We are making a documentary movie about the professional pet sitting industry! And by ‘we’, I do not simply mean my production team and me.
I mean WE, as in you, our colleagues, supportive pet industry professionals (including veterinarians and trainers), and the collective professional pet care industry.
Production officially began recently as we made our way to Northern Virginia for four days to capture the day-to-day operation of All Friends Pet Care and other local pet professionals. It was an incredible experience that allowed us to get the ball rolling.
We then held a live virtual production meeting detailing our plans, our goals, and the reasons we are making this movie in the first place.
On that page, pet sitters were asked to submit their thoughts.
In one day, we received over 50 submissions from pet professionals guiding our project even further.
Outlined below are snippets of some of our favorite responses.
The beauty of this pet sitting movie project, as you’ll see, is that we are all speaking the same language! We are each passionate about what we do and all see the great need at this point in time to further educate the general public on what it truly means and what it takes to be a professional pet sitter.
Here are a variety of replies to our questions:
Why is it important for us to make this movie?
Set us apart as professionals.
So that the general public (pet owners vets etc) can understand the amazing commitment so many of us have to better our industry. The sacrifices we make to family and friends to get our business off the ground and keep it running.
I hope that this will bring awareness to both pet and non-pet owners about care and devotion that goes into this business. I live in one of the most dog friendly/adoptable areas in the country and I’m still amazed to find people who think of my business as a “hobby “.
I think it’s important to see the love and care that we as pet sitters have towards our field. There’s a misconception that it’s not a “real job”, when the truth of the matter is, it is.
This is a profession, not something you do between gigs. It’s more than petting a cat or walking a dog.
To provide an understanding of what is involved in running a pet sitting business. Because the industry is seen as a “hobby”, many do not see what it takes to care for our clients’ pets and what we, as business owners, do to ensure the professionalism of our businesses and the safety of client pets and our staff.
To educate the general public on how important it is to use a professional to care for their home and pets.
To share with pet owners what a professional pet sitter really is – and isn’t!
To further educate the public about what we do, and further legitimize this profession as more than just a hobby.
I think it is very important to make the distinct difference in a professional pet sitter vs. a hobby sitter. We need to legitimize this industry.
Get the word out that affordable, loving care for pets is available. This is a growing industry that is still fairly young and I think a lot of people think of it as “yeah, that’s great, until you get a REAL job!” This IS a real job and deserves the respect and esteem of any office job – if not more so because we lovingly care for people’s prized possessions, and in many cases, their pets are their kids!
I feel it is important that this movie is made so that clients and potential clients can learn more about our industry, how we as professionals can best serve their needs (as opposed to a neighbor, friend, high school kid, or $5 a visit pet sitters on sites like care.com, rover.com etc,) the detail that is involved in caring for their pets and what it means to those of us who are involved.
What point do you hope we achieve through this movie? What do you want the viewer to gain from watching?
The importance of hiring a professional. The difference between friends, neighbors, fly by nights, and the professionals.
That we are truly a professional and this is a REAL job
I want them to gain insight and to truly see that those that are in this field, do it out of passion. That we work together to help each other and refer to each other as colleagues even if we are in direct competition. Each pet sitter has a different style and way if doing things. There is no manual, but there is plenty of heart, ethics and principles.
Respect for what we really do.
That the viewer understands this is a real job with real responsibilities. I think a lot of people think it is all fun and not a lot of work. It is fun and truly rewarding. I would never go back to working for someone else. I am so blessed to work with animals everyday. However, the business does come with a lot of responsibilities and a lot of work. Many weeks I work 7 days a week. We do a lot of physical work as well if you do do walking. Sometimes I walk 7 hours a week just doing dog walking. I would also like to see stressed the difference between a professional pet sitter and dog walker as opposed to someone who is doing it for extra money because that could affect the client and animal in a bad way if the person walking/sitting the animal has no clue what they are doing.
That owning and operating a pet sitting business is the same as owning and operating any other business.
An understanding of how we differ and how critical proper knowledge and training are when split decisions have to made in regards to the health of their pet or a situation in their home.
Education about what our industry is really about.
Comprehension of just what it takes to provide outstanding service, the dedication and sacrifice it takes to be a professional or solo pet sitter. An understanding of why ‘cheap’ pet sitting is no longer a thing.
That pet sitters and dog walkers work extremely hard in most all conditions and that there is a lot of responsibility and trust that goes into this.
Tell us one interesting, fascinating, and/or unique thing about you or your business.
I never intended it to be anything but a part-time job. Now I have 30 employees. My business has been a personal and spiritual growth journey as I’ve had to become stronger and more confident as a business person and have more faith in God when the going gets tough.
I have had 25 years of hands on experience with animals on so many levels and we truly believe that you don’t have to be a mega business to make a difference in in your community and in the lives of those you care for.
Started with $150 and grew the company to 30 employees and a 1.1 Million in revenue in 6 years. We have won many awards such as NY Mag “Best of” and have a 4 week intensive hands on training program to ensure top quality care.
I was raised with rescue dogs, people would literally drop off unwanted dogs (cats too) at my mom’s house in Hollywood and she would take them in. We lived in a tiny house, but as an only child, I always had pets as companions. That’s why I love what I do, I innately bond with dogs and they know that I love them from the get-go. I’ve only owned rescues as I’m fully aware of the importance of saving 2 lives by adopting 1.
I have a lot of prospective clients call me and when their “shy” dog or cat meets me, they are completely different around me than the owner described. I have heard so many times, I’ve never seen my dog warm up to someone like that. :)
I spent 20 years in the corporate world in marketing and advertising. After experiencing several merger-related layoffs, I decided “check please”! I was done. I decided that my marketing and business experience and my passion for pets would combine to create my business. My goal was to create a professional organization that would provide personalized, caring service to our clients. I wanted to overcome the view of pet sitters as neighborhood kids or summer college students or hobbyists. In the 5 years that my business has been in operation, we have grown from 1 pet sit a day with 1 client to servicing over 300 clients and a team of 12 and still growing. We have consistently earned praise from our clients about our attention to detail, our personalized care and our ability to partner with our clients in caring for their fur, finned and feathered family members. It’s not been an easy career change and has required lots of commitment and work. But I can not imagine going back to working for someone else. I love the business I have created.
We take care of llamas and miniature horses.
Solo sitter for 14 years and manage to take time off and maintain and fairly decent annual income while providing quality pet care for my clients and their pets.
I am a two time brain tumor survivor.
As a young child I wanted to be a veterinarian when I grew up, but chemistry was impossible for me to understand so I gave up that dream. So I did what everyone expected me to do and toiled away in an office. After 30 years in the traditional workplace I was laid off and 3 months later started my business. I have never looked back. I always wanted to work with animals and now am living the dream! We have not advertised for the last 3 1/2 years – all of our incredible growth and success is due to word of mouth!
I started this to help supplement my income as a single parent and in no time, a few years, pet sitting was making more money then my full time job!!
I specialize in cats, and most enjoy working with senior and special needs kitties. There is a bond created when you work hands on with a pet needing fluids, injections or medicine. I try to make it a pleasant experience. Their owners are most appreciative of the attention I give their beloved pet, my insight when I notice changes, and compassion when it’s time to say goodbye.
What’s Next for Production of our Movie?
We are continually on the lookout for pet professionals who want to share their story with us. We will be travelling the country though our live pet sitting conference in Las Vegas, October 23 – 26, 2016.
Our conference will also be part of our shooting schedule and you can be featured on camera at that time.
We hope you will continue to support this important project for our industry and begin to spread the word to your colleagues and clients, too! In the comments below, please leave your thoughts and ideas, and if you have not already, send in your two cents through our movie questionnaire.