in's & out's
HOW WE KEEP THINGS RUNNING SMOOTHLY
We're always happy to consider new clients, but several factors determine our overall availability. When requesting services, please be as specific as possible — provide your address, types of services desired, and exact dates for services to begin and end. Because of our limited availability, we encourage prospective clients to schedule consultations at least 2 weeks in advance when possible.
THE INITIAL CONSULTATION
The complimentary 30-minute consultation is a face-to-snout meeting, a time for us to learn about pets' unique personalities, routines, schedules, and environments. Please take a few minutes to jot down a few questions you would like to ask at the meeting as well; this is a two-way interview to make sure it's a good fit for all. Though rare, we might refer you to a better-suited care giver, but it's our hope to begin a lasting relationship with you and your pet(s) that day. If services are contracted, we'll collect completed new-client paperwork, 2 full sets of keys, gate accessories, and parking permits at that time. (If only one key is provided, we reserve the right to make copies of keys and then bill $5 per key to the first invoice.)
Good two-way communication is key to our partnership, keeping us all on the same page. Our integrated client portal allows pet owners to manage pets' schedules 24 hours a day, view post-visit updates and photos, make changes to pets' routines, send messages to sitters, and manage online billing options. Also, we now offer electronic check-ins for clients to notify us in real-time when they have departed / returned from trips. Please never hesitate to reach out with issues or questions as they arise. We will work together to make the pet sitting experience stellar every time!
Please submit all scheduling requests (additions or changes) online via the client dashboard. Inputting your pet's schedule changes yourself ensures there is no miscommunication about what is needed and eliminates the margin for error. We book services on a "first come, first served" basis. Once our calendars are full, we are not able to take on additional commitments. Clients who routinely book mid-day dog walking have customized due dates and will be notified of upcoming renewals as needed. All other services are to be paid in full at the time of approval to guarantee future services on our calendars. Please understand that if you've not paid, it's not officially reserved. (We do not book services more than 3 months into the future.)
We are dedicated to our service commitment to you; in turn, we expect timely cancellations. Notifying us in advance about changes allows us to modify our routes for optimal efficiency and to offer our time to other pet owners who need to make reservations for their pets. In order to receive service credit for early cancellations, please make changes at least:
3 days before non-holiday pet sitting services begin.
7 days before holiday pet sitting services begin.
PAYING FOR RESERVATIONS
Clients are asked to keep active credit cards on file in our secure client portal. Open invoices are processed daily. As much as we want to, we cannot hold space on good faith. Don't worry though, we'll give you a reminder if there's a problem with your payment. However, we will not hold unpaid reservations for long. Sorry, but space is limited, and we often have waiting lists.
We always recap our time with your pet(s) after each completed visit via the client portal, giving you immediate peace of mind. Technology sometimes fails to delivery notifications in areas with spotty cellphone service — we're always on the move, so this can happen from time to time. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us if you haven't received a timely update. We never want you to worry and always do our best to maintain constant contact.
ESTIMATED ARRIVAL TIMES
Our routes are ever-evolving, for a variety of reasons, and we are not able to guarantee exact arrival times. When planning daily routes, several factors help us determine actual logistics; this behind-the-scenes process helps us keep things running smoothly for all. Even with the best laid plan, some things are simply out of our control like: significant traffic, pet emergencies, serious weather conditions, and whatever else Murphy’s Law might throw our way on any given day. On rare occasions, we might be slightly earlier or later than expected, but please trust that we are working hard to keep everyone on track without being overextended. For puppies, seniors, or pets on strict med / dietary routines we will work with you to create a custom schedule for care.
FREQUENCY OF VISITS
Unless your home has a functioning dog door that leads to a completely secured area, we require a minimum of 3 daily visits for dogs. It's against our professional ethics to leave pets inside for extended periods without relief or to leave them outside when the temperatures are dangerously high or unbearably cold. For cats and exotic pets, we require a single daily visit so that we may monitor health and provide proper food, water, and litter care.
PEAK TRAVEL PERIODS
Our crew is always happy to care for your pets, but sitters often miss out on their own families' traditions and festivities when working around the clock all year long. Therefore, all peak travel periods are billed at time and a half (per visit), and the extra income is passed on directly to your assigned sitter to compensate them for staying in town to care for the Walks With Bleu family during these busy times. All remaining 2023 peak travel periods are as follows:
Spring Break (March 31 - April 9)
Mother's Day (May 12 - 14)
Memorial Day (May 26 - 30)
Father's Day (June 16 - 18)
Fourth of July (June 30 - July 5)
Labor Day (September 1 - 5)
Fall Break (October 6 - 15)
Thanksgiving (November 17 - 26)
Winter Break (December 15 - 31)
New Year's (January 1 - 3)
GATE / PARKING ACCESSORIES
If you live in a gated community we require gate cards, clickers, fobs, codes, parking passes, etc. Without these tools, we will not be able to offer services. Asking us to call you, or concierge, or the leasing office from the gate is not a sure-proof plan for entry and is highly undependable.
RETRIEVING / RETURNING KEYS
We encourage leaving keys in our custody for future services. However, if you opt to have your keys returned, that can be arranged once your arrival back home has been confirmed. Leaving keys in "secret" locations compromises our safety and your home's security. (A $25 trip fee is applied to each pet sitting invoice to retrieve / return keys.) In the event we are unable to access your home due to lock malfunctions / poor key copies / faulty fobs / broken garage door openers, we reserve the right to employ a locksmith to access your home and care for your pet(s), and all fees will be billed to you in full.
We'll do our best to accommodate short-notice requests provided we have sufficient availability. Same-day requests are subject to a $5 surcharge per visit. If you are a new client seeking short-notice pet sitting services, it is required that we schedule an in-home consultation and that you are prepared to present completed new-client paperwork, 2 full sets of keys, access cards, and parking passes during the scheduled consultation. We understand your sense of urgency to get services squared away for your pet(s), but it's necessary for us to be properly prepared. We will never cut corners to secure your business.
YOUR ASSIGNED SITTER / WALKER
We are not a mega company, so it's likely you'll get to know us all by name at some point. All of our walkers and sitters are familiar with our culture and high standards for care. During the initial consultation, you'll learn about your "regular" and "backup" dog walker / pet sitter. Our routes change over time, which might require new assignments, but no one will ever enter your home to care for your pet(s) without your explicit approval.
When you reserve our services, we commit to personalized care of your household pet(s), and we never "piggyback" your reservations with other pets. In turn, you may not "split" or "share" your services with others. For example, it is not okay for your neighbor, friend, or family member to leave their pet(s) at your home for us to care for because you've already scheduled services with us. Working with pets we've not met is risky and not permitted since their owners are not our contracted clients. If there is an unexpected pet guest in your home when we arrive, we may refuse to enter your home to care for your pet(s), and services would be forfeited without credit. Please refer others to us directly to book individualized services. Plus, if you refer a new client to us, you'll earn "bleu bucks" as a thank-you bonus!
Our online photo gallery features pets that have become part of the Walks With Bleu family. Plus, we just love to show off their adorable mugs. It's also our policy to take photos of your pet(s) for insurance purposes and good record keeping. Some photos will be used for promotional materials or for social networking updates. Please be courteous and notify us if you would like to use one of our photos for personal publishing purposes. (All photos are copyrighted and property of Walks With Pet Services, LLC.)
WHEN OTHERS ARE HOME
Knowing when to expect others minimizes unnecessary surprise and alarm. (It happens more often than you might think!) But if you, other household members, or guests are at home please cancel your appointments as soon as possible. For a variety of reasons, we do not complete services when able-bodied persons are home. Even if you come home early from work, please be courteous and notify us so that we may bypass the visit. Yes, dogs love walks but they love you more and ALWAYS behave differently when you are home, making visits stressful for dogs and their walkers. Also, if you are home sick but are still able to care for your pet(s), please do so. Since we are in contact with many households, we must minimize our exposure to germs that could make us or others ill. This is a tough but important policy for us.
Sorry, but we do not share pet sitting assignments with your family members, roommates, neighbors, or other sitters. For us to assume responsibility for your pet(s), we must be the sole caregivers. You can imagine how easy it is for pets to be overfed or released accidentally with an inconsistent climate / routine in place. Knowing we are the only ones coming and going helps us do our job to the best of our ability. Your pet(s) will also appreciate having uninterrupted, dependable, and professional pet care around the clock while you are away. Most importantly, our bonding and insurance is null when others overlap our service agreements.
COLLARS / ID TAGS
We require all dogs and cats in our custody to have well-fitting collars and accurate identification tags. Even if this is not your usual routine in the home, it's required for us to assume responsibility during your absence.
LEASHES / FENCED YARDS
It's our practice to walk dogs on leashes always. The only exception is when you explicitly ask up to give your pet(s) access to a fenced-in area on your property. Please be mindful that no barrier is completely pet-proof. Check fencing habitually for holes, gaps, and spaces that could invite your pet(s) to make a quick run for it. In the event pets escape or become injured while accessing authorized fenced-in areas, we are not liable for escape, injury, or death.
Part of the joy of owning pets is their unpredictability. They make us smile, laugh, blush, and sometimes even cry. However, there are times when pet behavior is less than desirable. We do our part to minimize possible risks by understanding dog behavior and giving your pet(s) our full attention. As an added measure, our dog walkers / pet sitters are expressively expected to refrain from personal calls, texts, and unnecessary distractions while working in the field. However, in the event pet behavior results in injury or harm to pets, people, other animals, furniture, or property, we do not assume legal or financial responsibility. Any damages / harm caused by your pet(s), that have not resulted from negligence of Walks With Bleu, will be your financial and legal responsibility.
In the event of a medical crisis, we'll contact you immediately and then taxi your pet to your preferred vet for emergency care if possible (must be within 5 miles of your home). However, if you are unreachable, we’ll assume responsibility to secure necessary services for your pet's health, using the closest available vet. (All fees associated with emergency care will be billed to you in full — cost of emergency care, prescriptions, and pet-taxi service.)
Some pets are crated while others have limited access or full run of the house. We're great at helping you brainstorm about various ways to encourage pets to do their best, whether they're on a "short" or "long" leash. We always properly dispose of pet waste and clean basic pet messes that occur while we’re caring for your pet(s). And, for the love of Fido, please leave appropriate supplies for us to use while in your home (broom, mop, paper towels, antibacterial soap, approved cleaning agents, and trash bags). Large messes that require us to stay more than 15 minutes beyond our scheduled appointment block will be billed accordingly.