As a Professional Pet Sitter, being prepared for anything comes with the territory. We are trained in Pet First Aid & CPR in case of pet emergencies, have policies in place in case of a home experiences a toilet leak while pet parents are out of town, have a back up plan in case a team member has an emergency and can’t make their pet visits, and policies in place to ensure our client’s home security. Although, we hope we never have to utilize them, being organized and prepared in case something does happen is something Professional Pet Sitters take seriously.
With the high volume of clients that Professional Pet Sitters care for, losing a client’s key is an ugly reality. At some point during a sitter’s career, a key may fall off the key ring, the identification code may get torn off, the key set may be dropped down a sewer drain, or a myriad of other scenarios. There are so many ways it can happen, but it doesn’t alleviate the “wind knocked out of you” feeling a sitter experiences when they realize it has happened.
So many thoughts race through the sitter’s mind:
- HOW did it happen?
- WHERE could it have happened?
- If I go back now, will I find it?
- I need to call the client and let them know
As a Professional Pet Sitter in Toms River, we network with sitters from all over the world and wanted to share what their policies about lost keys are, in an effort to show you that yes, these things do happen but Professional Pet Sitters have already thought about the “what if” scenario and have policies and procedures in place to help protect their clients.
- “We recognize that it is a reality and have a back up key in a secure, secondary location — not kept on any person or in any vehicle — that can be obtained if the primary key goes missing or is otherwise unavailable for any reason,” says Erica Hunter, owner of A Perfect Pair Animal Care in the DC area.
- Jennifer Shafton, owner of Rufus & Delilah in LA says, “If the main key goes missing (we have a backup in the office for emergencies), we would notify the client to let them know about the lost key, to apologize, and to ask if they would like us to pay a like a locksmith to re-key their locks.“
- “If primary key goes missing, the secondary key is used to gain immediate entry and to ensure pets are visited. All clients must supply 2 keys for this very reason. If for some reason the secondary key fails, the Emergency Contact (who must have key) is contacted and arrangements made to meet and obtain their back up key. The last resort is locksmith (my Client Agreement specifies Client’s a permission in advance). If key breaks in lock, which has happened, the locksmith immediately notified to resolve the issue. I also give my client the option to provide back up entry (back door key, garage opener, etc) if they wish. No keys are addressed or named so if they are lost they are useless if anyone finds them though if Client feels vulnerable due to lost key, we will pay for re-keying of entrance door at no charge,” says Sue Clynes owner of Critter Bliss in Alberta, Canada
For our company, we require all clients to provide us with 2 sets of keys. We then use rabies tags (we all know how tough those tags and key rings are!) to tag each key. The tag itself says, “Please return to” and then lists our P.O. Box There is no identifying client information on the tag at all. If it were lost, anyone who found the key would have no idea where it belongs, other than to return it to the P.O. Box listed. Typically, we show the client our key tags during the consultation, so they can understand how we operate and feel secure with our labeling system.
If we did lose a key, as others mentioned, we would call the client to inform them, apologize and see if they would prefer to have their entry re-keyed.
The loss of a client’s key is something that we all dread, but the possibility is real. The best way we can handle the situation is by having policies in place and being honest with our clients.