Here to Care for Your Feathered, Furry and Scaly Friends
by Melissa LaScaleia
Mistie Velasco, the owner of 3 Cats & a Dog Petsitting Services, is also a veterinary technician at Ark Animal Hospital, where she’s been working for the past 21 years.
“One night we got a phone call at the vet clinic from pet owners who wanted someone to come and watch their pet while they went to dinner,” Mistie says. “I volunteered to go, and it just sort of evolved from there.”
“It is a symbiotic relationship,” she says in speaking of her two passions involving the world of animals. “I have the ability to incorporate what I know from the veterinary world into the world of pet sitting as needed. It’s one of the extra things that I can offer my clients. If anything should happen to someone’s animal while they’re away, I can walk into the door at Ark Animal Hospital and their pet would be seen immediately.”
Mistie has a team of 13 helping her, many of whom are also in the veterinary world.
“We aren’t your veterinarian and recommend to always seek medical care for your pet from appropriate resources when needed,” she says. “But we can distinguish when things are not quite right with greater ease perhaps than other pet sitters, which helps to calm anxious pet owners when they’re leaving their best friend in someone else’s care.”
“I like building relationships with dogs,” says Lucas Shaw, a team member. “You watch the dog grow up and how they develop and their little quirks. It’s not business, it’s a personal relationship you develop with these animals and the people as well. I have seven dogs myself, so I’m used to taking care of animals. It’s second nature to me. I’ve always loved animals and it was always my dream to work with animals.”
Taylor Arciola is a certified canine handler and a veterinary technician at Ark Animal Hospital as well as a pet sitter— doing day as well as overnight pet sitting.
“I love that I get to see these animals in their normal environment,” she says. “In my work at Ark, I can see how stressed pets get coming into a foreign environment. But when you come into their home, they’re more relaxed, and are so happy to see you and want to be your best friend. I work with a dog training service and do obedience training in the area. I came aboard 3 Cats & a Dog because I knew Mistie’s work ethic was spectacular and I felt that we had a good rapport and communication between us.”
3 Cats & a Dog services a large area of the Grand Strand, from the Grand Dunes in the North, to the Coastal Carolina area in the West, to Pawley’s Island in the South.
They offer 20-30 minute daily visits that include walking, feeding, potty time, play time, and treats for peoples’ furry, feathered, and scaly friends. They can also incorporate some small, light grooming, like bathing and nail trims.
“Everyday there is something new to see,” Mistie says. “We work with every animal imaginable. There are domestics— dogs and cats. I also see birds, reptiles, tortoises, guinea pigs, hedgehogs, goats, chickens, and ducks. There isn’t anything that we don’t see. That is what is so much fun about this job. You never know what is going to occur when you see these pets, and I just love it.”
Mistie encourages people to hire a pet sitter when they are going out of town; that way the animals get to stay in their own home and don’t have the extra anxiety of being displaced and in foreign surroundings.
Since Covid-19, Mistie wants people to know that she and her team are still here and available to help you with your pets— now wearing masks, and employing hand sanitizer.
“We are doing a lot more weekly walks, and receiving more calls from people who are taking shorter vacations locally, and can still accommodate overnight stays,” she says.
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