Perfect for social, adaptive, & crate trained dogs
Does your dog love playing with other dogs? Does your dog respect cats? Does your dog welcome human interaction? Then dog sitting in my home may be just the vacation your dog needs while you are on yours!
If you need help with any of these types of behaviors,
NOTE: Even if your dog doesn’t fit the above criteria of “Social & Adaptive,” meaning ‘Dog Sitting in Heather’s Home” wouldn’t work, I still have services that cater to your dog’s specific personality:
If your dog is social with other dogs / cats / humans, crate trained, and adaptive, keep reading about “Dog Sitting in Heather’s Home”
I will not.
Although I am a dog trainer (which makes me as a dog sitting service provider all the more valuable), with this dog sitting service, I uphold training that was already put in by the owners (and myself if you’ve trained with me).
This means I will:
BUT, I will not be teaching these behaviors.
Most kennels / dog sitters that owners use don’t have the knowledge of training needed to uphold your dog’s structure. This may cause you to come home to an unstable, boundless dog after a week of no rules. By having your dog stay with me, I maintain what you worked so hard to create: a happy, fulfilled dog.
When you choose to have your dog stay with me, they will be in my care on my family farm, Winding Brook Farm in Warrington, PA (a 236 acre farm on Bristol Rd).
I pick up for you! Given the nature of multiple entrances, operating hours, and back road confusion, I pick up your dog for you from your home. I can either do so just before you leave or after (but I do need to know the garage code or placement of a hide-a-key either way for drop off).
If my clients leave in the middle of the week, many opt to drop their dog off at doggie daycare in the AM and then I pick them, their food, and instructions up in the PM to start their stay with me.
Same as above. I drive your dog back to their home. I drop off your dog before you are due home. This way, you can come home and your dog is already waiting on the couch, by the front door, or in their kennel depending on how you leave your dog when you are away.
If my clients know they’ll be home before the closing time of their preferred doggie daycare, some opt to have me drop off their dog and their belongings at doggie daycare in the AM and they pick them up from there in the PM.
There has been a few times where I was there before they left. For example, if I picked up an owner’s dog the day before their departure because they had a 5 AM flight and want their dog already settled into my home pre-emptively so they aren’t scrambling to feed / potty in the AM.
Otherwise, I will generally not be at your home before you leave; my services are based around being able to care for your pet when you are away.
It is also important to note that if you were to wait up for me and I got caught up in traffic or at the scheduled service before yours, my timing may put you at risk of being late to your flight, your hotel’s check-in time, etc. For that reason, this rule was created with dog owner’s best interest in mind.
This is why I ask “How Long Is Your Dog Good For?” and “What Time Do You Need to Leave The House By On Day of Departure?” on the Contact Form. I will arrive to pick up your dog & their belongings within the allotted time your dog is good for after your departure and watch them in my home until just before your return.
I will not, but your dog will be. I make sure all services are performed and your pups are cared for before your return home. This is why I ask “How Long Is Your Dog Good For?” and “What Time Will You Be Back At Your House on the Final Day of Service?” on the Contact Form. That way I can determine what is the best time for me to drop off your pup so that you can come home to your dog seamlessly.
This is actually one of my client’s favorite aspects of my services.
They love coming home from vacation / to their dog without having to deal with conversing with their sitter (especially since they could follow along the whole time on @HandfulOfLeashes Instagram) while trying to unwind, unpack, and immediately love on their beloved and missed pup.
This makes the act of coming home from vacation feel like your just coming home from a walk in the park, super easy and stress free.
It’s normal for a dog to bark when someone is entering their home but if you feel your dog will resource guard your home or their belongings when I am coming for pick up or drop off, “Dog Sitting in Heather’s Home” may not be the best service for your dog.
Although you feel that they will be perfectly fine once in my home, because I will be having other dog owner’s pets and the members of my own family under one roof, it is of utmost importance to only be bringing “Social” and “Adaptive” dogs into that space.
Because there was already reserved time slots for my services, money will not get refunded or credited if you decide to return home earlier than booked.
The easiest way for me to get into my dog owners homes is by the garage. This way there is no key that needs to be left or given.
If you do not have a garage and need me to come in through a front or back door, owners will share with me where their hide-a-key is or what the combo is to the lock where the key is housed.
NOTE: I do not take keys from the owner to keep on me. The garage code or a hidden key are my preferred methods of entry as it lowers chances for extra keys to get misplaced.
If I only have your dog in my care during your dates, then wherever they sleep when they are with you. If your dog sleeps in bed with you, your dog will sleep in bed with me. If your dog sleeps in their kennel at your house, they will sleep in a kennel at mine.
Despite this flexibility when I am home, dogs in my care need to be crate trained so they have a safe place to unwind when I am out of the home and not supervising them.
If I have more than 1 dog in my care, then sleeping arrangements will be up to my discretion.
I have 2 dogs and 3 cats. My two dogs are Stitch (a blue heeler / mini aussie mix) and Ember (a red heeler). And my 3 cats are Bailey, Iris, and Barry.
The same reason people love this service (because it’s a home instead of a kennel) is the same reason I don’t do “tours” (because it’s my home and not a kennel).
Although I love my job, I don’t get much “off” time since my home is where I do “business.” For this reason, I do not allow owners to come to my house and why I handle pick ups and drop offs for you.
If you would like to see where I do business first hand and in real time, follow my business Instagram account @handfulofleashes. I post stories of the dog(s) I am dog sitting throughout the day so their owners can follow along during their stay (and other owners can see how & where I run my business).
There are fewer reasons I would have to leave your dog if I was dog sitting in the owner’s home (stopping home to get shower products, having a family BBQ, or to see my own dogs). When your dog stays in my home they are a part of the activities and the family (little family gatherings, tons of extra love, and scenic walks).
Yes. While this is my full time business, it is not my only service. I also offer training lessons & 1 hour visits (which is how dog owners can still use my dog sitting services when I am already booked for dog sitting in an owner’s home or my home).
When I Leave, Dogs Will Either Be:
On the weekends, when daycare is not open, dogs will be in their crate when I leave.
For Two Reasons:
Crate trained, for this service, means your dog is comfortable and quiet in their crate. They can be crated when you are leaving the house or when you need them in safe place while you are somewhere else in the home (like taking a shower or making dinner).
Just because your dog can go in a crate and I can close the door, doesn’t mean your dog is crate trained.
I do not watch dogs with separation anxiety. It is not fair to the other dogs in my care who are trying to relax and unwind in their crate (since separation anxiety is contagious) and it isn’t fair to your dog to let them practice separation anxiety.
Kennels will take any type of dog (anxious, fearful, exuberant) which is why your happy, go-lucky dogs may come home a little downtrodden (again, separation anxiety is contagious). I pride myself on setting my home up for the happiness and healthiness of the dogs I bring into it (which means I am very particular about what energy I will let my dog sitting dogs be subject to).
My best advice would be to start working on your dog’s separation anxiety to help them reach a more calm state of mind.
If you need help with where to start, feel free to book a virtual training lesson or private, in-home training lesson so we can work on a game plan to help lower your dog’s anxiety.
There are other options for care that don’t require your dog to be crate trained (since these services are done within your home). They are linked below:
It depends on the day, services I have booked, family events, etc.
As earlier stated, if I have 1 hour dog walking services or training lessons booked, I will have to leave the house to accommodate those services. Let’s say that the lesson is a half an hour away; that is 1 hour of driving & 1 hour of the service. If I have 3 services back to back with the same criteria, that would mean I would be out of the house for 6 hours.
For this reason, I offer the ability for owner’s dogs to go to doggie daycare during the day if they don’t think their dog would be calm and comfortable in their crate during that timeframe.
Most dogs I watch in my home are good for 6-8 hours in their crate because a lot of them are my dog training clients who have learned the importance of crate training – (It’s never too late to start)!
Yes. I will do drop offs and pick ups at your dog’s usual doggie daycare if you would like them to play with their friends when I am out doing 1 hour visits, training lessons, or have a prior personal life engagement.
Note: Doggie daycare days are paid for separately by the dog owner and are not included in my service price.
Each extra dog is the same price as the first.
I don’t offer a discount for the additional dogs because I lose availability to other families by taking on more than one dog in each family.
When a hiring manager asks a potential new employee for references, the person on the other end of the phone would be a business.
When a potential client asks for references, the person on the other end of the phone would be a person, answering questions in the free time, about a personal expense.
I really value my dog owners free time (heck, I made a business around doing so 😊). For this reason, I do not offer my current clients as references to potential clients.
If you were looking to see what others had to say about my business, I created the page below that auto-populates with new Google Reviews, Facebook Reviews, and Instagram updates from owners.
I dog sit 365 days a year (so long as there aren’t any vacations of my own planned 😉). If you’re looking to use my services during a holiday so you can enjoy some family time, I am happy to help!
I don’t think it comes as a surprise that holidays are when most dog sitters practically live in their car, going house to house, loving on your pets, while you enjoy a weekend at the beach or with your family in Vermont over Christmas. Because of this, it is VERY easy for dog sitters to get overbooked and lose availability.
For this reason, there is a holiday upcharge of $60 per day during holiday periods:
|Holiday Charge Dates||2023||2024|
|Martin Luther King Jr. Day||Jan 13-17||Jan 12-16|
|President’s Day||Feb 17-21||Feb 16-20|
|My Birthday Weekend 😊||Mar 10-13||Mar 8-12|
|Easter||Apr 7-11||Mar 29-2|
|Mother’s Day||May 12-15||May 10-13|
|Memorial Day||May 26-30||May 24-28|
|Father’s Day||June 16-19||June 14-17|
|Independence Day||June 30-5||Jul 3-8|
|Labor Day||Sept 1-5||Aug 30-3|
|Columbus Day||Oct 6-10||Oct 11-15|
|Thanksgiving||Nov 22-27||Nov 27-2|
|Holiday Period||Dec 24-2nd||Dec 24-2nd|
There is no limit. As long as I have the availability, I am happy to accommodate your needs.
Due to the service-based nature of my business, there is not a discount applied to longer stays. When I book your dates, I am lowering availability and service options to my other dog owners and their pups.
I have had more than one dog in my home (from two separate families) as long as both dogs were social with other dogs and crate trained. That way, when I need to leave the house for 1 hour visits or training lessons, I am not leaving two or more dogs unsupervised.
Most owners who reach out about this service when I’m already fully booked are re-directed to my 1 Hour Visits. They end up loving it and never look back.
Get a better feel for my 1 Hour Visits below:
My services are based around how many days, not how many nights.
For example, if you wanted your dog to stay in my home from Monday through Friday, that is 4 nights, but 5 days.
This means you would multiply my “Dog Sitting in Heather’s Home” Price by 5 days to get your total.
My services are based around how many days, not how many nights. So if you need me from a Friday into a Saturday, that is 2 days, instead of 1 night.
Because I do all of the work for my dog owners (pick ups & drop offs), I am technically doing two one-hour visits before and after the actual sleepover service.
Two one hour services is just about the same price as my one day price of sleeping over in my home so you would technically be getting the whole sleepover for free if I only charged for one day.
Being that this is a service based business, my availability is everything.
NOTE: The Cancellation Fee IS NOT the price of service. Price of service is at the bottom of page.
Yes. Due to the exclusive nature of my dog sitting services, I must decline other requests for overnight stays if I’m already booked for the dates that overlap.
If the services booked are then cancelled, I have already turned away other clients for that space. This isn’t ideal for both myself as a business owner or the clients who I had to turn down to secure those dates.
For this reason, there is a cancelation fee applied to each cancelled day, no matter when the services is cancelled.
|# of Days Cancelling||Total Cost of Cancellation|
|And so on…||—|
NOTE: Most in-home dog sitters / dog walkers I have researched ask for the full price of service as their cancellation fee for the reasons above, I have opted for a half price model as I know things happen out of our control.
NOTE: The above table doesn’t reflect the deposit needed during Holiday upcharge dates.
NOTE: The deposit IS NOT the price of service. Price of service is at the bottom of page.
Yes, once you have filled out my contact form and I have confirmed availability for your dates, I request the deposit in the form of the “Cancellation Fee.”
Deposit = # of Days X Cancellation Fee
So What is My Deposit Obligation?
|# of Days Booking||Total Cost of Deposit|
|And so on…||—|
The other portion of your service price is due the day of service.
In the event of a cancellation, this deposit is applied as the cancellation fee.
NOTE: The above table doesn’t reflect the deposit needed during Holiday upcharge dates.
Once you’re sure you need me.
Before I started asking for deposits / cancellation fees, clients would “book” me for dates that weren’t “set in stone yet” (because all it took was a message and a ‘Yes, I am free those dates 😊”). More and more frequently, owners would cancel their trips and I had already turned away clients that would overlap with the secured slots. This often times put me in a tough place financially.
This taught me that when there is nothing in place to secure my time, there is also nothing keeping owners from booking dates that weren’t fully confirmed yet.
Again, the deposit is non-refundable if you need to cancel, so it’s best to make sure you are booking once your dates are confirmed.
I take cash, check, or Venmo.
As a business owner, it was imperative that I created a business Venmo to keep business and personal transactions separate. The downside to this is there is a transaction fee to have this separation.
For this reason, if you choose to use Venmo as your form of payment, there is an additional charge:
For every $100 spent, there is a $2 charge to cover fees.
|Total Price of Service(s)||Additional Cost|
|$1 – $99||+ $2|
|$100 – $199||+ $4|
|$200 – $299||+ $6|
|And so on…||—|
Before the start of service.
Your deposit is required to confirm your booking and the other portion is required before the start of service.
If you are paying with cash or check, I love for dog owners to: leave this behind on the counter, island, etc. so it is available when I come for the service(s). If I am picking your dog up from their doggie daycare (instead of their home), you can leave it in their bag of belongings.
If you are paying with Venmo, I love for dog owners to Venmo me before the service(s) are started or the start date of service.
I would say that about 25% of my new clients request “Meet & Greets.” Once you see the clarifying questions I ask on the original Contact Form, it is easy to see why that percentage is so small. I make sure that I have all of my questions answered prior to the service (via both the contact form & the conversation we have upon confirming the booking).
If after following me on my business Instagram @handfulofleashes (to get to know me / the business) and filling out the contact form (to share details of your dog’s needs), you still feel you would need a “Meet & Greet,” we can book a “1 Hour Visit” before the service date starts for the same price as the 1 Hour Visit (See Service Page for details).
On my “About” page.
Here you will find my motivation to grow Handful of Leashes, my mission statement, the start of the business in 2014, my education, seminars and expos I have attended, and a timeline of when I added each service to my business.
On Instagram, I post day-to-day life with your dogs (and even try and tag your Instagram so you can share their cute little faces to your story as well).
Facebook gets the same content, but it may not get posted until after I have finished the service.
Below is a feed of my most recent Instagram posts (and stories are added daily):
The contact form that my new clients fill out immediately gets sent to my business email. Because I try and manage a good work / life balance (which is difficult when you are so in love with your business), I try and only check my business email once a day, usually in the AM before I start my services for the day.
If you fill out the contact form over the weekend, you can expect a response early next week.
If you fill out the contact form after 5 PM, you can expect a response within 1-3 business days.
The reason it may take 1-3 business days is because I first:
Then, you’ll get a response from me in the format you checked off at the bottom of the contact form (Email, Text Message, or Instagram Message).
My response is usually as simple and straightforward as:
“Hey _____, it’s Heather from Handful of Leashes 🖐 I received your contact form & after looking at my calendar, I have the availability and would love to watch Fido in my home from Tuesday, April 2nd through Sunday, April 7th…”
I try and confirm service availability with you as soon as possible. This is made possible by asking all the right questions in the contact form (distance, expectations, entry and feeding instructions, etc.) so I can move to booking your service seamlessly & quickly.
$140 / day
+ $140 a day for each additional dog
+ $60 a day on holiday charge dates
$70 / Day
If you would like to proceed with having your best friend stay with me while you are away, fill out the “Contact Form” below so I can receive more information about you / your dog / dates needed. I look forward to loving and living with your pup!
Thank you so much! This was hands down the best boarding experience we’ve ever had ❤Gabrielle R.
You are wonderful – always so positive and accommodating. Thank you Heather.Joni H.
Heather, that picture of them in your room has gone viral in my family. I have a huge family that love them and hate when I leave them but they all like when they’re ‘at the farm.’ It’s funny that my family is so protective over them but if I tell them they are with Heather, my family is okay with it because you have been with them since day 1. They are in heaven; so much better than a kennel.”Kelly S.
Heather, thanks so much for all those great videos of Zoe. It’s great to see what a good time she has at her 2nd home! She loves it there and that makes us so happy! She is going to be so bored and depressed once she comes home; she’s having the best time ever! Thank you Heather for taking such good care of our Zoe! You’re the best!Marlene R.
Thank you Heather!!! I was beyond happy to have you care for our little Daisy; I know Daisy is happy when she’s with you. I often think about how lovely and sweet it was that you took the time to brush her hair. I also love all the pictures & videos of her paying in the snow, taking walks, playing with other dogs & your goddaughter’s toy, and having fun with your adorable niece. Your loving care of Daisy helps me relax when I’m away from her! Thank you for being so good to her!Valorie H.