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About C-U Pet Sitting Service

Providing Safe, Experienced Care for Your Pet.

Janus Woods

member of Pet Sitters International

member of Pet Sitters Associates, LLC

graduate of Red Cross Pet Emergency Care course

serving Champaign, Urbana, and Savoy

(Mahomet and other locations by special arrangement)

Why is pet sitting in your home better than using a kennel?

Each animal reacts differently to being away from his or her own turf. Some may be OK with giving up their comfortable and familiar surroundings of home to be boarded/caged in a noisy place full of animals they’ve never met. Others may feel abandoned or punished. Can you truly enjoy your well-deserved vacation knowing that your beloved pet may be fearful, confused, and upset? Boarding your pets can also expose them to health risks – contagious diseases and fleas, for example. If your pet is safe in its home, it will remain as healthy as when you left it. That warm fuzzy face will be at the door to greet you after you’ve dragged yourself off the last plane connection, perhaps hours late, long after the kennel or clinic has closed for the night. Your pets will still miss you, but staying in their own home assures them that they have not been abandoned. And I make sure they are well cared for, and know they’re still loved!

What will pet sitting cost your family?

Every home situation and pet is different. If you have only one pet, hiring a pet sitter may cost more than putting the animal in a kennel or boarding facility. But if you have two pets the costs may be no different, and if you have a crowd a pet sitter can even be economical! My rates are listed on the enclosed green page by species, number of pet(s), and number of daily visits. The charges reflect standard 2001 rates for a 20-25 minute visit with one dog or two cats in the Midwest (east and west coast rates are about 30% higher).  By choosing CUPSS you will actually be paying HALF the standard rate, however, because each CUPSS visit is 45-50 minutes long!  I believe in spending a lot of quality time with each pet, making sure they know they are loved and appreciated, not abandoned.  I will never rush in, dump food and water into your pet’s bowls, clean a litter box or turn your dog out into your yard for 5 minutes, and rush out.  I am in this business because I love animals and hate to see them suffer emotional pain without their beloved humans.  I will never ignore your pet’s psychological needs, which I believe cannot be met in one or two 20 minute visits a day.   If you agree, you’ll want CUPSS as your pet’s caretaker.  If you disagree, there are several other area pet sitters you can call.  I think you will find, however, that their rates for a 20-25 minute visit are very close to my fees for a 45-50 minute visit.

All of CUPSS’ visits are made by me personally (I will never entrust your pet to an apprentice), so it is a must to BOOK YOUR RESERVATIONS EARLY.  If you hate talking to the answering machine, send email to  I check it several times a day, and a written record of your requested dates and number of visits is very helpful to have in your files.  I can also reply to email late at night, when I do my office work, while it may take me several days to catch you by phone.  But whether by phone or email, book as soon as you know you need a sitter.

My Basic Rates are for reservations made 2-8 weeks in advance of your departure date.  Because I often work 8-10 hours a day for 4-5 weeks in a row without a day off , I charge extra for bookings made with LESS than 2 weeks’ notice.  For any requests made just 2 weeks to 3 days prior to your departure, I will charge an additional 10% to the Basic Rates.  If you give me less than 3 days’ notice, I will add 25% to my Basic Rates.   While this may seem unfair for clients’ emergency trips, it greatly disrupts my schedule to squeeze in such last-minute visits.  I may take pity on clients with emergencies IF their visits have caused minimal disruption to my life, but since I will never “short” another pet’s visit time, last-minute bookings end up costing me my dinner hour, sleep, or time with my own four wonderful cats.  I cannot run my business as an on-call service.  So please BOOK EARLY!

Like to save money?  Book even EARLIER, or join CUPSS Key Club!

You can save 10% off my Basic Rates by booking your reservation MORE THAN 8 WEEKS IN ADVANCE OF YOUR DEPARTURE DATE (sorry – offer not good for reservations that include the busy holidays listed at the bottom of the rates page).  Additionally, if you opt to become a CUPSS Key Club member and permanently leave your key with me, you will receive a $5 discount on each booking.  Just sign an ongoing contract, and I’ll keep your house key (coded by your pet’s name, NOT yours or your address) in my locked key box.  We can then arrange future visits by phone or email.  I’ll leave a self-addressed stamped envelope with a written Pet Sitter’s Report and Invoice, and you will just write a check for my fee and pop it in your outgoing mail within 24 hours of your return. This saves you $5 AND the hassle of arranging two additional face-to-face meetings per trip for me to pick up and return your key.  Many of my clients find this system most efficient.

What about lots of pets? Or unusual pets? How are costs determined?

Many of us share our lives with a mixture of creatures. I offer special billing for those of you who own a combination of cats and dogs.  My policy is to charge 100% of the dog rate plus 50% of the cat rate. For example, if you booked me four weeks in advance of your vacation for two daily visits with your one dog and two cats, my fee would be $35 a day:  $25 for two visits with the dog + $10 (one-half of my usual $20 fee) for two visits with two cats = $35. Add another cat, and the total cost for two daily visits would increase to $40:  $25 for the dog + $15 (one-half of $30) for two visits with three cats.  Add a fourth cat and there would be NO increase (since I believe cats thrive best in pairs, I charge the same for 2 as for 1, for 4 as for 3, and for 6 as for 5).   Add another dog, and the total cost for two daily visits would increase to $45:  $30 for the dogs + $15 (one-half of $30) for two visits with three cats.  I cannot provide two visits a day for your dogs but only one visit a day for your cats (the cats KNOW I’m in the house and will expect their share of time and attention; AFTER ALL, they are SURE they’re the superior beasts!).  I do not discriminate on the basis of species, and I will give every pet her/his equal share of love and care every time I am in your home.

Note that I do not offer the option of just 1 visit a day for dogs.  I do not believe dogs should be left alone 23 hours a day, even in an outdoor run.  If outdoor dogs are provided proper shelter from heat and cold, I will serve them with 2 visits per day.  INDOOR DOGS NEEDS THREE VISITS PER DAY, since their urination/defecation needs require an outing at least every 8 hours.  I have tried to work with clients who only wanted to pay for 2 visits per day on the premise that their dogs could stay outside for 16 hours at a time, and I have seen this cause the animals extreme stress.  Neither can I “share” pet sitting with friends or neighbors.  My liability insurance does not cover sharing the responsibility of your home care or your pet’s welfare, and it requires too much daily coordination to reassure me that your pet’s needs have indeed been met.  I trust no one but myself with your precious pets!

If your home is more than ten miles from my central Champaign location, if you have unusual pets (such as the live coral reef aquarium in the home of one of my more challenging clients), or if your pets have special needs, you and I will come to mutually agreeable terms about the fee for your unique situation based on my extra driving time and gasoline costs or whatever extra time or skill a special needs pet may require.

A True Story from the Life of a Pet Sitter

Several years ago, I arrived at a client’s isolated farmhouse to find their mattress lying out in the yard. As I sat in the car pondering this novelty, a burglar passed in front of the sliding glass door and saw me see him! I tore out of there and drove to a neighboring farm. The farmer jumped in his truck to follow the burglars’ car while his wife and I phoned the state police. During a 30-minute chase along county roads, the farmer radioed us on his CB; we relayed his messages to the police, and they informed the squad cars who had joined in the chase. Even though the suspect’s vehicle was lost, because police had the license number the culprits were eventually brought to justice.  Where were my clients?  Unavailable by phone for an entire day, out on a tour to see Hawaii’s volcanoes.  With police accompanying me to the scene of the crime, I made sure all the animals were safe and secure. But I couldn’t leave until the house’s broken window was repaired.  I called the only glass company willing to come out on a hot and humid Sunday evening, paid $182 to replace the glass myself (my client gladly reimbursed me), and had the troopers help me carry the mattress back into the bedroom. Although a lot of the furniture had been removed, the animals were safe, my client’s home was secure again, and their valuable heirlooms and art being readied for the next load were saved.  I now approach my clients’ homes with extreme caution. Hopefully nothing like this will ever happen to your house when you’re away. But if it does and I’m your pet sitter, I’ll set things right and care for your frightened pets until you can return.

References and Experience

I provide letters of reference from several pet owners. Feel free to call these clients and check up on me! C-U Pet Sitting Service has been in business since November of 1999.  As sole proprietor, I am bonded with Troy Fain Insurance Co. (1-800-385-7019) and CUPSS is insured through a special Pet Sitter’s Liability Program (underwritten by Evanston Insurance Co., 1-800-273-2002).   In addition to my Red Cross training in pet first aid, I have read over twenty books on dog and cat care, and subscribe to five animal-related monthly publications.   In the 18 months since I opened CUPSS, I have serviced 35 regular clients, a over a dozen one-time clients, and cared for approximately 50 cats, 30 dogs, two guinea pigs, nine chinchillas, five parakeets, six finches, two turtles, four fresh water aquariums, and an intricately balanced coral reef aquarium containing live coral, shrimp, starfish, sea urchins, and sea water fish (complete with tides).  Three of my regular clients are veterinarians who do not want their personal pets exposed to the noise and stress of their own clinics!  Many more are vet students, who tend to collect a lot of special needs pets.  With owner instruction, I am happy to care for almost any critter.

The Animals in My Life

As soon as I moved into my own home in 1977, I adopted a 5 month old black lab puppy, Babe¾named for Paul Bunyan’s blue ox because she was HUGE. After nearly fifteen happy years together, Babe crossed Rainbow Bridge and waits for me there, chewing on a large stick.  I filled my broken heart with blond tabby sisters (Pixel and KitKat) who eventually were forced to share our home with two strays (BlackBerry, a gorgeous  but pregnant black longhair who found her way to my front door one -20° February night, and Tinkerbelle, aka Tink da Tank, a nutty dilute calico furball thrust upon me at 5 weeks of age by a student leaving town for the summer). My tiny home is now a house divided because the tabby twins hate the strays. Some creatures just cannot live in harmony! Still, all four of my cats will tell you they don’t want to live anywhere else. They have me very well trained (grin).

I have loved taking care of pets for a long time. Indeed, my favorite childhood memories are caring for Susie, a neighbor’s cute chubby black dachshund, and Daisy, the most beautiful beagle in the world. I adore both domestic animals and wildlife, taking joy in nightly feedings of wild opossums and raccoons in my inner-city back yard (hey, it keeps them out of my neighbors’ garbage cans and gardens).  This is a labor of love for me!  Your pets will be treated as if they were my own.

99.9%¾A Cautionary Word

C-U Pet Sitting Services reserves the right to decline any assignment after meeting the pet(s). While I love 99.9% of the critters I’ve met, there may be an occasional animal who does not take to me or whom I cannot handle with confidence. Since your pets’ welfare is everyone’s #1 priority, I will not take on any pet I do not “click with.” Fortunately I’m not as picky about pet owners (joke – it’s a JOKE).


as of May 1, 2001

NOTE:  When comparing CUPSS’ rates against those of other pet sitters, remember to check the length of time spent with your pet(s).  We all supply food and water, clean litter or scoop poop, bring in mail/newspapers, and water plants.  Those chores take 20 minutes – the average pet sitter’s visit duration.  I then take an extra 25-30 minutes to concentrate my full attention on your best friend(s)’ emotional needs.  I “listen” to body language, meows, and whines; we pick out favorite toys to play with, or enjoy a brushing/massage session; sometimes it’s fun for dogs to watch Animal Planet’s dog shows and make fun of the poodles’ haircuts!  I supply whatever they need to gain an hour’s solace from missing you – to leave them content and calm. When you return from your trip, your pet(s) will be safe AND happy, having been pampered by someone who loves them.

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