Find me a dog sitter in upper Westchester County
December 16, 2010 1:12 PM   Subscribe

I live alone in upper Westchester County, NY and have no one local who can watch my dog. Every now and then, I would like to go out at night. Help me find pet care for my dog so I can do this with a clear conscience!

I live in the suburbs near Peekskill and need to find someone who would be able to walk and possibly short-term host my dog.

Basically, I need someone who would be able to care for Badger on occasional, irregularly-occuring nights and weekends. He is house trained and is alone during the day in my apartment, with no trouble, but perhaps due to his track upbringing, he's more of a scheduled pottier than an ask-when-I-have-to-go pottier, and his potty schedule is pretty evening-heavy. I don't feel comfortable going out in the evening and leaving him alone during a time when he's used to regular outs. Yes, I'm a new doggie mama and probably worry too much. Just humor me.

I know that pet sitters sometimes advertise on places like Craigslist, but Badger is my first dog and frankly, I'm paranoid. I'd rather get a personal recommendation from a real, live internet person, or at least a link from an internet person to a site that vets its sitters.

Up until now, I've been relying on the goodwill of my parents to let me haul him down to their house in New Jersey for days at a time during weeks when I need to go out in the evenings. While wonderfully cheap, this is time-consuming and convenient neither for me nor my parents. I need to put on my big-girl pants and find real, live dog care.

Whichever type of care I settle on, they would need to be able to care for Badger with as little as 1-2 days' notice ahead of time (although I would of course make every effort to plan ahead, the people with whom I meet in the evenings are not always so helpful). The possibilities I've thought of:

1) A regular old dog-walker who could pop into my apartment a few times during an evening I'm out and take him on a potty break or short walk. Pros: less logistics to arrange. Cons: money is a little tight for me, and I have a feeling dog walkers are expensive.

2) A dog sitter, who could "day-care" Badger in their own location during the evening and/or host him overnight on rare occasions. I have a person who cares for him when I'm away for extended periods, but she lives quite far from me and isn't a real possibility for the occasional "I'm going into NYC after work and might not be home until really late" thing. Pros/cons same as dog-walker.

3) Some kind of co-op situation with other owners where instead of paying a walker/sitter, I could watch dog(s) one day, and in exchange have my dog watched other day(s). Pros: presumably free(ish), or at least much cheaper than walkers/sitters. Cons: probably less common and harder to find; probably requires more planning and scheduling.

So, dog owners of AskMe, which of these choices do I want to go with? Any recommendations for a dog walker/sitter/co-op, within 15-20 minutes of Peekskill, NY, or for a website where I can find a dependable, trustworthy w/s/c-o?
posted by badgermushroomSNAKE to Pets & Animals (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Do you have a local Humane Society that could recommend someone?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:15 PM on December 16, 2010

Ask at vet offices. Techs often moonlight as pet sitters.
posted by rtha at 1:21 PM on December 16, 2010

Another option might be a doggy day-care/boarding facility. I'm sure there are places that are flexible enough for occasional one-night stays.
posted by radioamy at 1:28 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Go to Badger's vet and talk to them and see if they have any recommendations. There may also be business cards for various pet sitters/walkers in their waiting room. That's how I found my current pet sitter. Another idea would be to go to the nicer, upscale (non-chain) pet stores in your area and see if they have a bulletin board with some business cards for sitters/walkers in your area.

Then, gather a few--I'd say at least 5--business cards/pamphlets. Call them and talk to them about Badger and your specific situation and needs. Also, they'll be happy to give you their prices over the phone--all of the sitters I called gave me this information. Use your gut and secondary to that, the cost, and pick a couple that you feel the best about. Ask them for references (at least 3 references is my rule of thumb), and contact those references and see what they have to say about the sitter you're considering. Of course, they will most likely be positive references, but only if they are happy with the service they're getting will a person agree to be a reference.

When you have narrowed down your choices after you hear what the references have to say, ask the sitter/walker to come to your home and visit with you and Badger. See how Badger reacts/responds to him/her--this will be the most important factor for you to consider, obviously. You may have talked to a sitter/walker who you got good vibes from, has prices that meet your budget, received glowing references, and then they come over to your house and Badger doesn't like them. This would be the point at which you move forward with your search and find someone who your dog likes and is happy around.

Also, please ensure that anyone you hire to sit and/or walk your baby is bonded and insured.

I can completely empathize--I have 4 dogs and never, ever went on any trips (even for a night) for something like 10 years because I am so overprotective of them all and was worried that I wouldn't find someone who a) would actually be comfortable sitting for that many dogs and 1 or more of my dogs wouldn't like him/her and b) wouldn't do a good job (i.e., be as obsessive as I am about them. haha). The pet sitter I eventually hired is marvelous and all the dogs love her. She sends me text messages after she visits my babies to tell me how everybody was doing and leaves me a little note when she is done sitting for me to read when I get home as to how they all did while I was away.

I know what a big deal this is for you. Good luck!
posted by angiewriter at 1:37 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Do you live in a neighborhood where there are children who are at least 9-10 years old? You can pay kids of 9-13 years old very small amounts of money to do little jobs like walk your dog and they are thrilled with being given the responsibility. Their parents are usually good judges of whether they are mature enough to do it. And if they're close by, last-minute calls would probably be OK.

Admittedly, this sort of thing is easier if you already know the neighbors. But you can find interested children by walking your dog and seeing if any kids come over to talk to him.
posted by not that girl at 1:40 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

I used to work at a veterinarian's office that did boarding, and we had several clients who would drop their dogs off for the night all the time, often with no advance notice at all. We could accommodate this because we were rarely completely booked (except for the holidays), and we were happy to do it because they were nice people. I'd try to find a situation like this that you could get yourself into.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:49 PM on December 16, 2010

I'm often in a similar situation with my dog, and I'm fortunate enough to have a vet very close to my house that will board her for a night here and there with little advance notice. They also have doggie daycare, which I use on workdays when I know I won't be home in the evening. I pick her up after work and drop her off at home before going out. She pooped from the activity of the day and I don't feel bad to leave her crated, even if I'm getting home in the wee hours of the morning.

Even if you let him roam the house during the day, you might consider crating him at night when he's "scheduled" to go out. Dogs hate to go in their crates, and he would probably get used to holding it pretty quickly. This way you could leave him (maybe for shorter periods of time at first) without fearing accidents, and not have to worry about getting a dog sitter every time you want to go out for a few hours.
posted by c lion at 2:29 PM on December 16, 2010

Sounds like the co-op angle isn't going to pan out, although I'm still holding out a little hope someone will pop up here to announce that they know of exactly such a thing exactly in my area.

rtha: Ask at vet offices. Techs often moonlight as pet sitters.

I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that this for some reason hadn't occurred to me even though I knew somewhere in the back of my head that a lot of techs did this. My vet is a bit far from my home - about half an hour - but there's another vet right down the road from me. I'll check in with both places to see if they do boarding or have recommendations for sitters and/or techs who want some side work.

not that girl: Do you live in a neighborhood where there are children who are at least 9-10 years old?

No, the kids in my neighborhood that I've met are all young children between 2 and 7. My landlord, who lives upstairs, loves the pup and is happy to help out sometimes, but she has her own life and I can't always count on her being able/willing to drop everything and come home early enough to walk a dog who's not even hers. I figure I'm probably better off finding a professional whose job it is to drop everything and come worship the greyhound king whenever he requires it :)

angiewriter: I know what a big deal this is for you. Good luck!

I am totally printing out your whole walkthrough, angiewriter, thank you so much!
posted by badgermushroomSNAKE at 7:19 PM on December 16, 2010

First, you do need to have someone you can trust to care for your dog. You never know when an emergency will call you away.

Second, it sounds like the issue is that while the dog can be home alone during the day, being home alone in the evenings is a problem. If this is the case, training would help. (If I've misread, and you mean being out all night, dog sitter is the answer.)
posted by Lesser Shrew at 8:01 AM on December 17, 2010

Second, it sounds like the issue is that while the dog can be home alone during the day, being home alone in the evenings is a problem. If this is the case, training would help.

Him being home alone in the evenings is a problem for me, mentally. He's never had an accident in my apartment, even when left alone in the evenings, but I would never expect him to hold it from, say, 8am until midnight, which is what some of my out-in-the-evening days have ended up looking like.

Even on nights where I can come home and walk him before going out, I would very much prefer to not spend my entire evening thinking about what time I have to catch a train to be home early enough ("getting home" tends to be a two-hour proposition just by itself) to take him out before the accident-odds turn against us. If I had someone who I knew had come in and taken him out once or twice during the evening, that would make things much easier to figure.
posted by badgermushroomSNAKE at 10:45 AM on December 17, 2010

« Older Who performed this cover of Bjork's "All is Full...   |   22" or 24" monitor for clearer picture? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.