dividends for you and your business.

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