Welcome to the Pack! Canine Adventure is delighted to spend time with your dog. Your dog’s well-being is our top priority. We’ve compiled this guide to answer many questions you may have about our services and how our company operates.
Adventure Walks are available Monday through Friday, and happen in the morning (roughly between 9:00 and 11:00) or in the afternoon (roughly between 2:30 and 4:30). These long walks include transport to a local park (or other interesting area around the city) and the appointment lasts a minimum of 2 hours. The Adventure includes leash work, general obedience practice, playtime, socialization with dogs and humans we meet along the way, swimming, rock hopping, and exploration. Activities vary on each Adventure based on the dogs we have along and weather/trail conditions. We strive to both challenge our client dogs and give them an experience they're well suited to and will enjoy. For dogs who hike with others, we take them on a few solo walks first (either Midday Walks or Adventures) to develop a bond and get to know them better. They can then be matched with another dog or two that is a good personality match. Dog packs rarely exceed 3 dogs.
We do not take a dog off leash unless the owner gives permission. Even then, we will need to work with your dog on leash quite a bit to develop a bond and evaluate their triggers and responsiveness. We will discuss behavior issues, we will share with you our experiences with your dog, and will then have some trial runs in very safe areas (away from cars, other dogs, people etc...) to ensure that there will not be any issues. This is not for every dog, and Canine Adventure understands this well. We can work together to get your dog there, but it does require the owner to go through the exercises as well, and every dog will respond differently. If you never want your dog taken off of the leash, we understand completely and will respect your wishes.
Adventure Walks are not available on weekends and subject to cancellation on certain holidays when the parks tend to be particularly busy (Labor Day and Memorial Day, for example) or when pet sitting needs are particularly high (Christmas, New Year’s Day, and Thanksgiving for example). Avoiding the parks during busy times helps ensure the safety of your dog.
Midday Walks are available Monday through Friday and occur roughly between 11:30 am and 3:00 pm. These visits include a walk and/or playtime, leash work, obedience practice, freshening water, and feeding if necessary. A Midday appointment lasts 30 minutes. Reservations for specific times cannot be made for Midday Walks as our schedules change day to day. If you do have special scheduling needs and would like your dog visited earlier or later within the aforementioned time frame, please contact us and we will do the best to accommodate these requests. If you prefer a longer visit for your dog's Midday Walk, we can often accommodate these requests as long as you discuss this with us beforehand. Please note, any visits before 9:00 am and after 5:00 pm are considered Pet Sitting Visits.
Pet Sitting Visits are available 7 days a week, 365 days per year. These are 30 minute visits that include a walk, playtime, feeding, administering oral medication (if you need injections, we have qualified staff members, but please bring this to our attention), rotating lights, bringing in mail/newspapers, a safety/security check of the house, watering plants, and cleaning up accidents. These visits can be scheduled as early as 7:00 am and as late as 9:00 pm. We offer 2 or 3 daily visits (if you require more visits, we may be able to accommodate). Dogs require a minimum of 2 daily visits as we don't want to leave dogs alone for more than 12 hours. We do offer care for other animals and are experienced with cats, birds, fish, turtles, ferrets, guinea pigs, caged rodents, rabbits, and bearded dragons. We don't care for livestock/farm animals.
For pets other than dogs (cats in particular), we can offer visits as infrequently as every 2 days but we'll need to discuss this beforehand. If you prefer a longer visit for your dog, we can often accommodate these requests if discussed beforehand. For extended Pet Sitting engagements and for regular clients, we will often assign a team of two dog handlers to you in order to ensure reliable availability and ensure that no one sitter gets overwhelmed by their workload.
Our bills go out via email each month, the week after the 9th. The bill will include all service that has been rendered through 8th of each month and any unpaid balance that has carried over from the previous billing period. Your billing email will be sent by our Finance Lead, Danny. If you prefer to receive an ongoing paper bill in the mail, please request this from Danny as well.
Canine Adventure accepts cash, checks, and credit card payments (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover). Cash can be left out for your dog handler, just let them know where it will be and label it so they know it's the bill payment. Please do not mail cash. Checks should be written to Canine Adventure LLC and can be left for your dog handler or mailed to our PO Box (Canine Adventure LLC, PO Box 28945, Henrico, VA 23228). Please include your dog's name and your last name in the subject line of the check (i.e. Spot Smith) to ensure that we credit your account properly. Please note that checks will be credited to your account within 5 business days of receipt, but may take up to 2 weeks from receipt to be deposited.
Credit Cards- We require each customer to have a credit card on file with Canine Adventure to ensure prompt payment for the services we've rendered. If you receive your bill and would like to charge it to your credit card immediately, please just reply to your billing email and we'll take care of it. Should we receive no payment by the 15th of the next month, we will send a notification email and the outstanding balance will be charged to the credit card we have on file for you. If you would like to set up auto pay, please do this via our online account management system. Auto pay customers will receive a 3% discount on their monthly bill.
-Meeting your Dog Handler-
Before scheduling any visits, we make time for you and your dog to meet with your dog handler in your home. This is your opportunity to get to know them, discuss the service in detail, give any specific handling instructions, and discuss scheduling. Generally these meetings are scheduled in the evening after work hours, but we are flexible. These meetings last approximately 30 minutes. Please be prepared for this meeting with your dog, any leashes or other tools you prefer we use, a spare key to your home, and any questions you'd like answered. We want you to know each person who will be working with your dog. If your dog handler is going to be temporarily unavailable or if we're assigning a team to your visits, we will also make time for you to meet your secondary dog handler.
After each Adventure Walk and Midday Walk (and at regular intervals during Pet Sitting engagements) you'll receive a follow-up email from your dog handler. This serves multiple purposes. It is, very basically, your receipt for service. Our service records and billing are generated directly from these follow-up emails. It is also a report on the day's activities. If there were issues that were encountered during the day's walk, medical concerns that the handler noticed, or anything else that you need to be made aware of, this will be included in the email as well. A link will also be provided where you can see photos from the day’s activities!
We encourage you to open up communication with your dog handler, and responding to a follow-up email is the perfect way to do this. They are a wealth of dog information and eager to discuss your dog's progress with you. If you have instruction or suggestions to give so that your dog and handler have a better experience together, feedback on photos, even just words of encouragement, don't hesitate to send your dog handler an email! If there's something you need that your handler doesn't feel confident responding to themselves, they will quickly escalate this to management so we can get back with you.
Each customer’s house key is retained by that customer's respective dog-handler. It is labeled with the dog's name and (in cases where the dog has a common name) the customer's last name. We don't label it with an address or phone number so that, in the event it were to fall into the wrong hands, it would be useless. In some cases, we may request a second copy of your key (generally if you have a second dog handler as part of your dog's team.) With your permission we can make the additional key.
The security of your home and your pets is a top priority. In the event of an employee leaving Canine Adventure LLC, the management promptly collects all keys in their possession and will inform you if/when they are distributed to another dog handler. We prefer that house keys are not left "under the mat" as this is a security risk.
Our dog handlers happily accept tips and gifts for their hard work! A cash tip, gift, or separate check left out for your dog handler is preferred, but if you want to include a tip with your bill payment, please note this in the subject line of your check or respond to email@example.com requesting that she add a tip to your credit card payment.
Please schedule with your dog handler directly via email, and copy firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do not schedule via phone call or text message. If your schedule is the same week-to-week, there is no need for you to schedule each week unless changes are necessary for a specific week. We do our best to honor your scheduling requests. If your dog handler is unable to handle an appointment, we will offer you the option of having another dog handler do the appointment in their stead.
We ask that you give us as much notice as possible regarding scheduling, at least 48 hours, so we can consistently meet your needs.
Advanced notice will help ensure that we make ourselves available during the holidays. Please understand that we are especially busy during these times, so it can be difficult to fulfill all scheduling requests.
You will be provided with your dog handler's phone number and email address. You may cancel a visit via email directly to your dog handler up to 24 hours before the visit is scheduled. If you must cancel a scheduled visit with less notice than this, please email your dog handler and give them a phone call or text message. This should call them off as late as the morning of scheduled service if the message is sent by 8:00 am. If it's later than that, they may not get the message in time. If your dog handler shows up due to late notice of the cancellation, your account will be charged.
As any pet owner knows, our animals can often surprise us! As pet care professionals, we are prepared to deal with most unexpected circumstances. Below is an outline of how we handle specific issues that may arise while your pet is in our care.
When the weather presents a danger, we adjust our services appropriately:
Snow- In the event that snowfall impedes travel, we will contact you to adjust scheduling. We separate our services into “essential” and “non-essential”… Essential services are Pet Sitting Visits and Midday Walks where the client is away from home despite the snowfall. Non-Essential services are Adventure Walks and Midday Walks where the client is home with their pet. Essential services will take place regardless of weather conditions, although travel conditions may dictate that visit scheduling will not be on as tight a timeline as normal. Non-Essential services will be canceled with as much notice to the client as possible. Walks and outside time may be shortened as the weather dictates.
Heat- When the temperature gets above 90 degrees, we take it easier on our dogs. Adventure Walks will be more focused around water, and less strenuous. Midday Walks will be at a slower pace, and often we’ll seek out off-street areas to walk in extreme heat. In addition, we will keep an eye on each dog in our care to ensure that the heat isn’t causing them any health issues. Again, we may shorten walks if necessary for the health of the dog.
Storms- We handle storms on a case-by-case basis. With the myriad issues that a thunderstorm, torrential rainfall, a hurricane, or a tornado can present, we err on the side of caution and will often adjust non-essential services appropriately. Essential services will take place to the best of our ability. If pets need to be evacuated from a home, we have multiple pet friendly homes where our staff can house them.
In each of these circumstances, you’ll be contacted promptly for further instruction and be presented with a game plan to ensure that your pets get what they need from us.
In the unfortunate event of a medical emergency, you will be contacted via telephone immediately for instruction on how you want the situation handled. If you don't answer, we'll attempt to contact your emergency contact. In cases where nobody can be reached via telephone for further instruction, the emergency is escalated to management immediately and we'll begin action to remedy the situation using our best judgment. Vet bills, medication, or other ancillary costs associated with a medical emergency which Canine Adventure LLC incurs on your pet's behalf will be billed to you at the next billing cycle.
Cats slip out of the door, dogs back out of their collars, any pet owner knows that some pets are escape artists and many have dealt with their dog or cat running off. We work very hard to ensure that each animal in our care is secure and safe.
If your pet is lost while in your own care, we’re happy to help. Just contact your dog handler and we’ll mobilize social media, alert our dog handlers in your area to keep an eye out for your pet, and provide you with multiple resources to help get your pet home safe.
In the event that your pet is lost while in our care, we will contact you (or your emergency contact, should you be unreachable) promptly and begin the search. Again, we alert our dog handlers to keep an eye out in your area.
Your handler will contact their manager to get the rest of their day’s schedule covered so they can dedicate their time to searching for your pet. If the handler has visits that must take place, they will spend an hour past your appointment time searching, will then head out to handle their other visits (shortening them as much as possible) and be back searching as soon as they can. The search will continue until sundown, and you’ll be in constant communication with your handler and the management staff during this time.
It’s important to note, we do everything in our power to keep pets safe and secure. We just want expectations to be clear regarding our action plan. In the event of a lost pet, we will do as much as we can to get them home safe, and the protocol outlined above is the minimum you can expect from us.
We can’t predict every potential emergency. However, we’ve planned for the unexpected by building a company with open lines of communication and depth of experience.
You’ll always be contacted for further instruction. In the absence of this instruction, Canine Adventure works as a team to make the right decisions, with a clear focus on the well-being of the pets in our care.