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Pet sitter interview: Brenda Janner, Beg n Bark Pet Sitting

Posted Apr 23 2009 12:34am

Brenda and Pippino, a pet sitting client

I spoke with Brenda Janner, owner of Beg n Bark Pet Sitting in Princeton, NJ, a few weeks ago about some of the things she believes are important in running her pet care business. I was especially impressed with the emphasis she puts on education…for her employees as well as clients. So I asked her to share some of her business practices, and here’s what she had to say.

What prompted you to start your pet sitting business?

I got into petsitting in order to help people with their pet needs. I had no clue how many people out there needed help, but there is a big need and they tend to look to pet sitters for pet advice in general. Beg n Bark Petsitting is about caring for pets, we do dog walking, overnights, cat visits, dog or puppy training, pet CPR classes, and canine massage.

We take watching other people’s pets seriously, one never knows what kind of first aid can develop while watching a pet. We take classes for Pet CPR And First Aid (through Pet Tech and the Red Cross ) to stay informed about the latest issues, and other classes to learn more about pet information to educate the public.

Pet sitting can be a demanding job. What motivates you to keep going?

The need to help people with their pets–the work is hard and does get very busy at times, but I keep in mind that these people out there trust us with their pets and we want to do the best job for them and their pets. I have heard stories from pet owners who have had bad experiences with other companies and I would like to prove to those pet owners that not every company operates the same.

What type of training do you have the pet sitters go through?

The petsitters must be trained by coming along for some stops with either myself or my office manager, Jeff. Everyone must also take a animal safety behavior course given through the Humane Society. We want to make sure everyone can read animals and their behavior and is educated about safety issues. I also have meetings a few times a year to teach everyone Pet CPR And First Aid. The petsitters like the idea of learning and feeling comfortable knowing that they can help a pet if something happens.

Do clients seek your company out because of the training you require your employees to go through?

I think so. It is reassuring for them to know if anything happens to their pet, that we have some knowledge to help them. They feel a lot more comfortable knowing we are certified in Pet CPR And First Aid. I have several clients who want to learn also, so I hold classes for them to attend as well.

What advice do you have for pet owners who use a pet sitter for the first time?

Set up a previsit with your potential pet sitter. A previsit is very important to determine the client’s needs for the pet, and the pet’s disposition. For example, if the pet is skittish or does not like other dogs, do they have anxiety when the family is gone? I suggest to pet owners who are looking for a pet sitter, to make sure that person is bonded and insured and that they have a business license. And again, make sure they will do a previsit, so they feel comfortable with who is coming into their home and caring for their pets.

What sets a good petsitting business apart from one that’s only mediocre?

A pet sitting business can have a large volume of clients, but the quality of service is what is important. Pet sitters may offer a variety of services, but they need to look at what services are needed in their area and tap into that.  Taking classes and being informed about pet issues are very important to do a good job.

We here at Beg n Bark Pet Sitting welcome education, in order for us to educate the clients and the public. We go to a pet store in our area once a month in order to demonstrate Pet CPR And First Aid and hand out pamphlets on this topic. We also have done classes for a pet bereavement organization and the local shelters. We are preparing for a class for the girls scouts next and we look forward to educating the young minds on Pet CPR And First Aid. I see unlimited possibilities for teaching everyone out there on Pet CPR And First Aid.

Thank you, Brenda!

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