Last Update for this page:  12/13/2005 08:29:03 AM

Little Pupper Pampers Pets

Hamsters and birdies and dogs, oh yes!

By Jennifer Prentiss

December 2, 2005 - Eight years ago Mary Ellison fell in love with her brother's dog, a Wheaten Terrier named Harry. She cared for the dog when he brother went out of town, and little by little other people asked her to take care of their pets as well. A slow transition between working at a doctor's office and owning a pet sitting company happened over several years, and since January of 2004, Mary has been working full time as a pet sitter with her company, The Little Pupper.


"I have developed a great clientele," said Mary, mostly by word of mouth and personal references. She is also a member of Pet Sitters International and is part of their pet sitter locator service.


Mary cares for almost any type of animal, from dogs and cats to hamsters and birds. She has had some limited experience with horses, but is able and willing to take those on as well. She will exercise animals or house sit and care for pets while the owners are out of town for any period of time.


"However people take care of their pets, I try and do the same for them," Mary said. "I have a different relationship with all of the animals." She will cook food for animals, prepare it raw or cooked, kibble or turkey necks.


"I try to indulge them," explained Mary. She is so popular with her animal clients that they often display jealous behaviors, nosing each other out of the way when she comes to visit.


The hallmark of Mary's service is that she is completely prepared. She drives a truck filled with every supply she might need, from a first aid kit and kennel, to bowls, towels, leads and tennis balls. She has a detailed contract she fills out with every client, and asks many questions ahead of time down to the last detail.


"Some of my clients wonder why I need all that specific information," explains Mary, "But I've been caught before in a situation that was a surprise, and I like to see these things coming." It seems Mary was house sitting for a client on an early Sunday morning when a crew of eight Russian roofers showed up and started tearing off the roof of the house. The clients had forgotten to inform her of this, but it was resolved as soon as she phoned them.


"Since then I ask every possibility that I can thing of," laughed Mary, "Otherwise, people get a lot of phone calls." Once the information is in her files, she doesn't need to ask it again.


Mary believes in preventing accidents and health issues, and is very cautious with the pets.


"Even if the owners say I can take the dogs off-leash and let them run, I usually wait until I've known the dog for more than six months, and then have a discussion with the owner to double-check if it's okay," said Mary. "I make sure they have a great time and good exercise, but I don't want accidents to happen on my watch."


No surprises for Mary Ellison.

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 Last Update for this page:  12/13/2005 08:29:03 AM

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