Many of us share our lives with a mixture of creatures. I offer special billing for those of you who own a combination of cats and dogs. My policy is to charge 100% of the dog rate plus 50% of the cat rate. For example, if you booked me four weeks in advance of your vacation for two daily visits with your one dog and two cats, my fee would be $35 a day: $25 for two visits with the dog + $10 (one-half of my usual $20 fee) for two visits with two cats = $35. Add another cat, and the total cost for two daily visits would increase to $40: $25 for the dog + $15 (one-half of $30) for two visits with three cats. Add a fourth cat and there would be NO increase (since I believe cats thrive best in pairs, I charge the same for 2 as for 1, for 4 as for 3, and for 6 as for 5). Add another dog, and the total cost for two daily visits would increase to $45: $30 for the dogs + $15 (one-half of $30) for two visits with three cats. I cannot provide two visits a day for your dogs but only one visit a day for your cats (the cats KNOW I’m in the house and will expect their share of time and attention; AFTER ALL, they are SURE they’re the superior beasts!). I do not discriminate on the basis of species, and I will give every pet her/his equal share of love and care every time I am in your home.
Note that I do not offer the option of just 1 visit a day for dogs. I do not believe dogs should be left alone 23 hours a day, even in an outdoor run. If outdoor dogs are provided proper shelter from heat and cold, I will serve them with 2 visits per day. INDOOR DOGS NEEDS THREE VISITS PER DAY, since their urination/defecation needs require an outing at least every 8 hours. I have tried to work with clients who only wanted to pay for 2 visits per day on the premise that their dogs could stay outside for 16 hours at a time, and I have seen this cause the animals extreme stress. Neither can I “share” pet sitting with friends or neighbors. My liability insurance does not cover sharing the responsibility of your home care or your pet’s welfare, and it requires too much daily coordination to reassure me that your pet’s needs have indeed been met. I trust no one but myself with your precious pets!
If your home is more than ten miles from my central Champaign location, if you have unusual pets (such as the live coral reef aquarium in the home of one of my more challenging clients), or if your pets have special needs, you and I will come to mutually agreeable terms about the fee for your unique situation based on my extra driving time and gasoline costs or whatever extra time or skill a special needs pet may require.