I started my official pet sitting business November of 1995. My friends and family were skeptical. What is that? How can you make money taking care of pets? I knew there was a need for this type of service after working in a veterinarian’s office and seeing the pets that didn’t do well in a kennel-type situation. I jumped in and started a service that was unchartered territory for pet parents. Over the past 20 years, pet sitting has become a well-known alternative in the pet industry. There are still somethings that pet parents do not realize about pet sitting.
Pet Sitting Is Not As Easy As It Would Appear.
Some pets are not cooperative. They are scared, aggressive or over-friendly or have less than desirable manners. Some pets get destructive or have wonderful digestive upsets when their pet parents are away. There are little tricks and tips that help us with these situations, and in many cases it requires extra time and patience, but it can be so rewarding when we gain their trust!
Pet Sitting is Demanding!
We provide services 365 days per year, working extra on holidays, summer times and other school breaks and we miss out on many family celebrations and other family vacations.
Pet Sitters get Burnout!
The #1 reason that sitters leave the job that they really may love is that they can’t and won’t say NO! We solve that problem by having sitters back each other up so they feel like they can take time off and get recharged!
Pet Sitters have a Life Outside of their Job!
Many of our sitters do this as their only job and some have additional jobs and are wives, mothers, are active in their churches and are involved in other volunteer organizations. Some even take vacations! Giving as much notice as possible helps us plan and get back up options for you as well. It’s important for us to have balance just as it is in any other career.
Pet Sitting Can Be Emotionally Draining!
Many of our client visits include giving medications so we end up filling the role of a pet nurse, caring for pets for many years and helping with end-of-life decisions. We feel true loss and grief when we lose pets that have become a part of our family too.
Pet Sitting is Not For Everyone!
Pet sitters are “on call” many hours per day. Sometimes this schedule fits just perfectly for them but it doesn’t work for all. When interviewing sitters we explain the challenges and the benefits of being our clients’ “foster parents” while their true parents are away. Many of our pets are quirky, and it takes time to get to know them. For instance, some won’t eat unless we are standing there and others won’t eat if we are watching them. We are so fortunate to become an extension of many pet families. The kitty that we are told we will never see. The rescue dog that has had a rough life and hasn’t had reasons to trust others.
With all of this said, it may sound as if pet sitting isn’t fun, rewarding or fulfilling. Much to the contrary! The realizations that I’ve stated above are the same reasons that I have been in business for 20 years, providing comfort & companionship to pets and their human families. Pet Sitting can be frustrating at times, but most of the time we are welcomed with a happy face and lots of tail wags! Gaining trust from those furry kids that haven’t had a lot of reason to trust in their past experiences, or the cat that doesn’t come out for anyone, but decides we are worth sharing their attention with. Our pet clients do not care what we look like, if we’ve brushed our teeth or not, they only care that we are there providing them with love and pets in the place of their pet parents. I always say that we are very, very lucky to have jobs where we get kissed all day long!
A big thank-you to all of my many clients over the past twenty years that have put their trust in my business, Distinctive Pet Care and will continue to do so. I am very grateful for each and every one of you that have supported us as Professional Pet Sitters!
Dawn Olson, CPPS, CMPTI, owner and operator of Distinctive Pet Care moved to Colorado in 1987 from Juneau, AK to attend Bel-Rea Institute of Animal Technology. After graduating with an Associated Degree in Applied Science, passing the state exam she began her career as a Certified Veterinary Technician. After several negative experiences with pet boarding she decided to launch Distinctive Pet Care in 1995, and it became her full-time job in nine months, hiring her first pet sitter one year later. Wanting to have more influence in the Littleton pet community she purchased the Ken Caryl Laund-Ur-Mutt in 2005 which was renamed to The Ken Caryl Pet Spa in 2013. She is committed to helping pet owners learn the most practical and best ways to enjoy their pets and give them the best care and pet information possible. Dawn is a Certified Master Pet Tech Instructor and Canine Colors Facilitator which allows her to follow her passion and mission of teaching pet owners more about pets.