Operations and Client Happiness Manager
Sarah is originally from the Washington, D.C. area and lives in South Philly with her husband, Dan (who is a cat sitter with The Cat Peeps!) and four cats (Jade, Ruby, Lola, and Roxy.) Growing up, she owned dogs, rabbits, birds, fish, gerbils, lizards, and even a pony, and was a competitive equestrienne. As a teenager, she and her family raised and helped train a future seeing-eye dog, Virgo, as part of the Guiding Eyes for the Blind program. As it turned out, Virgo just wasn’t cut out for the job, and Sarah ended up keeping her!
Before working for Walkies, Sarah worked in a medical office before deciding it wasn’t the career path that she wanted, and took a job as dog walker in Alexandria, Virginia. When Dan’s job transfer brought her to Philadelphia, she joined the Walkies team as a sitter shortly after. She was a sitter for two years before being promoted to Operations Manager, which she has been since September 2015. How we ever got by without her is beyond us!!!
Sarah is in charge of ALL things operations; including (but not limited to) scheduling (booking visits, handling cancellations, determining sitter availability) interviewing, hiring, and training, our new sitters, managing our staff, processing our new clients and getting them set up with their (fabulous) assigned sitter, and MUCH more!
To know a lil’ more about Sarah’s job, what she does, how we work aaaand how awesome she is – here’s a little Q and A sesh with Sarah:
Q: What kind of vetting process and training do your sitters go through?
A: All of our sitters go through a very thorough screening, vetting, and training process before they earn a spot on our team. We require stellar references, a clean background check, pet first aid certification, and that our sitters complete a two-part orientation process before they receive their first solo assignment. We only work with the best people, and hold them to a very high standard!
Q: Are you insured?
A: Yes! Walkies is fully insured through the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS.)
Q: What are your office hours?
A: Our regular office hours are Monday-Friday from 9:30am to 4pm. The office is closed on weekends and all Federal holidays. Voicemail messages are monitored for emergencies when the office is closed. All other calls are returned during regular business hours.
Q: Does a 30 minute walk mean that my dog will be outside for a full 30 minutes?
A: Great question! Visits are timed from when a sitter enters a clients’ home to the time that they depart, not the amount of time that a sitter is walking a clients’ dog. Our sitters do their absolute best to devote as much of each visit to outdoor time as possible, but it does take a few minutes before each walk to get our clients’ pups all ready to go, and a few minutes after each walk to complete any necessary post-visit tasks (for example, taking off harnesses and leashes, putting everything away, providing pups with fresh water, etc.) So, for example, a 30 minute visit generally includes 20-25 minutes of outdoor time, depending on the specific needs of each client and their pet.
Q: How do I sign up for service?
A: Our new clients have the option either calling or emailing us directly, or filling out our “Become a Client” form or “Request a Quote” form on our website. After a chat on the phone to go over their service needs and all of the details on their adorable pets, each client is then sent an email containing a link to fill out a client profile (all of the info on the client, their pets, and their home) and e-sign our Policies & Procedures. After that paperwork is completed and submitted, our clients are contacted by their assigned sitter to schedule a registration meeting (a meeting between client and sitter in the client’s home) so that our clients and their pets and their sitter get to know each other and are able go over all of the details of each pet’s care, and so that our clients have an opportunity to provide their sitters with keys to their home.
Q: What options are available in terms of providing keys to my sitter?
A: Walkies does require two sets of keys from each of our clients (one for the sitter to use, and a backup set that will be kept on file with the office.) Or, if our clients have a building with a front desk where their keys can be picked up and dropped off, or have a lockbox that they can affix to their property, those are fine options as well.
Q: How do I schedule and pay for my first service?
A: After a new client meets with their sitter, they can either email the office directly with the details of their first service request, or they may log in to our website to submit their service request that way. Once the service is scheduled, the client with be emailed an itemized invoice containing a link to submit payment either via PayPal or credit card.
Q: What is your cancellation policy?
A: Walkies requires 24 hours’ notice of cancellation in order to credit our clients for their canceled service. More details on our cancellation policy for overnight service, weekend service, and holiday service can be found on our Policies & Procedures page:
Q: How can I get my keys back from my sitter after my service is complete? Are you able to hold on to my keys for future service?
A: Every client has the option of having their keys returned after their service for a $10 key service fee, but most clients choose to have their sitter hold on to one set of their keys and for the office to retain their second set of keys so that we will already have their keys when they are ready to schedule future service.
Q: Do you offer any discounts or perks to your “regular” clients?
A: Yes, absolutely! Our monthly clients (who schedule a minimum of 3 midday walks per week and are billed on a monthly basis) receive a significantly discounted rate, as well as 3 last-minute cancellations per month that will be credited to their account and applied to a future service. We also have monthly coupons and a loyalty rewards program, as well as secret coupon offers that are emailed to our clients.
Q: Do you do “pack walks,” or take your clients’ dogs to the dog park to run off leash?
A: Walkies sitters do NOT walk dogs in packs (it is strictly one on one care between pet and sitter for each of our clients) and we do not take our clients’ dogs to dog parks as a matter of safety. We also have a strict no-contact policy with the public and their pets when our clients’ pets are in our care, and we do not let our clients’ dogs off-leash unless in their own home or in their own fully fenced and secure backyard (with our clients’ permission.)
Q: Will it be the same sitter walking my dog or visiting my cat each time?
A: YES! We offer our clients assigned sitters, a concept that is unique to us, because we believe that pets need consistent and one-on-one care from a person that they know and trust. Each client is also assigned a back-up sitter (should your assigned sitter need time off, get sick, or just want to take a vacation.) Our clients are ALWAYS given advance notice if their assigned sitter will need time or is not available, and are given the option of meeting their backup sitter (free of charge!) should they choose to do so.