Frequently Asked Questions

HOW LONG ARE VISITS?

 

Tails of Philly offers 15 min, 30 min, 45 min and 60 min visits. We can usually accommodate requests for visits longer than 60 min. Each pet has special needs. If clients specify only a 10 - 15 walk around the block due to health reasons, we comply with those instructions. Please note that there is no reduced rate due to shorter walks. We offer hour-long walks for dogs who need the extra daily exercise. On severe rain or snow days, we play it by ear. If the City is shut down and traffic is bad during a snow emergency, we will have no choice but to give each dog a shorter walk. On days that are above 80 degrees, we generally ask clients to allow us to give dogs known for their heat sensitivity (Pugs, English Bulldogs, Boston Terriers) shorter walks because their health demands it. We ask clients to be appreciative of these factors and cooperate with us when it comes to the health and safety of the pet and the walker. Overnight visits are 12 hours long.

 

WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE IS AN EMERGENCY WHILE A TAILS OF PHILLY PET CARE PROVIDER IS RESPONSIBLE FOR MY PET?

 

In an emergency, such as if your pet is hurt and needs veterinary care or your basement is flooded, we call you or your emergency contact. During the pre-service interview, we gather a lot of information, including your contact information and that of your designated emergency contact. If you are unreachable while traveling and your emergency contact is not responding to phone calls, it is our responsibility to seek care for your pet and secure your home. If a plumber needs to be called, the client will reimburse Tails of Philly for expenses incurred. If a vet visit is deemed necessary, we will take your pet to your regular vet. If your regular vet's office is closed, we will take your pet to a nearby 24-hour emergency veterinary care clinic. Clients are expected to have credit card information on file with their vets.

 

IS TAILS OF PHILLY INSURED AND BONDED? IF SO, THROUGH WHOM? MAY CLIENTS REQUEST COPIES OF PROOF?

 

Tails of Philly has a liability insurance policy through Business Insurers of the Carolinas. Our crime bond is issued through Travelers Insurance. Yes, you may request photocopies of our policy certificates and/or cards.

 

CAN YOU PROVIDE REFERENCES?

 

If prospective clients request references, they can be provided.

 

HOW DO YOU SCREEN EMPLOYEES?

 

We make sure that all employees are first and foremost animal lovers. True animal lovers, will, out of a genuine concern for the pet, make it a personal priority to make visits on time and be interested in the overall well-being of the pet. All employees must have experience with taking care of pets whether that experience is professional or through personal pet ownership. Each employee must pass a criminal background check and his or her recent employment history is verified.

 

CAN WE MEET OUR SITTER / WALKER?

 

Yes, clients can always request to meet their pet's sitter or walker. Tails of Philly administrative staff with coordinate such meetings. There is a $25 charge for visits subsequent to the new client pre-service consult.

 

CAN I HAVE MY SITTER OR WALKER'S CONTACT INFORMATION?

 

Yes, sitters and walkers will text or email a client when they complete a visit. If there is an emergency or you need to book/modify/cancel service, DO NOT contact your sitter. Please contact Tails of Philly owner, Michelle Smolka, because she does all the logistical coordinating. Michelle and staff are in constant communication by e-mail, text and phone, therefore messages will be relayed in a timely manner.

 

I AM INTERESTED IN MIDDAY WALKING, WILL I HAVE THE SAME WALKER EACH DAY?

 

Generally, yes. Each new midday walking account is assigned to one walker. This walker will walk your pet each midday UNLESS (s)he has requested time off or has an unforeseen emergency. During this scheduled and unscheduled time off, midday walking subs will be in place to cover walker routes so there is no disruption in service.

 

I AM INTERESTED IN PET SITTING WHILE I GO ON VACATION OR BUSINESS TRAVEL, WILL I GET THE SAME SITTER EACH TIME I MAKE A REQUEST.

 

This is very unlikely. Pet sitting clients can not rely on getting the same sitter each assignment. A request can be made, however, if the sitter is not available during a requested period, another sitter will be more than happy to cover the assignment. This is especially true during holidays and busy vacation months.

 

WILL MY REGULAR MIDDAY WALKER COME BY ON HOLIDAYS?

 

Your regular midday walker may not be available on some holidays. It is understood that on observed, national holidays (Easter, 4th of July, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve/Day and New Year's Eve.Day) clients are home so can walk their pet. Should a client have to work on a holiday, (s)he can make arrangements for a pet sitting visit to take place. Please note there is an extra holiday charge of $10 per visit. On federal holidays (MLK Day, Presidents Day, Columbus Day) we DO work and will be by to walk your pet UNLESS you cancel beforehand. The onus is on the client to make these arrangements in advance.

 

WHEN DO YOU HOLD PRE-SERVICE INTERVIEWS?

 

We work with clients to schedule pre-service interviews at mutually agreeable times typically Monday - Friday in the evening and anytime over the weekends. We can sometimes schedule meetings during the day Monday - Friday if you work from home.

 

HOW IS BILLING HANDLED?

 

Payment invoices for weekly clients will be emailed to clients on Fridays and payment will be do within 14 days of invoice receipt. Invoices for vacations and trips are sent a week before the first date of service (if booked enough in advance) and are due no later than 14 days after the last day of requested service. Invoices for Pooper Scooper Service are billed monthly - you will receive an invoice at the beginning of the month that will be due at the end of the month. Please make payments either by submitting a check or money order to “Tails of Philly LLC,” credit/debit or pay by cash. If writing a check, please write-in your invoice # in the memo area. Credit and debit payments can be accepted through the online invoice system, Wave, or through PayPal.

 

WHAT FORM OF PAYMENT DO YOU ACCEPT?

 

We accept cash, checks made out to “Tails of Philly LLC,” and debit/credit payments through Wave or PayPal.

 

IS THERE A CANCELLATION FEE?

 

Cancellations made with at least 24-hours notice are not subject to a charge. However, cancellations made with less than 24-hours notice will be subject to full visit charge whether or not the visit actually took place.

 

ARE VISITS MADE DURING TIMES OF INCLEMENT WEATHER?

 

RAIN: Visits are not cancelled in the rain & sleet; however,  walks might be shorter for the comfort of your pet.

 

SNOW: If there is light snow and the City is operating as a normal business day, midday walks and pet sitting visits continue as usual. If the Philadelphia Public School System is closed for the day, midday walkers may not do walks - Michelle will email or text every booked client to let them know if walks/visits are on or not. Obviously, when there is a severe snow emergency, it is not a wise idea for sitters to be on the road jeopardizing their lives on slick or unplowed roads. One solution we have suggested to clients is to have a local emergency contact like a neighbor who can be relied on during these rare emergency situations to take care of your pet when it is physically impossible for a sitter to make the visit. If you are out of town during a weather emergency or still need to go to work even though the City is closed, Tails of Philly will make every reasonable effort to make sure your pets are cared for without sacrificing the safety of our walkers and sitters. If walks/visits are cancelled due to severe weather, you will not be charged.

 

IS THERE A FEE FOR LAST MINUTE REQUEST FOR VISITS?

 

If clients request visits will less than 24-hours notice they are subject to a $25 late reservation of services fee.

 

HOW SOON IN ADVANCE SHOULD I MAKE A PET SITTING REQUEST?

 

The rule of thumb is as soon as you are aware of your travel plans. DO NOT procrastinate. With ample notice we can guarantee service 100% of the time. If clients contact us a few days before they leave, there is no guarantee that we can accommodate requests. Usually if clients give us at least 48-hours, arrangements for pet care can be made successfully. Between Thanksgiving - New Year's and vacation seasons (May - September), PLEASE book early as these are the busiest times of the year for pet sitters.

 

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY FOR CLIENTS TO COMMUNICATE WITH TAILS OF PHILLY STAFF?

 

Emailing and texting Michelle are the best ways to communicate. We check messages constantly throughout the day and respond to inquiries and requests within 24 hours. Additionally, we prefer these means of contact because it allows a paper trail to refer to later. (Less inaccuracies.) Calling us is also an excellent way to reach Tails of Philly. Please leave v-mail if no one picks up - we will return your call as soon as possible. Please do NOT assume that technology is working 100% of the time. We can not take care of your pet if we never received the request! We always e-mail back confirmations as soon as we learn of a request so if you do not hear back from us, chances are we did not get the e-mail or call.

 

DO YOU CHARGE EXTRA ON HOLIDAYS?

 

There is an extra $10 per visit holiday charge. This provides incentive for pet sitters to actually commit to working on a holiday. Your sitter/walker keeps 100% of the $10/visit on holidays.

 

ARE THERE ANY LATE PAYMENT FEES?

 

Clients who hold an outstanding balance are subject to a late fee of $10 per week in which an outstanding balance exists. Collection and lawsuit proceedings may follow if invoices are over one month due. Please make sure to pay your invoice in a timely manner.

 

WHY DO YOU NEED TWO SETS OF KEYS?

 

We request two sets so that the walker or sitter can have a copy and management can store a copy for emergency purposes. It's an unfortunate situation when a client is out-of-town, gives us only one set of keys and that set of keys gets broken off in the lock, misplaced or lost. (A wide variety of scenarios are possible.)

 

IS THERE A CHARGE FOR KEY PICK-UP, DROP-OFF? WHAT IF I REQUEST AT THE KEYS BE MAILED BACK TO ME?

 

The key pick-up or drop off charge is $10. We highly recommend NOT mailing keys to Tails of Philly or requesting keys mailed back. The likelihood of packages containing keys breaking open during transit or getting lost is too high and makes us uncomfortable! However, if we mail your keys to you, you will be charged for postage & packaging. Dropping off or picking up keys from us is free!

 

CAN YOU KEEP OUR KEYS ON FILE?

 

Yes. Keys are labeled by pet name only and stored in a locked, fire proof safe.

 

DO YOU ADMINISTER MEDICATION? IF SO, WHAT KIND?

 

We can administer pills to pets orally, crush medication into food or place in a treat. We can rub medicated ointment onto pets. We can provide insulin injections to diabetic cats or give subcutaneous fluids to cats with kidney problems.

 

DO MY PETS NEED TO BE CURRENT ON HIS OR HER SHOTS?

 

Absolutely. During the time of the pre-service interview, we check vet records to ensure that pets are up-to-date with their inoculations.

 

DO YOU ACCEPT AGGRESSIVE DOGS AS CLIENTS?

 

We, under no circumstances, will agree to care for a pet (cat or dog) with a history of biting people. Dogs who are aggressive with other dogs, we will accept on a case-by-case basis, however, individual walks will have to be given.

 

DO YOU PROVIDE PET TAXI SERVICE?

 

Yes, we do! We provide your pet and you with safe and dependable transportation to and from anywhere in the Philadelphia metro area. We transport for emergency and non emergency situations. We can take your pet to/pick up from the vet, groomer and trainer appointments, boarding facilities, doggy daycare, Philadelphia International Airport and other pet related locations.

 

CAN YOU BUY AND DELIVER PET SUPPLIES TO CLIENTS?

 

Yes, we do! Our errand service, uniquely focusing on items related to your pet and home, can help manage your pet care responsibilities. By whittling down your pet or home care-related "to-do" list, we help you become better pet owners allowing you to spend your precious time with your pet. Errand services include the following: 1.) Pet food, medicine and supply runs at pet stores or veterinary clinics. We also provide delivery of these products to your home. 2.) Conduct pet-related product or services research. 3.) Wait at your home for repair people, installers or contractors. 4.) Hang out with your pets for an "extended" outing while you deal with showing your home to prospective buyers, have work done to your house by contractors, home exterminations, etc. Please see our service page on pet supply runs for rate details.

 

DO YOU BRUSH PET TEETH, BATHE, GROOM OR CLIP NAILS?

 

No, we do not provide these services, but will be more than happy to transport your pet to a groomer or vet clinic so that these personal hygiene services can be completed.

 

WHAT ARE NORMAL BUSINESS HOURS?

 

You can contact Tails of Philly by phone from 7am - 9pm everyday. You can text and email any time. We will respond to v-mail, e-mail and texts within 24 hours, unless it’s an emergency.