Fall into a New Routine

August is the perfect time to begin thinking about how your family’s routine will change this Fall. Since your pet is a full-fledged member of your family, you’ll be planning for their routine as well.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you build your post-summer pet plan:

  • Will you be busier than you’ve been?

Chances are, the Fall comes with more commitments for the human members of your family, but your pet still needs a companion. Our weekly dog walk program is ideal for clients who will have to work long hours or have after-work appointments. Cats are more independent but they really miss you too. We can come in during the work day to spoil them so they don’t “give you the business” when you get home.

  • Does your pet need to go back to school too?

Starting August 15th, we’ll be launching a new dog training program in partnership with Uptown-based retail shop Zen Pet. As you are preparing your kids to go back to school, consider whether your dog could use a refresher (or a first time lesson) in appropriate behavior and boundaries. Contact Sarah for more info: 504-458-9965.

If your dog needs to learn to how to communicate better with other pups, PreK9 is for you. It’s playtime with a purpose! 1.5-2 hours of fun at the dog park supervised in a 2 dog:1 supervisor ratio so that SPCR’s trained staff can correct misbehaviors and encourage proper play.

Is your cat acting up? Teaser: SPCR is working on a new cat behavior program! Keep your eyes peeled for our launch this year and let Sarah know if you’re interested.

  • Can you plan your travel schedule in advance?

Labor Day is a busy time for SPCR and right after, we’ll start filling our Thanksgiving and Christmas slots. Don’t delay making your travel plans. You’ll save money on flights and hotels and you can book your pet sitter months in advance so you can relax.

Beat the Heat! Tips for a pet-friendly August

Captain Obvious reporting for duty: It’s very hot outside!

Here are a few helpful tips for facing the dog days of New Orleans summer:
catmoji

  • Cats can tolerate a wide range of temperatures but they are better at warming themselves up (as you’ve seen with their use of blankets, laps, sunny spots, etc) than cooling themselves off. So, when in doubt, keep it cooler.
  • If there is nothing you can do to prevent the temperature from being too hot (think: power outages during 2012’s Hurricane Isaac), be sure to provide more than enough fresh water and create whatever ventilation you can for your cat.
  • Cats are not like dogs. When they pant, they are either stressed out or severely overheated.
  • If your cat is at risk for heat stroke, you can lower their body temperature by dipping them in cool water or wrapping them in wet towels (IF they let you of course!). Always consult your veterinarian in an emergency.

dogmoji

  • What temperature is ideal for your dog? Sarah answers in this 2-minute video.

  • Our top 8 tips for keeping your dog cool outside

Sarah Vegging Out


IMG_0272Whenever my dad was away for dinner, my mom cooked hamburgers or steak. After a heart scare and one particularly bad lamb chop, he had sworn off red meat.  When I moved out, I was excited to be able to eat it at home. But I found I didn’t like handling raw meat of any kind. And when I joined the world of WeightWatchers in my 20s, suddenly no meal seemed complete without a healthy serving of veggies. 

So I wasn’t too far off from vegetarianism already when “the incident” happened. I watched a wounded cat go from living one minute to dead the next and something in my brain just clicked. From that moment forward, meat looked like dead animal to me. Nearly 3 years later, I still can’t eat it.

Seed's "taco" salad

Seed’s “taco” salad

In a city where we put ham hock in anything we can and have a wildly popular fundraiser called Hogs for the Cause, vegetarianism isn’t always easy. Over the last few years though the choices have grown. Even omnivores frequent vegetarian establishments Seed and Sneaky Pickle and restaurants that serve meat also take good care of the veg crowd—Carmo, Nirvana, Dat Dog to name just a few.

The impacts of vegetarianism and veganism go beyond saving our animal friends from the slaughter.

  • Vegetarianism can improve your health. Eating a vegetarian diet has been show to reduce your risk for cataracts, cardiovascular disease, cancer, stroke, obesity, and kidney stones. Studies show that vegetarianism may improve symptoms of psoriasis, reduce incidence of diabetes, and even improve one’s mood.
  • Setting aside just one day per week as meatless can have a profound effect on the environment. The demand for meat results in higher water usage, greenhouse gas, and fuel dependence.

Even if you eat meat, you can show your support for the Humane Society of Louisiana at this year’s NOLA Veggie Fest. There will be speakers, music, and of course great healthy food. Sarah’s Pet Care Revolution will have a booth there so please stop by and say hi.

Veggie-Fest-Poster-Proof

The Matter of Good Manners

One of the first things parents teach their children is how to have positive interactions with the people around them- most notably through effective communication and using good manners.

Considering that many experts believe that a dog’s mental age is about equivalent to that of a 24 to 30 month-old human, why not try to instill good manners in dogs, as well? Social creatures that they are, dogs thrive when provided with guidance, commands, and positive reinforcement.

To this end, Sarah’s Pet Care Revolution offers small, focused, group training courses that will help your dog learn basic manners and beyond in the span of a few weeks. Though teaching them correct place settings and the art of writing a thank-you note is up to you.

By Heather Haebe, Full Time Pet Expert-Uptown

SARAH’S PET CARE ENVIRONMENTAL REVOLUTION

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the most environmentally conscientious person on the planet.

I recycle faithfully, and am sad that New Orleans lacks a residential glass recycling program. I buy local products whenever possible, which is usually pretty easy to do here, thankfully. All of the cleaning and personal care products in my home are “natural,” or as natural as they can be when they come off the shelf at Whole Foods.

And yet, there’s so much more I could be doing. I live in an extremely walkable neighborhood, yet I often find myself driving to places a short distance away, because the car makes it easier to combine multiple errands. I run the air conditioner like a fiend every time the temperature gets above 78 degrees. That aforementioned lack of glass recycling has never stopped me from buying a bottle of wine, either. So into the landfill that goes.

Like most people, I try to strike a balance between what works best for me- convenience-wise/cost-wise/everything else-wise- and what’s best for the world at large.

Pets pose a special consideration when it comes to thinking about the environment. You obviously want to do what’s best for them, but so many products aimed at pets are mass-produced, wildly expensive, inconvenient, or some combination of all three. Much of what’s on the market for pets is also made in China, which is its own can of worms.

For reasons relating to product safety, ecology, and worker’s rights, I try to avoid purchasing any products made in China. (Yet I’m typing this on an Apple product. Made in China.) It has been a personal issue of mine for a long time, and doesn’t always make for easy or cheap shopping. Yet most times a new recall alert goes out, warning consumers about products that are a danger to pets’ health, I can breathe a sigh of relief. And suddenly, all that annoyance I had about spending ridiculous amounts of money on pet food made from free-range animals raised in the American South is worth it.  

Basically, I’m sort of a mess when it comes to the environment, but I try. Given that you’ve even taken the time to read this far, I’m guessing that you try, as well.

Sarah’s Pet Care Revolution has come up with a pledge that rewards those small efforts toward ecological consciousness with acknowledgement and a gift. All the pledge asks is that you consider the world around you the next time you make a decision regarding your pet’s care. And frankly, if you’re already doing that, I think it’s fair to cheat a little and pat yourself on the back right now.

You can start here.

Written by Heather Haebe, Full-Time Pet Expert, Uptown, at Sarah’s Pet Care Revolution

Park Life

 

While New Orleans has no dearth of dogs, or even dog-friendly establishments, its number of dog parks is minimal compared to other urban areas. Much like their human counterparts, many New Orleans canines are social animals. And with the heavenly weather we’ve had this week, there’s no better time to get out and enjoy the city.

IMG_8380If your dog has a case of spring fever, you would do well to check out the following city-recognized parks, where it’s perfectly legal to go off-leash:

CITY BARK (30 Zachary Taylor Drive, located within City Park)

This is the undisputed champion of New Orleans dog parks. At nearly five acres, with plentiful water fountains, fastidious landscaping, a separate area for small dogs, a sandpit, shampoo platforms, and even above-ground doggie pools, City Bark is the canine equivalent to a four-star hotel. It lacks any on-site restaurant, or else it would probably qualify for that fifth star.

Quality comes with a (fair) price, though. Entrance to City Bark requires membership. Annual passes start at $48 for a family with one dog, and require an application, which is quickly approved at nearby administrative offices, as long as you provide proof that the dog has been spayed or neutered and is up to date on vaccinations. One and two-week permits are also available for your visiting friends.

More details can be found here:

http://www.nolacitybark.org

CRESCENT PARK DOG RUN (toward the river at Chartres and Piety Streets)

Like many things in the Bywater, this dog park is too cool to have a website. It is, however, a perfectly serviceable, fenced-in space where your dogs can let it all hang out. There’s a water fountain just outside the run, and plenty of bench seating for humans. Landscaping is minimal, but this park serves an invaluable function as a gathering place for downtown dogs and their owners.

WISNER DOG RUN (4877 Laurel Street)

After many years of unofficial use as a dog park, the city finally sliced off a bit of Wisner Playground for legal use as a dog run in 2013.

Like the run in Crescent Park, amenities here are minimal. Though two water fountains, two official waste drops, and a recent, volunteer-driven landscape upgrade (no more pools of muddy water) make this an attractive option for Uptown dogs and their companions.

http://nordc.org/parks/wisner/

For those in the suburbs (or those willing to drive a bit further out), Metairie offers two well-loved dog parks: Lafreniere Bark at 3000 Downs Boulevard, and the Bonnabel Boat Launch Dog Park at 1599 Bonnabel Boulevard.

At all parks mentioned, a loose set of rules applies. No outside food, drink, or toys are allowed. Children under eight years of age are prohibited from the park, as well as puppies under six months, and non-vaccinated dogs.

And like the unofficial New Orleans slogan says, “Be nice or leave.” That goes for everybody on two feet, as well.

Written by Heather Haebe, Full-Time Pet Expert, Uptown, at Sarah’s Pet Care Revolution

Toxins and Table Scraps

When my husband and I took our dog, Mojo, for his annual checkup last year, the vet chided us for having allowed the dog to put on some extra pounds. Mojo had been eating the same food at the same rate, and exercising in the same manner as always. The only difference in his daily routine was that my husband had been a little more generous in sneaking him human food. Which explains why every time I typed the word “can” into the home computer’s search bar, autofill would pop up with, “Can a dog eat ______?”IMG_8125

I’m thankful that at least my partner took the time to research the food that was making the dog chubby, because while many foods that are potentially toxic to animals are widely-known, some are a bit more obscure.

Specific to New Orleans cooking, anything containing the holy trinity (onion, celery, bell pepper) should be a no-go for pets. Onions and garlic in any form, including the powder you find in spice blends, are dangerous for animals. The same goes for chives, mushrooms, and salt. Basically, it’s not the meat that can hurt a pet, it’s the flavoring that makes the meat palatable to humans. If you can’t resist slipping your dog a little bit of the meat you’re eating, try cooking a plain, un-spiced version for your buddy.

And while most humans pat themselves on the back for including fruit in a healthy diet, the same shouldn’t be said for pets. Animals should never eat the pit of any fruit, or any part of an avocado. Grapes and raisins have proven to be toxic for dogs, as well.

Check the safety of any nuts before feeding them to your animals. Covering a pill with peanut butter is a handy trick to get a dog to swallow an unwelcome pill, but make sure that the peanut butter you’re using contains no artificial sweeteners. Macadamia nuts and walnuts should never be given to pets.

It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the general list of foods to avoid, before you find yourself facing the temptation of tossing a treat to a set of sad, puppy dog eyes. This list compiled by the ASPCA is a great place to start and there is this fun, informative infographic on HerePup.com: Can My Dog Eat That? 10 Toxic Foods, 23 Safe Ones & a Few in the Middle

Even if your pet does ingest one of the potentially toxic foods, there’s usually no reason to panic. Consult your veterinarian as soon as possible to get advice specific to your animal and what they’ve consumed. It doesn’t hurt to keep a bottle of hydrogen peroxide around the house, either. Many vets will advise a dosage of hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting, with the volume based upon your pet’s size and weight. It won’t be the answer in all circumstances, but could save you some precious time in an emergency.

Written by Heather Haebe, Full-Time Pet Expert, Uptown, at Sarah’s Pet Care Revolution

“Rain, Rain, Go Away!”

Spring is upon us in New Orleans, and along with festivals and warmer weather, that often means rain.

Humans usually deal with this by grabbing an umbrella and pulling on some rubber boots, but for animals, rain often brings up a whole host of issues. Dogs and cats have ears far more sensitive than our own, so what sounds like the pleasant tapping of droplets on a windowsill to us can be more like someone dumping a garbage can full of metal pellets on the house to them.

IMG_7951Not all pets have an aversion to stormy weather, but for those who do, rainy days can be cause for fear, anxiety, and trauma. Pet owners will have no doubt if their furry friends fall into the latter category- animals will whine, cry, hide, and in extreme situations, paw at doors and furniture in an effort to escape the weather.

It’s terrible to watch our pets suffer from such fear of the unknown, so what can we do to help them? There are a number of options to try, some of which might work for your animals, and some that won’t. Fortunately, they’re all inexpensive and simple, so experiment until you find the right trick for your pet’s specific needs.

  1. At the first threat of rain, try closing the blinds or curtains in your house. Your animals will only be able to see the familiar sight of their home, and not flashes of lightning or rain beading on the windows.

  1. If your pet jumps at claps of thunder, try drowning out the noise with more familiar sounds. Leave on a television or radio tuned to whatever it is you listen to at home. Some Sarah’s Pet Care Revolution clients have had luck with everything from NPR to Animal Planet- whatever it is that will calm them down.IMG_7952

  1. If your dog is reluctant to use the bathroom outside when it’s raining, you’ll probably need to stand outdoors with them. Try leashing the dog up and heading directly to their favorite bathroom spot. Stand close and let the dog know that you’re not going to leave them alone, then head back inside when the dog has taken care of its needs. After a number of events like this, the dog should start to realize that a trip outside in the rain isn’t going to last as long as a typical walk or play time.

  1. Many people swear by the soothing power of ThunderShirts, an article of clothing for animals that fits snugly over their backs and chests, providing constant pressure that mimics a hug.

  1. Though speaking of hugs, nothing beats the love and attention an owner can provide for frightened pets. If you’re home during a storm, let your animals come to you for comfort. They just want to know that everything is going to be okay, and the presence of a trusted human is the best way to show them that it will be.

Now Hiring: Part-Time Pet Expert

About Sarah’s Pet Care Revolution:

Sarah’s Pet Care Revolution is an insured and bonded in-home professional pet sitting, dog walking, playgroup and training service that has continued to serve the New Orleans area since November 2010.  We provide thoughtful pet care and owner support that intentionally respects the pet, the family, the community, and the planet.

About the Position:

Pet experts are assigned to a specific area throughout which they travel from one home to another to visit cats and/or walk dogs, and take dogs to playgroup.  They work closely with the owner, manager, and other pet experts to ensure the pets they serve receive the highest quality care.

Salary and Benefits:

Part-time pet experts are paid at a rate of $10/hour.  Training for new staff is paid at minimum wage. Opportunities for advancement and full-time positions may be available as the business grows.

Qualifications:

We are looking for nothing short of fabulous workers to add to our team.  Qualifications include:

  • Attention to detail
  • Calm under stress / Working well under pressure
  • Cleanliness
  • Creative problem solving
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Efficiency
  • Fast and enthusiastic learner
  • Flexible schedule (can work on holidays, work odd hours, and work at last minute notice)
  • Following instruction well
  • Knowing (or willing to learn) how to administer medications to animals
  • Owning a smart phone that can be used for work purposes
  • Photography skills (or willingness to learn)
  • Previous experience with animals
  • Reliable transportation (car and bike)
  • Self-motivation
  • “Team player” attitude
  • Timeliness

Preference will be given to applicants who:

    • have professional experience working with animals or in the pet care industry
    • can make a significant time commitment to Sarah’s Pet Care Revolution
    • strive to be environmentally-friendly
    • are willing to go above and beyond with both pets and clients
    • have previous experience in customer service

Hiring Process:

To apply to be a part-time pet expert with Sarah’s Pet Care Revolution, please send your resume and a cover letter expressing your interest in and qualification for the position to sarah@sarahthepetsitter.com with Part-Time Pet Expert Application in the subject line no later than Monday, February 8th.  Candidates selected from among the pool of written applications will begin our interview process immediately.  We hope to bring on our hire for training by Monday, February 22nd.

Now Hiring Pet Expert

We are seeking responsible candidates for the position of Pet Expert. Candidates are not expected to be pet experts at the time of hire as animal expertise will be taught during intensive training and on-boarding process.

Our expectations for our new hires include:

  • enthusiasm for joining a dynamic team building a successful business for the long-term
  • willingness to use own car, bike, smart phone with data plan, and computer for work activities
  • experience with and enjoyment for customer service and sales
  • working well on own (self-starter) but also communicating often and well with management and coworkers
  • flexible schedule

Pet expert schedules are unpredictable. While we can usually count on regularly scheduled dog walks and staffing of our playgroups held 2-3 hours per week, our team members gather the vast majority of paid time pet sitting in clients’ homes when clients travel. We can predict what our busiest times will be but on a weekly basis, schedules vary.

Pet experts must be willing to assist our dog trainers as needed, stay overnight in client homes should this be requested (for additional stipend), and work longest days on holidays. Pet experts are paid as employees not as independent contractors.

Send resume and cover letter to sarah@sarahthepetsitter.com by COB on Friday, June 26th.