Pet Sitters and NAPPS
Why you should join the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters and become a certified pet sitter.
Candance Labane-Godfrey, current president of NAPPS, is passionate about the pet-sitting profession. She started Precious Pets In-Home Services in Sacramento 11 years ago, and has grown her business to a 60-employee operation with an astounding 4000 clients. Labane-Godfrey currently serves NAPPS as a Board and Executive Committee member, in addition to being president.
NAPPS is the only national non-profit trade association for individuals with pet-sitting businesses, operated for and by its members. Labane-Godfrey firmly believes that pet sitters should be professionally trained, bonded and insured, and NAPPS provides all of the resources necessary to help entrepreneurs who are serious about the business achieve those goals.
NAPPS' member services include:
- Professional affiliation with a nationwide organization that promotes excellence in pet sitting
- Educational resources, including ongoing professional development events and an annual conference
- The ability to purchase liability and bonding insurance, as well as health, dental, life and liability insurances
- Online and telephone referral networks
- The NAPPS Certification Program, which offers members courses in business management, animal care and pet issues through home study and provides an Earned Certification in Pet Sitting upon completion of an exam (the organization is launching a new certification program this fall)
- Business enhancement tools, including credit card processing, business forms, a downloadable NAPPS logo, sample press releases and press materials, and an electronic magazine that can be personalized and sent to clients
- An online member directory
- Networking opportunities
- An award-winning disaster preparedness program that pet sitters can download and distribute to their clients
- Monthly mentoring teleconferences on a wide variety of business and pet-sitting related topics, including pricing, legal issues and more
- A virtual library packed with business resources that help pet sitters run their businesses and get involved with their local community
- Opportunities to participate in Presents for Pets, a program that helps donate needed items to animal shelters across the United States during the first week in November
NAPPS is also field testing elementary, middle, and high school education programs that will teach young people about pets and pet care.
"Pet sitters are not babysitters," Labane-Godfrey said. "The difference between a babysitter and a professional pet sitter is that we check ears, eyes and teeth. We tell the pet parent if something is wrong, and if there is a problem we take the animal to the vet. If an animal is hospitalized, we stop by the hospital daily because some cats will stop eating at the vet's but will eat from their pet sitters. We know about health issues and food issues. We spend hours consulting with people and mentoring them on pet food."
NAPPS pet sitters are armed with numerous professional skills that help them go the extra mile with every client. Pet sitters interested in joining the organization can visit the Web site at NAPPS. Care.com is a partner of NAPPS.
Faye Rapoport DesPres is a freelance writer specializing in pet care, family and outdoor activities. She lives with her husband and five cats, and has a website at OurPlaceToPaws.com.