Whether you are a caregiver or a pet owner, animal care involves a large number of logistical hurdles. Save money and reduce stress by creating a strategy for covering basic costs, daily care and unexpected events.
Provide a special power of attorney in an extended care situation so that sitters can handle serious emergencies in your absence. Organize a master weekly or monthly medication chart with days, times and dosages in digital form so that care providers can print or photocopy new sheets as needed. It's crucial to make medical files and veterinary contact information available. Leave instructions about ordering prescriptions, food and treats.
Ask caregivers to keep the lines of communication open and to send informational tidbits. Short video clips, cell phone camera shots and anecdotal e-mails all contribute to feeling connected with furry loved ones. Tampa animal advocate Barbara LaPresti goes the extra mile of writing journal entries to owners from the perspective of the pet, detailing each day's activities and treats received. Waggle Brothers in Miami, which provides day care and long-term pet sitting services, has a Web camera that broadcasts real-time images of pets during play time.
A power outage in Miami disrupted the vacation of a tropical fish owner, who had left a large aquarium of expensive fish in our care. Duties included daily feeding of the fish and a light cleaning of the glass tank. The instructions also offered details about emergency batteries in the event of an electrical power blackout, which would wipe out the tank filters and other automated functions. When he heard about the power loss, the pet owner called to walk us through the switch to battery-operated power. His careful planning demonstrated the importance of preparation and organization. His travel strategy saved an expensive investment of money and love.
Sharon Harvey Rosenberg and Myscha Theriault are co-authors of "10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget" and founders of PoshFrugalityNetwork.com. Theriault is the founder of TrekHound.com, a travel website, and TheLessonMachine.com, a website for teachers. Rosenberg is the author of "The Frugal Duchess: How to Live Well and Save Money."