Frequently Asked Questions

How does Tomana work?


Tomana is a community of pet owners who help each other take care of their pets. Think “I’ll watch your pet, you watch mine.” Community membership is for one year and you can swap as much sitting as you like - as long as you both give and receive help. Tomana is hyper-local to make it easier for our members to help one another. By connecting you with your direct neighbors, we make pet care convenient, saving you from long drives to leave your pet at a daycare or with friends or family. We are careful to roll out our membership to targeted neighborhoods and apartment buildings so we have members in a concentrated area.




What benefits do I get from joining Tomana?


1. Your pet gets love and care from a fellow pet owner, will receive affection while you are away, and might even make a new best friend while staying at a neighbor’s house! 2. You get the peace of mind knowing that your pet is in caring hands close to home. 3. You can meet and connect with your neighbors, better knitting you into your community. 4. You'll receive invitations to special events in your neighborhood for Tomana community members.




How do I sign up for Tomana?


Signing up is simple. Just call or text us at (202) 734-5571 or email us at info@tomana.co. We'll ask you to complete a form telling us about your pet and about your preferences for when you sit for another community member. Click here to start!




Who can use Tomana?


Tomana is open to owners of cats and/or dogs!




What if Tomana is not in my neighborhood yet?


If Tomana is not currently in your neighborhood, please complete the onboarding survey anyway! We open up to new neighborhoods and apartment buildings based on demand to ensure that we have enough members to match you with when you need help, so let us know where you are and once we have enough interest we will contact you to let you know. If we have an adjacent neighborhood opening up, we will update you on that as well.




How do I request a sitter?


Before we can match you with a sitter, please complete our pet questionnaire. When you need a pet sitter, email us at info@tomana.co or text us at (202) 734-5571‬ to let us know the dates you need a sitter and we will work on finding you a match. We request that you give us 5 days advance notice prior to your travel.




Do I have to help the same person who helped me?


Not necessarily! Tomana is a community of givers, and our attitude is more “pay-it-forward” than “tit for tat.” Matches are based on preference, proximity, and availability on a case-by-case basis.




How often do I have to help someone?


In general, the more help you receive, the more likely it is that you will be asked to give back. Based on your preferences from the onboarding survey, we will check with you on your availability and match you with neighbors as their needs arise. You are not required to help each time you are contacted, and we encourage our members to say no if they cannot fit helping into their schedule at the requested time. We will monitor your giving versus receiving ratio to ensure that we don’t burn out the “givers” and will let you know if your give:take ratio is out of balance.




What if I agreed to help someone, but my plans changed and I can’t do it anymore?


We understand that things happen and that life is unpredictable. Our primary concern is the well-being and safety of the pets. Please contact us at (202) 734-5571or info@tomana.co as soon as you realize that you can no longer care for the pet as originally planned and we will coordinate an alternative solution.




What if I agreed to help someone but their pet is in my home and this is not working out?


We understand that things happen and that life is unpredictable. We care about both your safety and the well-being of the pets. Please contact us at (202)734-5571 or info@tomana.co as soon as you realize that this is no longer a fit and we will coordinate an alternative solution.




Do I have to pay the person watching my pet?


No, please do not pay anyone for their services. Tomana is about giving and receiving help without any monetary exchange (which saves everyone cash!) If anyone asks you for payment for pet sitting, please report that to us immediately at info@tomana.co and we will match you with someone else.




Should I give the person sitting my pet a gift?


Tomana is about giving and receiving help without any monetary exchange. There is also no requirement of giving any gifts in exchange for pet sitting, and there is no expectation that you will do so. We ask that you show your gratitude to the person helping you in a way that feels comfortable to you (for example, saying thank you to them in person, writing them a card, sending them a fun photo of your pets playing together, etc.). Also, remember that we’ll be reaching out in the future to see if you are able to help another community member. If you feel very strongly about giving a physical gift to your pet sitter you may of course do so, but that is your choice and Tomana cannot take responsibility for anything that happens as a result of that decision.




Do I have to pay the person watching my pet if they spend money on my pet, such as for food or supplies that I forget to provide?


Each owner is expected to provide the food, toys, and bathroom supplies for their own pet. If you as an owner fail to provide food or cat litter for your pet and the sitter buys some for you, you should reimburse that person and they should provide you with a receipt. Tomana is not responsible for ensuring that the appropriate supplies are provided to the sitter or that a sitter is reimbursed for such expenses, but we encourage all our members to treat one another in a reasonable and respectful manner.




How do I trust the person with whom I am matched?


Tomana conducts a basic background check on all members before they are allowed to join the community. That being said, we highly encourage a meet-up prior to the scheduled event to ensure that you feel comfortable with the person you are matched with and to check if the pets get along. If you wish to be paired with someone else after meeting the sitter, please contact us immediately at info@tomana.co or (202) 734-5571‬ and we will find another match for you. Tomana also allows our members to indicate if they prefer to be matched with someone of the same gender, if that makes them feel more comfortable. Please also note that Tomana and any community member therein shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations.




What if I need someone to walk my dog because I am running late getting home?


We are currently not in the dog-walking service and are exploring this option. Please email us at info@tomana.co and let us know if you are interested in this service and we will keep you posted as our offerings expand.




What if I want someone to check in on my dog while I am away instead of my dog staying at a stranger’s house? Can I still use Tomana?


Sure! Just let us know at the time of booking and we will do our best to find a friendly neighbor who is available and fits your needs.




My dog is still a puppy. Will that be a problem?


On our pet questionniaire, we ask if people are interested in watching a puppy so we can match puppies with sitters who are excited to get the chance to spend time with your pet. Please just ensure that your puppy has the appropriate vaccinations to be around other animals!




I want to watch a dog/cat, but I don’t have my own pet. Can I still participate?


Thank you for asking and for wanting to be a part of our community! Please contact us at info@tomana.co or (202) 734-5571‬ and we will contact you directly to discuss this further.




What does Tomana mean?


Tomana is a combination of old nicknames of the two founders, Teddy and Maria. Teddy’s nickname was Tomás and Maria’s nickname was Mana.




This sounds kinda weird. Why would I let a stranger watch my pet?


Great question. But if you stop to really think about it, using Tomana might not be that different than what you already do! If you have ever used a pet sitter who was recommended by a friend of a friend, or used a website or app to find someone to watch your pet, you have already let a stranger watch your pet. With Tomana, that stranger just happens to be a pet-loving neighbor. Even better, you will have the chance to meet them before they pet-sit for you.




Why is this better than what I’m already using?


You may have a "sitter system" figured out already, which is great! But if any of the following have ever happened to you, Tomana may be the support network that you need:

  • You had to ask multiple people to pet sit until you found someone who was available
  • You felt bad asking a friend/family member to watch your pet
  • You paid over a hundred dollars to have someone watch your pet while you were away
  • You took your pet with you on a trip because you had no one to help you
  • You felt stressed out because you didn’t have anyone to watch your pet





 

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