this summer, overworked “pet sitters” in Nord-Pas-de-Calais

If you have the opportunity to go on vacation this summer and you have pets, you will probably ask yourself this question: how to keep Médor, Félix or Lapinou? “Pet sitters” are in great demand in Nord-Pas-de-Calais. As the name suggests, it is babysitters for fur or fur animals. These professionals take care of your animals while you hike in the mountains or sunbathe on the beach.

7 days a week work

This is not a summer job but aa full-time job. Marie Lenec is self-employed and has worked in Lille for four years with her company Lille à pattes. Among other things, he makes home visits for tomcats. During the summer, he walks around with several keys, belonging to his clients. He works 7 days a week, sometimes up to ten hours a day, and has an average of ten daily visits. Each one lasts about twenty minutes. Even if it’s not work for “to be rich”he smiled, he came out with enough salary.

That day, he visited Ron, in Vieux-Lille. This big lethargic cat meows and purrs when he opens the door. After changing the litter, she gave him food and drink, and took him for a walk on the balcony between two cuddle sessions. The budget isseveral hundred euros for a weekone visit per day. “Some customers told me that they had disappointments, friends who were supposed to come and take care of the cat and never came.he explained. They need someone they trust to come and take care of their pet, and then they hand over their keys, so it’s their house.

A holiday camp for dogs

On the other hand, it is impossible to leave a dog in an apartment for two weeks, even for regular visits. Besides traditional kennels, there are boarding houses with a limited number of animals. In Le Souich for example, in the south of Pas-de-Calais, near the Somme border, Marion Fourez opened her business “Com’ma la maison” two years ago. For him, it was a 180 degree change in life: before starting his business, he worked in marketing and he left everything to train again.

At the entrance, a sign shows in color: “holiday home for animals”. Here, there are no boxes: the animals roam free on three acres of wooded land. “People tell their dogs, ‘You’re going to a babysitter, you’re going to summer camp!’ (laughs)”.

It has permission to host up to nine dogs. According to him, cooperation is good in most cases but he offers pre-visits or test weekends. Each dog eats alone, in turn, to avoid arguments, and he walks them in two separate groups.

Lack of accommodation

Sometimes his clients do several hours of driving to drop off their dogs : 92% from Lille, 1h15 away. The night costs twenty-four euros, vs “ten to nineteen euros in a classic kennel”. He was able to find a decent salary, by smoothing his income throughout the year, because March and November are slower times.

He put on a display full all summer. His schedule is also full for the Christmas holidays! In July, he turned down 60 requests, 80 in August. “Customers book a year in advance”he said. “I turn away a lot of people, it always hurts my heart especially when you see the number of abandonments. The kennels and pensions are protected, the accommodation is really lacking. You have to invest but it’s a good job.”

If this job interests you, know thatyou have to train, “ACACED” (certificate of knowledge for pets of domestic species). Before getting your consent, you will receive a visit from a veterinarian.

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