Marita Linde’s clients are a breed apart.
They often show their appreciation by licking her face. Some drool and rub against her legs. One even oinks.
“I’m not afraid of any animal,” says a smiling Linde, who operates a new pet services business.
“I’ve taken care of a hedgehog, budgies, rats, hamsters, bunnies and someone even asked me to look after their sugar glider.”
Sugar gliders are tiny marsupials that resemble squirrels. Linde fed it in its cage at its owner’s house but it’s one client she didn’t actually see.
“It just hid away in the cage the entire time.”
Awesome Paws Pet Services will care for any type of pet, although most of the business comes from dog walking and boarding.
Linde uses her own large house and fenced backyard to board dogs. On the day I was there, a 160-pound mastiff named Diesel, a little Chihuahua/shih tzu mix named Bella, and a rescue dog named Lexi were boarding at Awesome Paws. They joined Linde’s own two Chihuahuas and together the five dogs had the run of the house and yard.
Three rabbits were due to arrive the next day.
For $30 a day, dogs can board with Linde and receive two walks each day.
“I’m competitively priced with other pet services in our area,” she said. “I think I’m getting a lot of referrals and repeat customers because the animals aren’t in kennels here. They can relax and be around me in my home.”
There are no children in Linde’s house but partner Kipp lives there and helps out.
Linde, 29, fell into the new venture last year after she left a stressful job at a greenhouse.
She went online to find work and came across Sophisticated Dog, owned by Tracy Wood. Linde was hired as a dog walker by Wood and two months later decided to start her own pet boarding service.
The two women now have a reciprocal deal in Wood refers boarding to Linde and Linde refers dog walking requests to Wood.
Awesome Paws started with a single dog at Linde’s home and quickly grew to a full-time endeavor.
“I’m nearly booked solid right now. This is the busiest it’s been,” she said.
Not only does Linde board dogs and small animals at her house, she will also pet-sit in other people’s homes.
For $25 a day, she will visit a house, feed and care for the pets twice a day for 30 minutes at a time. Packages are available and longer jobs cost less per day. Linde will also bring in the mail and water plants while pet-sitting.
Most are cats.
“Cats can’t board with me,” she explained. “They prefer their own space.”
To contact Awesome Paws Pet Services, call Marita Linde at 519-312-6852 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Awesome Paws also has a Facebook page.
Got an interesting business story? Contact Cathy at email@example.com or call 226-932-0985.