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Fostering Shelter Pets Leads to a Pet Sitting Enterprise

Remy Bibaud | 13 April, 2021

            Fostering Shelter Pets Leads to a Pet Sitting Enterprise

Pet Inspirations: Amber Clay, Amber's Pampered Pets

Tell our readers about your company.

My name is Amber Clay and I am the owner of Amber’s Pampered Pets in South Bend, Indiana. We offer daily dog walks, vacation care, overnight care, barn care, reptile care, pet errands, and hotel care, and are happy to accommodate any pet care needs! I myself work more on the admin side these days since I am busy chasing after my 1 year old and 4 year old human children! I have 24 sitters out caring for our client’s furry babies all day long!

When did you get into this line of work or how long have you been in this position?

I started APP in the summer of 2002. It first started with caring for the pets of a fellow volunteer at our local no kill shelter. Then it shifted to caring for the rescue dogs and cats once they went to their forever homes. That was amazing - to be a part of their lives at the start, seeing them come into the shelter, sometimes in rough shape, and then seeing them blossom and be spoiled in their new forever homes!

As my pet sitting business grew, I also started cleaning a horse barn from early morning to afternoon every day. I gained a lot of horse care knowledge through this job (and muscle from all the hard work). I still have a love for cleaning barns and now have a horse of my own - he even travelled with me to live and work in Texas on a ranch for a year in 2013! 

Amber's Pampered Pets Logo - Pet Sitters

What is unique or special about your brand?

It’s always been important to me to take on the animals that weren’t necessarily “easy.” We often care for the pets that have behavioral issues or medical needs. We work with a lot of rescue homes, so it’s not uncommon for us to care for a home that might have 10+ dogs, 20+ cats, horses, chickens, goats, or other unique animals. I’ve always wanted to be the sitter that would help when no one else would.

Did you have a pet that inspired you to start your business/product/service? 

Yes, my sweet pup, Bear, inspired me to give back to the rescue world, and I pushed hard to grow my business to be able to support and care for him. He was new at the animal shelter, and was very depressed to be there. I had the opportunity to take him on a field trip, and from that day on, he picked me as his person.

I was committed to adopting him and caring for him. He was extremely dog aggressive so I expected to never be able to have another dog while I had him. However, the minute he saw ShyAnn, a sweet blonde pit mix, he loved her. Through my work at the shelter, I learned how to properly be a leader and I was able to retrain Bear to be social. He ended up being the best dog for my foster dogs to learn from and he was always the little tiny chihuahua’s favorite bed to cuddle up on.

Do you have a pet or pets that join you at work, and if so, what are their names and roles?

I currently do not bring any of my pups to client homes. They are certainly all keeping me company while I am working from home on the admin side though!  We currently have 6 of our own (Seven, Loki, Olive, Pickles, Daisy, and Coco) and one foster dog, Joey.

How does your product or service help pets and pet parents?

Our top goal is to provide pet parents with peace of mind.

Being a pet parent myself, I know how much it means to me when my staff care for my pets and I can rest assured they are keeping a watchful eye on my home, my baby’s health and happiness, and are communicating with each of my pets (and me) if any issues were to arise. I want all of our clients to have that same comfort in knowing we are fully committed to making sure we are on top of things and they can relax!

What challenges have you faced in running your company or growing your brand? How did you overcome them?

I would say the biggest challenge is finding sitters that meet my standards and have a heart for this line of work in order to continue to provide consistent care for the growing number of clients we have. I am always on the hunt for sitters that will represent my company in the way that people have come to expect from our reputation. I am always researching different tools for streamlining communication and ways to improve our communication with sitters and improve our quality of care for clients.

What are the top 3 pieces of advice concerning your field of expertise that could benefit a pet’s and/or pet parent’s life?

When choosing a pet sitter, I highly recommend asking for proof of insurance. All professional sitters will carry liability insurance. It’s important to make sure you are protected!

Another thing to ask them about is their backup plan. What happens if they get into a car accident and cannot continue caring for your pets. At APP, we always have a backup plan - if your sitter is in an accident, the backup sitter is able to access the same care notes the primary sitter had, get the backup key from the safe, and continue care seamlessly.

 And third, I would strongly recommend using a sitter that uses GPS tracking for their visits. It’s important to keep them accountable. This also helps greatly reduce scheduling errors and gives you extra peace of mind.

Where can someone get information or access the products or services discussed?

Our website is www.amberspamperedpets.com. We also have an Instagram page and a Facebook page!  We love posting pictures of our adorable clients!

Any parting words or thoughts in general? Don’t forget your Call to Action Here

I know it can be difficult to have a stranger in your home, but it is our goal to quickly become family. We are committed to providing the best care and we cannot wait to add more precious pets to our APP family. As a small local business, we are so grateful for the support of our community! 

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