Today we’d like to introduce you to Kara Jenkins.
Kara, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started to care for dogs when I was 11 years old. My mother had her own business breeding champion golden retrievers. I delivered my first litter on my own at 11 years old. At that time, I was interested in following a professional path with animals. I showed dogs in junior handler’s classes for obedience and confirmation. I started helping my mother at her boarding and grooming facility during college summers. My mom hired me to help with all facets of the business from marketing, to walking and feeding dogs and bathing them. I loved caring for the animals, but recognized, from working so closely with them, that the boarding kennel was so loud and stressful on most breeds. I thought there must be a better way. When I was in college I did pet sitting in Tucson, Arizona.
During college, I learned that I had learning disabilities and was dyslexic. I earned my degree in special education and exercise sports science. After college, I went to work for the Marc Center and coordinated home health care for children who were disabled. I loved working with the kids, but I was in an office all the time. During that time, I realized I was losing my hearing and became deaf in one ear. So working in an office and being on the phone it was very challenging because of my hearing loss and dyslexia. I also realized I missed working with the animals. I did a lot of research and decided it would be best for me to start my own pet sitting business.
In 2001, I opened “TLC House & Pet Sitting,” a professional pet sitting business in Mesa, Arizona. Before I started my business, I worked with vocational services, which helps individuals who have a disability to learn a new career. I took classes learning how to run a business. I had to write out my business plan and back then it was very difficult to get any information about professional pet sitting. Pet sitting was still very new back in 2000. So I wrote my business plan; I joined local, national and international pet sitting organizations. I attended many conference and training classes to gain more knowledge.
All of the professional training classes I attended have helped me over the years to be a better business person. In addition, all of our pet sitters are bonded, insured and have completed the pet CPR certification course. The CPR course is important so the sitter can recognize any health issues that might be occurring while the client is away. In addition, we care for your home while you are away too. We provide service in Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa and Scottsdale, Arizona.
Has it been a smooth road?
There have been many challenges as I started my business around September 2001. Due to the economic turndown it was a challenge keeping track of where clients were currently living. We had a lot of clients who moved out of state or lost their homes.
I think what has kept us going, is that our clients know how much we care about their pets. A pet is part of a family, and we will do everything in our power to make them feel spoiled at home. We are the “Alternative to Boarding”. For example, we cared for a client’s pets while she was in the hospital. Kara met with the client at the hospital to get her keys to her home. We cared for her pets many months while she was in the hospital.
Kara would go and visit her in the hospital and give her personal updates about the pets. Unfortunately, she was very ill and went to hospice. Before she went into hospice, Kara met with the owner and got her permission to adopt her animals so they would not go into the shelter. Kara had the pets looked over by a vet and groomed with the owner’s permission and then she brought all three dogs home with her. She was able to work with a rescue group P.A.W.S for the cause and got two of the dogs adopted and she cared for the oldest one in her home until he passed.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
We specialize in pet care in your home while you are away. We are the “Alternative to Boarding”. This means we get to spend time with your pets (cats, dogs, birds and other small animals). While you are away and we provide specialized care tailored to each client needs. This includes: following special feeding, diets, regular exercise routine, medications or shots, cleaning litter boxes, and picking up poop. We also care for your home; we make your home appeared lived in. We can set alarms, make sure your AC is working during the summer months and add chemicals to the pool, put out the trash, bring in packages and mail. In addition, we can water plants and do any other minimal home care as well. Of course, all services include lots of loving, play time, belly rubs and brushing for the animals.
Our daily vacation pet care is one of the biggest services we provide. All our services are customized to each client and their pet(s). This can be either visiting the client’s pets 1-3 times a day or we can stay overnight at the client’s home. The overnight sitter will be at your home for 10-12 hours. This is similar to the amount of time most clients are home for the evening. I, personally have my sitters stay at my house and do a mid-day visit to check on my dogs. They are used to me being home and I want the same when I am gone. My expectation is that they are cared for with the same exceptional care I would provide if I were home.
My sitters go above and beyond the call of duty for everyone. Many sitters took care of one of our client’s pets while she had to travel back and forth to another state due to her husband’s illness. Another sitter, Molly picked up one of her clients at the airport and took them home because they had lost their house keys. Our sitter Nancy had spent extra time caring for one of her client’s dogs who needed his leg wrapped due to autoimmune disease. Plus, Nancy and I had to give an injection to one of the chickens since it had a respiratory infection. I can go on and on about our sitters and all the extra things they do for our clients. In addition, we offer regular dog walking in their neighborhood for clients that work long hours or have elderly pets or puppies that need care during the day.
Finally, we offer house visits for clients that do not have pets. We monitor and protect their home when they are not there. This is good for clients who have a second home or rent a vacation home for many months. Again, every visit is customized for each client and their home. We check on everything from their pool, sprinklers system, alarms, watering plants, adjust blinds, thermostat, get mail and bring in the newspaper and packages. We can stop by weekly or bi-weekly to check on your home. This is such a comfort for our clients when they are miles away.
We have dealt with water damage to a client’s home due to HOA sprinklers that damaged the inside of their home. We met with Serve Pro so they could repair the damage. We can meet with the exterminator every three months to make sure the house gets sprayed. In addition, we have an air conditioning company we work with if your AC goes out in the summer while you are away. This way, the pets are comfortable and the clients AC will be fixed before they get home.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I think our city is a great place to pet sit. We have a lot of people who travel for work and travel all year round taking vacations. I think it is a great place to be.
- Daily/ Vacation care starting at $25 per visit. The pet sitter visits for about 20-40 minutes per visit. Time is based on pets care and needs as well as your home.
- Overnight care starting at $85 a night for 10-12 hours.
- Daily dog walking starts at $25 per visit. We offer discounts for regular weekly dog walking while you are work. This is great for older dogs or puppies that can’t hold their bladder all day or dogs that are created.
- House visits – no pet’s starts at $20
- Website: www.tlcpetsitter.com
- Phone: 480-588-1364
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tlchouseandpetsitting/?ref=bookmarks
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/TLCpetsitter
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/tlc-house-and-pet-sitting-service-chandler