Safe Pet Procedures

You and your family may love Fido and Tiger, but not everyone is so fond of others' furry friends.  When garage sale weekend rolls around, it's time to take the pets to the backyard or inside the house, because proper yard sale etiquette means pets are out of sight.

A sign for safe pet procedures and warnings."But my (dog/cat/rabbit/hamster/boa constrictor) is so friendly and lovable!" you say.  That may be, but there are a variety of reasons for your pet not to join you as you take cash at your payment table or man your lemonade stand.

As much as you enjoy your fluffy friend's company, just imagine how you would feel if they disappeared.  It's a horrible reality that pet snatchers exist, and garage sales are an excellent target; you're distracted and only half-watching your animal, and people are milling about and causing general chaos so there's ideal cover.  In addition, if you're paying more attention to the two-legged visitors, your pet might take the opportunity to wander away.  With so many friendly faces around, a dog would see no reason to follow someone else home.  Smaller animals can experience anxiety from the amount of noise and smells assaulting their heightened senses, causing them to dash for cover -- which just might be a departing customer's car.

A lot of shoppers bring their own dogs (and, on occasion, cats and ferrets) with them to enjoy the nice weather.  There's no way to be sure that something in your dog won't be set off by the newcomer's scent, stance, or behavior.  Even if the dogs take to each other and start playing, it could turn into a bull in a china shop situation: dishes crashing, ropes tangling, tables toppling.

Think of your pet's safety, too!  Children are frequent garage sale visitors, and they didn't get reputations as tail-tuggers for no good reason.  Your cat might be fine on her own, but when the toddlers catch sight of her, she might end up with an injured limb or tail.  Kids are at risk around strange animals, especially if they don't know how to behave.  Felines are prone to using the whirl-and-scratch technique on a curious toddler.  Your canine's tail might be wagging, but if he knocks a shopper's daughter onto the concrete, the injury's the same.  Courtroom, hospital, and vet clinic visits can all be avoided by putting your pet away.

Finally, customers bring their own sets of animal-related problems with them -- allergies, phobias, and just plain distaste.  Out of courtesy, it's best to go ahead and put the puppy away.

Here are a few tips for keeping your pets happy and secure during a garage sale:

-- If you have an enclosed backyard, put them out.  The weather is good enough for your garage sale; your pet can enjoy an outdoors day.

-- If you don't have a backyard, find a secure bedroom or use the bathroom and place them there.  Give them a spot to sleep, some water (and food, if you normally feed during the day), and a few toys.

-- Animals that are normally confined to cages should stay there!

-- Buy some special treats just for the occasion and take shifts checking up on your pet.

-- Task your children with keeping kitty company.

For more tips and ideas regarding yard sales, visit  Add your listing and your voice to the world's fastest-growing online garage sale community -- all for free!

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