Critter Sitters keeps pets where they are most comfortable: Your home
Whether away at work all day or for a weeklong vacation, no pet owner likes to be separated from their companion. Newington-based Critter Sitters, LLC is happy to step in and alleviate the worry.
When Susan Osborne started the pet sitting business four and a half years ago after years in the pet industry producing trade shows, business immediately took off, despite a shaky economy. Within six months Osborne was faced with turning away business, so her husband, Tim Reed, stepped in.
"This is not a kennel—it's strictly pet sitting where we go to your home and take care of your pet in your home," Reed said. Though there are great kennels out there, he said, Critter Sitters keeps pets where they are most comfortable while their owners are away—at home.
"Greyhounds, for example, they typically don't do well in kennels no matter how great they are because they think you're leaving them at the track and they just get freaked out," Reed said. True pet lovers, Osborne and Reed have three large greyhounds of their own, Cody, Finnegan and King.
"They get to hang out in their own house, they get to sleep in their own bed, they get to eat their own food out of their own bowl, they get to go int heir own backyard and play," he said. "It's a lot calmer of a situation for everyone.
Osborne and Reed, along with their other two pet sitters, Kelly and Laura, meet with pet owners beforehand to gather information and conduct an interview with the pet.
"The purpose of having the interview with the dog is to be accepted into the environment as the pack leader," Reed said. "Then the next step beyond that is we have to secure a key, we have to learn how to secure their home if there's a security system; we ask a series of questions from a questionnaire, we provide them with our references and insurance and bonding information."
Their goal is to mimic the pet's everyday schedule as best they can, whether it's a walk at a certain time, playing, feeding or administering medication.
"Usually if it's a mid-day for a working client it's just a turnout or a walk. If it's a vacation situation it can be as many as three or four times a day for dogs; if it's a cat we'll see them anywhere from one to three times a day, depending if they're on medications," Osborne said.
It's a lot of running around, but hardly seems like work for animal lovers Reed and Osborne.
"How great is this job, where you can sit there and walk a puppy and play with it?" Osborne said.
And for vacationing pet owners, collecting mail, taking out the trash and recyclables and picking up newspapers are all part of Critter Sitters' service as well.
"It's all in an effort to give the illusion that there's somebody home," Osborne said, adding their staff doesn't wear uniforms identifying them as pet sitters nor do their vehicles display it. "To some people that might make us look more professional, but in our opinion it would be a red flag. When we have the key to somebody's home we take that very seriously. In addition to taking care of the animals, this is somebody's home."
Osborne and Reed said a common misconception is that their services are only for higher-end clients.
"At the end of the day, it's people like us," Reed said. "We structured the business so that it had two very simple fees: the fees are per visit and then we also offer overnight services, which encompass the multitude of visits in the body of the overnight, because we don't charge for administering [medications] or playtime or walks or any of the other ridiculous fees."
Understanding that many pet owners have multiple animals, there is no pay per animal fee, either.
"It's not terribly fair to make them pay us multiple amounts of money," Reed said.
The service is a small price to pay for the peace of mind for pet owners—and their pets—while they're away.
"The best compliment when people come home is they say things like, 'Well, they weren't really that excited to see us,'" Osborne said.
"It's not the kind of frantic 'get me out of here' situation you might have at a kennel," Reed added.
To book an appointment call 860•306•2334
Please call between 8:30 AM and 9:00 PM