Kristie and I visited New Orleans a few weeks ago so we could attend the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS) 2023 conference, aptly named Refresh, Revive, Rethink. This was our first conference as pet sitters and we were very excited (and a little nervous) about what we were going to learn and experience. The agenda included Fear Free pets, separation anxiety, and pet first aid and CPR. Plus, it was our first visit ever to New Orleans. If you haven’t been there, put it on your bucket list.

The first speaker of the conference was Dr. Marty Becker from Fear Free Pets. Dr. Becker has been an expert in dealing with fear, anxiety, and stress in pets. He also founded, which I got my certification from. He gave an inspiring speech about his life and the genesis of the fear free movement. After listening to him, I was relieved that I made the correct decision to get certified as a fear free pet sitter. Dr. Becker co-authored a book called From Fearful to Fear Free. It is an excellent read and I highly recommend it.

The next day we were treated to an eye-opening discussion about separation anxiety. This was one of the panels I was eager to hear. We’ve had dogs stay with us that seemed to exhibit separation anxiety and I wanted to learn how to deal with it and make their stay more comfortable. The talk was given by Fanna Easter, a Fear Free Certified trainer. Her company is Positive Pooch Behavior, check them out on Facebook and their website at Fanna went through what separation anxiety is, it’s a panic disorder. It’s also a medical disorder, that is diagnosed by a veterinarian. She then went through some causes of separation anxiety like change, genetics, and learned behavior. After this talk, I am more prepared to deal with separation anxiety in your pets and what I can do to help.

Sunday had another great speaker and pet expert, Arden Moore. Arden has a website at She has a lot of great information and all the books she’s written. I recommend the Cat Behavior Answer Book and The Dog Behavior Answer Book. Also, I highly recommend Arden’s pet first aid and CPR course. You can never be too prepared when it comes to your pets. Her talk was “How to be a Muttgyver”. Remember the old 80’s show MacGyver, where the main character could operate a truck with just a stick of gum and a quarter? This talk was similar in that she showed us ways to care for an injured pet when a first aid kit is not available. There was a lot of amazing information that will help me care for your pet if (hopefully never) it gets injured. I always carry a first aid kit with me on each and every visit, but I am better prepared for injuries that may happen.

There were other great speakers there, but they dealt with business issues and I wanted to give you an overview of the talks we heard that most directly involves you and your pets.