Policies and Procedures

HOMEWARD BOUND, INC. POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

1. Payment: Payment is due prior to the first date of your scheduled pet nanny service. Homeward Bound, Inc. does not offer delayed billing. Payments not received in a timely manner will result in cancellation of your reservation. Clients are required to maintain a credit card on file in the event that our staff determines that veterinary care is needed or for non-receipt of payment.

Payment for service scheduled during peak times or holidays is due at the time the service is “Accepted and Confirmed” by Homeward Bound and will be charged to the card on file.

Payments for grooming services are due at the time service is rendered.
PAYMENTS NOT RECEIVED IN A TIMELY MANNER WILL BE SETTLED TO THE CREDIT CARD ON FILE OR WILL RESULT IN CANCELLATION OF ANY FUTURE GROOMING APPOINTMENTS WITH HOMEWARD BOUND.

2. Cash, checks, credit cards, and money orders are acceptable forms of payment.
Please make checks and money orders payable to Homeward Bound, Inc. Payment is due at the time of the in-home consultation or for existing clients, by the first day of service, unless otherwise agreed upon by Homeward Bound, Inc., management or its owner(s).

3. Service Consent: By proceeding with your registrations and scheduling pet care service with Homeward Bound, Inc. you, the Client, authorize Homeward Bound, Inc. to perform pet care services as outlined and detailed in your database profile and with these policies. The service will be executed as scheduled and confirmed via our system generated confirmation. By singing this agreement, the Client agrees and acknowledges that Homeward Bound, Inc. and contractors will be entering his or her property and home to execute the confirmed scheduled service.

4. Cancellations & Early Returns: A limited number of reservations/appointments are available each day. Our pet nannies and groomers are carefully schedule to serve your pet’s individual care needs. Therefore, refunds or credits for early returns or last minute changes in pet care reservations or appointments will not be extended. Exceptions being; inclement weather or family emergencies, in which case cancellations will result in a 50% cancellation penalty of the amount due. A minimum of 24 hours’ notice of cancellation of service is required prior to the commencement of the first date of service. During peak times or holidays a minimum of 72 hours’ notice is required in advance of service commencement for a full account credit. A 50% penalty will be applied to service cancellation outside of this minimum requirement.

5. Accuracy of Profile Information: We are committed to providing the best care possible for your pets and home. We are dependent, however, on you to provide us with the most accurate information concerning both your pet(s) and your home. You are required to review/edit your client/pet profile data prior to the commencement of EACH NEW service to ensure proper care of your pets and home while you are away. Service will be executed in accordance with the information detailed within your client and pet profiles. Homeward Bound, Inc. is not liable or responsible for any erroneous or misinformation within your client/pet profile. It is the sole responsibility of each client to provide accurate, detailed information.

All details necessary to care for you pets and home should be entered directly into your HB account. Care information is reviewed by our staff in advance of the execution of each individually requested service. The staff will then access your info “in the field” via mobile devices to verify specific care instructions and details. Therefore HB cannot accept “handwritten” or typed notes for care instructions. This only creates confusion for our staff, and takes precious time away from your pets as we try to reconcile conflicting information, make updates and changes to your account, and edit on-site Progress Report made in advance of your reservation and based upon your existing account details.

6. Veterinary Treatment: In order to obtain our services, Homeward Bound, Inc. requires that each client provide a veterinary authorization in the event our contractors deem it necessary to take your pet to a veterinarian for treatment. While every effort will be made to reach you prior to taking your pet in for treatment, it remains the sole discretion of our contractors to determine whether treatment is necessary. Should our contractors determine that treatment is necessary, the pet will be immediately taken to the veterinarian on record during regular business hours, or Animal Clinic of Oxford should the emergency occur after regular business hours.

By signing this agreement, you are authorizing Homeward Bound, Inc. to provide your credit card information to the veterinarian in order to guarantee payment. Homeward Bound, Inc. shall be and is hereby released from and indemnified against any and all financial liabilities related to transportation, treatment, and expense for veterinary care. Client shall reimburse Homeward Bound, Inc. for any and all expenses incurred for any veterinary care provided to or for the benefit of Client’s pet(s). In addition the Client will be billed for time spent while obtaining said care at a rate of $18 per hour and all other usual and customary fees associated with the veterinary or medical care needed for Client’s pet.

7. Geriatric pets: It is the sole responsibility of the client to provide us with as much information as possible within your HB profile to adequately care for your geriatric pet(s). This includes but is not limited to information concerning any medical issues they have, so that we may best meet their specific care needs. End of life issues are a difficult subject. If we will be caring for your geriatric pet, we encourage you to discuss your wishes with your veterinarian and have a plan in place. We encourage you to further share it with us by documenting this within your HB profile. HB will not make end of life decisions on behalf of the client.

8. Employee/contractor injuries: To the extent our pet nannies or other contractors are injured either on your property or by your pet, you agree to accept all responsibility for these injuries, including but not limited to the payment of medical bills. You also agree to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless Homeward Bound, Inc. from any claims arising from these injuries, including but not limited to, the cost of defending the claim, including attorney’s fees and the payment or satisfaction of any future judgment.

9. Pet Care: Daily progress reports are provided documenting your pet’s scheduled activities, behavior, and mood during their 1-4 daily visits with their pet nanny. We will monitor your pet’s appetite level, water intake, bowel movement and urination activity to ensure your pet is safe and healthy while you are away. Dogs will be offered a potty break 2 times per visit, at the beginning and again at the end of each visit. We are committed to having all dogs “pottied”, by no later then 9:00 am each morning for those dogs without a “pet door” or outside access. Litter boxes are scooped and the area surrounding the litter-box will be thoroughly maintained daily. Litter boxes will be fully changed as deemed necessary by your pet nanny. The areas will be swept or vacuumed and any papers or “splash guards” will be cleaned. Water bowls are refreshed every visit and food and water bowls will be washed and sanitized after each feeding.

Puppies under the age of 16 weeks will be visited a minimum of 4 times per day when providing a full day of care (AM-PM).

Dogs without pet doors our outside access are required to be visited a minimum of 3 times per day when providing a full day of care (AM-PM)

All live animals present in the home during HB service execution will be considered the responsibility of our team when service is expected to exceed 12 hours. As such, they will be cared for in accordance with customary minimum care requirements for each species.

10. Pet Safety: It is the sole responsibility of the client to “pet-proof” areas of the home or property for which the pet has access during your absence. This includes thorough inspection of fencing, gates, latches or other containment devices such as electric collars. Homeward Bound is not responsible or liable for any injuries or damage sustained to your home or pet(s) while left to their own devices. During our initial visit with your pet(s) their pet nanny will conduct an initial home inspection to ensure your pet is safe. The pet nanny will close all interior doors to bedrooms and bathrooms to limit their area of access to the common area and prevent them from getting into any unnecessary mischief while unattended. Items such as “rawhides”, “rope toys” and other “chew toys” will not be made available when pets are unsupervised. If your pet(s) has a “special spot” or their personal bed is a room other than the common area, please notate this in your profile and that door will remain open. We will not close interior doors or limit access to rooms if pets are crated when unattended, or if they are confined to their “own room”.

11. Communication/Social Media: Homeward Bound, Inc. provides the opportunity for clients to be actively engaged with their pets and their daily activities while they are under our care. Clients may select to receive a daily update via text message or email at the time they make their reservation. This service is limited to specific time blocks each day. HB is not responsible for non-connectivity issues due to location or which may result in the non-receipt of photos. Photos will be posted in your HB profile on your “My Calendar” page and a link will be provided to that post either via email or text message. Emails will be sent via our general NO-REPLY, admin@homewardboundoxford.com and text messages will be sent via our general text number, 662-234-1097, therefore, RESPONSES WILL NOT BE RECEIVED OR RESPONDED TO by our staff. Some photos may be shared on our business social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. In accordance with our privacy policy, neither last names nor locations will ever be disclosed. This service is not meant to and should not be used as a “confirmation” that the pet nanny visit has been complete. Additionally, while photos will be posted the day they are taken, they may not correspond with the visit time block.

12. Home Service: Unless otherwise directed; mail, newspapers and parcels will be retrieved daily and front house lights will be alternated each morning and evening as well as a secondary source of lighting such as under the counter lights or a lamp. Additional lighting and window treatments may be adjusted at the request of the client within their profile (included with service). A thorough walk through of each room in your home will be conducted daily to ensure your pet(s) has not gotten into any “mischief” and there are no household emergencies which need to be addressed ie; leaky pipes. House plants, including porch and landscape may be watered at the request of the client. Pool skimmers will be emptied (every other day) at the request of the client. Trash cans will be taken to or retrieved from the curb based upon the trash day, as indicated within the profile. The highest standard of cleanliness will be maintained at all times.

13. Scheduling and visit intervals: While we make effort to accommodate client requests, we do not guarantee specific time requests. Reservations may be requested in the defined time block only. Visits are scheduled in accordance with the total reservation load and mapped routing schedule. Should unforeseen events arises, time intervals may be adjusted slightly. During peak times, this schedule may adjusted +/– 1 hour. No more than 6 hours will elapse between day time visits for dogs on a 3 visits schedule. We recommend once daily care for cats however; cats must be minimally scheduled for service, every other day (every 48 hours).

14. Reservations: Reservation availability is limited. As such, please make service requests with as much advance notice as possible. An in-home consultation is required for all new clients prior to reservations being confirmed/approved however; consultations may be waived at the sole discretion of Homeward Bound or its agents.

15. Confirmation of Reservations: A request for service does not constitute a confirmed reservation. When using our online reservation request system (or if you leave a voice mail), do not assume your request is confirmed until you have received electronic (email) confirmation of such.

Homeward Bound reserves the right to decline service at any time.

16. Custody: HB will not engage in “shared custody” of pet care when that care involves individuals that are not family members or those who do not reside in the home where service is being performed. Homeward Bound will not be held responsible for any injuries or home security issues resulting from shared custody agreements meeting the above conditions.

17. Inclement Weather: Should severe or inclement weather occur, we will carry out your instructions to the best of our ability. The service schedule may be changed, interrupted, or altered due to weather emergency related incidence however; every effort will be made to maintain the requested schedule. 2) If is not possible to drive safely to your home, you or your emergency contact will be immediately notified, and we will carry out services once it is again safe to travel; 3) You will be notified should the above-mentioned contingency plan be activated. Should inclement weather prevent you from returning, every effort will be made to maintain your pets care schedule. In the event that both parties are incapacitated, your emergency contact will be notified and an emergency plan will be initiated.

18. Outside Temperature: Should your profile request your pet(s) be “turned out” during the daytime hours please be advised, Homeward Bound will only do so if the temperature is at or above 40 degrees in the winter and will not be “turned out” or exercised when the temperature exceed 90 degrees during summer months. This includes scheduled activities. Policy applies to both cats and dogs.

19. Medication/Vaccinations/Immunizations/Behavior: We will administer medications as directed. Due to our exposure to many pets throughout the day, we will not be able to service pets that have an active contagious illness. We require all pets to have the necessary vaccinations and immunizations, as recommended by their veterinarian, prior to the commencement of service. You may be asked for proof of rabies vaccinations or your veterinarian may be contacted to confirm vaccination status.

HB will not accept pets with aggressive behavior or tendencies, those with a history of bite incidents or those uncomfortable with the presence of “strangers” in their home.

20. Pet waste: Pet waste will be disposed of in an outside trash can or as otherwise directed. We do request however, that you provide plastic bags for this purpose. A large trash bag will be used to collect smaller “litter or poop” bags. The bag will be tied and placed in the outside trash can on the final visit. Please make a notation in your profile if you have an alternate waste disposal process you would like followed.

21. Collars/Leashes: Please provide secure collars with appropriate tags for all pets. Dogs will be walked on a leash when not in a secure fenced yard. Flexi-leads will not be used on dogs weighing more than 30 lbs. Collars will be removed from all dogs when secured in crates. Their collar will be placed in front of their kennel and placed back on them each visit.

22. Fencing: HB accepts no responsibility or liability for any animals that escapes or
becomes lost or injured, due to inadequate fencing. This includes electronic, wood, metal or any other type of fencing approved by the client as an adequate “off leash area”. Homeward Bound is not responsible for the loss, injury or death that may occur to pets with open access to the outdoors while you are away.

23. Other animals: Interaction with strange or stray animals will be kept to a minimum to the best of our ability and control. Should an “off leash dog” try to approach, every effort will be made to retreat in the opposite direction. Small dogs will be picked up.

24. Home safety/security: HB requires homes be secured at all times and will not perform service if the home is discovered unsecured upon arrival. HB reserves the right to contact authorities should we determine the premises to be an unsafe environment for our staff to enter.

25. Weapons & firearms: Weapons and firearms on premise shall be in a controlled, locked environment at all times. Unsecured weapons or firearms discovered on premise or left out in common areas may result in cancellation of service until such times as they can be secured by the client or an authorized contact person listed in the client profile.

26. Keys: We will obtain 2 copies of your key during the in-home consultation. We recommend copies of your key remain in our custody (for your convenience) if future service is anticipated. Your keys will be kept in a secure, double locked area. If you choose to have your keys returned at the end of service, your key will be left on premise on the final service visit or you may choose to pick it up at our office upon your return. There will be a $10 key drop/pick up fee should you prefer your key be dropped off once you have returned home.

Homeward Bound recommends keeping permanent keys on file with us for all current and future service. At the time of the New Client Consultation we will collect two copies of your key or identify two separate entry methods to access your home.

Examples of acceptable forms of home entry include:
Two copies of the same key, keys for two different doors, one key plus a garage code, one key plus a garage clicker, or entry codes for two separate access doors.

If you only have one key at the time of the Consultation you may drop one at our business office prior to the first date of service, or we will be happy to make an additional copy on your behalf ($8). Keys remain in staff custody only when service is being executed and returned back to our business office after each visit.

Hotel keys shall be made available to HB staff at the front desk and will be returned to the front desk attendant after each visit execution.

27. Alarm Systems: We recommend informing your security system provider that Homeward Bound will be accessing your home or alternately to provide Homeward Bound with a “code word” in the event the alarm is accidentally tripped during service. Each home is different and key pads are in varying locations. Many alarm systems vary in arming and disarming protocol.

28. We’re Home!: We ask that you use the “check-in” button on our website home page to inform us of your return.

29. House Cleanliness: Should your pet have an accident, we will clean up after your pets to the best of our ability. Please provide the location of appropriate cleaning supplies in your client profile. We are not responsible for carpet/flooring stains created by your pet(s). However, we will maintain the highest level of cleanliness at all times (additional fees may apply, times considerations will apply) We request that you provide plastic bags, towels, cleaning products, paper towels, and trash bags in the event of an accident or illness.

30. Household Emergencies: We will contact your emergency contact to attend to any household emergencies that may arise during your absence. This includes but is not limited to; leaking pipes, malfunctioning water heaters, or air units.

31. Thermostats: Please leave your thermostat settings within a comfortable range for your pet(s) (65-78f). If the temperature is outside of this range, we may adjust the thermostat accordingly to ensure the health and comfort of your pet(s). We ask that you indicate your temperature setting preference in your client profile. This assists us in assessing the readiness of your system and in identifying any issues with the system itself. Should your thermostat setting preferences not be notated in your profile and it is determined the setting needs to be adjusted, HB default is 68-70 degrees.

32. Unforeseen purchases: If necessary we will purchase pet food, litter, cleaning supplies or other necessary items that contribute to the health and well-being of your pet during your absence. We will retain a receipt and the pet owner is responsible for reimbursement of these items. A $15 supply trip fee will apply.

33. Returned Check Charges: There is a $40 fee for all returned checks. Clients are responsible for all costs of collection.

34. Privacy Policy: All client information, including email addresses will be kept private and confidential. Client names, home addresses, and travel schedule will be held in the strictest of confidence.

35. Holiday Fee: A $15 Holiday Service charge will apply to holidays designated on our website at www.homewardboundoxford.com

36. Policies and procedures are subject to change without notice at the sole discretion of Homeward Bound, Inc.