Pet Sit­ters to the Res­cue

Find­ing peace of mind when you are out of town


Go­ing away to see your grand­mother in Georgia, your brother in Bos­ton or your un­cle in Ukraine is some­thing you might be look­ing for­ward to do­ing this hol­i­day sea­son. How­ever, if you have pets, they un­doubt­edly would much more likely have you just stay home. Thanks to the fol­low­ing sam­pling of lo­cal—and lov­ing—pet sit­ters, hav­ing to go away won’t end up be­ing so trau­matic for your furry (or not-so-furry) friends. Af­ter all, your pets will be treated to “spe­cial vis­its,” reg­u­lar meals, nice walks and even maybe a good belly scratch or two.

Plus, while you’re away, you can rest as­sured that your pets are hap­pily en­sconced in the com­fort of their own homes. And you can eas­ily con­tact the pet sit­ters when you’re out of town, help­ing to make sure that you def­i­nitely en­joy your trip.

Sa­man­tha Hull­strung is the owner of Gulf­side Pet Sit­ters, and she of­fers her ser­vices in Fort Myers and on Fort Myers Beach and Sani­bel and Cap­tiva is­lands. In ad­di­tion to be­ing a pet lover and pet owner her­self, she re­ceived a Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence de­gree in wildlife ecol­ogy and con­ser­va­tion from the Univer­sity of Florida.

Hull­strung has worked with vet­eri­nar­i­ans for more than 10 years. She also has a lo­cal vet­eri­nar­ian in her fam­ily—who can be called on for any im­me­di­ate con­cerns. In ad­di­tion to dogs and cats, her pet-sit­ting ser­vice has pro­vided care for such species as birds, tur­tles, rab­bits, ro­dents and many oth­ers. She’s also taken care of spe­cial-needs pets that have med­i­cal con­cerns re­quir­ing in­sulin, sub­cu­ta­neous flu­ids or other med­i­ca­tions. “My clients feel at ease know­ing their pets can re­main in the com­fort of their own home and have some­one check­ing in on them,” Hull­strung ex­plains.

She says her clients also en­joy us­ing soft­ware that al­lows them to record in­for­ma­tion about their pets, re­quest vis­its and even view photos and jour­nals from each pet-sit­ting visit.

Hull­strung of­fers a pet taxi ser­vice and a de­liv­ery ser­vice, and even will ac­cept overnight pet-sit­ting po­si­tions. She’s a mem­ber of Pet Sit­ters In­ter­na­tional and is cer­ti­fied through the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Pro­fes­sional Pet Sit­ters.

Of­fer­ing pet-sit­ting ser­vices in Bonita Springs is Michelle Manta, owner of Michelle’s Pet Sit­ting, which has been pro­vid­ing in-home pet sit­ting and dog walk­ing for more than 15 years. “We spe­cial­ize in spe­cial needs, se­niors and pets with be­hav­ioral is­sues,” ex­plains Manta, who works with a num­ber of lo­cal res­cue groups.

If needed, Manta can ad­min­is­ter med­i­ca­tions and give flu­ids and in­jec­tions. She also com­mu­ni­cates with “par­ents” by send­ing photos or up­dat­ing them with in­for­ma­tion on how their pet is do­ing while they are away.

In ad­di­tion to car­ing for dogs and cats, Michelle’s Pet Sit­ting also can pet sit for other types of animals, such as farm animals, small mam­mals and rep­tiles. Vis­its can be sched­uled on­line. Michelle’s Pet Sit­ting is in­sured and bonded through Pet Sit­ter As­so­ci­ates.

Pets ’n’ Homes of­fers ser­vices for all kinds of pets in the greater Cape Coral area. Owned by Les­ley Sta­ples and Ray Asper, their busi­ness is li­censed and in­sured. They also per­form house­hold tasks while pet own­ers are away, such as bring­ing in the mail, tak­ing out the garbage and turn­ing lights off and on. If needed, Sta­ples and Asper will take pets to the groomer, obe­di­ence classes or shop for sup­plies.

While find­ing the right pet sit­ter takes some time and re­search, once a good match is found, your time away won’t feel so long for you or your pet.

Gulf­side Pet Sit­ters of­fers ser­vices for all kinds of pets in Fort Myers and on Fort Myers Beach, Sani­bel and Cap­tiva.

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