Friday, June 17, 2011

Pet sitter personal safety tips and helpful products


It’s 8 pm and I am walking a dog in an unfamiliar neighborhood. It occurs to me that if I get hit by a car or have a heart attack, no one will know who I am or where I belong. The subject came up recently on one of the Internet pet sitter lists I subscribe to, PPSU. Some interesting and helpful suggestions came up, and I’d like to pass them along to you.

Identification
If you aren’t carrying business cards, do you have some other form of ID on you? RoadID.com sells attractive ID bracelets, the human equivalent of dog tags. Originally developed for bikers and joggers, their products are perfect for pet sitters too. RoadID also offers small pouches that attach to your shoe, perfect to carry a key.

Another handy item for nighttime walks is the Firefly® security light. They offer clip-on or wrist strap styles, which can be seen by motorists for up to a mile away.

ICE
ICE stands for “In Case of Emergency. “ Everyone should program an ICE number into his or her cell phone. Mine says ICE Dan, which has my brother’s number. He doesn’t live nearby, so I also have another ICE number, of a friend in my local area that could step in and take care of my home and animals if I’m out of commission.

Your Car
While you’re in the client’s house or out walking a dog, where is your purse? Sitting on the front seat of the car? Bring it in with you and lock the house while you walk. I am fortunate that I work in pretty safe neighborhoods, but even the nicest area can be a target for criminals, especially at night.

Carry all your stuff while pet sitting
Cargo vests, pants, fanny packs
Some of us carry a load of stuff when we are on the job:  keys, poop bags, treats, flashlight, cell phone, business cards, leashes, pepper spray– and on and on. Where to put it all? A cargo vest, or fishing vest, has multiple pockets so you can keep things organized and easy to get to. Fanny packs are helpful, but not as convenient if they only have one compartment. I know I hate digging through keys and other paraphernalia while trying to find a poop pickup bag. And the dog I’m walking is usually anxious to continue his walk, merrily wrapping the leash around my legs while I struggle. I always wear jeans or cargo pants (same benefit– multiple pockets).  

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© 2011 Terry Albert. All Rights Reserved.

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