Q. Describe the most common types of jobs you do for your clients.
A. Most of the time I pet-sit for cats, or for dogs whose owners are away for a short period of time. I have a few regular dog-walks scheduled. Every so often, I get hired to do training.
Q. What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A. I think you should interview several pet-sitters, dog-walkers and trainers before you settle on someone you like. Read their Web sites, ask for references, and judge for yourself in person who would be the best fit for you pet as well as for your wallet.
Q. Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?
A. I graduated from Moorpark College's Exotic Animal Training and Management program in 2008 with an AS in Exotic Animal Care, an AS in Animal Training, and an AS in Wildlife Education. A portion of my proceeds will go to help fund a non-profit Wildlife Education and Rescue center, so that wild animals that can't be released back into the wild due to injury or habitat loss can be used to help educate the public about wildlife, behavior, and ecology. I have worked with all kinds of animals, including tarantulas, rats, tortoises, iguanas, dogs, cats, finches, parrots, cockatoos, macaws, hawks, eagles, turkey vultures, coatis, raccoons, cougars, spider monkeys, capuchins, siamangs, and baboons. I have been trained in basic veterinary care and animal first aid. I am insured for pet-sitting and dog-walking.
Q. What do you like most about your job?
A. Working with animals, of course! My favorite thing to do is train. I have trained my cats to sit on command, to target, and to sit up and beg. I trained a client's cat to sit and also jump on command. I trained a client's dog to give a high-five. Even if you hire me just to pet-sit or walk your dog, I try to work in some basic behavior training because it's not only fun for me, it's fun and enriching for your pet.
Q. What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A. I get asked a lot about what to do with a cat that urinates outside the litter box. You can find my answer on the Helpful Tips page of my Web site: http://artemisanimaltraining.com/tips.html. I also get asked which I think is better: boarding a dog or having a pet-sitter come over several times a day. My answer depends on several factors. How long are you going to be away? More than a few days, and you should definitely board your dog. Does your dog have a history of destroying things in your house? If yes, then you should definitely board your dog. Does your dog have access to the yard or to a litter box (if litter-trained) at all times? If no, then you might want to board your dog, depending on its age and how many times the pet-sitter is going to visit in a day. Then you also need to consider your dog's age and temperament. Some dogs are unsuitable for boarding (aggressive dogs, dogs that are too young, nervous dogs). For those dogs, you definitely want to spring for a pet-sitter. If you contact me, I can give you advice on how best to set your dog up for a successful, stress-reduced home stay while you are away.