Policies and Procedures
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All Pet Inclusion
While under the care of the sitter, no pets within the household or on the property may be neglected or ignored. The job of the pet sitter includes feeding, watering, and attending to the general health of all pets on the premises.
Visit Scheduling Requirements
For the safety of the pets, Chirp 'N Dook requires that all pets be visited at least once daily, regardless of species. The first visit must be scheduled to take place no more than 24 hours after the owner's departure, and the last visit must take place no more than 24 hours before the owner's return.
The sitter is given full authorization to medicate a specified pet using the medicine and methods described by the owner.
All dogs under the sitter's care are required to have a visible form of identification and contact information via a collar or tags when outside. Other pets, especially cats, goats, and pigs, are strongly encouraged to have a visible ID. Pets are strongly encouraged to be micro-chipped as well.
All pets that are walked outside the owner's home must be provided with a leash and collar. Owners are encouraged to provide a secure harness or martingale-style collar or chain for extra security, rather than a basic slip-on collar. If the sitter determines that the provided collar or harness is not properly secure, they reserve the right to use one that is.
Chirp 'N Dook may refuse care to any dog that has a significant history of biting or aggression, regardless of breed, or any horse or large animal that has a history of biting, aggression, or kicking. The owner will be expected to verify the pet's history. Chirp 'N Dook does not discriminate or deny service based on breed.
The sitter is not liable for the safety or theft of any pets kept outdoors, unless an incident occurs as a direct result of sitter negligence.
Due to the unpredictable nature of pets, we cannot service pets in environments where they could encounter unrestrained access to other pets, or in which the sitter would have difficulty retrieving the pet from an unforeseen or unsafe situation. This includes off-leash dog parks.
Cards (Via Paypal)
If a client wishes to pay using a credit card, an invoice will be sent via email.
Payments via cash or money order may be paid upfront at the initial meeting or left in the owner's home to be picked up by the sitter at the first visit. Any money left out is at the owner's own discretion; please leave exact change. We will assume any excess is a tip (thank you!).
PAYMENT IS DUE ON OR PRIOR TO THE FIRST DAY OF SERVICES. FAILURE TO PAY WILL RESULT IN IMMEDIATE CANCELLATION OF SERVICES AND KEYS WILL NEED TO BE PICKED UP BY THE OWNER.
It will be ultimately be up to the discretion of the sitter to determine how long a service will take, and thus how much the client will be charged. The sitter cannot be expected to complete a visit in what they believe is an hours-worth of work in 30 minutes. All services will be discussed between the sitter and the pet owner before the sitting takes place, although adjustments may need to be made as the sittings take place due to unforeseen circumstances. In these cases, the owner may be charged for excess time or services, or fees added, and the owner will be billed accordingly upon their return. Any changes made will be discussed with the owner. Please see the “Rates & Services” section of our website for more information on additional fees.
Prior to the beginning of services, the owner is expected to leave the home in a presentable, clean manner. It is not the responsibility of the sitter to clean or tidy any mess left by the owner.
The owner is expected to leave instructions for the sitter on where to find cleaning supplies in the house, such as surface cleaner, carpet cleaner, cleaning rags, etc. They should also discuss what to do with soiled bedding, and where to dispose of pet waste.
It is the sitter’s duty to maintain the general cleanliness of the pets’ allotted area. This includes cleaning of any urine, feces, vomit, etc. The owner may be charged for additional time if the time it takes to clean a pet’s mess exceeds the amount initially agreed upon by the owner and sitter. In some cases, the sitter may determine that properly cleaning a difficult mess is beyond their capability and may recommend professional cleaning by an outside service to be completed upon the owner’s return. The sitter is not responsible for the payment of these cleanings.
Owners under the care of Chirp 'N Dook are expected to provide TWO sets of keys to the sitter for everything they will require access to during the service. One set of keys accompanies the sitter when they make their daily visit. The other will remain in the office as a backup in the case of a lock-out or lost keys. A garage door opener or electronic lock combination may be given in addition to physical house keys, but electronic methods are not advised as the only form of entry, as they may not work in the event of a power outage.
The best time to exchange keys is immediately following the initial meeting. If the owner fails to provide two sets of keys, and an accidental lock-out occurs, the owner will be expected to pay for any required locksmith services.
If the keys cannot be exchanged at the initial meeting, and the sitter must come pick them up from the owner at their home, the owner will be charged a $10 fee.
Due to the possible scenario of the owner not returning home on time for unexpected reasons, the pet sitter will not leave keys in the house on their final visit. Once the owner has returned home, and if they do not wish to opt for the "Key Sitting" service (below), the owner and sitter will arrange a time to meet and drop the keys off in person. An extra $10 fee will be charged for the time and gas needed to return the keys.
Key Sitting Service
As a free, extra service, owners are given the option to leave their keys with the sitter for safekeeping and for future sitting services. The keys will be stored in a safely locked location and coded to protect the key owner's identity. Clients that opt for the extra service will be asked to sign a form saying that it is acceptable for Chirp 'N Dook to hold the keys until the owner wishes to have them returned.
On the extremely rare occasion that the main sitter cannot complete a scheduled sitting, Chirp N’ Dook may hire a trusted contractor to service the home and pets. The owner will be notified of any such substitutions and all protections will remain in effect.
Clients are expected to notify the sitter as soon as possible if they will no longer be needing the service of Chirp 'N Dook.
If the client has not notified the sitter of their cancellation by 7:00 PM the evening before the first day of sitting, the client will forfeit the cost of sitting for the first visit of services.
Holiday Cancellation Policy:
Between the dates of November 15th and January 5th, any cancellations made will result in a 50% forfeiture of the bill paid.
Client Communication Policy
Upon arriving home, clients are expected to communicate with the sitter that they have returned safely. In addition to monitoring the safety of clients, this avoids the possible scenario of an unexpected problem occurring with the pets being left unattended. If the sitter does not hear from the owner on their scheduled return date, and the owner cannot be reached, the sitter will continue to care for the pets until informed otherwise. Standard visit fees will incur accordingly for each visit made. The sitter will also, for the safety of the owner, contact the owner's spouse and/or emergency contacts, followed by police, if contact cannot be made with the owner within 24 hours.
Clients are also expected to communicate with the sitter if their departure or arrival date has changed. If the sitter arrives for a visit to find that the owner has not yet left for a trip, or has arrived home early, and no communication has been made, the owner will forfeit the cost of that day's visit.
Release from Liability
The sitter is not liable for any damage done by the pets to the home or other pets while not in the direct care of the sitter, unless an incident occurs as a direct result of sitter negligence.
The sitter must receive a list of any other services or persons including family or neighbors, that will enter the home while it is under service by the sitter. If another service or person including family or neighbors enters the home while it is under the service of the sitter, even if the sitter is made aware of their presence, the sitter is released from all liabilities.
If the pet owner is found to be dishonest with information regarding their pet, such as a history of aggression, the sitter is released from all liability, and the owner shall be responsible for the cost of any damages.
If the pet is allowed unsupervised access to the outdoors, the pet sitter is released from all liability.
Clients may be asked if Chirp 'N Dook may use a picture of their pet on its website and Facebook page. The sitter may take complimentary pictures to e-mail or text to the owner, or a Polaroid print to leave at the owners home as a souvenir, but these photos will not be posted online without the owner's permission. Any posted photos may include the pet's first name, but will not share any private information related to the owner or where they live.
Sitters will make every effort to attend a scheduled visit on time. A sitter may delay or cancel a visit if weather is determined to be a threat to their safety.
If a weather issue is anticipated, the sitter may visit earlier than usual to avoid risk. If the visit can be delayed until after the threat has passed, the sitter will resume their visits afterward. A pet's medical needs or temperature requirements will be taken into account.
Chirp 'N Dook will make every effort to make sure that pets under their care are safe in the event of a weather emergency.
If a pet needs to be evacuated due to unsafe conditions such as a fire, flood, or power outage, they will be immediately transported by the sitter to the nearest kennel or veterinary office and the owner will be notified. If a boarding fee incurs from the use of a kennel or other service, the bill will be forwarded to the owner, but the sitting fee from Chirp 'N Dook for the time spent boarding under another service will be waived.
The owner may opt to instead have the pet evacuated to a neighbor, friend, or family member. Any services previously scheduled after the time of evacuation will be waived.
Tips for owners concerning emergencies:
During the seasons in which snow is a factor--In Colorado, snow can occur at most times of the year--it would be beneficial for the owner to have an additional disaster plan of their own. Discuss the possibilities with friends and neighbors ahead of time, and communicate any such made plans with the sitter.
As an extra caution, it is strongly suggested that the owner provide the closest neighbor with a copy of the sitter's contact information. In the case of a fire, flood, tornado, or power outage, the neighbor may contact the sitter to let them know that the pet is need of immediate attention, or that the pet is currently in their possession.
For pets that are temperature-sensitive, make every effort possible to be prepared for a power outage as possible, whether that is by having a backup generator ready and hooked up to the pet's equipment or a heater, or by having a neighbor on stand-by, ready to evacuate the pet. Cold temperatures can prove deadly to some pets. Pets that are particularly sensitive to cold weather include but are not limited to: birds, reptiles, amphibians, sugar gliders, and crustaceans. Water in aquariums can sustain a manageable temperature for several hours.
If a pet is in need of medical attention, all efforts will be made to contact the owner. If the owner cannot be reached, they grant the sitter authority to use their best judgement to act on the owner's behalf.
In the event that a pet requires medical care due to sudden illness or injury, the sitter may transport the pet to a licensed veterinarian for treatment. The owner must leave contact information regarding the veterinarian of their choice. If the pet's regular vet does not offer after-hour care, the contact information for an emergency veterinarian must also be left. If neither of these options are available, the sitter will transport the pet to the nearest available veterinarian.
The owner of the pet assumes all costs of the veterinary visit, with the exception of any damages caused by negligence on the part of the sitter.
Death of Pet
The owner should discuss with the sitter what they would like the sitter to do in the event of any pet's death, especially senior pets. Upon discovering that a pet is deceased, the owner will be contacted immediately.
Incapacitation or Death of Owner
The owner must specify what they would like the sitter to do with their pets in the event that they (the owner) become incapacitated during their time away. They must designate someone to whom the pets may be released and who will also resume financial responsibility for any services rendered.