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KING, N.C. (February 16, 2015) — February is Responsible Pet Owners Month, and Pet Sitters International (PSI), the world’s leading association for professional pet sitters, encourages pet owners to ensure that their responsible pet-ownership practices extend to selecting quality care for their pets when they are away.

“Responsible pet owners want the best care for their pets,” says PSI President Patti J. Moran. “However, we’ve found that many do not realize the importance of using professionals for their pet-care needs and the dangers of relying on family, friends or non-professionals as pet sitters.”

PSI’s Get A Real Pet Sitter® campaign seeks to educate pet owners on the importance of using only professional pet-sitting services when travel or long work hours keep them from their pets.

“Often pet owners, and even news outlets, use the term ‘pet sitter’ carelessly, referring to anyone—from a family friend to the neighborhood teenager asked to walk a dog—as a ‘pet sitter,’” explains Moran. “It is important pet owners understand that pet sitting is a professional career and professional pet sitters offer peace of mind that other pet-care options cannot.”

PSI advises pet owners to ask seven important questions when interviewing any potential pet sitter:

1. Does the pet sitter have the proper business license for your city or state?
2. Is the pet sitter (and any staff sitters) insured and bonded?
3. Can the pet sitter provide proof of clear criminal history?
4. Does the pet sitter provide client references?
5. Will the pet sitter use a pet-sitting services agreement or contract?
6. Has the pet sitter completed PSI’s CPPS Program and/or has he or she participated in pet-care training, such as pet first aid?
7. Is the pet sitter a member of a professional and educational association, such as Pet Sitters International?

Even for pet owners committed to using professional pet sitters instead of friends or family, the search can be confusing.

Moran notes that with the influx of pet-care directory sites popping up in the last couple of years and news stories touting pet sitting as an easy way to earn extra money, more and more people are deciding to cash in on the growing need for pet care.

“Pet owners can’t assume that just because a pet sitter is listed on an online directory—even if it’s a nationally-publicized site—that it is a legitimate, qualified pet-sitting business,” explains Moran. “Anyone can post a profile advertising pet-sitting services, so it’s important for pet owners to take a closer look to ensure they are hiring a ‘real pet sitter’ to care for their pets.”

PSI also recommends pet owners schedule an initial consultation with a potential pet sitter prior to booking services and offers a Pet Sitter Interview checklist on its Web site to guide pet owners in the interview process.

Pet owners in need of pet-sitting services can visit http://GetARealPetSitter.com to find PSI member pet sitters in their areas and download the Pet Sitter Interview checklist. To learn more about PSI or becoming a professional pet sitter, visit http://www.petsit.com.

About Pet Sitters International (PSI)
Established in 1994 by Patti J. Moran, author of Pet Sitting for Profit, Pet Sitters International (PSI) is the world’s largest educational association for professional pet sitters, representing nearly 7,000 independent professional pet-sitting businesses in the United States, Canada and abroad. PSI provides members with access to group-rate pet-sitter liability insurance and bonding and educational resources including a comprehensive certificate program, Pet Sitter’s WORLD magazine and PSI’s annual Pet Sitter World Educational Conference. For pet owners, PSI offers the Official Pet Sitter Locator, which pet owners can search free of charge to find a local pet sitter. For more information, please visit www.petsit.com.

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Media Contact:
Beth Stultz
Pet Sitters International
(336) 983-9222, ext. 323
bethstultz@petsit.com

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