This is Steve and Amanda, two of DogBuddy’s top sitters. They joined DogBuddy in late 2013 and their business has since then flourished and grown to become one of the most popular in the DogBuddy Community. This shows in their 50(!) 5-star reviews they’ve received from their clients.
We caught up with Steve to find out how it all started (and don’t miss the cute pups they’ve been taking care of!) in our interview below.
What services do you provide on DogBuddy?
We provide Dog Boarding ranging from a one night stay to several weeks if required. We also offer Doggy Day Care, but only if we have no boarding guests at the time.
Lorenzo looking not too happy that his brother Mert has sat on him to be near Amanda
How did you get started in dog care?
I have been involved in dog care from a young age. As well as always having had our own dogs, several members of my family have worked in the Greyhound racing industry for many years, so dogs have always played a big part in my life. Whilst at college, I even had a little part-time job working weekends at a boarding kennels. Fast-forward several years, and I found myself working from home (writing quizzes for pubs), but no dog of our own as I had to work away several times a year, so unable to commit to full-time dog ownership. In late 2013 we were asked if we were able to look after our friend’s two Shih Tzu girls Bunny and Birdie. I loved having the girls around to keep me company, and welcomed going for walks, giving me a valuable break from my computer screen.
After the girls went home, it didn’t take me long to realise how much they were missed. With this in mind, I started doing some research on the internet, and came across the DogBuddy website. Once I’d gone through the registration process and been vetted (excuse the pun), I posted up some photos of our house and the garden, and wrote a brief description on my profile page. To be totally honest, I didn’t expect to hear anything, but within a few days, we had our first enquiry. It was to take care of a very loving Doberman called Dexter, over Christmas and the New Year. We were up and running, and straight in at the deep end!
Dexter’s owners were very concerned, as they had put Dexter in kennels in the past, and he found them distressing. After a few hours with us, Dexter settled in, and became part of the family. His owner was ecstatic to see how healthy and happy he was during his stay with us.
BFF’s: Steve and Dexter – their first DogBuddy guest
After Dexter went home, the bookings began to flood in. Our next guest was a gorgeous Labrador called Max, he stayed for five weeks, whilst his owner was in America. Max was great company, and enjoyed our long walks, even though he was on daily medication for a bone condition. The booking enquiries were going crazy by now, and haven’t stopped. Many of our owners have re-booked with us, and it’s always lovely to see our guests return.
What do you enjoy the most about being a dog sitter?
I now have company during the daytime, as Amanda works full time.
Having a dog around gives me a healthy distraction, and brightens up my day.
Exercising the dogs is also welcome exercise for me.
All the money we have earned from dog sitting has been spent on the house.
Can you tell us about a story involving one of your doggy guests?
One of our regular guests is Barney, a lovely Springer Spaniel. Like most dogs, Barney has a favourite toy, a stuffed Father Christmas doll. Every time he’d stay, he’d play with his beloved Father Christmas. During one stay last Summer, Barney’s doll went missing! I looked everywhere for it when his owner came to pick him up, but couldn’t find it, I even thought Barney may have buried it. I assured Barney’s owner that when the toy turned up, i’d return it to him. After several more monthly visits from Barney, the Father Christmas was still nowhere to be seen. Eventually, it occurred to me that Barney’s toy must have been taken by a passing fox during the night, as by now, a few of our Kongs had gone missing from the patio too.
Before we knew it December had arrived, and we had Jock and Sheba (Jack Russell’s) staying with us. As I awoke on Christmas morning, I did what i’d done every previous Christmas morning that I can remember: I opened the blinds to see if it had snowed overnight. Not a snowflake in sight, but there, in the middle of the garden, lay a very dirty Father Christmas. Barney’s Father Christmas. The fox had decided to bring it back, after six months, on Christmas morning! Who’d have thought that foxes celebrate Christmas?! After putting his doll though the washing machine, Barney was finally reunited with his favourite toy.
Barney and his beloved toy!
What can clients expect when they leave their pooch with you?
We don’t have a resident dog of our own, so we make sure that our guests become part of our family as soon as they arrive. I think they like the fact that they have us all to themselves. We always check with the owners if their dogs are allowed on the furniture at home, as we aim to replicate their home surroundings as closely as possible. If they are allowed, we encourage them to sit on the sofa with us for cuddles. As I work from home during the day, there is always company for our doggy lodgers. I always take our guests out for a morning walk at 8.15am, at the same time that my wife leaves for work. The route I take very much depends on the dog’s requirements, we’ve had a 17 year old Staffy that just needed a little potter around the garden, through to a 2 year old Labradoodle who would walk for miles. At the rear of our house we have a fenced patio area, where the dogs can go in and out when they please. I always work downstairs in the warmer months, and the patio doors are left open. We also have a 130 foot garden, and I often take out a coffee, sit on the bench at the end of the garden, and let the dogs have a good sniff around. I’ve also become an expert at throwing a tennis ball!
Amanda and Peanut
Why do you think dog boarding is a good option?
I always encourage owners to bring their dog’s bedding and favourite toys, as i’m sure that this makes our doggy guests feel more at ease right from the start. Being in the home environment is a lot less stressful than being in a caged kennel. In my opinion, it’s the difference between going on holiday and staying in a lovely hotel, or going to prison for a few weeks. We are fortunate to live in a very quiet close, so there’s never any traffic noise, and none of our immediate neighbours own dogs either, so we never get ‘bark-off sessions’ over the fence. We have no other pets in the house, so it seems to be a very calm environment for our doggy guests to stay in.
To contact Steve and Amanda and to read their smashing reviews, visit their profile HERE!