Monday, December 31, 2018

Socks Loves Apples

Socks is a sweet 33 year-old Quarter Horse gelding that we get to visit a few times a year when his dad travels. He is a retired gymkhana horse and he's enjoying his pasture life. Usually we have to go out to the back acreage to find him then bring him meandering back to the barn for his meals but this morning he came in on his own and got his apple slices before breakfast! 
His winter coat must have been handy in the snowfall we just had!

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Fun In The Snow

Rambo and Ruger enjoying the snow
Neither rain nor snow nor heat nor ice will stop our pet sitters from making their rounds visiting the pets in our care!

We had a lot of fun with our furry clients in the surprise snowfall on December 29, 2018! Our biggest concern was being able to reach the pets living in the canyon areas, from Ramsey Canyon on Highway 92 to Huachuca Canyon on Fort Huachuca.

As the snow continued to fall throughout the afternoon, and with projected temperatures dropping to well below freezing, we reached out to a traveling client on post to ask if the pet sitter visiting all of the military pets on base could stay at their home through the day. As evening approached this client graciously welcomed Ayla to stay the night at their house to make sure she would be able to get to everyone the following morning. Their dogs, Rambo and Ruger, were thrilled to have her company and we were grateful to have convenient access to the other homes on post in the event of road or gate closures.

Ellie and Stan - Christmas tree vandals?
Patty was fearlessly driving out to Palominas three times a day to give potty breaks to multiple groups of dogs who are normally outside during the day but had to be inside due to subfreezing temperatures, snow and rain. Even insulated dog houses couldn't keep up with the weather and our clients were happy to add a few extra visits to keep their pets safely tucked inside.

We had muddy paws, an open dog door, a fun-loving Golden Retriever and a victimized Christmas tree to also add some excitement to the weekend! The team in the city was also kept busy!

There is never a dull moment in the life of pet sitters! To see inside our daily lives like us on Facebook.


Thursday, August 23, 2018

Home Safe

As I make travel arrangements and get ready to go on vacation I am also preparing for my own pet care; making sure there is enough dog food, cat food, cat litter and tortoise food. Taking a vacation can be a lot of work!

My biggest concern, as a pet parent, is - what if something happens to us while we are on vacation? You know, the kind of things that are not likely but can still cause worry when you have pets alone at home who are dependent on your return for their survival.

At Creature Comforts, we are all pet parents and we understand that worry. We have a Home Safe policy to make sure we keep all pets in our care until our clients return home safely. On the last day of each service schedule a notification appears on our admin console and a Home Safe email is sent to the client. That email has a link that the client clicks to close the service ticket, which notifies us that they have returned home. We noticed that not all clients were checking their email when they got home (we know that's a busy time with overjoyed pets welcoming you) so we made these cute little Thank You cards to leave on the counter with a reminder to click the link in the Home Safe email.

Our clients have had a lot of unexpected delays during our decade of service and we are always prepared to continue care. Some delays have been weeks-long, like the wife who was deployed to Afghanistan while the husband, stationed in Antarctica, had to wait for transportation home. A mechanical failure in the cargo plane caused it to be grounded in New Zealand and it was 2 weeks before a replacement plane "landed on the ice" to pick him up. We continued our three-times daily visits to the dogs whose parents were 7000 miles apart. We even kept their beautiful lawn alive!

As a business owner, our Home Safe process gives me peace of mind at the end of each day, knowing that our traveling clients are home and the pets are safely back in their care. I hope that it gives you comfort when you choose us to take care of your beloved pets knowing that you will come home to a card on your counter reminding you to let us know you are Home Safe.


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Home and Garden Care

One of our plant clients has 72 potted plants outside!
We have a busy summer schedule taking care of pets as well as houseplants, outdoor plants and vegetable gardens. If you have a collection of plants that will need to be watered you can put yourself on our schedule for our Home and Garden plant watering service.

We've even taken care of several orchid collections with automated lighting systems and humidifiers that needed to be kept full. All you have to do is leave detailed instructions!

Your plants will get our customary TLC with gentle and thorough watering. Our team of expert pet sitters also includes a few plant specialists with green thumbs who will make sure your plants survive our summer heat. 

We'll also collect your mail and the newspapers that tend to be thrown in yards as well as any packages you might be receiving.

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Saturday, June 2, 2018

Emergency Vet Care

We have a form, Where In The World Are You Going, that our clients should fill out before each trip. You might be wondering why we need to know a few things each time you leave.

Emergencies Happen! We'll need to know where you are to contact you. Recently, we contacted a client not knowing it was 3 am in Europe. That situation, while urgent, certainly could have waited a few hours! We also have clients who are outside cell range for myriad reasons. In a crisis we will need to know if we aren't going to be able to reach you so we can begin our emergency protocol immediately.

Notify Your Veterinarian. We cannot stress this enough. Some vets will refuse treatment if you
Shadow had sudden kidney failure
haven't given your permission to treat in your absence. Treatment may be delayed while they try to reach you. In one unfortunate situation we had a dog in significant pain who was caged all day at the clinic only to be refused treatment when the clinic could not reach the client. We had another dog, who had essentially stopped breathing, that we rushed to a different clinic. They would only perform life-saving measures (intubation) and we had a great deal of trouble trying to reach a member of the family before finally finding the ex-wife who called the son who found his father. It was very stressful! Don't let your pet's care be delayed or declined. You'll get a reminder before each trip to notify your vet that your pets will be in our care and we will then have access to emergency care. 

Natural Disasters. We watch for weather issues that could delay our clients so we can make plans in advance to schedule more visits when we know we have a client traveling where a weather alert has been issued that could delay travel. If we know you are in Puerto Rico and a hurricane has just taken out all power there we are going to schedule visits for several more days until we hear from you.

Home Safe. You'll get an email at the end of each trip that has a link to click to close your service ticket when you are home safe. This makes sure that all of the pets remain in our care in the event of a travel delay. It's tempting to reply to the email but please do click the link as that has an automated process involved.

We care about our clients' pets and we have developed this form to make sure all of the pets in our care have all that they need in the event of an emergency. Your cooperation is appreciated and it only takes a few minutes! 😊

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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

3 Great Reasons Why People Don't Hire A Neighbor For Pet Sitting

Have you asked your friends, relatives or neighbors to watch your pets? How has this worked for you? It can be an economical solution that goes off without a hitch or it can cause a bit of grief and hard feelings. Here are a few of the issues we hear from clients who come to us when things go wrong.

Accountability. What if your best friend or relative doesn't fill up the water bowl or doesn't clean up accidents or damage? What if you're packed and just about to leave, or you're already away, and they have something come up? When you come home to find things weren't done you can't actually complain without damaging the relationship.

Imposition. Gosh you really hate always asking. Their kids have so many things happening. They have their own lives to lead and you don't want to bother them. They will probably say yes but is it annoying them? Awkward.

Missed Visits. By far, this is the one that sends people running to us! They've hired the neighbor only to come home to find that no one has been there - YIKES! The dog was out of water, had eaten the trash and had clearly been trapped in the house or the cat litter box was overflowing and the cat had survived on a ripped open bag of bread and was plotting revenge. They had no idea their pets had been abandoned while they were on vacation.

Hiring a professional puts you in charge. You can hold them accountable to your exact requirements, you're never an imposition and a good company will provide GPS check in/out for you to know every visit has been done.

When hiring a professional you should do your homework. 

Reputation. Check Google, Yelp and Facebook for reviews and feedback. You can learn what the customer experience is really like. 

Longevity. How long have they been in business? While there are young companies that provide excellent service, established companies have a great deal of experience to handle myriad situations and a solid reputation that has been documented over many years. 

Interview. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Your pets are family and you'll want to know as much as possible about who will be providing their care. Here is our recommended list of questions for your phone call or free consultation.

Processes. A great pet sitting company will have processes that guide you; from your first encounter with their website to scheduling your meeting and visits to keeping in touch with you while you're away to making sure you arrive home as scheduled. You will know you're in good hands by the way the company has developed its customer care processes.