Q: What does S'wooft mean?
A: It's just a fun name referring to our furry friends ("woof") and our fabulous walkers (who are "swift"). You can also check out the Urban Dictionary definition of swooft.
Q: What are your credentials?
A: We’re a Chicago-licensed business, insured and bonded, and a proud member of PSI (Pet Sitters International). We're also an approved pet care service through FetchFind and Petsitting.com and all of our staff are required to pass background and reference checks upon hiring, as well as Pet First Aid/CPR Certification and additional training. Your pets are family, and we don't take that lightly! You can learn more about our credentials and endorsements here.
Q: What services do you provide?
A: We offer daily dog walks, cat care, vacation pet care, as well as other pet services like wedding pet care, pet taxi, and yard cleanup. We also have evening and weekend availability. We do not offer in-home overnight care or boarding.
Q: What areas do you service?
A: We currently serve the far northwest Chicago neighborhoods and surrounding area (please see Service Area under "Contact Us").
Q: Will I have the same walker every day?
A: As much as possible, we try to have a regular walker and a regular subsitute for each client. That said, it's difficult to predict changes in walker schedules so our service agreement includes client permission for any S'wooft dog walker/pet sitter to provide services. All of our team members are fully background and reference checked, and we have full confidence they will deliver great care for your pet(s)! If you ever have any concerns regarding a walker, please contact us immediately.
Q: What if I only need one walk every once in a while?
A: We are primarily set up for, and therefore give scheduling priority to, pet families needing at least two walks a week. Sporadic service requests are fulfilled based on staff availability. If we aren't the right fit for that reason, we'll be glad to refer you to other pet care providers.
Q: I don't need regular weekly walks but need help when I'm out of town on vacation. Do you provide vacation care?
A: Yes! We offer vacation care in the form of multiple visits per day. An initial consultation will need to be scheduled to set up services and a key lock box is required for all vacation care services.
Q: I'll have a family member checking on my pet, as well. Is that okay?
A: We generally do not accept "share sits" and will approach this on a case by case basis. If anyone other than a S'wooft team member is going to be in the home during or between visits, we may not be held responsible for any liabilities during the care period.
Q: Do you only accept well-trained or animal-friendly dogs?
A: No. We accept dogs at a range of temperaments, including dogs that may not necessarily be friendly with other animals/people. That said, overly aggressive dogs may be denied service at our discretion during the initial consultation or if a pet's behavior declines over time after starting services. Dog walking often helps with training. We like to know and use whatever commands and behaviors you and your pet are practicing so we can reinforce the behaviors you want to see with your dog. In cases where a dog is unable to be easily controlled on a walk or may be aggressive toward other animals, our walkers use extra precaution during the walk and we may ask that a different leash, collar, or harness be purchased to continue services.
Q: Can you walk my dog at 11:15am every day?
A: We’ll try our best. In order to make scheduling multiple clients every day possible, we require at least a 2hour window of time for every scheduled walk. Regularly scheduled clients will be given priority over occasional clients or last minute requests, especially during our peak daytime hours (Mon-Fri 9am-4pm).
Q: My dog doesn't really do well on walks. What other options do I have?
A: If you have a fully fenced and secure backyard, we can spend the time with your dog in the backyard (length of time/pricing would be the same). Several of our clients use this option for various reasons and the dogs love it!
Q: What is your cancellation policy?
A: To be fair to other clients and assist in walker scheduling, we appreciate cancellations as soon as you know you won’t need our services. Regular daily services must be cancelled at least 2 hours before the service time window starts in order to not be charged. Cancellations made within 2 hours of the service will incur a $10 fee.
Q: What are the advantages of a dog walker over a daycare or kennels?
A: Having a dog walker allows your dog to maintain their regular schedule in a familiar home environment while also reinforcing training commands and getting daily exercise. In some cases, common dog illnesses can be contracted in a daycare or kennel environment, making it unsafe for non-vaccinated puppies and some older dogs. Dog walking or in-home vacation care are also a safe alternative for dogs that are aggressive toward other animals. All of that said, both options have definite pros and we can help assess and recommend the best fit for your pet's needs. If we aren't the best fit, we likely can recommend a quality care provider who would be!
Q: When is payment due? What forms of payment do you accept?
A: Billing occurs every 4 weeks. We accept Chase QuickPay/Zelle and credit card (preferred). All credit cards will be automatically charged for your convenience.
Q: What if I need to add a walk with short notice?
A: We can generally adjust with short notice and make every effort to accommodate existing clients, and new clients if possible. Same day single service bookings will incur a $10 fee, next day bookings a $5 fee, and vacation care bookings requested within less than 72 hours of the first visit will be an additional $20.
Q: How many dogs do you walk at a time?
A: We do not walk in packs, but will walk multiple dogs (up to 3 if safe to do so) from one household together.
Q: How do you keep my keys, home, and possessions secure?
A: Your security is one of our top priorities! All of our dog walkers are bonded and background checked so your pet can feel at ease with our team of professional pet care experts. We require all customers to have a key lock box so keys aren't changing hands. If you choose to have us keep a backup key, it will be coded and stored in a secure location, separate from any files or information that would connect the key to your address. In the highly unlikely event that your keys are lost, it is covered under our business liability insurance and your entire house would be re-keyed (if desired) at no cost to you.
Q: May I book visits through my pet sitter directly?
A: No. All visits should be booked through our scheduling app or by contacting S’wooft by email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Q: Are your walkers employees or contractors?
A: All of our daily dog walkers are W2 employees who are Pet First Aid/CPR Certified and covered under Workers Comp, in addition to the bonding/insurance that extends to all of our staff. We also have contractors who cover our cat sitting and overflow dog care. All of our staff undergo the same screening process and we have full confidence in their ability to provide excellent care!
Q: May I give my dog walker a gratuity?
A: Absolutely! You can leave cash or a gift card for your sitter (clearly labeled with their name), or give a tip through the mobile app. We appreciate your generosity toward our staff!
Q: What do you do if the weather is terrible?
A: Chicago weather can be unpredictable, but our walkers provide full walks (as much as your pup will allow), rain or shine (or snow!). That said, if there is severe weather such as a lightning storm or below zero temperatures that would be unsafe for both the pets and walkers, they will do a shorter let out and spend the remainder of the time inside with your pet, playing and giving them attention!
Q: Do you offer a referral program?
A: For each referral you give S’wooft that results in a regular client, we will credit your account $20. Ask us about other monthly promotions for new and existing clients!
Q: I’d like to become a client! What do I need to do?
A: Great! Just complete the Contact Us form to let us know about your pet care needs. We’ll schedule an initial consultation at your home to meet you and your pet(s), get details about their care needs, and schedule visits.
Q: I’d like to be a S'wooft walker! What do I need to do?
A: Fantastic! Visit our Apply page to see our open positions and to apply (please note we can't interview without a resume).