Interview with Sara Melaten, San Diego Dog Walker

I had an opportunity to interview Sara Melaten of Sarandipity Pet Care Services, a San Diego dog walking company that operates in La Jolla, Pacific Beach, and Ocean Beach. Hope you enjoy the interview! What do you like best about your job?

Sara: One of the things I like best about my job is knowing that I have all different kinds of dogs and cats with all different kinds of personalities.  Each pet client has his or her own unique personality trait– which makes things interesting and fun and keeps me looking forward to the next pet visit or dog walk! How did you start your business and why?

Sara: I started my business because pets are my one passion that I knew I could make a career out of.  I was growing tired of the corporate life I had been living for many years, and was ready to put my passion to work.  Having grown up with dogs and other animals all my life, I always knew that somehow, some way I would have to work with animals.  The first steps included getting a San Diego Tax License, Pet First Aid Certification, insurance, and a website for my business.  Once these and other basic steps were accomplished, I attracted local pet-owner clients through networking, flyers, and internet marketing. What’s your favorite dog park in San Diego/La Jolla and why?

Sara: My favorite dog park in San Diego is actually a dog beach.  It’s nicknamed “dog beach” and is located in Ocean Beach.  I love this dog-designated beach area because I love playing with dogs by the ocean and you really get to see how happy and excited the dogs are to be there. If you could offer advice to someone looking to start a dog walking business, what would it be?

Sara: For someone looking to start their own business in dog walking, I would recommend buying Patti Moran’s book “Pet Sitting For Profit”.  This book helped me a lot in getting started.  Other than that, it’s important for the potential new business owner to know that building you’re clientele will take a lot of persistence and patience.  Be ready to be creatvie in how you attract your clients…and don’t forget– customer service is everything!!! Not only will you need to treat the pets like royalty, you will also need to make sure to provide the pet owners with the best customer service possible!  This is what has helped me get tons of repeat business. Please share a funny dog walking story with us!

Sara: Funny dog story: this one Great Dane client I have, the dog was so happy to see me (and she’s still technically a puppy but FULL GROWN), she jumped on me unexpectely, and I fell down with my fist landing in her pile of poo in the back yard.  Being that she is also deaf, I couldn’t really calm her down quickly. I was okay after the fall, and it wasn’t until cleaning myself up that I was able to really laugh hard about it!

Dog Walks and More

Dog Walks and More has been providing dog walking, cozy in-home boarding, day care and pet sitting services for over 12 years. All of our pet care providers are experienced and caring individuals willing to follow every last detail of your pet’s care to ensure a happy & healthy pet.

We are insured and bonded for your peace of mind and protection. We offer an initial FREE in-home consultation to meet each other and assess your needs. Once that is done, services are simply a phone call away. Call today and find out why we are the Bay Area’s choice in pet care.

Queen City Petsitting

WE LOVE PETS OF ANY KIND! Pets removed from their familiar environment are often subject to emotional trauma and the diseases of other animals. Let QUEEN CITY CHARLOTTE PET SITTING provide your pets with the love and care they need while giving your home a more lived in look while you’re away.

During our visits we feed your pets exactly per your instructions and provide fresh water with every visit, ‘patrol for accidents’, bring in mail and newspapers, and check to insure that your home is safe from obvious hazards. Most importantly, we spend time during every visit loving your pets as much as you do. To satisfy your every need, we’ll provide additional services to satisfy your every need.

Queen City Pet Sitting is eco-friendly! From ‘Mid-Day’ walking to ‘Waste Removal’ and ‘While Your Away Home Visits’, our sitters ensure that your pets keep their daily routines while using eco-friendly products that are safe for all pets, neighborhoods & the environment.

CERTIFIED Professional Pet Site LICENSED, BONDED, INSURED, A member of the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS) & Pet Sitters International (PS) Member of American Pet Cross.

Services Available Upon Request

Home sweet home package: Don’t worry about those tedious tasks you forgot to complete
before you left! Our petsitters will tidy up your home for your return: light cleaning, purchase groceries, water plants, dusting, mail…

Errand Service: Queen City petsitters are here to assist you with any minor errands that need to be taken care of: dry cleaning, video rentals, mail, and so on…

Daily Dog Visit Package: 1 visit/walk every day – 5 days a week = $65 ($75/week for 2 dogs)

Daily Cat Visit Package: 1 visit every day – 5 days a week = $60 ($65/week for 2 cats)

A Doggy Day at the Park: Give your dog a chance to run free while enjoying a day at the park!
Queen City Petsitting is committed to instilling happiness and healthy activities for all dogs – so if your
pet loves the outdoors, let them spend a day at the park with us.

Pampering Paws
A little dirty behind the ears? Contact Queen City Petsitting today to schedule a grooming appointment for that grubby pet of yours! Special stipulations apply for individual animals.

Pet Taxi:
Veterinarian’s Office, Groomer, or Day Care!
• $14 – One Way
• $20 – Round Trip

NOTE: Depending on the volume of visits per day, sitters will try their best to arrive by the scheduled time.

Errand Service: We will take care of those little tasks you are unable to finish before you leave town (drop-off/pick-up dry cleaning, return video rentals, mail packages)

House Sitting Services (Provided for individuals without pets) : $15 per visit or $40 overnight

Pet Care Service Area
We are a growing business, but we currently serve the Charlotte area. Visits outside that radius are subject to a higher rate to help cover gasoline expenses.

Free Pre-Service Meeting
Before caring takes place, Queen City Petsitting will come to your home to meet you and your pet. It is important for your pet to meet one of our sitters, giving them both an opportunity to become familiar with one another. Pertinent information and your pet’s needs and routine will be discussed, along with an initial ‘walk-through’.

As Charlotte Petsitters, we strive to give you peace of mind while you are away from your beloved pet and home. Our in-home pet care service is filled with love and security. With years of professional pet sitting experience, Queen City Petsitting is here to steer you away from those crowded and unhealthy kennels and boarding services! Our petsitters provide each pet with the tender love and care they need while you are away.

From dogs to cats and pigs to rabbits – Charlotte’s premiere petsitting business does it all. Serving the Charlotte area, Queen City Pet Sitting offers an array of services worthy of any pet owners respect. Jump onboard the Pet Taxi for a ride to the veterinarian, order a quick grooming, or even ask for an errand run to return your late movie rentals. Whatever the case may be, our pet care sitters promise to get it done!

With your pets being a big part of your life, it’s more than necessary to make sure they’re taken care of properly when their in our hands.

Owned and operated by Stacey Marrs, Queen City Petsitting is only one call away from delivering you with invaluable pet care solution. Contact us today to secure one of our professional pet care sitters for your precious animal.

As Charlotte Petsitters, we strive to give you peace of mind while you are away from your beloved pet and home. Our in-home pet care service is filled with love and security. With years of professional pet sitting experience, Queen City Petsitting is here to steer you away from those crowded and unhealthy kennels and boarding services! Our petsitters provide each pet with the tender love and care they

Looking to Adopt a Chihuahua in New York?

Operation Chihuahua

If you live in New York, and you have been looking to adopt a Chihuahua, your opportunity may soon arrive… err… I mean land! The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is helping to fly 15 Chihuahuas from California animal shelters with the hopes of finding them homes in New York and on the east coast. The project, dubbed Operation Chihuahua, will fly the dogs cross country on Virgin America Airlines.

Since many people in New York City need to have smaller dogs for their smaller apartments, and since New York City animal shelters don’t always have many small dogs, this sounds like a great idea. According to the article I read about this effort in the New York Post today, there may be additional flights to bring more shelter dogs to the east coast.

To learn more about Operation Chihuahua, or to find out how you can adopt a Chihuahua (or other pet) visit the ASPCA website for all of the details. You may also call 212-876-7700 ext 3210 for further details.

Fetch! Pet Care of Virginia Beach/Chesapeake

Fetch! Pet Care is the largest pet sitting and dog walking franchise in the United States, and we would love to provide the professional, loving care your pets deserve. We’ve got your tail covered!

* Pet Visits
* Dog Walks
* Potty Breaks
* Overnight Stays
* Home Care
* Free Initial Consultation
* Bonded & Insured
* Members of Pet Sitters International

Sitter 4 Paws

Sitter 4 Paws is here to help you change on your pet’s life. Whether your dog needs a dog walker to exercise while you’re out working or a pet sitter to make sure it’s needs are met while you’re out of town, I will help you take care of your pet as if was my own and give them all the love, care and exercise they need for a good physical and mental health.

Here are the services we offer:

– Dog walking
– Taking your dog for a run or doggie hike
– Pet Sitting (Daily visits to your home to check on your pet while you are out of town or at work)
– Transportation (Taking your pet to the vet, groomer or any other appointments)
– House sitting to ensure your home looks lived in while you are away.

Served areas: Los Angeles area including Hollywood, Downtown, Echo Park, Los Feliz, Atwater Village, Silver Lake, Studio City, Sherman Oaks and Beverly Hills. Also serves some areas at Glendale and Burbank. Please contact me for inquiries about your area.

White Rock Pet Services

“Because there’s no place like home!”

Hire a Professional Pet Sitter for the safety of your pets and home! Bonded – Insured – Pet CPR Certified

Servicing these Dallas areas: White Rock Lake, Lakewood, M Streets, Uptown, Deep Ellum, Downtown.

Homestead Pets

A Dog Walking and Pet Sitting company providing comfort and protection for pets who are happiest staying home while you are away on business or vacation. Homestead Pets is a professionally owned company run by a 20+ year Las Vegas resident holding memberships with PUPS, SNAPPS, PSA, and is Pet First Aid certified. Visit website for more information.

What To Do If Your Dog Chokes

By Cindy Campione, owner of Secure Home Solutions Pet Care in Tampa, Florida

(Cindy is an RN, a Certified Veterinary Technician, and a certified Pet First Aid/CPR Instructor teaching PetTech’s PetSavers class to pet owners and to pet caregivers such as petsitters, groomers, and kennel workers.)

Because of their strong gag reflex, dogs rarely actually choke.  However, when it happens, it can become serious in a short amount of time.  Usually, canine choking is the result of a large chunk of food, a fragment of bone, a rawhide chew, or a toy (especially a small ball) that has been inhaled and becomes caught in the dog’s airway. A choking dog appears anxious and struggles to breathe. He may paw at his face and pace back and forth.

In a situation where an object is lodged in your dog’s airway but the airway is not completely blocked, Rover may try to cough and gag the object loose. If your pet can gag or cough they have a better chance of getting the object out themselves.  Confine him to a small area and watch him carefully for about a minute.  If the object does not come out by itself within that minute, your pet needs your help.

First, use gravity to help.  If your dog is small and you can lift him easily, gently lift him into the air so that his head is hanging down.  If he is a small overweight dog, or a medium sized dog too large to suspend, carefully stand him on his front legs by holding his rear legs up in the air like a wheelbarrow.  For large dogs, seat yourself on a chair, stair, or a closed toilet and lift your dog’s rear legs over your legs, wrap your arms around the base of his legs near his body to stabilize him, and partially stand up.  The idea is to get his tail higher than his head.

If this action does not result in the removal of the object, it is time for more aggressive first aid to help your dog.  First, call for help.  If you end up taking your dog to the Vet, having someone to help or to drive you there will be much safer!

Now, you must determine the shape of your dog’s chest.  Some dogs are more rounded, or “barrel-chested”.  Other dogs have more of a “taco-shaped” chest.

For a barrel-chested dog, the method is similar to the human Heimlich maneuver.  Place the dog in front of you, facing away from you.  Encircle him with your arms and place your fist just below his rib cage.  With your other hand holding your fist, quickly and firmly pull up and towards you, compressing the abdomen three times in a thrusting manner.  After three unsuccessful attempts, don’t waste any more time, take your dog to the nearest Vet.

For the taco-shaped chest dogs, use the Chest Thrust method.  Chest thrusts are performing by placing your hands on each side of the pet’s chest and thrusting inward.  Thrust in and towards the head of the dog (much like a fireplace bellows) to use the air trapped in your dog’s lungs to push the object out.  Perform one thrust at a time.  After three unsuccessful attempts, it’s time to take your dog to the nearest Vet.

Even if your pet is getting enough air so that he remains conscious, you must be prepared for the object to shift and block the airway completely, at which time your pet will go unconscious quickly due to lack of oxygen.  If your pet become unconscious, open his mouth and pull his tongue out past his canines.  While holding the tongue, look deeply down his throat (use a flashlight if needed) to see if you can pull the object out with your fingers.  If it is not EASILY removable, don’t waste time – get to the Vet!

Never put your finger in the mouth of a conscious dog, and never pull string or thread from a pet’s throat; a hook, needle or other object could be attached to the other end and could inflict greater damage on its way out.

Keep your Vet’s phone number on the fridge and in your cell phone.  If there is another Vet whose office is very near your home, have their number handy, too.  Any Vet will do in an emergency where time is of the essence!  It is a good idea to also find out which Veterinary Emergency Service your Vet recommends, and have their number on hand as well.

There is no substitute for proper Veterinary care for your pet, especially during a medical emergency, however, taking a course in Pet First Aid/CPR is recommended.  One of the best courses available is PetTech’s PetSavers class.  This 8 hour class covers almost everything a pet owner should know.  Knowing what to do in an emergency is one of the best things you could ever do for your beloved pet!

Interview with Veronica Boutelle, Founder of dogTEC

Veronica BoutelleThis is an interview with Veronica Boutelle, Founder of dogTEC and an industry consultant for dog-related business owners. Veronica has given some insight into starting a dog walking business – and also offered information about how to grow a dog walking company.

1) What was the reason for starting dogTEC, and how does it differ from other companies?

I started dogTEC after leaving my position as Director of Behavior & Training for the San Francisco SPCA. During my time there I noticed repeatedly that the local dog professionals—trainers, walkers, sitters, etc.—were struggling to make a real living working with dogs. Too often they were forced to work part time jobs, or leave what they loved to go back to sitting in a cubicle. And too often they struggled with the work itself, not having anywhere to turn to learn the skills they needed to work more effectively with dogs.

I resolved to create a support system for dog pros that included education and training opportunities around both dog behavior and business practices.

dogTEC is unique in that everyone on our staff has strong backgrounds in dog behavior, education, and business. We are also the first company to do this work, and the only one to do it full time.

2) What advantages do dog walkers who are dogTEC certified have over those who aren’t?

It’s a key marketing advantage—a way to let potential clients know that you know how to take the best care of their dog, a way to differentiate yourself from all their other choices.

And our grads experience great peace of mind and generally enjoy their work better because they a) have a firm understanding of dog behavior, b) know how to control dogs without force, and c) do better financially because they’ve learned how to run a successful dog business.

3) What do dog owners need to consider before hiring a dog walker?

First and foremost, is the walker educated? Do they know how to read dog body language, build a rock solid recall, handle a leash safely? Do they know how to avoid incidents between dogs, and what to do when they happen? In short, are they best equipped to keep the dogs in their care safe?

We also recommend asking about their policies, including how many dogs they walk at once, if they keep large and small dogs in separate groups when walking packs together, how long a walk they guarantee, etc.

I would also want to know that they are legitimate businesses—do they use contracts, are they insured, do they have a business license?

4) What are dogTEC’s expansion plans?
On the education front, this year the Dog Walking Academy opens new locations in Seattle and Washington DC to add to the current classes in San Francisco and New Hampshire. We’re looking for a New York City location as well. And our new web seminar program for dog pros launches in June.

On the product end, the dogPRO CD for Daycare and Boarding Facilities will join our dogPRO CD line later this year. The dogPRO CDs are designed to help dog professionals run their businesses effeciently and effectively. We currently offer a version for Trainers and a version for Walkers & Sitters. We’ll also be launching a new product aimed at helping dog professionals market their businesses.

5) Why should people consider turning a dog walker side business or hobby into a profession?

Because, as one of our clients once put it, “The worst day walking dogs is far better than the best day working in an office.” Professional dog walking is challenging, but it is a tremendously satisfying way to make a living. And done well it can be very lucrative. Our dog walking clients’ incomes range from 30K to well over six figures, depending on location, type of service offered, etc. Not bad for hanging out with dogs, and no office personalities to deal with!

Automatically Renewing Payments

When dog walking services sign up for listings on and pay for them using Paypal, most payments automatically renew a year from the date of the initial payment.

This is done for a couple of reasons:

  • 1) It makes it easier to collect renewals the following year
  • 2) It allows dog walkers to get the same price as the year before, even if the actual listing price increases

I spend a lot of time working on the website, and I also manage other websites in addition to this one. It’s very time consuming to try and track people down to ensure that their listing doesn’t expire due to non-payment renewal. Instead, I opted to have people sign up for subscriptions that continue to renew. It’s easier for everyone.

If dog walkers want to cancel, their subscription payment, they can visit their Paypal account and it will be listed under subscriptions. By clicking cancel, their payment won’t automatically renew the following year. I will send a renewal notice, but if payment is not made, the listing will be taken down.

How Much Exercise Does Your Pet Need?

Guest post written by Tammy Ng – Owner of Fetch! Pet Care of NW San Gabriel Valley. Fetch! is a national provider of pet sitting services.

Even more than people, our pets (especially dogs) need regular exercise.  According to a major publication, over 40% of pets in the US are overweight?  As a Pasadena pet sitter, I’ve seen it all too often.  Due to our busy schedules, many of us don’t spend enough time with our pets.  So how do we make it up to them?  We feed them extra treats.

In order to get to the root of the problem.  We need to understand just how much diet and exercise our pets need.  Below are several links to help you out.

For cat owners, according to The Pet Center, “the main reason for feline obesity (as well as obesity in other mammals) is the consumption of too much food. Deny it all you want but it is a fact.”  To read more about cat obesity and what to do, click here

For dog owners, in addition to a normal diet, you need to understand how much exercise your dog needs.  This link, should help you determine the exercise requirements for your breed of dog.  Once you understand your requirements, use this link to figure out how to meet those requirements.

My personal advice is to make sure you take your dog on daily dog walks for a minimum of 30 minutes.  It’d be even better if you could head over to the Arcadia or Pasadena dog park.  Or sign up for something like the agility course offered at the Pasadena shelter.  If you are unable to do it yourself, I highly suggest hiring a dog walker to help you out.  The benefits to you and your dog far outweigh the cost.