Everybody always asks what made me get into this business choice. The answer: my love for dogs and working with them is a lot better than working with people every day!
I have not always been in this line of work though. As a graduate from West Virginia University, I studied advertising and immediately dove into the corporate retail world working for two of the largest retail companies in Pittsburgh.
About five years into it, though, I knew it wasn’t for me long-term. At the end of most days, the only satisfaction I had was coming home to my dogs who immediately put a smile on my face and made me forget about the day I had of feeling like “just an employee” at times. I had started to think of other career choices and something with animals always came to mind.
When the economy started to decline, but pet services and retail sales kept increasing, I realized that industry is where I needed to be. This is when all those times of friends, family and co-workers who had asked me to come let their dogs out while they are on vacations or business trips sprung an idea. That idea was In-Home Pet Sitting.
I asked myself; what do I do with my dogs when I go away? I didn’t want to take them to a kennel because they had never been before. I would have a neighbor, friend or relative come let them out. At times, though, I felt that this was an inconvenience and imagined a lot of other people feel the same and hesitate to ask friends and neighbors for this favor. That’s how Friendly Paws Pet Sitting formed in 2007.
Friendly Paws Pet Sitting offered in-home pet sitting services; letting the dog out, taking them for walks, feeding and watering, cleaning out litter boxes as well has added complimentary services such as getting the mail, watering plants, etc. People loved knowing their house and pet would be well taken care of while they were away. This service, at the time, was on the rise and becoming increasingly more popular. I ran this business making many of the visits before and after work, on lunch breaks. Whenever I committed to my owners, I would be there.
In 2009 I took a forced break from the corporate retail world wondering what I was going to do next. I knew my next steps were going to be in the pet industry and that’s when I decided to focus on an overnight boarding facility and doggie daycare program. My dogs had never been kenneled, so my mission had them in mind. What would I want a facility to offer if I had to take my dogs there? Lots of socialization, time outside of their kennel space as they were used to having the run of the house, interaction with people that treat them as if they are their own and not just another dog coming to stay. Thanks to a lot of dedication from my parents and friends helping to make my dream a reality, Friendly Paws Pet Resort finally opened for business in August 2011 and has been a success since day one.
I have focused on making this a “home away from home” for each dog. I do not want them to feel as if they are in a kennel by providing a laid-back environment that minimizes the stress for the dog. With the help of my amazing and extremely dedicated staff, each dog gets a ton of TLC and attention while staying here.
I look forward to growing as a business and continuing to meet new dogs and their owners over the next several years to come. I want to thank everyone for their business and for making my job so fun!
COURTNAY ORLANDINI • OWNER/OPERATOR