Thirty Years and Enriching Pets’ Lives, Directly and Indirectly, Everyday

By Terry Haas

Its the close of another National Professional Pet Sitter’s Week here in the United States and it has been 30 years since the founding of the first professional association – the National Association for Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS). In 1982, a few well connected, forward-thinking, pet-loving entrepreneurs birthed a business from what once was the under-the-table domain of neighbors and family members, and yes, at times, the kid-next-door. Cheers to them, they know who they are (as they are not exclusively among the ranks at NAPPS). The Industry has since become a thriving slice of the 50+ billion dollar pet care services industry, employing not only those self-employed sole proprietors who started it all, but hundreds of thousands of independent contractors and employees. But that’s only one of the Industry’s collective achievements. Because these people were not just entrepreneurs, they were also caregivers and students of animal behavior and health, rapidly arming themselves with the experience of the hundreds of pets in their care and all of the results of the foods fed, toys played, leashes handled, training methods employed and other services consulted like veterinarians.

I began Loyalty Pet Care in the early days of 2007. My discovery of the Industry was accidental, but the inspiration and passion for it, no less energizing than my previous career as an archaeologist/environmental scientist. The void of being behind a desk, the addition of physical exercise through work. The difference – instead of joy derived from discovery of the past, joy derived from connecting and inspiring connections between humans and animals. As a trained scientist, I couldn’t help but naturally collect data from day one. In one way, many of my new Industry peers viewed this position as unprofessional – seeing our role as professional pet sitters as one that silently serves and provides care per client instruction, only.

If you were exposed, over and over again, by the use and results of use of hundreds of pet care products, foods, training methods and experience of area service providers, do you think you could contain letting others know which were most effective? Which were detrimental? And which were downright dangerous? In my view, one of the greatest accomplishments of the Industry is this: awareness and sharing of knowledge to protect and better the lives of the animals who enrich ours. I have a great, and timely story to help punctuate this point.

Last week I was contacted by a former employee who moved on to become an Adoptions Coordinator at a County Shelter. She forwarded me the thankful email of a cat parent who had reached out to the Shelter to surrender the cat, citing inappropriate house soiling. My former employee advised me that her Loyalty Pet Care cat sitting training (now referred to as Loyalty® LitterLab™) played a big part in enabling her to understand and advise this pet guardian, in turn giving her the tools she needed, with the medical support of her veterinarian, to discover the issues, resolve them and create a happy and healthy life for her cat. With the shelter at record highs for felines up for adoption, it is clear that our former employee saved this cat’s life.

There is no better thanks or praise for National Professional Pet Sitters week than hearing that our work has indirectly enabled a pet’s life to be saved. Who is your Professional Pet Sitter and what would you like to thank them for at the end of Professional Pet Sitters week and the start of the 30th year of this Industry’s birth?

Terry Haas is a professional pet sitter, certified PetTech® CPR, First Aid & Care instructor and the owner of Loyalty Pet Care® – a small employee-based, force-free, holistic-leaning, adopt-not-buy, professional pet sitting business currently exclusively serving Arlington County, Virginia. Like Pawgevity, Terry has always been uncompromising on quality, integrity and love, three areas that oftentimes slow down her profits, but never her success. Like Loyalty® on facebook:

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