Are you a professional?
If you are asking if I have had official training by a professional pet sitter, veterinarian, or pet trainer, the answer is that I have had some. Throughout the years our vet has taught me much about home animal care, including wound and seizure care. I have also had lessons in dog training. This is training I have had on my own pets, not in a classroom.
If you are asking if I have had pet care courses, the answer is yes. I occasionally take NAPPS (National Association of Professional Petsitters) training classes online. This training includes reading a non-fiction book that the Association has chosen as the "textbook" and tests the reader by asking questions as they complete the book. I also take courses through coursera. All of these courses require a passing grade to get a certificate. All of my certificates can be found here.
I also complete an online course in pet CPR and First Aid regularly, which requires a test on each section of training. Students must make the passing grade in order to obtain their certificates and the badges that are displayed on their websites.
Are you a member of NAPPS or any other organization?
I do not personally believe in paying dues to an organization simply to have the word "professional" written somewhere on my website. I believe that my professionalism toward my customers and the quality of care I give to their pets speaks for itself much more than a stamp on my page that says I purchased the right to have the title.
Are you insured?
I am currently not insured, simply because the time that I work is not equal to the cost of the insurance. Many pet care providers are not insured. There are many reasons for having insurance, but most pet care providers who are not using this as their primary income prefer to have waivers or other forms for the pet owner to sign. Many sitters also keep forms for the vet stating that the owner is willing to authorize a certain amount of pet care cost to their account while they are away. I have versions of these forms available for all clients here.
Are you bonded?
A bond is meant to protect employers that have hired dishonest pet care workers who might steal or commit other dishonest acts while working for them. Since I am the only care provider, using no employees, I am not bonded and do not need to be. As a teacher, I am required by law to keep my criminal background check up to date in my school's file. That record can be made available on request. (The same is true for my emergency care provider.)
What form of payment do you take?
Though I do have a paypal account, I prefer cash or check payments. If you are writing a check, please be sure to make the check out to Laura Houpe, not the business or Mirrani. My bank does not allow business accounts and only recognizes my given name on the account. For payment policies, including cancellation payments, please see my Additional Rates page.
If you are Laura, who is Mirrani?
Mirrani is a nickname that was given to me while I was in high school. As with most nicknames, it is simply what I am always called. Since it is how I introduce myself, it is the name I used for the business. However, because Mirrani is not a part of my legal name, it can not be used on legal documants or checks.
Can I have 24 hour care?
My main job as a teacher prevents me from giving 24 hour supervision on weekdays, however on weekends and holidays it is possible to arrange 24 hour care. This must be requested in advance, so that I can properly book your pet for the 24 hour time slot. I can not guarantee 24 hour care will be available every weekend or holiday, but I will do my best to make the time for you based on your needs and my schedule. The earlier you book 24 hour care, the easier it is to reserve that time.
Are you the only sitter providing care?
My spouse has experience with many types of animals, is certified each year in pet first aid and CPR, and has volunteered with dog trainers in the UK. This is the person I trust most in an emergency and should something happen to me, this will be the person who takes over the care of your pet until other arrangements can be made with your emergency contact. On occasions where I have no availability to fit your needs, you may request my spouse as your pet's caregiver, but these requests are subject to a personal schedual. Please keep in mind that we are both teachers and our availability follows that of a typical school day.
What happens in an emergency?
Your schedule says you have appointments, but you don't always post to social media. Why is that?
Many of the appointments that I have in the week are regularly scheduled and those families get updated personaly rather than on social media. Also, there are some families who prefer not to have their pets posted on social media sites.
Your schedule says you are free for the time I need, but you have said you are not available. Why is that?
Occasionally I have personal appointments that cut in to my availability as a pet sitter. I try to mark these times as "Unavailable" on the calendar, but on rare occasions I forget. Also, travel time between houses is a factor. The time reserved on my calendar is for appointments only, it does not include the time taken to get from one home to another. When an owner requests a specific time between two visits, their request must fit in with the time taken to travel.
Any other questions?
I add to these questions as I get them. If I have forgotten something that should be here, please feel free to email me.