The Pet Gal shares her tips for what you need to know before bringing your pet home.
By Lindsey Logan, Illustration by Madison Weakley
Susan Anderson is a pet sitter extraordinaire. After a brief stint in the corporate world, Anderson decided a predictable job was not the route for her. Looking to feel fulfilled, she decided to pursue a career focused on something she is passionate about: animals. In 2009, Anderson founded a professional pet-sitting company, The Pet Gal. Anderson makes sure the company sets itself apart by offering experienced, vetted sitters, dog walkers and more clients can trust. The Pet Gal offers pet-focused professional services in most parts of Central Texas, as well as in Colorado Springs, Colo., and Kona, Hawaii. Here, Anderson shares her top tips for how every animal lover can best prepare before bringing a pet home.
CHOOSE A PET THAT FITS YOUR LIFESTYLE.
“The best pet for you will depend on your lifestyle. Perhaps you have young kids and are looking to get a dog. It will be important to get a dog that is OK with children. If you adopt from a shelter or a rescue group, make sure to confirm with them that the dog is OK with children. And then, if you travel a lot but you want to have a companion pet, cats are a wonderful option. Most cats don’t necessarily need to be socialized or need to be around a lot of people; they can be very independent. And, of course, if you do have a full-time job but want to have a dog, it might be worth having a dog walker come so they can get the exercise and socialization they need while you’re at work.”
“Definitely consider adopting a rescue from either a shelter or rescue group. There are multiple breed-specific rescues in the Austin area. We actually adopted from Golden Ribbon Rescue. … People are always surprised there are golden retrievers that need to be rescued, but tons of them come into Central Texas every year, along with Labradors and pit bulls. Getting a rescue is a huge plus. Think about it this way: For every dog you rescue, you are actually saving two because it creates space in a shelter for a new pet to come in.”
GET EDUCATED ABOUT PET BEHAVIOR.
“Education is probably the most important thing when getting a pet. You want to prepare your whole family for a new pet. Make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to training and communication. Make sure you know what puppy behavior means. They go through teething and explore the world with their mouths, so they need to have the right toys and treats. It also takes time to potty train them and is essential they are on a schedule. And then, with cats, know how to read and interact with their body language.”
MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE RESOURCES.
“Consider if you have space for a dog. Whether it’s a puppy or adult dog, training is greatly beneficial. You will want to establish a relationship with a local veterinarian because young pets need to get immunizations. If you get a pet from a rescue, they typically come with their shots, but you should still establish a relationship with a vet. Be aware of a local emergency vet as well.”
CHOOSE A PET SITTER WISELY.
“Trust is so important in this business. Clients are giving us access to their homes and having us care for their pets. Reliability, value, quality care and customer service are things people should want to look for when hiring a pet-care company. Definitely read reviews and ask friends how they like their pet-care provider.”