Pet Sitting–Why I love it | Bones Pet Care | Durham, NC

The other day, I was having one of those days.  You know, you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, somebody cuts you off and you almost wreck…  that kind of day.  Then, I started my work day rounds and I started to feel better and better.  Every time I come through the door, there’s a happy animal on the other side.

Horus telling me to hurry up.
Horus telling me to hurry up.

I started my day with Horus and Osiris, two cats that are 19 years old.  Those cats love to eat more than any cats I have ever know.  They come running and talk to me saying “Hurry up, Lady!”  After they get breakfast, it’s time for petting.  After they had their fill of attention, I cared for the house bringing in the mail and watering the garden.

Next on my list was to start my dog walking routine with Jackson, the cutest white bull dog you have ever seen.  I get all kinds of wags and kisses upon arrival.  He doesn’t take the heat well, so it’s a shorter walk for him and then inside for play and pets.  Although I don’t normally let people pet the dogs I’m walking, I’ve been walking Jackson since he was 6 months old, I know him well enough that I break the rules.  Because he’s so dang cute, everyone loves him and wants to pet him all the time.

I’ve got three in the same apartment complex thanks to referrals, so I can walk across the street for yet another Jackson.  I call him Jax though to keep the Jacksons separated.  It must have been a popular

Jax "I'm sitting for this picture, but then we walk, right?"
Jax “I’m sitting for this picture, but then we walk, right?”

name a few years ago.  Jax loves to get a super long walk, even in the heat.  I keep an eye on him, but he tolerates the heat well.  He adores me to pieces and his walk time means the world to him.

I’m only a few pet sits into my day at this point.  I usually do 8-10 pet sits depending on the day.  Pet sitting to me is about making the animals happy and communicating to the pet guardians that their pets are being loved and cared for in their absence.  I know how hard it is for me to leave my crew in someone else’s hands.  It’s natural to worry about hiring someone to care for your beloved pet, and I understand that.  That’s why I really love our new system of real-time notes.  We can communicate what is going on at the dog walk or pet sit to the pet parent right away.  However, if they are busy enjoying their trip, they can always check the note later on their own time, or not depending on their preference.  Even long term clients who know me well and trust me really enjoy getting the notes.  I think it is fun to actually hear about the visit and even see pictures in real time.

Being able to make the animals happy and the pet parents feel good makes me feel happy.  I am really lucky to be able to something that I love so much.  Pet sitting is more than just a job–it’s a central part of who I am.  The animals bring me great joy, and I try my best to return the favor.

 

Christa Sharp
A professional pet sitter in Durham, NC
Bones Pet Care

Bones Pet Care | The dog who stole the Pet Sitter’s heart | Durham, NC

In 2004, I went to the Durham APS looking to adopt a new member of our family.  Looking down the row, almost near the back, I saw this scrappy little black dog tap dancing and smiling and sneezing.  I was totally in love from first sight.  I asked to see him, and he ran into the room, crawled into my lap, and flipped over for a belly rub.  I named him Barnabee and brought him home.

He has been such a wonderful addition to my life.  Always eager to please, his initial smile got more and more cheesy over the years as he learned that it made me happy.  I love coming home from a day of pet sitting to see this funny face.  He makes us smile all the time, and I hope you get a kick out of seeing Barnabee smile at you.

Bones Pet Care | A Pet Sitter’s Adventures in WordPress | Durham, NC

It’s been a fun month here at Bones Pet Care.  In between a busy July pet sitting, we’ve been revamping the web site.  I had previously only used drag and drop software, so WordPress was an interesting adventure.  It took us two books and many, many hours, but we are proud to have an updated and fully responsive mobile site for our clientele.  At first, I was totally lost.  No more could I pull things around as I pleased–now I had a template to deal with. It took many tries to find a good fit.  Then, I poured through the book, learning how to work widgets and learning all about SEO.

One of the things I love most about being a small business owner is the constant adventure and learning that comes with the territory.  You have to wear all the hats, and it gives me a chance to try out new skills.  I have a natural curiosity and a love of learning, so I really enjoy the process of learning something new.  Yes, it’s a little frustrating at times but when you finally achieve success it’s a great feeling.

July has been filled with lots of pet visits.  I always really enjoy visiting old friends and making new ones.  Seeing the animals leap and dance about with joy at my visits makes any day that much better.  I’ve had lots of chances to take snap shots with my buddies.  I hope you will follow along with all the cute animal pictures.  We are new to social media, and I’m really enjoying the ability to interact with my clients and share with them the love I have for their pets.

We hope you enjoy the new Bones Pet Care web site.  Thanks for being a part of it, and for allowing us to have the greatest job in the world!

Christa

Bones Pet Care | Association of Pet Sitting Excellence | Durham, NC

Durham Pet Sitting

I am always interested in being a part of professional groups for professional pet sitters.  I recently found out about an organization that is gaining a good reputation among professional pet sitters called the Association of Pet Sitting Excellence.  They have tons of information on the business end of pet sitting, which is great.

Loving animals is a requirement in this field, but you also have to run a good business.  That often means wearing every hat from marketing consultant, web site designer, office manager, to tax accountant.  If you don’t know how to do something, you have to learn.  I’ve been taking advantage of the resources the APSE provides to help me improve my business.  From webinars to e-books, I’m getting a lot of ideas to improve my business to make it a great experience for my clients.  We are proud to be a member of the ASPE.  Even after a decade owning my own business, there’s always more to learn.

Bones Pet Care | Pet Sitters | Durham, NC

I have been working hard this summer to make changes to our service and I am so happy with the results!  Our new booking software is amazing.  We can now access all of your information on our Smartphones, send real time emailed pet journals with pictures, and check in and out with GPS.  It’s been great to hear feedback from clients that they love getting updates on their pet’s walk or visit while they are at work or away.  We hope it gives our clients peace of mind and a little bit of fun to know their pets are cared for and having fun.

I’ve been a pet sitter since 2003, so I’ve seen a lot of changes happen in our industry.  Back when I started, pet sitting was just catching on and small, personal services were the norm.  Like any industry, things change as time goes on.  Small, personal services are not as common as they used to be.  It takes a lot of dedication to work multiple times a day seven days a week, but we do it for the animals.  Building a relationship with them is what it’s all about.  They start to catch on quick that your visit means lots of fun.  We try to do things for them that make them happy.  A long game of ball, a good long walk, a long belly rub, dangling a feather, or scratching a chin is just as important as providing their care routine.  I’m proud to say that I still spend my days with the animals as well as working with my small team.

We carefully select our team members looking for a person with a strong sense of integrity and a big heart.  Lots of people love animals, but it takes more than that to be a great pet sitter.  We choose only the best for our company.  Our newest addition is Thomas Davis.  He graduated on a full scholarship with honors from UNC two years ago, and is making his way as a musician teaching after school lessons.  He is a truly kind person and treats the animals with love and his responsibility as important.  We are very lucky to have him be a part of our pet care team.

We try to treat our clients with care and respect and make it fun for the animals.  We are grateful that our clients allow us to have such an awesome job.  Seeing those tails wag and kitties purr is what drives us day after day despite 100 degree weather or a downpour.  We drink a lot of water, grab our umbrella, and get to walking and pet sitting.  We thank you for trusting us to watch your babies, and we hope you will be able to relax knowing they are being loved in your absence.