In a bygone era, it was OK to let your neighbor kid take care of your dog. Nowadays, not so much.
We live in a very litigious (sue happy) society and not to mention it’s a place where miscreants, perverts and kidnappers are becoming more and more commonplace. In my opinion, letting a child go unattended to someone’s house to watch their pet is dangerous and irresponsible in my opinion. Yes, I’m on a soapbox because children are getting hurt, go missing and die every day. As a mom, grandma, tutor and general lover of people, my goal is to help prevent bad things from happening; to kids and pets.
Just recently, a girl in Oklahoma was walking her own dog and two men attempted to kidnap her. Luckily she was able to get away but can you imagine the guilt you’d feel if that was your dog she was walking and she was kidnapped?
For people that don’t understand what the harm is in having their child go to someone’s house ALONE to make some money by walking a dog or letting a dog out to pee, read on. Hopefully you’ll be enlightened and will think about the topic through a new set of lenses (or you’ll go with your child the next time they watch someone’s pet). I’ll discuss things that can happen with your home and your pet in this article.
Problems That Can Happen If An Underage Neighbor Kid Watches Your Pet By Themselves
- They miss a visit
- Your pet is given the wrong food or wrong amount of food
- The underage child gets on your cable TV and watches pornography or shows you don’t want them seeing
- Your next door neighbor gets into your alcohol stash
- Your pet isn’t put back in the crate
- Dogs are let outside in an un-fenced yard rather than taken out on leash
- Child misses that the dog has bloody diarrhea, dog gets dehydrated and gets sick or dies
While some kids can be trusted to do small tasks, being solely in charge of pets is something we discourage; there’s just too many things that can go wrong. Many people think, “I’ll go with him. It can’t be that difficult.”
More than likely it won’t be ‘that difficult’. But what if it is? What if there’s problems?
Other Problems That Can Happen During Pet Sitting
So what are some other problems with leaving your pets with your underage (albeit responsible) neighbor kid?
Actually there’s quite a bit so I’ve broken it up into two separate articles. I already mentioned several situations above but it’s explained a little further below…
In the second article, I’ll discuss the LEGAL ramifications, the PARENT/FRIENDSHIP role.
I’ll break it down into sections, let’s get to it:
Check out these particular household issues. These are real life situations to think about.
Dog Diarrhea On Carpet
Do you think Timmy will know what cleaner to use on your carpet?
What happens if he grabs the spray bottle that has Clorox bleach in it? That could destroy your carpet. Who gets to pay for that mishap – you or your neighbor kid’s parents?
What pre-teen or teen knows where your circuit breaker is in your house? Do you know if they know how to flip a circuit if it pops? What if they accidentally shut off the one labeled refrigerator?
What pre-teen or teen knows that some doors are funny and you have to actually pull on the door knob in order to get the door locked? Would they just assume that it’s locked after they turned the key?
What’s The Beeping?
Does the neighbor kid know the difference between a carbon monoxide detector beep and the smoke detector?
What if Timmy is trying to get Fido back in his crate and he gets bit?
Mixed Up Food
What if your dogs or cats are on particular food and the kid doesn’t follow directions?
Maybe his mom will have to come over to clean up vomit and poop after she’s put in an 11 hour day at work. After hauling butt to your house she tells her son he has to stop the job; then what?
You see, these are serious things that could happen yet many people don’t consider this when hiring their neighbor kid. The liability is HUGE and that’s why we recommend you never put a child in charge of something so important as pet and house care.
Am I Overreacting?
No, I wish I was. I’ve been caring for pets professionally since 2008 and these issues are just the tip of the iceberg, trust me. Many professional pet sitters can attest to what I’m talking about here and they can tell you some horrific stories they’ve encountered or heard about.
All it takes is one time and you might not be able to forgiven yourself if it did.
I don’t want to take that chance with my pets and home so it’s a is good enough of a reason to hire a professional pet sitter.
Seriously, I’m not a worry wart…here’s a story about Kaytlynn Cargill, from Bedford,Texas a teen that went missing June 19, 2017. Her dog was found tied to a tree in a local dog park. And the horrific ending.
In the next article I’ll talk about the legal ramifications and the parent/friendship role, stay tuned.
Helping you relax while you’re away from home,
Kelley Stewart, CEO|Pet Sitter
sit-stay-play In-home pet sitting & more.LLC
“Your pet sitting, dog walking, poop scooping specialists!”
P.S. Ready for us to take care of your pets? Fill out this form and once we receive it we’ll contact you to discuss your needs. Thanks!
P.P.S. Hop on over to the second article which discusses some legal issues pertaining to hiring an underage kid to watch your pets…click here.