What started as a home-based pet walking and pet sitting business in 2010 has matured into its own office and boutique in downtown Ferndale.
Pet Care AuPair and its newest venture, the Pet & Paw boutique in Ferndale, really go hand and hand, something owner Kristen Schmitt and her team figured out as they got to know their clients — the four-footed, two-footed and no-footed.
“More and more clients started asking about pet nutrition. Their pets were getting sick and the more we talked the common denominator was China, foods made and processed there.
She answered by researching and finding more pure, Made In USA foods and treats, many targeted to address very specific problems for all kinds of animals. Her pet care service counts dogs, cats, birds, lizards, snakes, rodents, fish, horses in Oxford and two pot-bellied pigs among the clients.
“There are seriously so many great products out there,” she says. “I’ve aligned myself with these manufacturers because i really believe in their products.”
It’s those products that Schmitt stocks at Pet & Paw, the boutique in front of the store she opened at 23233 Woodward Avenue about four blocks from 9 Mile. Behind the shop, she runs the pet care service that’s grown enough in just two years to require a team of five independent contractors, and one full-time and one part-time employee. Among them is a veterinary technician and an animal behaviorist.
“We always say we’re your pet care advocate. If we don’t know answers we’ll get them. And we never stand in as a substitute for a veterinarian.”
It’s just that they get to know their animals well — so much so that employees mourn if pets pass on — and they have learned through experience how to help with simple problems, namely nutrition-related, and what specific breeds do and don’t respond to.
“This has just sort of metamorphosed into a great thing, and we have a really good team in place..I felt confident that we were ready for an office and retail,” she says. “And it’s been really good so far.”
Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Kristen Schmitt, founder Pet Care AuPair and Pet & Paw