Recipe for an Excellent Bunny Sitter
As we all know, rabbits are creatures of routine, and they want their veggies and pellets every day at the same time. Don’t dare run late because they will certainly remind you it’s feeding time!
Sometimes we as humans need to step out of our routine life and take a vacation or visit family. Then the question arises “Who’s going to take care of my bunny?” Some owners seek help from a neighbor, a family member or a friend, and most of these individuals don’t understand what a rabbit needs or why it acts a certain way. Unfortunately, your friend may not be able to recognize the signs of GI stasis or any other possible serious problem.
In my four years of bunny sitting, I’ve noticed that almost all my regular clients contact me with plenty of notice when they have a vacation scheduled, and I can usually accommodate them. However, sometimes I receive requests from new clients that give me a very short notice to have their bunny stay with me, and I unfortunately have a conflict – possibly being fully-booked or personally unavailable.
That said, it’s essential to begin your search of a sitter as soon as you adopt your bunny – same applies for a rabbit savvy vet and an emergency vet. Being proactive gives you piece of mind and saves time. That is particularly important when you have an emergency. I personally strive to establish a relationship with every one of my clients. I encourage everyone to also establish a good relationship with their vet and sitter. After you’ve found a potential bunny caretaker take your time to ask as many questions as you can. I personally like to schedule a time for a consultation with new clients so that we both can ask and answer each other’s questions/concerns. Here’s some examples of questions that you’d want to include in the interview/consultation:
1. What is the level of your rabbit experience? How many years?
2. Tell me about yourself and your household?
3. Can you best explain how my rabbit will be boarded? (Ask for pictures)
4. What do I have to bring? What do you provide?
5. Are you familiar with GI stasis? If yes, what’s the appropriate action to be taken?
6. What happens in case of an emergency? Can you bring my rabbit to the vet?
7. Are you able to administer medicine if needed?
8. Will I get updates and pictures?
9. Are there any other pets in the house?
10. How many rabbits do you take at a time?
11. Will my rabbit get attention and exercise?
12. Are you able to accommodate specific needs?
13. What’s the daily rate? Method of payment? Preferred time of payment – before or after boarding.
14. Do you offer discounts for longer stays?
15. Can you provide reviews/references?
16. Are you flexible on drop off/pick up times? Specified window?
17. What’s the best way to contact you?
18. What do I need to prepare to have my rabbit stay in your home? Requirements?
19. How much notice do you need to book a stay?
20. Am I able to stop by prior to booking the stay so that we can meet and make sure you provide a safe and comfortable environment?
In my consultation with new clients, I answer many of these questions. I strive to exchange
as much information as possible so that they get to know me and my work style. In addition, I ask that every one of my clients provide instructions about their bunny’s daily routine, health issues, and what is their temperament. For example, if I know that the rabbit is prone to GI stasis, I will keep an extra eye on them. If I know that the bunny likes to lay down in the litterbox, I won’t necessarily think that they’re being lethargic. The more information I have about the rabbit and their normal behavior, the better I know them, and it helps me provide the best care possible.
In my opinion, an excellent sitter will also have some personal qualities that will complete the recipe. In any type of field, success is not only measured by the professional qualities but also the personality of the individual. For example, we’ve all called companies, left messages and never heard back from some of them. Assuming you are like me, you will want regular updates on your fur baby when you are away, and it is important to know that your sitter is unlike those companies. Some personal qualities that I find of importance are honesty, dependability, responsibility and responsiveness. Combine that with the professional expertise and knowledge you have a great recipe for a great sitter!
Paws and Hops Pet Services