Everybody always asks me what made me get into this business. The answer is simple: my love for dogs and working with them is much better than working with people every day!
I haven’t always been in this line of work. As a graduate of 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, 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, feeling like “just an employee” at times. I 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 the industry was where I needed to be. That’s when all those times when friends, family, and co-workers asked me to come let their dogs out while they were on vacation or business trips sparked 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 I imagined that 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 was formed in 2007.
Friendly Paws Pet Sitting offered in-home pet sitting services, including letting the dog out, taking them for walks, feeding and watering, and cleaning out litter boxes, as well as added complimentary services such as getting the mail and 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 and 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 don’t 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. I want to thank everyone for their business and for making my job so fun!