It takes a village to raise a child… and, apparently, a pet too. It's not so much the $41 billion a year Americans spend on pets ("more than the gross domestic product of all but 64 countries in the world") according to consumer research company, Packaged Facts, it’s actually becoming socially unacceptable to leave your dog alone during the day or your cat alone over the weekend. Pet sitting has gone from something we asked friends, family members, or neighbors to help with; there is an ever-growing range of resources that cater to the concept of leaving your family friend behind.

To see my top of the line finds,

In addition to downloadable pet report cards, don’t just leave instructions on the fridge, purchase a “Don’t Kill the Pets!” notepad ($6.99). While noting the vet’s emergency contact info, also provide a pet First Aid Kit ($46.95). If your stay is shorter, try the upmarket Perfect Petfeeder ($699) to hold and dispense up to 10 pounds of food and, get a PeTalk ($24.95) to play a 10-second message on one to four hour intervals, reminding pets to “get off the couch, Rascal, because mommy loves her good girl very, very much.” Afterwards, thanks don’t just come from you — involve your pet in the choosing a store-bought greeting or eCard from her perspective. One bark means yes, and two means no?