by Melissa LaScaleia
Mistie Velasco began 3 Cats & a Dog Petsitting Services in Myrtle Beach in 2004 to meet the demand of pet-parents who wanted some extra attention and care to be given to their animals. Over the years, her business has expanded to include a comprehensive array of services.
Today, 3 Cats & a Dog offers 20-30 minute daily pet-sitting visits that include walking, feeding, potty time, play time, and treats for people’s furry, feathered, and scaly friends. They can administer any necessary medications, and take pictures and leave notes with every visit so people can be reassured that their pet is being tended to with love and care. They also perform light grooming services like bathing and nail trims.
“Many groomers are swamped at this time,” Mistie says. “We can come right to you and do nail trims so you don’t have to go to the groomer. In addition to our many weekly clients, we also can accommodate overnight stays, which have grown recently in popularity.”
Mistie encourages people to hire a pet-sitter when they are going out of town rather than bring their pet to a kennel; 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.
Missy Beebe, one of Mistie’s teammates, has been working with animals her entire life. She loves the joys of overnight pet-sitting.
“I am the biggest animal lover in the world,” she says. “Being able to take care of people’s animals in their home, so they can stay in their own environment— it’s the greatest thing for me as an animal lover to see the animals so relaxed and joyful and being tended to with care and love. It’s so good for the animals to have that unbroken chain of companionship and love.”
“I take care of other people’s animals exactly as I would take care of mine, and mine are spoiled,” she adds with a laugh. “It’s such a joy; I love every minute of it.”
Lynn Livesay has been working for Mistie for the past six years.
“I’ve always had pets, but when our most recent ones passed away, I thought I’d spend time with animals in a different capacity,” she says. “I love taking care of the animals and the friendships that I create with them as well as their owners. I’m retired and really enjoy the flexibility and camaraderie. I get as much out of it as the animals do. My favorite thing about what I do is that I can still have the love of an animal without the ownership and responsibility that comes with it.”
“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, snakes, 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.”