Proud Papa in Naples.
Proud Papa in Naples.
Earlier this year, you’ll remember our Event Barkers Twitter party for the PAW5 Rock ‘n Bowl, an innovative way to make eating more engaging. You pour the food right onto the paw print, it then…
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Words are not needed to explain the rapport and love between these two. This beautiful Swiss Shepherd dog is called Ghost and lives in Gorbio.
A scary aspect of cancer is that it can be easy to brush off the early warning signs and delay seeing a doctor until it’s too late. Two parents in England are grateful to their collie, Bessie, for convincing them to take their toddler to a doctor without delay. Bessie may have saved the little girl’s life.
According to Express, Philip Wood and his wife originally thought that their young daughter, Philippa simply had a normal bad bug this May. Then Bessie started acting strangely. Bessie “wouldn’t leave Philippa’s side,” said Philip. “Her behavior was totally different to how she usually is.”
That convinced the couple that something to take their two-year-old toddler to the doctor. “Because of the way the dog was acting, we knew there was something wrong,” as Philip put it. The doctor made a quick diagnosis. The toddler had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Although the diagnosis wasn’t a happy one for the parents to hear, having it made early may have saved Philippa’s life.
Read more about Bessie and Philippa.
Starting up a pet-sitting business isn’t as difficult as it may seem, but there
are several things to take into consideration. Time, commitment, and professionalism are at the top of the list. Essentially, you will be a small business owner, regardless if you hire employees or go it alone. Keeping that in mind, where does one begin in regards to starting up a business? Here are five things to consider before taking the leap.
Filing the Paperwork
Business License and/or “Doing Business As” (DBA)
Filing for a business license can be a daunting task for many, but it’s not as scary as it seems. Check with your state whether you need a business license to legally operate a pet-sitting business. They will let you know what paperwork to file to get your business off the ground.
Do you want to use your own name, or a business name? (ie. Pam’s Pet-sitting vs. Walk in the Park) If you choose to name your business, you’ll need to register that name with the appropriate authorities. This process is known as registering your “Doing Business As” (DBA) paperwork. Registering your DBA is done either with your county clerk’s office or with your state government, depending on where your business is located.
Insurance vs. no insurance
What if, while in your care, Fido bites another dog or a child? Or you accidentally break a client’s favorite antique? As a business owner, you’re liable. Accidents happen, so it’s a good idea to protect yourself. Pet-sitting insurance covers general liability, personal property, and employee accidents or dishonesty. There are several insurance companies that offer pet-sitting insurance. The cost will vary, but it’s worth it.
Keeping track of business finances
Personal checking account vs. business account
Using a personal account for your business finances affects your legal liability. If you’re a sole proprietor and combine business and personal expenses, it can be difficult for the IRS to determine if you’re a viable business. If you choose to operate from your personal account, make sure to keep track of your business and personal expenses. If your business is an LLC, partnership, or corporation, it’s crucial to have separate accounts. Failure to separate business and personal expenses can result in the owner being sued for business and corporate liabilities. Check with your bank to see what they offer in terms of small business accounts.
Privacy and professionalism
Business phone vs. personal phone
Business contacts who have access to your personal phone number can create privacy concerns. Having a separate business line gives you the ability to answer the phone and return calls in a professional manner. You can also set up business hours (although if you’re taking care of someone’s pet, I recommend being available to them at all times). If you decide to use your private number, be prepared. Clients will treat the number as a business number, and may be calling at all hours. Make sure your voice message states when you’ll be returning their calls.
Advertising & Branding
Logo, website/domain name, business cards, and flyers
Having a local and online presence is important. If you aren’t tech savvy, find someone who is that can help you. It’s also a good idea to check out your local pet-sitters to see how their websites are designed, and what they offer their clients.
Logos: Design a logo to represent your business. Your logo will brand your website, business cards, online advertising and flyers. Make sure your images aren’t copyrighted or you could be sued. You can use clip art or search for Creative Commons images online. From there, find a photo editing/designing program (PicMonkey, Fotor) and create something memorable. The possibilities are endless, have fun with it!
Website/Domain name: Depending on your business needs, a website/domain name can be free (Weebly, WordPress, Blogger) or paid (Wix, iPage, GoDaddy). Pay careful attention to introductory web hosting prices, as they will most likely increase after the first month. Again, if designing a website isn’t your thing, find someone who can help you.
Business cards and flyers: Leaving business cards and flyers with your local veterinarians, pet shops, animal-related events, shelters, and dog parks is a great way to spread the word about your business. Don’t forget to advertise in your local online directories.
With some thought and planning, starting up your own pet-sitting business is a wonderful venture. Getting involved with a pet-sitting organization to learn from others and network is a step in the right direction. Good luck!
For more in-depth information and helpful advice about starting a small business:
SBA US Small Business Administration
Clarissa Johal is the bestselling author of paranormal novels, Poppy, The Island, Voices, Struck, and Between. When she’s not writing and listening to the ghosts in her head, she runs her own pet-sitting business and volunteers at the SPCA. Author website: www.clarissajohal.com
This family of raccoons came by to eat some deer pellets and nibble on the feed block.
After my last blog on the basics of how and why a dog vomits, I realized there was a need for some shorter informational radio podcasts in which I could impart some basic information about pet health and wellness. I figured it might be easier on the brain (and maybe better retained!) when you hear it instead of having to plow through all the words, sentences, paragraphs, etc. so this week I debuted a new show called Dog Talk University and devoted the first one to the topic of throwing up. Charming, eh? But hey – it’s really such an important topic because it can be the bell-weather for a serious medical condition that may wind up being a whole lot less serious if attended to promptly.
There are some basic myths I wanted to “bust” in Dog Talk U. It is untrue that “vomiting is normal in dogs and they throw up all the time.” Nope! When people make the mistake of shrugging off the fact that their dog threw up and doesn’t seem “quite right,” they are missing a chance to act early on a warning sign of illness. If your dog vomits and seems lethargic and listless – or if she throws up more than once and is clearly not herself, pick up the phone and schedule a veterinary visit to figure out the cause. As with any medical malady, the sooner the problem is addressed, the better the outcome is likely to be.
Don’t make the mistake of shrugging off the vomiting with excuses such as, “She eats too fast,” which is no explanation at all because a dog’s normally functioning stomach can expand just fine whether dinner is inhaled like a vacuum cleaner or nibbled over hours.
Equally misunderstood is a dog’s reaction to eating grass: some people think the reason their dog threw up was because she ate grass, but this is a classic ‘chicken versus egg’ conundrum. Do dogs vomit because they happen to have eaten grass? Or do they eat grass to induce vomiting because they have nausea or gut discomfort and need to empty their stomachs? As I explain on the podcast, the worst thing you can do once your dog has thrown up is to allow her to eat more grass – which will only further irritate her stomach, cause more vomiting and irritation and compound the problem. If your dog’s stomach is that upset, you need to get her to the vet to have her evaluated and receive medications that will calm down the problem while figuring out the reason for it.
I hope you’ll like this new feature on Dog Talk and will feel free to write me at RadioPetLady@gmail.com to suggest other topics of interest to you for my next “lecture” on Dog Talk University.
Tracie began her career as a radio personality with a live show – DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) – on the local NPR station in the Hamptons, Peconic Public Broadcasting (WPPB) from Southampton, New York (the show is now also carried on the NPR station Robinhood Radio in Connecticut and the Berkshires). DOG TALK® won a Gracie® Award (the radio equivalent of an Oscar) in 2010 as the “Best entertainment and information program on local public radio” and continues weekly after more than 450 continuous shows and 9 years on the air. Tracie’s live weekly call-in show CAT CHAT® was on SiriusXM satellite radio for seven years until the Martha Stewart channel was canceled in 2013.
Tracie lives in Vermont where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based, on 13 acres well-used by her all-girl pack – two lovely, lively Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda, and a Collie-mix, Jazzy.
My regular readers know I’ve been a vegetarian longer than I haven’t, and that I’ve especially been making an effort to incorporate more and more vegan and/or plant-based foods into my diet this year. I am not vegan, but the health and environmental benefits of choosing a plant-based diet can’t be ignored. That said, my biggest struggle has (always) been giving up the deliciousness known as cheese. Recipes that include cheese are just so glorious (hello pizza/nachos/grilled cheese), and for a long time, I just couldn’t find a dairy-free cheese that satisfied my cravings. Lucky for me, the universe brought Daiya into my life earlier this year (you may remember the plant-based party tray I shared earlier this year that stared the delicious Daiya Farmhouse Blocks), and my dairy-free cheese dreams officially came true. More recently, I discovered Daiya Slices, and suddenly grilled “cheese” had a whole new, incredibly tasty meaning.
With fall in full swing, I’ve been experimenting with autumn-inspired grilled cheese varieties that use Daiya Cheddar Style Slices. I’ve come up with a few goodies, and today I thought I’d share two of my favorites: pumpkin grilled “cheese,” and apple and spinach grilled “cheese.” Both sandwiches are savory with a hint of sweetness, and both evoke all sorts of pleasantly cozy autumn feelings.
FALL-INSPIRED APPLE & SPINACH GRILLED “CHEESE”
3 Daiya Cheddar Style Slices
1 organic apple (I like Honeycrisp)
small handful of organic baby spinach
2 slices of vegan rye bread
Cut apple into thin slices. “Butter” each slice of bread on one side with coconut oil. Place one side of bread, coconut oil side down, onto a medium skillet. Top with two slices of Daiya Cheddar Style Slices, followed by a few apple slices, followed by a few pieces of spinach. Place the other piece of bread (coconut oil side up) on top. Cook in a skillet over low to medium heat, turning occasionally, until the cheddar style slices are melted. (Tip: To help slices melt, cover pan with a lid or foil. You can also heat each pieces of bread separately and wait to close both sides of the sandwich until slices have begun to melt.) Serve with a glass of fresh apple cider.
FALL-INSPIRED PUMPKIN GRILLED “CHEESE”
3 Daiya Cheddar Style Slices
approx. 1/4 cup organic canned pumpkin (or, if you’re more driven than me, roast your own)
2 slices of vegan multi-grain or sprouted bread
Spread pumpkin on one piece of bread. Place two slices of Daiya Cheddar Style Slices on the other piece of bread. Place the pumpkin covered bread slice, pumpkin side down, on top of the cheddar style slices to close the sandwich. Spread coconut oil on each side to “butter,” then cook in a skillet over low to medium heat, turning occasionally, until the cheddar style slices are melted. (Tip: To help slices melt, cover pan with a lid or foil. You can also heat each pieces of bread separately and wait to close both sides of the sandwich until slices have begun to melt.) Serve alone or with tomato soup.
Both of these sandwiches are uniquely delicious, and make for the perfect fall lunch or dinner. These recipes are easy to multiply too, and are great for entertaining. And while the apple and pumpkin make them undeniably autumn, it’s the cheddar style slices that are the star of the show. Daiya Slices are now cheesier than ever, and perfect for grilled sandwiches, cold sandwiches, or alone as snacks. They’re also dairy-free and soy-free, and made from plant-based ingredients. Pretty great, right?
And now for the best part of this post: the giveaway! One lucky Bubby and Bean reader will receive a prize package of Daiya products including Cheezy Mac and the latest addition to their line of delicious plant-based alternatives, Dairy-free Dressings, along with coupons so you can have the chance to try Daiya Slices at home! ($ 50 value)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway will run through October 19, 2016 and is open to Bubby and Bean readers with delivery addresses in the U.S. and Canada. A winner will be randomly chosen via Random.org and announced here shortly after the end of the giveaway. Good luck!
I’d love to hear your thoughts if you make either of these grilled cheese recipes! Between you and me, the apple is my favorite, but they’re both ridiculously good.
This post is in partnership with Daiya. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible.