“This all sounds so great! I’m so happy I’ve found your services! The only question I have is… how does my pet sitter get inside?”
This is one of the top questions we get from potential clients looking for dog walking or pet sitting services in our service area. It’s a great question! How can your pet sitter access your home? How do you know your property is safe?
This post will take you through of all the precautions we have in place to ensure care to your pets and the safety of your home is never interrupted, even in the unlikely event of an emergency.
The Meet and Greet – Meeting Your Pet Sitter
Prior to the start of any services, potential clients will meet their primary pet sitter and RCO Management at an appointment we call “The Meet and Greet.” The Meet and Greet is a complimentary consultation provided to give clients the opportunity to meet our pet care specialists face-to-face and introduce their sitter to their pets and home.
At the Meet and Greet, all aspects of pet care are gone over including how and where to enter the property. Keys are exchanged and securely labeled at this time. Clients are encouraged to demonstrate exactly how they access their home. Your pet sitter will test the provided keys, test the alarm system and learning any “quirks” your door has (sticks in the summer, needs to be pulled up to latch… we’ve seen it all!).
We encourage you to keep your pet sitter’s entrance routine the same as yours. This is what your pets are used to and can cause the least amount of stress. If you always enter from the side door, for example, and have your pet sitter enter through the front door, your dog may be confused by the sudden change in routine.
The “Two Key Rule”
Our policies state that two keys will be collected at the initial Meet and Greet. “Why two?” is asked more often than not. This comes down to one simple principle and our number one priority… safety.
Say your pet sitter was driving back to town to take a puppy out for its midday potty break. Unfortunately, her car hits a patch of ice and she gets into an accident. She is okay, but obviously delayed. If this sitter had the only copy of the clients’ key, the pets could be left with significantly delayed care. This is particularly dangerous if the animal happens to be on time-sensitive medication, such as insulin.
By having a second copy of your key safely locked up in the office, we can ensure your pet is cared for in a timely manner while your primary pet sitter can take care of her emergency. In the example listed above, another sitter or a member of the management team can take the copy and have the puppy out in no-time.
Many clients opt to provide us with garage codes during the initial consultation. These are great because they provide an easy way into the home. These are not foolproof, however, as batteries die and power can go out. For this reason, we refer back to the “Two Key Rule” just to be safe.
We are seeing door knobs with a code more and more often. These, like garage codes, are a great, effective way to enter a home without worrying about keys. But, just like any technology, these can fail. A backup key or way of entering is always recommended.
Hiding a Key for Your Pet Sitter
A “hide-a-key” is a classic way to allow someone access to your home. Unfortunately, it is also unsecured and can allow the wrong people to access your home. If someone wants to get in, looking under a door mat may be their first thought.
For this reason, the RCO Pet Care team strongly discourages this method of home access. When your home and pets are in our care, we want them to be safe and secure. A hidden key can increase risk.
Lock boxes can be a great alternative to a “Hide a Key” if a client wants to keep a key on property. There are many types of lock boxes to suit all levels of security. Some require a phone app while others are as simple as a three-digit code. If you are interested in using a lock box, be sure to do your research. You can discuss where to place the lock box as well as how it is programmed at your Meet and Greet.
In this digital age, many of our clients have alarm systems. Your pet sitter will arm and disarm these systems as you wish. Be sure to put alarm details in your pet care profile and discuss its use during the Meet and Greet.
How are client keys kept safe?
The keys provided to your pet sitter are kept in a secure, locked location. Each and every key is assigned a code unidentifiable to anybody outside of our team. In the unlikely event that a key is compromised, there is no way for anybody other than your pet care specialist to tell where it belongs!
Rest Assured – Your pet sitter has your tail!
It is RCO Pet Care’s mission to be the gold standard of pet care by providing each client with extraordinary service and each pet with top-notch care to ensure a stress-free pet care experience. Your pets and your home are always our number one priority. By keeping these specific systems in place and having a team trained to always double and triple check door locks, your pets and property are in the best hands possible. We’ve got your tail.
RCO Pet Care loves pets and understands how special and important they are to their families. To learn how RCO Pet Care’s team of professional pet sitters can help you safely care for your furry crew and enrich their lives, check out our services, contact us or call us at (203) 641-2428.