Hassle-free holidays for pets and their people

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Robin's Pet Sitting gears up for holiday service

By Carol A. Clark

Los Alamos resident Robin Priestley has launched her pet sitting service just in time for the busy holiday travel season.

Now an empty nester, Priestley turned her lifelong love of animals into a vocation. Her friend, Sylvia Hush, who has made quite a success of her own pet sitting business, inspired her.

“Sylvia called one day and asked if I was interested in starting my own pet sitting service because she has almost too much business to handle. The timing was perfect because my youngest child had gone away to college, giving me the extra time and energy necessary to start the business,” Priestley said.

Priestley schedules a home visit to meet the owner and their pets during the initial service call. She gathers information regarding their preferences about feeding times and portions, doggy door and litter box locations and veterinarian and emergency names and numbers.

When pet owners leave on their trip, Priestley picks up where they left off. She visits their pets for

30 minutes at a time, once or twice daily, takes them for walks, empties their litter boxes, plays, feeds and brushes them, administers medication and provides them with lots of tender loving care, she said.

Priestley also brings in the pet owners’ newspapers and mail.

“I personally prefer pet sitters to boarding, besides being less expensive for multiple pets, I know my dogs do better when they can stay home while we are gone,” Priestley said. “They are less stressed in their own environment.”

Pets of all kinds are quite familiar in the Priestley household.

“When we first married

23 years ago, my husband Terry and I each had dogs and have continued to have dogs ever since. Over time, our family grew to include not only three children, but also cats, rabbits, hamsters and even a duck,” she said.

The menagerie, along with the Priestley’s three children have left the nest and the Priestley home has returned to the early days — occupied by just the two of them and their dogs.

“I love animals so much. Today we have Sam, our 12-year-old Collie, Charlie, 7, who is a Terrier mix and our newest addition who we got just two months ago, Ladybug, 4, who is a Collie rescue,” Priestley said.

The Priestley family moved to Los Alamos from New Jersey 10 years ago after Terry accepted a position with Los Alamos National Laboratory. Since moving here, Terry has been active in area Boy Scouts, refereeing sports, volunteering with the local Little League and is a Big Brother with the Big Brother Big Sister organization.

“Our children went through the Los Alamos school system and are better for it,” Priestley said.

Blaine, 21, is studying journalism at The University of New Mexico; Holly, 20, is a business major at New Mexico Tech and Gabe, 19, is a filmmaking student at UNM.

To find out more about Robin’s Pet Sitting and to obtain references, call 412-0099 or e-mail randtpriestley@comcast.net.