Saturday, June 29, 2013

Pet-Sitter Pampers Pets

Life’s a Beach for Pets while Owners on Vacation

Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to the following copyrighted material. For permission to reprint or excerpt it and/or link it to another website, contact them at  

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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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Summer Solstice – A Time to Celebrate Surfing!

International Surfing Day Makes Waves

Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to the following copyrighted material. For permission to reprint or excerpt it and/or link it to another website, contact them at  

Since ancient times people have celebrated Summer Solstice – the first day of summer and the longest day of the year – with observances recognizing the power and importance of the sun.

In their own nod to the sun, surfers around the world kicked off the Summer Solstice on June 20 this year with a day recognizing the joys of surfing, International Surfing Day. 

(Video courtesy of Tremble Media)

An annual event started in 2005 by Surfing Magazine and the Surfrider Foundation, International Surfing Day (ISD) was created so that surfers could come together in celebration of this great sport and to give something back to the oceans and beaches.

In Huntington Beach Surfrider’s Huntington/Seal Beach Chapter and Newport Beach Chapter joined forces to celebrate the day.

The Surfrider Global team – Laura Lee, Alexis Henry, Ian Swanson and Kyle Lishok – was on hand, too, lending support and signing up new members. 

The community was invited to come and join in paddle-outs, yoga, beach cleanups... 


and enjoy the music of Tommy Clay.

Surf industry leaders and sponsors set up pop-up tents on the sand.

Tony Soriano, Surfrider’s H/SB Chapter Chairperson, was everywhere – setting up tents, organizing beach cleanups, working with U.S. Open of Surfing announcer Rockin' Fig,  and making sure that everyone had a good time.

The Shorebreak Hotel joined in the festivities, as well, with refreshments at its Zimzala restaurant.   

Alexis Henry and Pro surfer Alex Gray, who represents Volcom, Channel Islands, and Body Glove, greeted everyone.

Started with just a handful of local observances in the United States, ISD has expanded to more than 200 events in 30 countries worldwide.

More than just a day for fun, ISD helps to clean up our environment. Alex and Norma Sellers, co-chairs of Surfrider’s Huntington Beach Butts Out campaign, were especially glad to see all the cigarette butts being removed from the beach. 

“Part of the beauty of International Surfing Day is that people everywhere can celebrate and give back,” said Surfrider Foundation Global Director of Marketing & Communications Laura Lee. “Whether that’s paddling out for the very first time, sneaking in a quick session with friends or picking up trash at your local beach, ISD is as big as you make it.”

Tony Jones, the owner of Coral Reef Wetsuits, pointed out how far surfing has come since George Freeth introduced the sport in Southern California when he surfed at the Huntington Beach Pier in 1914 and started the first lifeguard association. 

Surfing has grown to a billion-dollar industry and become part of the world’s culture with surfing images, expressions, music, fashion and art integrated into the daily lives of surfers and non-surfers alike.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel agree that surfing is definitely a sport to celebrate – on its own special day…or any day.

So, as the 5th Dimension sang in their chart-busting 1960s hit, “Let the Sun Shine!” 

The Summer Solstice surfing party is just getting started!

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