New Canaanites provide professional pet care
Take a look around town sometime, and you'll a diverse group of canines that are just as diverse as the people who live here.
The dogs of New Canaan are a mixed bunch, ranging from Beagles to retrievers, Schnauzers to Dachshunds. Let's not get started on the varied arrangement of mixed breeds -- have you seen the Golden Doodles and the Maltipoos?
New Canaan residents love their dogs, and a town couple has started a pet sitting business devoted to letting dog owners rest assured when they can't be home to take care of them.
Started in 2009 by Jackie and David Pettibone, Spoiled Pets CT is meant to be a traveling service that allows dogs and other pets to be pampered in their own home, rather than being subjected to the loneliness and health hazards of commercial kennels.
"We like to keep dogs in their natural environment and to keep their daily routines," said Jackie Pettibone.
A lifelong lover of animals, the business was a dream for Jackie, a veterinary technician since graduating Norwalk High School in 1998. While she worked in animal hospitals she learned the ropes of animal care, helping out with surgeries and bandaging hurt animals.
"Unlike people, they can't tell you what hurts," she said. "Over time, you get to know them and you can figure out if it's a paw, or if that look they are giving you means they have a tummy ache."
She met her husband, David, while he was working as a salesman at Napa Auto Parts, across the street from the animal hospital she worked at about eight years ago.
"She took really good care of my cat, and the rest is history," he said.
Pet sitting is something Jackie said she always did on the side, and she said she and David decided to take a jump and start a business together taking care of animals. Today, the couple visit an average of four to six houses a day, and during busy holidays and school vacations can have up to 18 clients in a single day.
"We're up really early and we go to bed very late," she said. "Animals are always happy to see you and that's what makes it so much fun. They are relying on you so it makes you just want to get there."
Spoiled Pets currently makes house calls to clients in Norwalk, New Canaan, Stamford, Darien and Wilton, but they hope hire more employees and expand to Westchester as well. Prices start at around $25 per visit for up to three pets, and prices go up on a sliding scale depending on the number of pets and visits per day, and depending on services provided. Overnight stays are available starting at $65 per night. Each visit is a minimum of 30 minutes, and includes a walk or playtime in the yard, fresh water and feeding. Also, a security check of the house and getting the mail are services that can be arranged.
"It's a security to know that someone's in the house as well as checking on the pets," Jackie Pettibone said. "Especially with this past winter we've had, it's been a peace of mind for them."
Dogs aren't the only pets they have sat for. Hedgehogs, birds, bearded dragons, reptiles, fish, rats, and donkeys all need TLC as well as dogs, and the couple has seen their share. Some pet owners go as far as insisting that Fido go for a walk only in a stroller and others want special booties or wax applied to protect their dog's feet.
"In this town you get to meet some real interesting people who love their pets as if they were their kids," she said.
To reach Spoiled Pets CT, call Jackie and Dave Pettibone at 203-219-7084, or visit spoiledpetsct.com.