The Best and Worst of 2013 – Pet Sitter Style

Another crazy, busy, fun, stressful, rewarding and exciting year in pet sitting is drawing near. Only 10 days until 2013 is history! This year has flown by like Mario Andretti gettin’ his groove on at the Indy 500. And just like that, some of the best and worst events and incidents flew by quickly, forgotten about and sometimes unremarkable until we sat down to reflect on all we accomplished this year.

We’d like to share some of the best, and worst, of our world from 2013 with you; so kick back, grab and cold one and enjoy the good, the bad, the ugly and sometimes funny, end of year review! Easter Egg Hunt by sit-stay-play

The Best of 2013 (in no particular order):

  1. PetSittingOlogy conference in Vegas, baby;
  2. Great team members that love pets and love helping pet parents;
  3. Building relationships with local veterinary offices;
  4. Reliable transportation;
  5. Warm clothing for those early morning dog walking visits;
  6. Meeting Joshua Carry and Danielle Bella
  7. Awesome mechanics that fix our broken vehicles;
  8. Meeting a fantastic (and reasonably priced) locksmith;
  9. Seeing our facebook fans participation increase
  10. Smart phones that work;
  11. Learning how fun Instagram and pinterest can be for business;
  12. Taking care of newborn kittens and puppies;
  13. Getting a phone call from a client when their baby donkey was born and THEN meeting that adorable (big) baby for the first time;
  14. Pet sitting clients that respect and follow our policies;
  15. Pet sitting clients that referred their friends and family to us—we love referrals!;
  16. Hearing clients say THANK YOU and you do a GREAT JOB;
  17. Clients who dote on their pet sitter or pet care provider;
  18. Learning google+;
  19. Learning what works and doesn’t work in social media and what works today might. not. work. tomorrow;
  20. Receiving thank you notes from clients;
  21. Satisfaction from successful marketing projects;
  22. Dog-Diggity Easter Egg Hunt, approximately 200 people (not counting dogs) showed up to our first community event;
  23. Well-received and supported nail trim events at Tractor Supply and Rural King;
  24. Clients that buy OUR Bully Bones because their dogs won’t eat other treats—yes!;
  25. Local businesses who let us post signs, flyers and business cards in their businesses;
  26. Walking in the Ball State Homecoming parade with my dog, Boston, some of our team members and 13 other pit bulls;
  27. Having our booth at the Delaware County Fair. We met lots of new clients and connected with several potential advertising partners;
  28. Having new clients that used to use boarding kennels but find our service far superior and better for their pets;
  29. Connecting with dozens of new pet sitters all across the United States and Canada in person and over the internet;
  30. Seeing our dog walking clientele grow 50% since the start of 2013;
  31. Meeting local business owners at the Muncie Monthly Business Mixer;
  32. Connecting with Chase Winkle and helping to promote his business;
  33. Parker Veterinary Clinic for referrals and great service;
  34. Jeann Crowcroft (and ladies from MOTC), Bonnie Krupa, Rachel Hawke, Jan Smith and Teresa Sparks for their support and help at the Easter egg hunt;
  35. Help from our clients, Leah Borders and Mark and April Gutenkunst for helping at the Easter egg hunt;
  36. Help and support from our family at Egg Hunt including: Mary, Elizabeth and Laura Stilts; Joey Mandabach and Chris;
  37. Kyla Bartle for her help in getting us hooked up with the Muncie Homeowner Show again;
  38. Michael Caldwell for his continued support;
  39. The Star Press for publishing two newspaper articles, one about our Easter Egg Hunt, the other just a piece about interesting people and they chose me;
  40. The monetary tips (and gifts) from clients;
  41. Being greeted by adoring pets when we arrive at their house;
  42. Clients that leave cleaning supplies in a conspicuous place for us;
  43. Clients that leave adequate amount of pet food for their babies while we’re caring for them;
  44. Clients that donate their aluminum cans to us for our ‘give back’ endeavors;
  45. Jan Ault for allowing us to sponsor her radio show, Critter Conversations, and for her support;
  46. Jan Smith for all the work she does for Ernie’s Heart Pet Food Pantry;
  47. Vegas winnings;
  48. A long-needed vacation to Vegas;
  49. Watching shy dogs come out of their shell and warm up terrifically to us;
  50. Getting support and referrals from The Grove apartment complex;
  51. New clients in Upland, Dunkirk, Carmel and Indianapolis;
  52. Being in the right place at the right time;
  53. All of the facebook groups for pet sitters;
  54. Being able to care for our client’s pets in emergency situations (death in family, hospitalized parents or children);
  55. Being a pet care attendant at a wedding;
  56. Being asked to speak to girl scout troops about proper pet care;
  57. Helping to reunite pet parents with their lost pets;
  58. Helping other small businesses by mentoring, supporting and promoting;
  59. Creating a web page for lost/found pets in Muncie;
  60. Designing my web site;
  61. Seeing positive responses from the articles I write;
  62. Having a client help with social media projects;
  63. Watching our staff members succeed in college and then graduate;
  64. Being able to provide income to our team members so they can raise their families, have flexible schedules and do what they love;
  65. Having a client turn team member;
  66. Giving free pet nail trims to dogs at pet pantry events;
  67. Connecting with Branden Holder and having him start to do some of our advertising, including t-shirts and bumper stickers;
  68. Giving advice to new pet parents and being treated with respect and thankfulness and
  69. Learning to say ‘no’ or ‘I don’t think our services are a good fit for you and your pet’ without feeling guilty.

The Worst of 2013 (again, in no particular order):

  1. Losing 10+ pet sitting clients this year to various forms of cancer, RIP sweet babies;
  2. Losing clients due to their job loss;
  3. Losing clients due to their need to move to a new state;
  4. Losing clients due to our policy changes and clients not accepting said changes;
  5. Seeing pets we care for in unhealthy living conditions;
  6. Caring for dogs that are forced to live in crates the majority of the time;
  7. Working in 110 degree heat trying to clean pet feces from cages;
  8. Working in extreme cold and ice;
  9. Having baby bunnies die because extreme heat/cold;
  10. Cleaning pet litter trays full of maggots because of the heat;
  11. Trying to take care of pets in a house that could be on the show Hoarders—ugh, not pretty;
  12. Walking into a client’s home and seeing pornographic material on the tables, on the floor, by the tv;
  13. Dogs who think that the floor is the toilet and use potty pads occasionally;
  14. Clients that don’t have cleaning supplies to clean muddy paws or dog messes;
  15. Clients that fail to complete out all their pet care forms, leaving us in a bind;
  16. Clients that fail to leave complete payment;
  17. Getting a flat tire while at a client’s house;
  18. Having car battery die while at client’s house;
  19. Accidentally breaking door key while trying to enter home;
  20. Setting alarm off by accident;
  21. Rushing dog to vet because he ate an abundance of human medicine;
  22. Rushing cat to vet because of an obstruction;;
  23. Rushing baby rabbit to vet to be humanely euthanized;
  24. Having air conditioner go out in a garage that housed 130 rabbits;
  25. Trying to hold onto several dogs while unclipping carabiners, clips and unwrapping wire on a fence panel that serves as a gate, in the pouring down rain, slipping in mud, in the dark and getting clothes stuck and ripped by said gate, funny in hindsight though!;
  26. Driving to a client’s house 30 miles away during a snow storm and closed highways;
  27. Wiping out on ice with 3 dogs in tow;
  28. Doing a poop scoop job in a small kennel and a whole summers worth of poop from very large dogs—yuck;
  29. Walking into a client’s home and immediately having to hold my nose;
  30. Seeing rat feces and dead bugs in a client’s (working) refrigerator and freezer;
  31. Burying a chicken at 11:30 pm, in the freezing rain. That was a sad day!;
  32. Getting a call from a client at 5am asking if we can do a 10am visit (they forgot to call the night before);
  33. Cleaning up diarrhea and vomit on white wall-to-wall carpet;
  34. Caring for a pet that clearly was suffering and in pain but client refused to seek help from a veterinarian;
  35. Getting lost out in the country trying to find a new client’s house;
  36. Having a client try and get us to discount prices;
  37. Price shoppers;
  38. Losing cell phone reception while talking to a new client, repeatedly—stupid t-mobile
  39. Grieving the loss of my dog, Pepper and my rat, Miss Willy, due to cancer;
  40. Having pets die in our arms;
  41. Having client’s pets die in our arms;
  42. Opening mouth and inserting foot;
  43. Walking into a house with burst pipes because client shut off heat to save a little on their gas bill during a 2-week long vacation, big mistake;
  44. Having a client’s toilet overflow;
  45. Learning how to take off door knob and frame to door when dogs locked themselves inside bedroom;
  46. Only having a garage opener to enter a client’s home, which stopped working, and no, it wasn’t the batteries;
  47. Having wardrobe malfunctions and no change of clothes…ugh;
  48. Losing our advertising company because they refused to correct their shoddy work;

Well, there you have it, some of the best things (and worst) that occurred in our pet sitting business in 2013. I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed reminiscing…I’ve learned to laugh at myself, laugh with our clients, and have patience for sure, especially when 3 dogs try to act like Rudolph, Prancer and Vixen and pull me down a frozen driveway!

We’ve dealt with a lot of s*it literally and figuratively this year and I expect it to continue as long as we do the work we do. Hopefully not as much ooey gooey messes in 2014 though. One can only hope…

Looking forward to 2014,

Kelley Stewart

CEO|Pet Sitter

sit-stay-play In-home pet sitting & more.LLC

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