If you've ever come home after a long, tough day at work and felt that overwhelming stressful fog melt away with the wag of a tail and a heartfelt lick, odds are you're a dog owner. Pets are good for their humans, they increase mental and physical well-being, and provide an irreplaceable sense of companionship. Research studies have proven that the simple act of stroking a pet, during times of stress and rest, can help lower both blood pressure and cholesterol.
Empirical evidence aside, cause no one really needs a study to tell them how they feel about their trusted shadow, our pets matter to us in immeasurable ways. A dog can make a house a home and becomes an important part of the family.
Time away from your home, whether it's for work or a much needed vacation, can be a source of stress, particularly when it comes to ensuring proper care for your fur baby.
Just like parents interviewing daycares and potential babysitters, finding the right fit for pet care that will suit your family needs can be exhausting and overwhelming. Online resources can help clients find listings of available pet sitting services, but there is no way to really judge the quality, or proper fit until you learn about the services provided. These three Toronto based pet services can take the guess and stress out of the next time you need to take a few days away from Old Fido.
Shari’s Menagerie – Toronto East Services
Owner Shari Misner-Ghosh quit her corporate job two years ago to pursue her passion, animals, and spent quite a while creating Shari’s Menagerie, servicing pet owners on the Danforth, Riverdale, Riverside, and Leslieville. Shari wanted a strong company that focused on both her love of animals and cultivated her respect for animals and their wellbeing.
For dog sitting services family pets can either come into Shari’s home or she can go to the client. Shari prides herself on providing one-on-one attention to her barking boarders by only taking a maximum of two animals in her home at any time, all while focusing on the routines and wishes of their owners.
When dogs stay here we may make them plain scrambled eggs for a breakfast treat on occasion (with owner’s approval)! They really are an extension of my family and bring me such joy!
In addition to boarding Shari’s offers pet daycare, pet taxi and dog walking services as well as care for anxious, diabetic and other special needs animals.
Before agreeing to take on a pet, Shari meets with the owner and pet in their home for a minimum of an hour to ensure the right fit.
When caring for a family pet I take pictures and send regular updates to families to ensure the family has an accurate and up-to-date snapshot of how their animal is doing while they are under my care.
A typical day of boarding at Shari’s includes lots of play time, a minimum of 3 walks, pee breaks, simple training practices (recall,sit, stay, etc.) and plenty of sleep time on a big pile of blankets, or if permitted by the owners, on the couch or bed!
Shari's client Kelly says her dog had some anxiety issues and meeting new people is often a stressful experience for him, but this was not the case at Shari's Menagerie:
Shari took the time to get to know our little dog well ahead of him boarding with her, and she was incredible. So patient and friendly, Shari took great care with making sure the first meeting went smoothly. I felt great about boarding Tim with her. Our dog had a great time staying with Shari, and we will definitely use her again!! Plus - lots of photos to help us feel comfortable with our boy being away from home.
Shari is a Certified Dog Walker, has completed two rounds of pet first aid this year and is fully insured.
For 24 hour dog care at Shari’s Menagerie rates start at $50.00.
About A Dog – Toronto West End
Located in Bloor West, About a Dog has been in business for just over five years, offering pet boarding, visits, doggy daycare, pack walking, solo walking, training and more. Owner Nicky Diaz began working with pets from a young age with uncles who are vets, and literally "grew up" with packs of dogs.
For pet sitting Nicky boasts services including staying at the client’s house, or the dogs staying with her.
This is a dog house and we like to be the extra part of the family. When your water breaks at 3AM we will pick up your dog and take care of it. I take it upon myself to go above and beyond.
When beginning with a new client Nicky schedules a 30 minute meeting for the owner and pet to make sure that it’s the right fit for everyone. Nicky aims to really let owners see their dog accept and connect with her, to put them at ease. Clients know that the sitting service is not a kennel, that there is a yard so she can spend a lot of time outside with the dogs. Nicky's clients are longterm clients:
I've had some dogs that are older or a little more spirited, but I am able to provide personalized care. I won't host aggressive dogs at my place, but I've never had to turn a client away. I have a lot of my clients from my dog walking service stay with me, so it's usually people and dogs I work with on a regular basis.
About a Dog client Drew says she's very comfortable leaving her pet with Nicky:
Your dog becomes part of your family and you're always a little nervous to leave them for a couple of nights. When Jovi is with Nicky, we know that she is going to get plenty of attention, constantly be playing with other dogs and come home exhausted. I don't think there's a better combination for any dog owner.
Because of her previous background working with her veterinary uncles she is able to notice things for clients to help them identify illness in their pets early. She is also confident caring for higher needs dogs who require shots and medicine while in her care.
Nicky trains all staff personally, having them stay with her for a few days to see what the routine is. For dog walkers she provides over three months of training, and hires only staff with animal experience and who really love working with animals. Everyone at About a Dog completes pet first aid training, which is renewed annually. They are licensed and insured. Nicky and her staff make dog safety a high priority.
The cost for 24 hour care is $45, $55 during holidays. Clients in need of a longer term care may be able to negotiate a slight discount for care.
To find out more about booking with About a Dog click here.
Barking Along - Toronto North York
Barking Along is among the pioneers of local pet care, having provided quality services to Toronto (and surrounding areas) since 1990. They attribute their longevity to quality services, where no corners are cut! Clients can hire Barking Along for pet sitting within the clients home, doggy daycare, walks or boarding services.
Owner Aviva Chepurny and staff make sure that the critters under their care are able to acclimatize to boarding before being left for a longer period of time to make things easier for both the dog and owner, just as you would for a child entering nursery school for the first time.
Sometimes if we have a pet that has serious separation anxiety and has never slept away from home. We start them with small visits, and then longer visits, and then for a day, followed by an overnight visit.
As pets become a part of the family, Barking Along is proud to have had an important caregiving role:
We have clients that are second, third, and are also coming up to fourth generation of pets under our care. We have been together through puppyhood all the way through to the geriatric phase and have even on occasion gone with the client to the vet when the time has come to say goodbye aswe are truly part of their extended family.
Client Laura's a long term client and considers Aviva and Lili as good friends:
I have been associated with Barking Along through three dogs, now, and I am so glad. They are reliable, organized and always accessible. They truly love dogs, moreover they love my dogs! I have come to regard Aviva and Lili as good friends. Don’t know how I would manage without Barking Along.
Clients who want to keep their dog in the familiar territory of their family home can pay for puppy visits, which cost $20 per half hour visit at two visits per day, or board their pet for a 24 hour period for rates ranging from $45-$65 per day. Staff at Barking Along are fully bonded and insured.
Clients can "check in" with boarding pets virtually as staff make a point of sending photos personally and posting on Instagram and Facebook. Some clients want to video communicate with their pets while they’re away and Barking Along is happy to help their clients interact virtually with their pets if they want to do so.
To find out more about booking with Barking Along click here.