Rocky the Robust!

Hi all, Amanda here.  I typically take pieces from the information I get from pet owners about their stars, but I would like to make an exeption.  This week is dedicated to one of Amanda’s Paw Pals who has passed.  Rocky and his family joined our pack last year and I didn’t get nearly enough time with Rocky.  I have loved this career for so many reasons but I can honestly say that the day Rocky crossed the rainbow bridge was a day I wished I worked in an office and didn’t do this pet sitting thing.  It turns out that it doesn’t really matter how much time a person spends with a good fur-friend for tears and sadness to come when they have left!  So, here is the letter I received from Donna about Rocky.  Enjoy reading, I did!

Rocky Xmas

“Rocky joined our family 14 years ago with his sister Jewel.  We had two young girls who missed having a dog in the house.  Our previous dog, an American Staffordshire/Flat coated retriever, passed away at the ripe old age of 18 about a year earlier.  After saying no more dogs, it’s too sad when they pass. We relented and got Rocky and Jewel.  Jewel died of Renal Kidney failure at age 5. So Rocky being the only dog, had two girls to dote on him.  Every other night he slept in one of the girls beds, he seemed to remember which room was the correct one for the night!

 

Rocky loved to hike, which amazed everyone that saw us out there putting on the miles!  He had great stamina.  He travelled everywhere with us and because of his huge eyes and furiously wagging tail, he always got extra pets and attention from perfect strangers.  At the dog park, Rocky cruised around to all the people for petting, which was plentiful.

 

Rocky was always being dressed up for holidays and wore pajamas to bed (partially because he was a profuse shedder and partially because he looked adorable in his t-shirts, pajamas and ducky robe).  He was very tolerant of being dressed up and he really enjoyed the extra attention he got!

 

Rocky was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder of his sinus passages in the beginning of 2013.  We were told not to expect him to live many months since it was incurable and degenerative.  He bounced back a few times, he had a fantastic will to live.

 

He always wanted to be with his dog pack and his people pack.  He was a funny clown always doing something to make us laugh. He loved to play tug of war, it got to the point where we would hide all the rope toys because he would not take no for an answer.

 

Rocky passed away peacefully at home with us on May 25th. We miss him but have many fond memories, pictures and stories to remember him by.”

All I would like to add to this is to point out that Rocky lived about 3 and a half years after being diagnosed with his degenerative and incurable autoimmune disorder.  He had such a great life, he just wasn’t ready to go!  I am so glad I got to meet this robust little dog.  I definitely thank God that his Mom found me before Rocky passed away!

Brandi the Benevolent

I like alliteration, so it is no surprise that I have been hitting the dictionary and thesaurus (or for you younger readers, Google LOL) to find a word that begins with a “B” and describes one of the pet star’s of the month.  Beautiful…yes, she is beautiful.  She has a tri-colored brindle coat that glows orange in the sun.  But she is so much more than that.  Bashful…sometimes, but doesn’t really fit.  Brilliant…again, yes.  But not enough.  Bargain-hunter…hahaha, dogs don’t shop!  Just making sure you are paying attention!  Benevolent.  Yup, that is the word!  According to the Google dictionary, benevolent means, “well meaning and kindly…” That fits Brandi to a “T.”

Hi all, Amanda here.  I am continuing my family of the month with the princess of the pack, Brandi.  Brandi is an amazing and yes, beautiful, puggle/english bulldog mix.  She has her dog Dad’s energy (he was a puggle) and her dog Mom’s (the english bulldog) loud voice.  To quote her human Mom, “She will be prancing around like a little princess and then she barks to play and this giant deep sound comes out!”

The first time I heard her use her “big girl voice” I actually looked around for the dog that must have come into the yard 🙂  Mostly, though, Brandi is laid back and quiet.  As long as everyone leaves her be, that is.  Her Mom also told me that she has to have a pillow and she steals Leo’s toys and bed.

Brandi started out in the family as a companion for Rocky, the third and final star in this family of the month.  More about Rocky next week 🙂

To quote Mom again, “Our pug Rocky, was lonely and needed a playmate. So we started “just looking” We saw Brandi and immediately wanted her.  She was such a cute puppy.  Lots of skin rolls, and big feet she kept tripping over.  She was 6 pounds of squishy softness.  Rocky and Brandi were truly meant for each other, they were both born on March 6th!”

One thing about Brandi, she can’t be left alone with anything within her sites (or teeth!).   She has her own special place when I am caring for her so she doesn’t get into too much mischief.  She still manages to find a thing or two (or three!) to chew up…books and toilet paper seem to be a fan favorite.  Her Mom said she chews on the couch and if her harness is left on her she will chew that, as well.  It has been said that perhaps one of her ancestors may have been a goat!

Brandi enjoys hiking, doing tricks to earn treats, and tunneling under snow or leaves and popping up like a gopher.  My favorite thing she does is when I throw the tennis ball or a toy for Leo to fetch, she will run along side of him and bark.  It is almost like she is cheering him on, she never tries to get the ball.  She just want to tell him “You got this!”  Teamwork!

So that is all about Brandi.  Stay tuned, she will be the star on Instagram and Facebook this week.  Her Mom gave me a bunch of pictures to use 🙂  And next week we will finish strong with the dog that started it all, Rocky!

Brandi

Leo the Love

Hi All, Amanda here.  I have changed the format of Pet of The Month to include the whole fur-family this month (and future months).  There are two reasons for this change.  First of all, I have realized that being the pet of the month is an extreme honor but one that may be unattainable based on the number of applicants.  Another words, I could do pet of the week with all the pets and probably still not get everyone in a year!  The second reason was pointed out to me by this month’s winner (their Mom, of course.)  By asking for a little more information about each fur-family member, I am getting to know each animal a little better.  I mean, I know each animal pretty well after my pet sitting escapades with them; but I don’t ask about their life B.A. (Before Amanda).  Turns out they had a life before me!  Not as exciting, I am sure, but still…

leo

So let’s get back to Leo.  Leo is sharing the spotlight with his sister Brandi and his brother Rocky (postmortem 😦 ).    I met Leo and his family in September of last year.  Leo’s Mom, Donna, answered an ad I have placed on Thumbtack for pet sitting and dog walking services.   I knew right away that I was going to love this family; Donna asked all the right questions and had all the right concerns.  Her first question was not, how much? It was how long would I stay?  Not that I hold it against anyone to ask how much it costs, that is one of the first answers I want to know myself!  I am sure that if I charged a crazy amount it wouldn’t really matter how long I was going to stay.  The point is, her first thought was how long the dogs would get to spend with me.  That makes me happy 🙂

 

When we met for the meet and greet, she had everything I could possibly need ready for me.  A bunch of the pet sitters I know email the agreement and client/pet contact info. ahead of time so that the meet and greet isn’t all about filling out the paperwork.  It streamlines it a bit so the focus can be more about seeing everything instead of answering tons of questions.  I have thought about doing that but as of now I don’t.  I really enjoy filling out the paperwork…it gives me a chance to talk to people about their pets and their home.  Plus, I am an auditory learner and I will remember (almost) everything when it is spoken to me.  Of course, Everything is entered into our database by me or Mary so I have access by my smartphone if I forget something, but I usually don’t.  It’s a Rainman kind of thing…haha.  A downside to not emailing the info ahead of time would be that sometimes a person thinks of something afterwards and has to call me to tell me.  Wait, that gives me more contact…not a downside actually!  And just like that first day, she has prepared for Leo’s debut.  I am going to copy and paste what she wrote about him because it is perfect!

leo adHere’s the ad that started it all 

Leo, has a bad case of those nasty heartworms but…..

Leo is  approx. 2 years old and heartworm positive.

Leo was lucky to have been pulled from

Jackson County Animal Shelter in the nick of time

He is a Labrador retriever, Tuxedo Great Dane mix.

When we were looking for a small dog for our daughter to take to Law school with her we came across Leo’s posting: I thought it would be a great idea to adopt him since I needed a running and hiking buddy and he needed a home. I fell in love first then found out he could not exercise for a few months because he was still recovering from heartworm treatments. He was rescued from the Jackson MS pound.  Luckily friends of Jacksonville fell in love with him, rescued him and he was brought him up North and treated his heartworm. The vet in Mississippi told me that the crushed skull you see in the picture is the result of being hit in the head with a 2×4 plank. I have no idea how someone can hurt an animal or human.  He is such a good dog. He has a lot of energy and love!  He got bossed around by our elderly pug and his sister Brandi rules the roost but he doesn’t care. She marches up and takes his toys right out of his mouth. He had lived outside loose in MS and had no leash training.  We worked on getting him to walk calmly on a leash and to pass by strange dogs without pulling, squealing and wanting to run and to play. Loose dogs in the parks have set us back a few times.  His greatest weapon is his tail! He wags it fast and furiously.  We’ve learned not to keep breakables at tail height. He loves hiking with us and running with me. His favorite time of the day is couch time.  He doesn’t bark unless he loses his toy under furniture or wants his walk.  He loves to fetch, learn new tricks and play tug of war.”

 

I did not know about Leo’s abusive and neglectful start, I only know him as the well trained and rambunctious dog that I love to visit.  I would never have guessed that Leo had anything less than a perfect beginning, he definitely doesn’t have any issues from his horrible experiences.  True of many dogs that are rescued, Leo seems to not hold it against humans that there are some truly disgusting people out there that would hurt an animal.   But, as Donna mentioned above, a lot of training and loving went into making Leo the dog I know today.  He is a lucky boy to be found by his family (but I have no doubt that they feel just as lucky!)  And I, also, feel this luck that his Mom found me!

So that is all for now about Leo.  His Mom gave me some pictures, too; I will be posting them throughout the week on Facebook and Instagram so keep an eye out!

Last installment of All About Amanda

Don’t cry, I am still here!  Haha, Amanda here.  I am wrapping up my “all about me” series with a personal note.  I have been wracking my brain trying to think about what else a person would want to know about me and my fantastic business, Amanda’s Paw Pals.  My office manager (and very best friend) Mary said I should tell you all about how I feel about running Amanda’s Paw Pals as my main source of income.  2016-06-07 12.25.56

Not everyone knows this, but up until last August I was what I would call a “hobbyist Pet Sitter.”  I put my heart and soul into my business, but only part time.  I worked full time at Young Horizons daycare center and also went to school online to get an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Ed. and a Bachelors Degree in Library and Media Science.  Turns out I liked going to school better than actually working in the field, but no education is wasted.  I also have a certificate in Grooming, a certificate in Computer Networking and Repair, and I am A+ Certified in the state of Connecticut!  I am a full-fledged career hopper 🙂

I loved everything I have tried and everywhere I have worked.  But not enough to see myself doing it forever.  The one thing I can see doing forever is being a pet sitter.  Too bad I didn’t come to that thought sooner, Sally Mae lives in the guest bedroom upstairs and won’t leave until my student loans are paid LOL!

But seriously, being a professional pet sitter is like a dream come true for me.  I get to see so many smiling faces every day that it is nearly impossible for me to get down.  What is a better antidepressant than a cat rubbing against your legs or a dog bringing you their favorite toy to play with?!

There is more to being a pet sitter than just playing with animals all day.  I also have to keep up to date on all the different ways animals behave.  I am always listening to podcasts and webinars about my craft.  There are no formal licenses needed to be a professional pet sitter, but someone who doesn’t hold insurance, bonding and some other credentials doesn’t have to be the only choice anymore.  Most of the professionals I know are just like me, keeping current on the changing world of pets.

Also, my favorite part besides the actual work, is marketing.  A serious professional is marketing themselves any way they can.  Staying visible in the community (helping with drives, volunteering, working at festivals, whatever is needed in your area!), hanging flyers in all the local bulletin boards, and posting on social media are just a few ways to market.  I have also found that handing out business cards to strangers is helpful…but I am not really good at that part.  I usually don’t want to intrude if you are just taking a nice walk with your dog or something!  I always have cards on me, though; feel free to ask for one!

winter is comingAs far as having this be my only income, being self-employed is a double edged sword a lot of the time.  You have the freedom to “be your own boss” and “make your own hours”, but also have the fear of not paying your rent or cell phone bill when business is slow.  It is scary sometimes but I am fortunate.  I live with my Mom so I never worry about being evicted.  Verizon Wireless is not as sweet and lovely when I am late on my bills, but thankfully I make enough to have that covered 🙂  The pet care business has ups and downs, not unlike most businesses, and I plan accordingly.  You will not find me crazy because I overbooked myself out of fear of the long winter.  That being said, I always say you should book your pet sitter as early as possible so they will be able to guarantee you placement.  I made a budget of sorts when I first started out that gives me a “poverty line” and a “maximum visits” line.  The poverty line is more for my own peace of mind.  When things are not going well, I add up my visits for the week.  As long as I am above the poverty line (and I usually am) I don’t worry.  The maximum visits line is to keep my current customers happy and satisfied.  Once I reach that line, I no longer take vacations or new clients.  I still have several spots left per day but they are reserved for my current rock star clients who want to go out to dinner straight from work or who find themselves with last minute plans.  I can’t always say yes, but once you are a current client you have a really good chance.  This also serves another purpose for me.  I can live off of the money I will make between both of these lines.  Therefore, I never make myself crazy or overloaded with visits because I know exactly what I can handle.  Burnout is an unfortunate side effect of self employment and I am hoping to have found the way around that.  Also, overloaded people tend to cut corners to get through.  I will not cut corners or shorten visits!  You will always get what you paid for with Amanda’s Paw Pals.  I feel like I am running for office haha 🙂

I am one of many professional pet sitters in my area but I would like to think I stand out.  When you see me in line at the grocery store, feel free to ask me about Amanda’s Paw Pals.  I always have a company shirt on and talking about my job is my favorite thing to do.  You won’t be sorry if you call me, either.  I may not answer (I try to only answer when I can give you my full attention so leave a message and I will call you back when I can do that…within 24 hours.)  I return phone calls after 6 pm usually, sometimes after 2 pm if you call early enough in the morning.  The other way to reach me is by Facebook or my website.

So there you have it.  A blurb about me, Amanda Krom.  I hope you reach out and contact me.  You won’t be sorry and your fur-family will love you forever!2016-05-10 13.13.13