For pet owners who are going out of town or working long days, it can be nerve-wracking to ensure that your dog, cat or other animal is cared for while you are unable to do so. My Pet Sitter is a local company that helps people ensure their four-legged family members get the attention they need when their people aren’t at home.
Glen Hatchell and his wife Kelly are co-owners of My Pet Sitter, as well as My Dog Trainer.
“We’ve been in the pet-sitting business in New Tampa since 2009,” says Glen. “We used to do pet sitting and dog training as part of a franchise, but now we do the same thing as an independent small business. We changed the name of the company, but —from a client perspective — nothing else has changed.”
The Hatchells made the transition one year ago and will celebrate My Pet Sitter’s first anniversary on July 1.
Glen says the business can be summed up in one succinct phrase: “We do what our pet owners want us to do.”
Whether that’s stopping by every day while a pet’s Mom and Dad are at work, or visiting three or four times a day while the family is on vacation, My Pet Sitter is flexible to meet your needs.
For dogs, a typical visit starts with a walk. “With some dogs, we may be out on a walk for the entire visit,” Glen says. “In other cases, the dog can’t handle a 30-minute walk, so we hang out in the backyard, or they walk for 15 minutes and then we play with their toys (with them).”
While families are on vacation, some dogs get a long walk every day, while others get walked at every visit, multiple times a day. Glen says that depends upon the age and temperament of the dog, and what the owner feels is best for the animal.
Glen says the company does a lot of cat sitting as well, because cats often don’t do well in boarding situations. My Pet Sitter will come in to feed your cat, change the water and scoop the litter.
He says many client cats are very playful, so they play with them. “Other cats hide under the bed,” he says.
Glen explains that many pets they care for have special needs, including needing medications. He says they have had animals who have needed insulin shots and have even administered IV fluids to cats that needed them. He says My Pet Sitter’s staff can handle these and other challenges because of the staff’s extensive experience with the service’s many clients.
“One time we had a dog going into diabetic shock, and Kelly had to rush it to the vet,” Glen says. “The vet said if not for her quick action, the dog might not have made it.”
He says they understand things like this can happen, and they are prepared for it.
“I like to say that it’s not brain surgery, but you have to pay the same attention to detail,” Glen explains. “You’re in someone’s house taking care of one of their most valuable possessions. (Some would say they’re more like members of their family.). It’s a lot of responsibility, and we love taking on that responsibility.”
Happy Pets, Happy Owners
“One thing that’s so cool about being a pet sitter is that there’s nothing more exciting than walking into a house and seeing a dog that’s the happiest thing in the world,” Glen says. “It really is a feeling that’s so amazingly wonderful!”
He says My Pet Sitter sends updates with pictures after each visit, so clients get to see their furry best friends during the day, as they’re working or traveling.
A client named Juliana, who lives in Pebble Creek, has been using Glen and Kelly’s pet-sitting services since 2010, when she had a serious illness in her family that required her to be away from home for several months.
Juliana says that, thanks to My Pet Sitter, she had absolute peace of mind.
“They completely rescued me and my dog at that time,” she says. “I don’t know what I would have done without them. It was such a difficult time, but I would come home to a perfect dog and a perfect house.”
She adds that, no matter what she needs and when she needs it, she doesn’t hesitate to ask. “The answer is always yes with them,” she says. “They always say ‘okay.’”
Sit! Sit! Please?
In addition to My Pet Sitter, Glen and Kelly also own My Dog Training, offering training and behavioral consulting for all breeds of dogs.
Glen says that starting out as a franchise owner provided him with a lot of training, so that he would be properly educated and equipped to help clients as both a pet sitter and a dog trainer.
Although Glen says it is not required, he is certified by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers as a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA). He says he also is the only trainer in Hillsborough County to earn the CPDT-KSA (Knowledge & Skills Assessed) certification.
He says he has more than 4,000 hours of training experience and has worked with more than 3,000 dogs.
Glen also is the dog trainer (photo above) for the Humane Society of Tampa Bay on N. Armenia Ave. in south Tampa, and holds obedience classes at the shelter. He started there as a volunteer in 2010. Now, eight years later, he still volunteers, but he also is part of the paid staff, where his main responsibility is running a play group program.
“Every morning, I go through and get dogs out in the play yard so they can interact,” he says. “I get them excited about being at the shelter. We’ve had feral dogs come in and I’ve worked with them to get them socialized before they get adopted.”
He says the playgroup has had an impact on increased adoptions at the Humane Society. And, Glen’s time at the shelter has given him lots of experience to help his private clients, too, whether they are introducing new animals to each other or need help with basic obedience and behavioral issues.
In fact, he says, sometimes pet sitting can actually be a solution to some behavioral issues. “Sometimes it’s energy-related and the recommendation is that the dog needs more outlets for (his or her) energy,” he says, “so I suggest having a dog walker during the day.”
He also offers training and behavioral consulting for cats with issues in the home, such as litter box problems.
For more information about My Pet Sitter & My Dog Training, call (813) 935-7387, visit MyHomePetSitter.com, or see the ad on page 44 of this issue.