If you can’t bring yourself to bring your pet to a boarding facility, in-home pet sitters can provide top-notch care
By Nicole L. Czarnomski
Leaving a pet at home for a weekend or an extended time can be difficult for owners who consider the pet part of the family. Sometimes a boarding kennel is not an option. And although friends and neighbors mean well, your pets may not get the love and attention they deserve. A trusted sitter may be the solution.
Like a Grandparent
Chad Andrist, owner of Pampered Pets In-home Pet Care, has been a pet caretaker since 2005. He worked for a local vet clinic before starting his own business.
The bulk of his business is caring for dogs and cats; however, he can care for smaller critters like hamsters and Guinea pigs.
“Not many people in the Rochester area care for birds, but I’ve cared for African Greys and cockatiels too.” He hasn’t had experience caring for reptiles or tarantulas, but said he’s willing to learn if an owner trains him.
Andrist provides a free consultation to ensure he has a good rapport with the pet, and he provides in-home care only. He can stop in multiple times a day to walk a pup, administer medications or just provide a little TLC. “I treat them like I’m their grandparent and then give them back to the owners.”
His reputation for spoiling pets earned him a high-profile pet sitting gig. He cared for a Saudi princess’s dog while she stayed at the Kahler Hotel in Rochester.
A Pal for Pets
While working in education a few years ago, Andrea Pal started her own pet sitting business during the summer months. Pal offers both in-home care and pet care in her home. She has two dogs of her own, so during the consultation she determines which option is the best fit.
Pal joined the website rover.com to enable clients to review her pricing, read testimonials or set up an appointment. She mostly cares for dogs and cats, and her services include feeding, watering, walking and administering medications.
Passion for Caregiving
Annette Cummings started her career as a nurse, and now she’s growing her part-time pet sitting business, Netty’s Pet Care Service.
“It was on my bucket list to care for animals because they have beautiful souls,” she said. “They were put on earth for people to care for. They’re our companions, they’re our therapy and they’re here for a purpose.”
Cummings is an animal caregiver on a part-time basis. “I keep my business small so I can provide personalized care for the animals put in my trust,” she said.
“When I pet sit, I give a report, and I send videos daily.”
Cummings said she takes careful notes during a consultation so she can care for the pet like the owner. She is also willing to administer medications and care for pets with special needs.
Part of the Extended Family
Amanda Sharp has been caring for animals for 14 years. She’s done a little bit of everything. “I worked at a daycare and boarding facility,” she said. “I’ve work as a groomer, trained dogs, worked at a vet clinic, and a pet store.” She’s also involved with rescues and has fostered over 100 dogs and cats.
Sharp runs Sharper Edge Pet Care and has a small client list that keeps her busy from around 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Like a nanny for dogs, she walks them, trims their nails, brushes them and will even take them to the vet for check-ups.
“I become part of their extended family,” she said. “You have to be a part of the family when someone trusts you in their home and with their child, so to speak.”
Sharp is trained in pet CPR for dogs and cats, as well as first aid. Another one of her specialties is caring for diabetic dogs. She has experience caring for gerbils, hamsters and ferrets as well as spiders and large fish tanks.
Sometimes owners joke with her and say their dog likes her more.
“It’s obviously not true,” she said. “But, I walk into a home, and I don’t have to worry about paying the mortgage or dirty dishes in the sink. I walk through the door, and I devote 100 percent of my time and energy to that dog.”
Nicole L. Czarnomski is a freelance writer in southeastern Minnesota.