Home-based care services, including pet sitting and dog walking, are considered essential by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. As such, I have remained available for all services during this time, unless/until the unlikely event that I need to quarantine myself due to symptom or exposure concerns.
To best keep my clients, myself, and the community safe, I have been taking and will continue to take many precautions based on the updated recommendations of governmental health agencies and the advice of professional pet sitting organizations.
*As of July, I am resuming in-home consultations for those who are comfortable. Everyone in the household must be wearing a mask that fittingly covers the nose and mouth, or be in a separate enclosed room for the duration of the meeting. If anyone in the household has been coughing or sneezing into the open air of the home the day of the meeting due to any cause including allergies, or of course begins to have, or has recently had, any COVID-19 symptoms or possible exposures, please communicate this to me and we will look into rescheduling or doing the meeting remotely, or canceling/postponing the sitting if that becomes needed. I will have rigorously applied hand sanitizer immediately before entering and washed my hands prior to traveling, but am also happy to wash my hands on entry before touching anything in the home, including your pet(s). I will also continue offering Zoom/Skype/FaceTime or phone/email + photos or videos as a meeting option, with a brief masked outdoor key collection, for anyone who prefers this.*
Dog walk procedures:
I am donning a fresh pair of nitrile or vinyl gloves for each walk, using hand sanitizer between glove changings, using my elbow to open dumpsters to dispose of dog waste, avoiding people and other dogs on walks, and wearing a mask when I enter homes as well as most of the duration of each walk. Notes on how each walk went are sent by text or called out to you if you are nearby and free (no paper notes during this time).
If you are home, we will do a no-contact dog pick-up. Some ways clients and I have been doing this are: 1) client is working in a separate room all day and the dogs meet me in a contained area near the door; 2) leash and harness are draped on the condo/apartment outer doorknob, and the dog meets me at the door; 3) the client lets the dog into their fenced backyard for me to collect (or just play fetch in the yard); and; 4) the client carefully releases the (leashed and harnessed) dog to me in the stairwell of their building, with six feet between us. In all of these situations, the client takes care of water changes, and any treats are either left near the door or given by the client. Texting the client with an ETA while on the way and/or texting or knocking when I arrive has been working well. We can discuss what options might work best for your situation.
Pet sitting procedures and requirements:
For the most part, in-home pet sitting when you travel will be as usual. One difference will be that I will immediately wash my hands thoroughly upon arrival, before touching your pets or anything else in your home. As usual, I will remove my shoes upon or before entering. If I need to sneeze or cough, it will be into my elbow and over the floor. I am happy to additionally disinfect all touched surfaces at the last visit, wear a mask and/or gloves during all visits, or potentially take other measures, upon request.
I am having clients provide the following (in addition to everything on the vacation care info sheet):
It should go without saying, but no one can be staying in your home during your trip, and any visitors to the home while you are away must be communicated to me, including the day(s) and exact time(s) they will be present, and must wear a face mask the entire time they are in the home.
Cat enrichment visits:
Same as pet sits when you travel, except no need for the extra pet supplies
Pet-free house sitting tasks while you travel:
Same as pet sits when you travel except for pet supplies
Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or would like to discuss anything as it pertains to your situation and needs.
If you or any members of your household are or become symptomatic for COVID-19 or have had recent known or suspected exposures to the virus, please communicate this to me as soon as you become aware.