Q. Describe the most common types of jobs you do for your clients.
A. Half hour and one hour dog walking in your neighborhood and visits to Richmond Beach, Edmonds dog park and local neighborhood parks. I've worked with puppies, senior dogs and many cats. I love dogs who need to RUN and love water!
Q. What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
Use your head and your instincts. Check out provider websites and their business coverage so you can be assured that they are serious about the care and security that they have put in place to protect your pet and your home.
Q. As a customer, what do you wish you knew about my trade?
A dog walker and pet sitter at your home needs to be totally trusted to do their job and respect every aspect of your household. You don't want to worry while you're away on vacation about what's happening. Getting a webcam set up (so you can see your pet when you want to) and providing your pet sitter with Dropbox access to the webcam is a good idea.
Q. What important information should buyers have thought through before seeking you out?
I have had a background check and reviewing my website will give you an idea of who I am and what I think about. See twitter @AnnieWalkTalk
Q. Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?
My first goal is to connect with your pet and get to know them in our initial Meet & Greet which is a free consult. I am very flexible so if you have last minute plans give me a call.
Q. What do you like most about your job?
In reference to pets, I love to learn who they are and what makes their day. Their personalities, unique attitudes, and behaviors are fascinating and fun to work with. I also enjoy reinforcing their owner's unique gestures and commands and helping out with a little training. Pet's have individual intelligence and intuition that they share with me and I am honored to be their friend. Every day I drink in changes in the vegetation, gardens, and birds as the season's change and my dog friends enjoy the changes in the smells too!
Q. Do you like cats?
A. Yes, I have had cats for years in my own life and I love to give them special attention. I work with many wonderful cats!
Q. Do you house sit?
A. Yes, I ask what you have in mind and then we go from there. I have two small dogs and they come with me so we have to be sure the chemistry is right for your pets first.
Q. Are you licensed and bonded with a background check?
A. Yes, through Pet Sitters International and Axiom.
Q. Do you have a favorite story from your work?
A. One of my first clients went on a 10 day Hawaiian Vacation in January and I took care of their pet family. A 3-month-old Golden Lab and her 7-year-old non-related brother along with two cats. The puppy was fun and rambunctious. One day they were playing with my mini yellow football that was missing some air so it was softer than normal. I captured a photo of them and posted "Deflate-Gate" a new game for dogs who love an easy catch!
My life is also devoted to healthier pets so I represent pawTree which has customized nutrition plans for dogs and cats. My online website is an easy way for us to get started. For personal consulting register here. www.pawTree.com/AnniesWalkandTalk. I have helped innumerable pet parents help their dogs and cats. It’s been very rewarding to see the positive changes that occur and reading all of the testimonials from happy pet parents.
Q. What do you wish customers knew about you or your profession?
A. Be careful of low rates as they can be an indicator of personal confidence and experience. Low rates are also not conducive for pet businesses as they do not ensure the business model can be maintained and profitable. You may lose a pet walker when you need them the most.
Q. How did you decide to get in your line of work?
A. I have a special affinity for animals. And I have had experiences with a knowingness about horses that is exceptional. After a successful sales career, I simplified and downsized my life so that I could be independent of the corporate world. Many of my friends encouraged me to start a Pet business and so I did! Launched December 2014.
Q. Tell us about a recent job you did that you are particularly proud of.
A. A pair of darling Springer Spaniels one of which pulled you along on their leash and one who wanted to play ball but didn't want to drop it. Situation solved with gentle repetitive clicker teaching and a few luscious healthy treats. Now they wag their tails and are very happy about learning how to please me and learn new tricks.
B. A 10-year-old Black Lab who was diagnosed with Diabetes. Izzy was overweight, had a dull coat, lethargy, sad eyes and was in bad shape. I’ve given her insulin shots while the owner is away. The pet parents started her on pawTree and within a couple of months, she had changed dramatically. Alert bright eyes, had lost weight, her coat was shiny and her energy was much better!
Q. Do you do any sort of continuing education to stay up on the latest developments in your field?
A. In the fall of 2014, I took a course from a successful pet business owner and learned a lot about the pet business and a great review about dog behavior. Mid-January I took the SeattleCPR Pet first aid and CPR class and became Certified. Certification is good for two years. I continue to take animal training & behavior classes. I was curious about Pet Tudor Remote Training System and took the 5-hour class on February 8th, 2015 with my dog. pawTree has continuous weekly training and personal development.
Q. What are the latest developments in your field? Are there any exciting things coming in the next few years or decade that will change your line of business?
A. The understanding of animal and pet intelligence and behavior is moving along with lightning speed and we are gaining a new respect for them. Some of the newest product innovations have been added to pawTrees' product line, for example, Green Lipped Mussels.
Q. If you have a complicated pricing system for your service, please give all the details here.
A. Totally transparent on my website www.annieswalkandtalkdoggies.com
Q. If you were advising someone who wanted to get into your profession, what would you suggest?
A. Do your homework and know that Pet sitting is a serious business where you are responsible for pet lives and your clients' long-term satisfaction.
Q. What is your greatest strength?
A. I have an affinity for animals and they know it right away.
Q. What are you currently working on improving?
A. As a new business owner, I am making new relationships and networking every day to find pet owners who want to help improve their pet's health and happiness and believe in what I do. I'm constantly seeking out classes to build my knowledge and am actively involved in Co-chairing the Puget Sound Pet Business Network and a member of BNI Synergy Business Alliance in Edmonds, WA.