All posts by author

28 Jun 2018

Dante Moves Down-Unda!


Although The Pet Gal is known for our high-quality pet sitting and dog walking, we also offer a variety of unique and personalized services – including pet taxi, concierge services, and more.

In early May, The Pet Gal was contacted by a client who’d recently relocated to Australia and needed help getting her cat prepared to travel from Austin to Los Angeles and then on to Melbourne, Australia.

Since the client had already moved, the cat’s international journey was being coordinated entirely from overseas. The Pet Gal was able to step in and provide a customized selection of services to help the client be reunited with her cat, including:

Pet taxis to and from vet appointments
Concierge services to acquire international travel documentation and pick up online orders of pet supplies
In-home boarding
Pet sitting
Unique pet taxi during which a Pet Gal flew with the cat to Los Angeles!

By getting to know the client, her pet, and their specific needs, The Pet Gal assisted in everything required to get her fur baby safely from Austin to her new home in Australia.

Dante The Cat Goes To Australia


A four-year-old tortoiseshell female, Dante the cat was sweet-natured but timid. Her owner described a pattern of behavioral problems and distrust when she was first adopted, signaling that her life prior to finding her forever home was not a good one. Luckily, she found an amazing family, learned to trust again, and formed a wonderful attachment to her owner – eventually even seeking out attention and affection.

Despite her comfort with her new owner, Dante still showed signs of anxiety – including panic attacks –when traveling. The client described Dante’s demeanor during car travel as “content in her crate but distressed by loud noises and movement.” She was concerned that this anxiety would only worsen during airplane travel.

Dante’s emotional and physical health was our number one priority, so throughout the entire process, we relied on our top cat behavior specialists to ensure she was as comfortable and prepared she could be before and during travel.

Dante The Cat Trip Preparation


Moving an animal internationally is a highly involved process. Not only is there a mountain of paperwork to handle prior to departure, but the pet must also be emotionally and physically prepared to handle car rides, noisy airports, and long hours in a crate or carrier. Our goal was to do everything possible to offer peace of mind to the client and loving support to Dante while navigating this complicated journey.

Dante The Cat Pet Sitting And Pet Taxi


When The Pet Gal was first contacted by the client, her main concern was helping Dante acclimate to the strange sounds and new environments of travel. We got to know the client’s needs and concerns via a Skype call and met in person with Dante’s Austin-based caretaker before scheduling a few preliminary pet sitting appointments and pet taxi rides.

During the initial pet sitting appointments, Pet Gals Debbie and Siobhan took care of Dante and helped her get used to new people. Throughout the car rides, our sitters helped the kitty adjust to her new travel crate by driving her around in a car and carefully monitoring her behavior to ensure she was calm and happy. Each ride, they would take different routes to help Dante get used to bumps, noises, and turns.

Pet Gal Tabitha, our resident cat expert, suggested a few additional methods to acclimate Dante – including playing a soundtrack of airplane noises during the car rides. Throughout this process, we communicated with the client extensively to keep her updated on Dante’s progress.

After the success of the first few rides, the client asked if we could provide additional pet taxi services to vet appointments. International transport of live animals requires verification that the pet is healthy, up to date on all vaccination requirements, and parasite-free. Pet Gals Joy and Debbie assisted in taking Dante to the vet multiple times throughout the month and helped the client get documentation of Dante’s good health.

Dante The Cat Concierge and Cosigner Services

Concierge & Consigner Services

Coordinating a live animal’s travel from across the world is no easy feat, but our client was able to be hands-on in the process by utilizing The Pet Gal as a local, in-person resource for a variety of important errands. From picking up online orders for pet necessities at HEB and Petsmart to dropping off essential paperwork for Dante’s travel at the USDA, The Pet Gal was able to offer unparalleled personalized services that were essential to making Dante’s trip possible.

Dante The Cat Boarding


Not long before Dante’s scheduled flight, the client learned that Dante’s caretaker was moving. She was concerned that the hectic environment of a home in transition would exacerbate her kitty’s anxiety, so she contacted us for a pet taxi service from the caretaker’s home to a pet-friendly hotel.

Pet Gal Tabitha stepped in and offered to board Dante in her home instead. Not only would this put less stress on Dante, but Tabitha could offer more one on one time to further prepare her for travel. As the founder of Pawsitive Karma Rescue, Tabitha was the perfect person to board Dante. Though she was fostering kittens at the time, her vast experience in “quarantining” cats helped ensure there was no cross contamination of illness or viruses that would affect Dante’s approval to travel internationally.

Pet Gal Tabitha even set up her pet cam in Dante’s room so the client could see and communicate with her!

Dante Takesoff For Australia


By the end of May, The Pet Gal family had been an essential part of Dante’s travel preparation. So much so, our client asked if any of our pet sitters would be able to provide a pet taxi service to fly with Dante from Austin to Los Angeles! Once in LA, Dante would need to be safely transferred from the plane to Qantas Airlines, where she would be flown to Melbourne, Australia. By having a Pet Gal along for the ride, Dante would have support and the client would be able to be kept in the loop every step of the way.

We found a Pet Gal willing to accompany Dante on the trip and worked closely with the client to book the right flight that would work best for Dante’s transport. Prior to the trip, our Pet Gal was scheduled for a few pet sitting and pet taxi visits to get to know Dante and build a relationship with her.

Our Pet Gal did her due diligence in communicating with the airline and rental car company to ensure that all the details were ironed out. In doing so, she learned from the airline that even though the client had booked a live animal reservation for the cargo hold, the high temperatures of Austin meant no live animals would be placed in cargo for safety reasons. Our team acted swiftly and efficiently in solving this last-minute crisis. We were able to coordinate Dante as a carry-on instead and as a result, Dante’s crate needed upgrading. Pet Gal Tabitha offered the client use of her personal, airline-approved, soft carrier.

The flight departed on a Tuesday in early June. Our Pet Gal coordinated Dante’s travel from Tabitha’s home to the airport and kept Dante calm through security and during the flight – all while keeping the client up to date via messages and photos!

Once safely in LA, our Pet Gal and Dante hopped in a rental car and headed to Qantas airlines. Once our Pet Gal ensured all the necessary paperwork was in line, Qantas took over transporting Dante from LAX to Melbourne.

Dante Arrives In Australia


After Dante landed in Australia she was moved to a quarantine facility where her health was monitored closely for 10 days. According to the Australian government website, “The 10-day quarantine period, in addition to testing conducted offshore prior to import, allows biosecurity and veterinary officers sufficient time to assess that the animals are healthy and are not carrying diseases or parasites.”

A couple of weeks after Dante’s big adventure we were notified by the client that Dante had passed the quarantine requirements and was ready to be brought to her new home.

Our team was ecstatic to hear about the reunion between Dante and her human and very grateful to have been a part of making it happen! In a recent update, the client let us know that “Dante has made an excellent debut in the Southern Hemisphere!” and had this to say about her experience with our team during this important journey:

“I hope you know how much it means to me to have this help while I can’t be there with Dante. It’s been really hard to try to get help with her, and it’s such a relief to know that if I ask for help from y’all it actually gets done, properly and on time. I know that Dante is getting loved and looked after when she sees you, and that is such a relief. I wish I’d found you guys sooner, so much love and gratitude to everyone who is being a part of getting my little girl Dante through this time and ready to come to Australia, you are the best.” – XX Sarah M.

Pet Gal Kirstie.

30 May 2018

Tech VS Pet : Which Business Really Provides Better Care?

Tech VS Pet :

Which Business Really Provides Better Care?

These days there is an online, on-demand service for everything. Whether you want to hail a rideshare, order food from your favorite restaurant or have groceries delivered, customers are turning to online tech companies more often than ever for quick-fix solutions and services.

Recently, the trend of app-based platforms has spread to the world of pet sitting and dog walking, giving pet parents the option to request care for their pets at the press of a button. However, many pet owners are torn on whether to utilize this new technology or hire locally run pet care providers.

The Pet Gal – a professional pet sitting company with nearly 10 years of experience – believes that there is no better choice for your pet than a trained, certified professional from a local company. While new pet care apps emerge every day in the wake of this on-demand boom, local pet sitting is a business model that has stood the test of time, offering a variety of benefits for both pets and their owners.

Building a Relationship with Pets

The Pet Gal believes that finding quality pet sitting and dog walking is as essential to your pet’s overall well-being and behavior as regular veterinary visits and proper training. There is no better way to achieve this than to hire a local pet sitter with whom you can build a solid, trusting relationship with. Online tech companies are less likely to provide this personal, caring relationship than local companies.

Consistent, familiar pet sitters can help your pet maintain good behavior, as sitters will know the family training techniques and can enforce them. It also helps keep your pet in good health – pets do not feel anxious or nervous each time they are visited if they have a relationship with their sitter. In addition, knowing and trusting who is coming into your home can provide priceless peace of mind for you.

As opposed to increasing client base for the sake of making additional profits, local pet sitting companies work hard at building their reputation with clients in their community one pet at a time.

tech vs pet which is best

“Our dog with glaucoma’s ophthalmologist said putting your dog in a kennel can cause eye pressures to go up and cause stress. The added stress is not good for senior pets or pets with health issues. Consistent, trained sitters coming to the house is the best for their health.” – Pet Gal Laura

App Industry vs. Service Industry

The origins and growth of many leading pet care apps are often based in the development of software and expansion of business, rather than a genuine desire to work in the pet industry. For example, the popular on-demand dog walking service Wag! has recently hired a new CEO following a $300 million-dollar investment from SoftBank, a Japanese multinational conglomerate. It is corporate moves like this that give massive corporations, not pet lovers, heavy influence on how the business is run. In comparison, local professionals nearly always start and consistently run their companies because of their true passion for pets.

When looking to hire a pet sitter or dog walker, pet parents should do some research on the company’s owner and any corporations that may have a stake in the business. Do their qualifications speak more to their experience in pet care or software development? Does their business model seem more focused on increasing profits or the personal experience of pet care? Often you will find that local pet care companies offer more reassuring answers to those questions.

Recently, The Pet Gal began utilizing app technology in tandem with personalized services. However, owner Susan Anderson, began her pet sitting journey nearly 10 years ago to fulfill her passion of working with animals and providing the absolute best pet care possible.

“There have been multiple occasions when a prior Wag! or Rover client contacts us looking for quality care after sharing a not so pleasant experience with their sitters. They’re blown away by our level of service. While we use tech daily, our focus is personalized care, love, and attention.” – Susan Anderson, Owner of The Pet Gal

Offering a Path to Careers in Pet Care

While it is true that people with a passion for pets can and do work for online tech platforms, the business model of these companies does not offer pet professionals a path to a long-term career. Local companies offer the chance for pet sitters and dog walkers to grow, not only with the company itself but also in their own journey to a career in the pet industry.

Many of The Pet Gal’s independent contractors have gone on to become employees with us, as well as create successful careers as private pet sitters, trainers, pet photographers, and more.

When pet parents hire a local pet sitting company, they are promised a professional that is committed and has a vested interest in learning and growing in the industry.

Profit Driven vs. Quality Driven

Dog walking and pet sitting apps may offer a quick solution and promise great customer service, but their quick-fix business model is more reflective of their desire to earn a profit rather than their passion for providing excellent pet care. Local pet sitting companies prioritize pet care and service over profits.

A look at the hiring process of leading pet-sitting apps reveals how online tech companies prioritize making money over hiring the best possible candidates. With only a background check and basic information, people can on-board with some of the leading pet care apps in as shorts as 1-5 days. In comparison, The Pet Gal utilizes background checks, references, resumes, and an intensive in-person interview process with every potential contractor we work with. This guarantees that all our Pet Gals are passionate about working with us and committed to their career as a pet professional.

In addition, local pros are more selective on the clients they choose to work with. In their desire to increase profits as much as possible, app-based services will often provide pet care for anyone and everyone. Comparatively, The Pet Gal’s onboarding process for clients ensures that we are the best fit for you and vice versa.

“When we first moved to Austin, I tried Rover. The Sitter was okay, but was always unavailable and never gave me feedback, photos, or updates. I suppose she was there, but without all the wonderful feedback and tools that Pet Gal provides, how do you know? I also used VIP and they sent me text updates, but never cleaned poop and gave our old dog too many treats, causing him to be sick. Then, I found Pet Gal. Joy and Suzy provided great updates, photos, and really understood how to take care of our senior dog. That’s why I applied to work here.” – Pet Gal Laura

Security & Certifications

tech vs pet first aid certifications

Incidents – whether over the safety and security of the pet or the home – for online tech pet services are on the rise. From losing dogs while on walks to violating the trust and privacy of the clients’ homes to simply being negligent, the lack of security provided by some of the leading on-demand pet apps can be alarming.

With local, pet care companies such as The Pet Gal, clients can rest easy knowing that their pet and home are in good hands. They take absolutely every precaution when it comes to ensuring a safe, happy, and secure experience for both pets and their owners.

All independent contractors at The Pet Gal are required to maintain certifications for pet CPR and first aid as well as behavioral training for both cats and dogs. Many also have training and experience beyond that, as they hire pet lovers who are often looking to expand their career in the pet industry. To top it all, every sitter on their team is covered by an insurance policy up to $1,000,000. It is extra-mile steps such as these that truly set local, pet care companies apart from on-demand tech companies.

Additional & Personalized Services

Online tech companies may offer quick solutions, but they pale in comparison to the variety of services and level of personalization local pet care professionals offer. Whether your dog is special needs, your cat needs medication administered, or you need additional services such as pet wedding attendant or pet taxi, local pet companies like The Pet Gal are the best option to not only meet but exceed your expectations.

tech vs pet cat sitting

“If it were me and I had an animal that needed medicines, that would be scary to have a random individual possibly giving it wrong or not at all. Going over it all with a sitter is better and offers peace of mind.”– Pet Gal Kathleen

Give Back to & Supporting the Community

When hiring local pet professionals, you are supporting your neighborhood and community rather than big business. Best of all, local companies can use their status as a locally-owned business to give back to their city by supporting community organizations. For instance, The Pet Gal routinely partners with other local pet professionals throughout the industry to attend and host group events that benefit local rescue groups and give back to the community.

When it comes to providing the best possible care for your pets, the choice is clear. Choose a local professional or company to ensure a personal, quality, safe experience for you and your pet.

Pet Gal Kirstie.

14 Mar 2018

10 Habits Top-Earning Pet Gals Use That Dramatically Increase Tips

10 Habits That Dramatically Increase Tips

Whether working full-time or part-time as an independent contractor with The Pet Gal, there are steps you can take to grow your income. Along with advertising and building a solid client base, you can increase your personal revenue by upping your level of service to earn additional tips. We spoke with The Pet Gal’s top tip earners to create a comprehensive list of proven techniques they practice to earn tips.

1. Take Great Photos

Photos are the single best way to show your client that their pet is happy, healthy, and doing great while they’re gone. If the pet is happy the client is happy, and reassured, satisfied clients, are more likely to tip.

Always prioritize taking quality, clear photos of pets with happy expressions. Avoid sending clients photos of dogs with signs of stress (pinned ears, tucked tail, lip licking, yawning, etc.) Be sure to capture the pet’s unique personality and get creative with your photos. Know the animal’s unique expressions and funny habits and be prepared to snap a photo at any time.

For every visit, make it a goal to get at least one clear, good photo of each animal. If that is not possible due to unforeseen circumstances such as limited time, nervous/hyper animals, weather, etc. then try to send photos of the animal doing something fun like jumping for a toy or running for a ball.

Photo tips from top-earning Pet Gals include:

Get low to the ground or on the pet’s level.
Use portrait mode if your phone has one.
Edit/crop photos as needed.
Think of what kind of photos you’d like to see your pets.

Photo tips from top-earning Pet Gals

“During Christmas time I took an adorable photo of my client’s dog with some beautiful Christmas decorations we came across on our walk. The client said she was going to use it as her next Christmas card photo!” – Pet Gal Kirstie

“I took some photos [for a client] … at night with my phone. I sent them to her and she practically started crying because she has been so worried about him… She never leaves him and I had captured a photo of him SMILING. She said she has never gotten a clear photo of him smiling in his life and couldn’t believe he was smiling. #gamechanger” – Pet Gal Sam

2. Prompt Communication

While the Pet Gal office staff is available to help answer client questions, it makes a great impression if you respond promptly to messages yourself whenever possible. Addressing issues quickly and personally lets the client know you genuinely care about their needs. In addition, communicate promptly with clients if you are running late or have questions about their pets.

3. Be Detailed in Updates

Nothing is more comforting for clients than detailed updates. Reassuring your clients of the exact details of your visit helps to ease their mind and give them confidence in you. While a long visit series or regular, daily walks can be repetitive for you, remember our photos and updates are the only connection pet parents have with their fur babies while they are away. Make a point to be creative and original in every update by avoiding “fluff” and repetitive lists.

Update tips from top-earning Pet Gals include:

Describe the pet’s personality and your special relationship with them in great detail.
Be especially detailed on the first visit in a series and with new clients.
Point out things the client wouldn’t expect.

Update tips from top-earning Pet Gals

“Give them great updates that tell them exactly what was done at the visit and always shows the pet owner their fur babies got the best care possible.” – Pet Gal Becca

“Make them understand that you had a wonderful time with their animals and saw their personality shine… I have noticed that clients LOVE to hear about their cat acting like a diva, their dog showering me with love or giving some silly grin in a photo. That shows we are building a relationship with their animal. I have seen clients breathe sighs of relief more times than I could count because of these things.” – Pet Gal Jen

4. Show Your Personality

Just like every pet is unique, so is every Pet Gal. In each interaction with clients – whether at a meet and greet, through photos, or in updates – be friendly, happy and upbeat. Most importantly, be yourself! Allow clients to get to know you. This way, they will feel that a trusted friend is caring for their pets.

5. Follow Pet Gal Policies

All the Pet Gal policies are in place for the well-being of the pets we care for. Following these policies is paramount to providing Pet Gal quality care. If your tips are slipping, refer to the various documents provided in the “Time To Pet” portal and refresh yourself on our policies. You might find that there are ways you can improve your level of care.

6. Create a Relationship

For the best experience possible for both pets and owners, create a meaningful relationship with the family. Use your meet and greet to get to know the clients and their pets. Let your updates be personal and conversational. Care for each pet as if they were your own. Invite clients to come to Pet Gal meetups and events. By finding ways such as these to connect and build a solid relationship, clients and pets alike will trust you more.

7. Communicate with Other Pet Gals

When it comes to their pets’ care, clients sincerely appreciate consistency. They want to be assured that when they use the Pet Gal, they will receive the same quality of thoughtful care and extraordinary service every time, regardless who their sitter is.

The best way to ensure this happens is for Pet Gals to communicate with one another via private messages in the portal. Always communicate helpful advice, quick tips, and anything of importance with your fellow Pet Gals and be sure to read other sitters’ visit updates. Failure to work as a team can result in mistakes and overlooked details that could negatively affect your tips in the long run.

8. Use Positive Language

Pet parents can understandably be on edge when they are away from their babies. Our goal is to reassure them every step of the way. When it comes to sending updates – language choice matters. Always use positive phrases such as, “My pleasure!”, “Certainly!” or “Absolutely!” as opposed to negative wording like, “No problem.” or “Not an issue!” When describing a pet’s behavior, focus on the positive. For example, instead of saying their dog hates the rain, focus on how much the dog loved coming back inside for extra cuddle time.

9. Thank Clients When They Tip

Tips display in your “Time To Pet” portal under the “My Pay” section. Whenever you receive an invoice, refer to that section to see which clients tipped you. Send a quick message through the portal to thank them personally for their generosity. Appreciating a client’s tips can make a big difference in whether or not they tip again in the future.

10. Special Touches

Clients who tip generally do so because they feel that their Pet Gal went above and beyond. Going the extra mile whenever possible helps to impress clients and motivates them to tip.

“WOW factor” tips from top-earning Pet Gals include:

Mail or leave handwritten “Thank You” notes using Pet Gal cards.
Print or email photos of the pet to the client.
Stack mail and packages neatly.
Wipe nose/paw prints off glass.
Vacuum around litter boxes.
Leave pet gal swag like magnets, flyers, frisbees, etc.

“WOW factor” tips from top-earning Pet Gals

“Taking them for a longer walk… checking mail, pulling trash bins back to where they go. All and all it shows they are loved. They appreciate it.” – Pet Gal Becca

“One of my regular clients’ dog, Daisy, passed away. When I heard, I had a few great photos of Daisy printed at Walgreens, spent $5 on a bouquet of daisies at HEB and messaged the client to see if I could stop by. The client said yes and when she saw me at the door with daisies she was so moved she cried. I sat with her and her husband for about half an hour and they both really appreciated having someone to talk to about their pet. I continued to have visits with their other dog after that and noticed one day that they had framed one of the photos of Daisy I gave them. And the next holiday season they left me a gift and a tip even though I wasn’t their holiday sitter at the time.” – Pet Gal Kirstie

“Collect the best photos over time, print them and leave it at their house… I gave all my regular clients a bag of homemade human cookies and a framed photo of each of their pets last Christmas… It does cost money, but think about the tips that could possibly be generated based on this investment… When people start giving you $100 tips it adds up quickly. I promise you, if you do this it WILL be worth it. Clients LOVE it and the photos remind them of you.” – Pet Gal Sam

Pet Gal Kirstie.

Posted by with - in Sitters Read More →
25 Apr 2017

5 Fun Ways To Include Dogs In Your Wedding

5 Fun Ways To Include Your Dog In Your Wedding

Dogs and Weddings…What’s not to Love?

When it comes to unconditional love, there’s nothing like the bond between you and your dog, so surely you will want your dog involved in your wedding. The Pet Gal is bringing their expertise to weddings by introducing Wedding Pet Attendant services to allow you to create wedding memories of a lifetime by including your dog on your special day. Your wedding pet attendant will be there every step of the way to help make sure your dog participates in all aspects of your wedding, including the five most requested ways your dog can participate in your ceremony.

16 Jun 2016

8 Symptoms Of Pet Allergies

8 Symptoms Of Pet Allergies

Pet Gal Sam explains how to recognize and treat allergic reactions in your pet. Her qualifications include working as a Veterinary Triage Receptionist at a 24 hour Emergency Animal Hospital in Northwest Austin and treating sick cats at Austin Pets Alive.


Allergic reaction in pets take many forms and happen for many reasons. Symptoms can range from swelling to difficulty breathing. Allergic reactions vary in severity, but should always be taken seriously. The following symptom(s) may indicate an allergic reaction:
Pet Allergies
· Rash or Hives
· Swelling
· Licking or Scratching
· Itching, Runny Eyes
· Vomiting
· Diarrhea
· Snoring
· Labored Breathing


Causes of allergic reaction vary, as well. The most common causes for an allergic reaction are (not limited to):

· Vaccinations
· Ingestion of food, plant or substance
· Insect bites
· Flea preventative
· Medication

Recommended Treatment For Dogs

The standard Benadryl tablet is safe to give at 1 milligram per pound, and each Benadryl tablet is 25 milligrams, making it easy to calculate the correct dosage for your dog. Administer the tablets every 8 hours. Benadryl can be both short or long-term treatment for allergies. However, it’s crucial to discuss your pet’s medical history, potential causes of the allergic reaction and the best plan of care with your veterinarian.

If you think your pet may be having an allergic reaction, contact your veterinarian immediately to seek medical attention.

Pet Gal Sam.