Fear Free® Elite Certified Professional

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Choices Pet Sitters - Manager

When you want more than the basic "lick and a promise" pet care... When "good enough" just isn't "good enough" for your pets or when the only experience a potential caregiver has is "living with pets" (which isn't necessarily safe enough for YOUR pets)... That's when you need to hire a CERTIFIED Pet Care Professional! As a non-smoking, TRAINED, and proactive multi-Certified Pet Care Specialist with over 16 years of ongoing career PAID pet care experience, I am here for YOU!

I am not just someone looking for a hobby or an odd-job to make a little money... animal care and training is my professional career. As one of the Top Five Finalists for Pet Sitters International's 2021 Pet Sitter of the Year Award I have numerous client and industry references, up-to-date continuing education in pet care, dog handling, disaster preparedness, and Pet First Aid and CPR, as well as a yearly 3rd party background check through Pet Sitters International's recommended company - Acutraq. I am BONDED and INSURED while working at a long-standing pet care company with a county business license.

Caring for your pet is not about what your pet can do for me, but what I can do to help them enjoy life while you are away. I focus on providing quality age and species-specific care, exercise, and mental stimulation for your pet. The multitude of pictures I take shows that I see your pet's personality and am looking for communication through their body language. This isn't just a job for me...it is a labor of love. I am continually expanding my career training by studying industry specific courses to help me be the most qualified and safety-conscious professional in your area.

Offering 30, 45, or 60-minute drop-in visits, dog walking, and (temporarily suspended due to COVID-19 safety issues) overnight pet sitting, my services also include the basic light indoor plant watering, collecting your mail and packages, washing all pet food and water dishes after each meal, sweeping/cleanup around pet areas, curbing trash cans, and filling outdoor bird feeders. I'm here to focus on the needs of your pets by listening to them and to you.

Credentials / Qualifications: 
-- Fear Free® Elite Certified Professional (1 of 1248 Elite Professionals in the WORLD!) -- 
-- Low Stress Handling® Silver Certified -- 
-- Pet Tech PetSaver™ CPR / First Aid trained -- 
-- Certified Professional Pet Sitter® (CPPS) -- 
-- Doggone Safe Dog Bite Safety Educator -- 
-- AKC Canine Good Citizen® Evaluator -- 
-- AKC Temperament Test Evaluator -- 
-- Completed VetFolio Course: Understanding the Cat -- 
-- Dog Trainer Foundations Certificate (Karen Pryor Academy) -- 
-- Fear Free® Avian Course - Certificate of Completion (Fear Free®) -- 
-- Risk Assessment & Safely Handling Multiple Dogs Certificate (Doggone Safe)-- 
-- The Infectious Disease Management Program Certificate (Vetfolio) -- 
-- Disaster Planning for Professional Pet Sitters Certificate (Pet Sitters International) -- 
-- Bonded / Insured as employee of a local pet sitting company-- 

Professional Affiliations: 
-- Friend of INTO Dogs -- 
-- Member of PetSit USA -- 
-- Member of Pet Sitters International (PSI) -- 
-- Member of The Pet Professional Guild (PPG) -- 
-- Member of Professional United Pet Sitters (PUPS) -- 
-- General Member of Association of Animal Behavior Professionals (AABP) -- 
-- Associate Member of The International Companion Animal Network (ICAN) -- 
-- Supporting Member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) -- 
-- Supporting Member of The International Assoc. of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) --

For your safety....

* * My Infectious Disease Management Certification suggests the following COVID-19 Protocol - Shoe covers or washable slippers, gloves, and masks are worn during service visits for your protection. * *

How much does the pet sitting candidate you are considering care about YOUR pets? Have they taken the time to educate themselves wih industry specific training to keep your pets safe in their care? Since pet sitting, dog walking, and dog training are unregulated industries. Each caregiver who advertises online creates their own profile with no oversight. I have made it easy for you to verify my credentials by linking them to the credentialing authority they come from. When looking at other potential caregivers be sure to ask for verification documentation to find out what qualifications make them the best fit for you and your family.

If the pet sitting candidate you are considering can not show verification that they have at least educated themselves on basic dog walking tools and techniques or at least taken a Pet First Aid/CPR course you should wonder whether the pet sitter you are considering is a pet care professional focused on providing the most up to date, safe, and force-free pet care for your pet. Perhaps they are just concerned with having fun in your home and "making a little extra money."

When hiring a pet care provider check to see if they have canine experience beyond "growing up" with dogs. Be cautious about this. Most dog lovers have grown up with their pets, but that doesn't mean they know canine body language or know how to safely care for your pets! Anyone posting more than 24 years of experience or if their age/experience ratio is close to the same number they are talking about experience with their own dogs, not with a variety of dogs they haven't cared for before. (The professional pet sitting industry began in 1997.) If something unexpected happens, are you sure your candidate will know what to do? While I hope to never have to use the skills I have learned, I have taken training on handling aggressive dogs because some of my clients have reactive dogs and sometimes off leash dogs will come up to me and the dogs I am walking on the street. Being prepared is key!

Does your candidate have the skills to handle multiple dogs safely? Like people, even dogs living together can sometimes disagree on something. Fights can break out between dogs over food, toys, and even the pet sitter. An off-leash dog could charge your sitter and your dog as they are out walking. On-the-job training is too late for a good outcome in these situations. The sitter you choose needs to have training in canine body language and experience with multiple dogs outside their own home before they care for yours to keep your dog and other pets safe. (I have the equipment on hand to keep your pet safe.)

Does your candidate have training in canine body language? Do they listen to the dog or force the dog to comply with their commands? Your dogs don't always act the same with other people when you are away and that can pose a challenge for the untrained sitter. Many dogs don't like to be hugged (think "trapped".) If the sitter you are choosing to have visit or walk your pet has (or mentioned bringing) children with them this is a RED FLAG danger sign! Children can't read a dog's body language (yawns, excessive drooling, avoidance, turning away to avoid contact, "whale eye," whining). It only takes a few seconds for a situation to turn into a disaster. The sitter's children could be hurt, your dog could be labeled a "dangerous dog" and put down, and/or you could be sued for a liability you didn't want. I NEVER bring children or other people on my drop-in visits. It just isn't a good, safe, business practice.

Be safe... Be sure... Be cautious. Hire someone trained and experienced to give you peace of mind while you are away. Remember... the pet sitting and dog training industry is unregulated. Since it began in 1997, there have been no laws enacted that say you have to have ANY education to call yourself a "trainer" or "pet sitter." Without CURRENT science-based education, a sitter that claims they can train your dog may be doing your pet more harm than good. ("Balanced Trainers" DO USE aversives/punishment in their training "balanced" only by their discretion.) Ask questions about experience in caring for dogs unfamiliar to the sitter. Ask "what if" questions to be sure the candidate you are considering is proactive in safety and security for your pet and your home. Be sure to check and verify credentials. (My certifications and professional memberships are shown on the certification and membership pages respectively. You can also check out links to verify my qualifications at the bottom of the pages on this website.)


1.) I DO NOT OFFER IN-HOME BOARDING. Pet sitting is defined as pet care in YOUR home. It is also important to know that the Georgia Department of Agriculture stipulates that a "Kennel" means any establishment, other than an animal shelter, where dogs or cats are maintained for boarding, holding, training, or similar purposes for a fee or compensation." To keep pets safe, healthy, and secure they require that someone who keeps pets in their home for compensation (boarding) be licensed with yearly inspections for maintaining safety and sanitation, as well as requiring specific recordkeeping. Liability insurance to cover boarding in a home is generally a separate insurance policy as well. Always check that your provider has the required licensing and city/county/community permissions to have pets boarding in their home. Without such licensing, your pets could be at risk.

2.) DROP-IN VISITS and DOG WALKING rates start at $26 per 30-minute visit for the first dog WITHIN an 8-MILE driving distance from the intersection of Hwy 515 and Hwy 53 in Jasper.

3.) I do NOT do on-demand (short-notice) pet care or dog walks unless I have met the pet first.

4.) For my safety, the safety of your pet, and to be sure your pet gets the care you want, A MEET AND GREET CONSULTATION IS REQUIRED at LEAST 48 hours before booking any services.

5.) I do NOT provide every other day (EOD) service for cats due to liability reasons and because they deserve daily enrichment just like dogs.

6.) All dogs visited will have NO LESS THAN two visits per day if the owner is away for multiple days unless they are in a kennel situation with outdoor access to relieve themselves.

7.) Overnight pet care visits (temporarily suspended due to COVID-19 safety issues) are available in Pickens, and North Cherokee Counties (including Bent Tree, Jasper, Nelson, Tate, and parts of Talking Rock, and North Ball Ground close to 515/Jasper.)

8.) Basic House Sitting (Overnight) rates cover periods from 8:00 PM - 7:00 AM. Longer overnight stays will be custom quoted.

9.) Drop-in visits, or dog walking requests from areas outside of my 8-mile service range, reactive dogs, mini-farm pet care, and specialty or geriatric pet care services will be custom quoted.

10.) Because I am professionally trained in pet care and offer the highest quality pet care service in Pickens County, I do not offer multi-visit discounts.

Certified Professional Pet Sitter®

Hi there! I’m Linda, one of the 1st twenty Fear Free® Certified Professionals in Georgia and 1 of the first 50 of what is now 1251 Fear Free® Elite Certified Professionals in the world! I am also a non-smoking, bonded, and insured Certified Professional Pet Sitter® who is trained in the Pet Tech PetSaver® course.

Raised with dogs, cats, hamsters, ducks, and a horse while growing up in my parent’s home, pets have always been my passion. So much so that my 4-H White Leghorn chickens won Grand Champion in the North Georgia State Fair one year after I lovingly “hand washed” them for success! Several of my indoor kitties have lived over 14+ years, giving me experience administering oral medicines, insulin injections, and sub-q fluids. But more importantly than just caring for my own pets I have over 16 years of PAID business experience taking care of other people’s pets in their homes!

As Manager of Choices Pet Sitters, I have grown the company into a Professional In-Home Pet Care / Dog Walking Company with a level of service that far surpasses hobby pet sitters simply looking for a side job to supplement their income. Choices Pet Sitters has been providing respectful, personalized, and extremely professional In-Home Pet Care and Mini-Farm sitting in Pickens and North Cherokee Counties in Georgia since 2005.

Linda and Kalen

Fear Free Elite Certified ProfessionalCertified Professional Pet Sitter































Service Hours

Monday -  By Appointment

8am - 6:30pm

Tuesday - By Appointment

8am - 6:30pm

Wednesday - By Appointment

8am - 6:30pm

Thursday - By Appointment

8am - 6:30pm

Friday - By Appointment

8am - 6:30pm

Saturday - By Appointment

8am - 6:30pm

Sunday - By Appointment

8am - 6:30pm

Monday - Sunday - Overnight Stays By Appointment

8pm - 7am

My mission

To give each individual pet a clean, safe environment while it is at home and the pet parents are away.  I focus on quality care and attention to detail that includes cleanliness in your pet’s feeding and living areas. (If I wouldn’t eat out of their dish, then they won’t either.)

To take the time to listen to you and your pets. I take the time to get to know your pet and their unique personalities while keeping in touch with you daily (if you choose) to let you know what fun your furry “children” are having. I want to make your pets are as safe and comfortable as possible.

To give you the best pet care experience possible. I want to do my best to be sure you have the best care, best response time, and best communication in the industry when I care for your pets.

For your protection - Be sure to check all Pet Sitter credentials
Not all sitters have actually acquired or have recently updated their credentials.