Going out of state for a week - first time leaving the crew

ember

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
Feb 13, 2007
Messages
129
I am not happy about this one bit. Humph. I spend my WHOLE childhood and young adulthood traveling, moving, relocating, etc (both state-side and overseas), so I am not immediately starving for some traveling away from home experiences! Actually, I rather like NOT leaving my cool pets and wonderfully comfortable hangout home, thank you very much!

None the less, we are leaving for a week at the end of the month. My partner's side of the family is having a reunion, and as much as it sounds like total bollocks of a good time, we are going to fly to Missouri for a week to be part of.

Here is the ad I posted yesterday on Craigslist, in hopes of finding the "right" pet sitter for our crew while we are out of town:
http://portland.craigslist.org/mlt/pet/347938324.html

You would think (well, I know that I did!) that with a post like that, a lot of stupid questions would be avoided. Nope. I was inundated by people asking if they would have to hold the spiders, have to wear gloves while handling the snakes, what happens if our Pit Bull suddenly turns on them and locks her jaw, etc..... I got many responses from middle aged women that apparently petsit professionally, letting me know that they will consider doing it, but that they would need twice what I am offering. Blah, blah, blah...

Then I got this e-mail:

Hi. My name is Owen. I have 13 reptiles a dog and two cats. I also volunteer at OMSI's life science room (spiders, scorps, fish) and I know how to care for these animals.
I belong to the local reptile club NWHKA. we do teachings and outreaches about our animals.
I feel totally comfertable with all the animals mentioned.
I am 13 years old, if you would like referances on my animal care skills tell me.
I think I would enjoy this.
thank you
Owen murray
Here was my response:
Hey there Owen!

We belong to the NWHKA, as well!

I have been INUNDATED with people wanting this "job"... I would rather let you do it, however, as long as I can count on you coming over at least once every day and doing a really good job. Of course, I would need to speak with your parent(s) to verify that you can do this, and then we would need to make a plan (maybe you and your parents could come over and meet the animals and hang out for an afternoon). I would much rather give our money to a cool kid that has a true interest in herps (and animals in general) than a 40 year old woman that fancies herself a professional pet sitter (you would be shocked at some of the e-mails I have received today!).

I will hold off with responding to anyone else until I hear back from you. In that time, please verify with your parents that you can do this job for the full week, and make sure that you have transportation figured out (there is a bus stop close by, and the max station is within walking distance). Be sure to let them read my ad as it was posted on Craigslist... and verify that they are comfortable with you being in our home alone (or with them) with the pets that I listed.

Thanks!
I then got this in response:
Hi,

This is Owen's mom, Melody & I've copied his dad (Dan)
on this mail. We believe that Owen could do a very
good job for you. Owen is excited about the
opportunity! I'd like to have us all meet your
creatures before you go, of course. We live in
Gresham, not too far from you - we are at about 223rd
& Powell, so the bus/max ride could be a straight shot
for Owen if I'm not available to run him over to your
place.

Owen's had some petsitting experience, most recently
he took care of Joni the NWHKA snake lady's animals
one day while she was out of town. Mostly he's taken
care of dogs & cats, but he has LOTS of experience
with his own snakes & geckos & lizards. He's also had
many rescue animals from the NWHKA which have come to
us sick and left us healthy again.

Our home phone is ***********. We have some errands
to run today but will be home in the evening and most
of tomorrow. Owen's cell number is ***********.

Thanks!
Melody
Already, I am beginning to feel much less stressed out about our trip. We have enough time before the end of the month to meet a few times and really make this a functioning plan.

For those of you that have left the care of your animals to someone else (other than a spouse, etc) for a few days of longer, can you grace me with the lessons of your experiences? What have I not considered yet? I am trying very hard to anticipate many scenarios or possible problems before we leave, and have plans for them or at least conversations about it all.
 

compnerd7

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Apr 6, 2007
Messages
311
When I Have to leave all my animals, i normally have one of my good friends stay at the house to watch over things, I've never had anyone I don't know watch over my pets... although a Local pet store will watch your animals for u if u bring them in a cage for i think $2 a day, I did do that once, and had a good experence. but I would prob have no worries about that guy watching my pets for a week.. what could go wrong?;P ;P
 

Mushroom Spore

Arachnoemperor
Old Timer
Joined
Oct 14, 2005
Messages
4,598
I would NEVER let some random stranger off the internet (and craigslist of all places :eek: ) come watch my pets. You have no real proof that they're qualified (and won't kill your pets through either ignorance or bored horsing around), no insurance against coming back to find that all your pets have been stolen and sold, and no protection against things being stolen from your house itself.

There are real actual professional services for this, your vet probably has a bunch of numbers for reliable businesses in the area. But even better would be asking someone you already know and trust.
 

ember

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
Feb 13, 2007
Messages
129
See, it is not like I am leaving tomorrow. Between now and our departure, I would have the time screen e-mails, to meet with people (NOT at my home), interview, check references, etc... and make a good choice based on my footwork. It would be my responsibility to do my due diligence, but as long as I do so, I am sure that I could find exactly what I am looking for though a Craigslist ad (or a newspaper ad, or a bill board ad, etc). I was not looking for a professional necessarily - but that does not mean that I was looking to accept the first person that responded to my ad. I would never let some random stranger (from Craigslist or otherwise) come watch my pets. I would, however, use the internet (even Craigslist) as the first step in connecting with someone to do so. The first step is exactly that; the first step. After that, it is my responsibility (even if the person were a close friend) to assure to the best of my ability that the person has honest intentions and true capability to do what I am asking of them. In addition to screening e-mails, meeting in a neutral place to interview, and checking references, I had planned on writing up a contract. I got lucky that Owen responded (I has since checked with other NWHKA members that I know and trust, and checked with OMSI, and everyone assures me that I could not have been more lucky than to land Owen as my petsitter), but I still intend on having him come over several times before we depart, and writing up a contract.
 

compnerd7

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Apr 6, 2007
Messages
311
that's one thing i was thinking about too, make SURE u write up a contract, to be on the safe side. that way if he messes anything up, u have it in writing that he agreed to right the wrong... good idea
 
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