November 1997 Magazine
When considering a professional pet sitting service you will need to do a little homework before you entrust your pet to their care. The first step is to get recommendations from other bird owner's who have used a pet sitting service. Ask them what they liked and disliked about the service and whether they would use them again. Also, call the attorney general in your state, the Better Business Bureau, and any licensing agencies and check their record. Then the next step is to call the company and set up an interview with the potential caregivers.
It is imperative that they take the necessary steps to prevent the transmission of disease. In all likelihood, you will not be the only client hiring the service. Make sure that the employees wash, change clothing, shoes, etc., between appointments.
If all of the questions are answered to your satisfaction and you are comfortable with the potential care giver, then set up an appointment for him/her to come to your home. Introduce your bird(s) to them and observe how they interact and answer the following questions:
Also during this time chat with the employee to find out how knowledge they are about your species of bird or birds. Ask questions about diet, medical problems, emergency care, restraining a bird, wing & nail trimming, bathing, how birds play and talk, etc. You need to be sure this person will recognize an ill bird and knows what to do in case of an emergency.
Now, you have found a company that you are satisfied with, you have a signed contract, and you are all packed and ready to go, but you still need to check up on the company. While you are away, call home during the scheduled visits and take to the caregiver. As an added precaution, if possible, tell a trusted neighbor the times of the expect visits and ask them to verify that the visits took place. If your neighbor is willing, you can ask them to check on your bird each day just to make sure everything is going well. Also, leave your neighbor a number where you can be reached and don't forget to buy them a really nice souvenir.
Authors note: Part 2 of this article will be featured in the December issue of Winged Wisdom. Part 2 will cover the topic of bird care instructions for your pet sitter.
Winged Wisdom Note:Anne Johnson has been a companion bird owner for 12 years and has been breeding birds for the past 6 years. Anne is the owner and creator of Avian Antics Bird Toys, a well known manufacturer of bird toys.
A pet bird ezine, pet bird e-zine, for pet parrots & exotic birds. Cockatoo Parrot picture courtesy of Glasgow Enterprises
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Cockatoo Parrot picture courtesy of Glasgow Enterprises