Life’s a Beach for Pets while Owners on Vacation
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When you’re planning your summer vacation or surfing trip there’s one more thing you need to think about besides where to stay or the waves – your pets.
While you’re away who’s going to keep an eye on your pets and make sure that they are taken care of properly?
SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel talked to Dolores Ott – a pet-sitter extraordinaire, who has turned her love of animals into a thriving business.
You couldn’t ask for a kinder or more capable pet-sitter than Ott, a widow with three children, seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, who started her pet-sitting business in Cypress nine years ago.
“I’ve always loved pets,” Ott said, eager to talk about all the pet “clients” she has taken care of over the years.
There’s Trooper, a Labrador retriever, who brings Ott’s slippers to her in the morning…along with her blouse and telephone book. “What a sweetie pie. My personal valet,” exclaimed Ott.
Bella, a Jack Russell Terrier mix, that always jumps up on a park bench during their walks… apparently assuming the bench was placed there for her to rest.
Tiffany, a beautiful, long-haired white cat as regal as her name, that insists on being fed at 5:45 a.m. every morning and meows a wake-up call to make sure that breakfast is ready.
Chi-Cha, Chili, and Pepper - three energetic Dachshunds that surprised Ott by jumping into bed with her and burrowing down into the covers at the foot of the bed where they spent the entire night.
And, who can forget Da Vinci, a surfer dog for sure – a tiny Chihuahua, whose favorite walking path is along Bayshore Drive in Belmont Shores. “He’s so tiny. His name is longer than he is,” said Ott. When the locals see him they call out “Hey, Lenny!” (short for Leonardo, of course).
The pets’ names and stories tumble forth with smiles of recollection from Ott, who believes that there really aren’t any bad pets…just nervous or scared ones. And, you can be sure that by the end of her pet-sitting visit she will have the pet cuddling on her lap or snuggling next to her.
When SurfWriter Girls Sunny and Patti visited Ott at a house where she was watching two dogs, an elusive cat that we only caught a glimpse of, and a rabbit, Ott was definitely in her element…with both dogs jumping up and down trying to “hug” her.
Before long the dogs were jumping at us, too, and we were all laughing.
To Ott the pets she cares for have become her extended family and she speaks about them just as fondly…the dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, even mice that she has been called upon to pet-sit.
Ott is so popular with her pet clientele, and their owners, that she already has bookings scheduled for next January.
And her fame has grown since she recently wrote a book about her experiences: Dolores’ Pampered Pets: The Adventures of a Professional Pet-Sitter (Wallace Publishing House).
Ott’s daughter, Lynn Cristina, said, “Mom kept telling me that she wanted to chronicle some of her pet-sitting adventures. It’s so inspiring that she did. Now she’s even speaking to groups.”
SurfWriter Girls were inspired, too. And, we made sure to ask Ott for some tips on what you should do before the pet-sitter arrives.
Dolores Ott’s Pet-Sitting Tips for Pampered Pets
1. Call the pet-sitter well in advance – good pet-sitters get booked early.
2. Ask to see referrals from other clients.
3. Have the pet-sitter meet your pets ahead of time to see how they interact.
4. Make sure the pet-sitter knows how to reach you.
5. Leave an emergency contact list with your vet’s name.
6. Write down the pets’ care and feeding instructions.
7. Explain the pets’ routines and habits.
Since embarking on her pet-sitting business, Ott has definitely gotten a new “leash” on life…and she truly is having the best time ever. “I feel very honored that people trust me with their pets. When I stay at different homes sometimes I feel like I’m a guest in a B & B…with a resident pet.”
So, book the reservations, pack your surfboard…and then give Dolores Ott a call (714- 296-0886). While you’re on vacation, she will be on vacation, too, checking in to your house, with her welcoming arms outstretched, ready to hug a new pet friend.
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