Knowing Your Client Personally

Desert tropical island with palm tree, chaise lounge, suitcase.Why do customers go back to the same restaurant, salon, mechanic, or pet service? Customer Service. Even when a new one comes along that offers coupons and cheaper prices? The quality of service comes into question, and once you have customer loyalty, you have success!

There will be problems or misunderstandings eventually, yet loyal customers won’t leave and bad-mouth your company to the community. The way to earn this amazing trust from your clients is to go above-and-beyond, whether that is a follow-up email/call or a hand-written note. To stay one-step ahead in anticipating their needs. To document in their file as much information as possible, so that the next time they reach out, you can speak knowledgeably of what has happened in the past.

“No enterprise can exist for itself alone. It ministers to some great need, it performs some great service, not for itself, but for others; or failing therein, it ceases to be profitable and ceases to exist.” – Calvin Coolidge

While consumers like discounts, they are even more interested in incentives for booking with you or living a healthier lifestyle. By pairing our pet sitting with travel agent services, we can now handle the trip and the pets, providing a discount when you book the two together!

Visit www.Travel4FunNow.com- we can reward book phenomenal rates for travel and reward your customer loyalty with 15% off your pet sitting services through Four Paws!

A Cat Toy that ROCKS! And ROLLS!


Yes, Slider cat is not easily impressed with human-versions of “fun”. A string? Pleeeze. Until now – this new toy they brought me is “The Cat’s Meow”!!!!

It drives me CRAZY that I can’t see what’s under the yellow nylon cloth. The longer I watch it, the more determined I become KILL IT with a pounce and crush leap!
I go into wildcat attack mode, back legs launching me forward – claws extended- teeth barred and crush the moving object. Sit on it for awhile to make sure it isn’t moving.

However…

The minute I get up and stalk away, the movement begins again, a skittering that switches directions and speeds! It looks like a mouse or small squirrel is under the cloth. I must find out which one, so I hunt for the cardboard box it came in and read:

* (4) different speeds; Slow, Medium, Fast and Random. Your cat will love the variety.
* Long Lasting durable nylon cover
* Peek-a-boo wand mimics scurrying mouse
* Stops clawing and scratching on curtains and furniture
* Hours of fun and exercise for cats of all ages -PetZoom

The mystery remains – they don’t reveal what the creature is under the yellow cloth! I did find the pricetag that said $19.99 but I know my owners got it for $13.99 by ordering on-line. They are always looking for “a deal” when it comes to cat-toy shopping!

So if you have a fat cat, or a bored cat, or a kitten with energy to burn – go buy this toy. It will entertain multiple cats at once, too! Just make sure you pick up the 3-C Batteries to make it work!

What to do About Stray Cats and Dogs

Little Dog Walking

You see the flash of fur, then a tail disappears under your deck, or into your bushes! Who’s cat is that? Or maybe it’s a dog wandering along the side of the road. Do you stop to try and catch it, or call the animal catcher? What is the backstory on how this furry creature came to be left out in the open?

There are several options for any stray animals that you may encounter. Read below to determine if one of these may work for the animal you have “found”:

1. Animal Control: 919-996-1449. They “work closely with rescue groups that attempt to find homes for the nearly 5,000 animals they pick up each year.”-Raleigh NC Gov

2. Another option is an Animal Shelter. In Wake County, the Animal Center is “an open-admission animal shelter operated by Wake County. We receive all stray, abandoned & surrendered pets in Wake County. We work in partnership with fosters, volunteers and local
rescues, to treat and rehome thousands of homeless animals every year.” They are located at: 820 Beacon Lake Drive, Raleigh and their phone number is: (919) 212-7387.

2. Having a large military presence in our state, some animals are left behind when their owner deploys. There is a Rescue that works to find homes for these animals, Guardian Angels for Soldiers pets:
http://guardianangelsforsoldierspet.org/

3. Triangle Lost Pets (www.trianglelostpets.org). This website, sponsored by Wake County, allows individuals to post descriptive information and view maps of where pets have been lost or found. This site also allows individuals to prepare a Pet Flier that can be posted in neighborhoods.

4. Feral (wild) cats that are discovered/rescued/surrendered to shelters are normally not adoptable. Cary Community Cat Program: 919-378-1867

5. Finally, there are several Foster Pet Programs: http://www.petfoster.org/fosterme.php
where found animals can be viewed and fostered. C.A.R.E. for Animals, Best Friend Pet Adoption (dogs only), Heaven and Earth Animal Rescue Team, Marley’s Cat (and Dog!) Tales and Paw Prints Animal Rescue to name a few!

Please don’t ignore the animal, because if you don’t do something to help, who will?

Is Your Pet Afraid of Storms?

thundershirt-for-cats-main-image

When every single hair on my tail stands on end, you know I have been spooked! Originally it was only thunderstorms with their booming claps that sent me diving under the bed. Over the next year, loud noises like firetruck sirens, ambulances or simply a backfiring muffler caused me to hit the floor and hide.

At first my owner laughed at my noise phobias, but as they continued to multiply in number she realized that I had a serious need for…

The Thunder Shirt!

Made not far from my Raleigh home, in downtown Durham, the snug-fitting jackets are amazing!Immediately, when it was put on me, I calmed down and felt secure as if my owners arms were wrapped around me.

How does this invention work?

Much like a tightly swadled baby calms down immediately, putting one of these snug jackets on applies pressure, “which has a calming effect on the nervous system, possibly by releasing a calming hormone like endorphins”-Thundershirt website.

The Thunder Shirt was founded in 2009 after “…proprietary research also uncovered that over 30% of pets suffer from one or more of these anxieties making anxiety one of the leading issues for today’s pet parents.”Sure, they were originally made for dogs, but I consider them the test market!

Here is the link for cats size 6-13 lbs. If you are a bit “fuller figured” then I suggest checking out the dog sizes:
http://www.thundershirt.com/Product/ThundershirtForCats.aspx?item_guid=04a62476-dd84-4c67-ae9b-83f2fb67db81       

Check with your local veterinarian about the results they have seen, I consider myself the unofficial spokesperson for the Thunder Shirt and it’s success story!

Dog Gone It! Where is MY Tail?

Brindle BoxerAww, look at that little nub of a tail! We don’t ask why the dogs tail is gone, or docked, and that is the real controversy.

Dogs are born with tails that express their feelings. So how do pet owners justify taking them off? This practice has been going on since the 1800s for about 50 breeds, particularly for Spaniels, Terriers, Boxers, Pointers, Poodles and Schnauzers.

Several articles say there are three main reasons why people dock a dogs tail:

1. With long haired breeds the tail is docked for hygiene issues.
2.  With a hunting dog, the tail is docked so that it won’t get stuck in brambles or hurt during hunting.
3.  With a guard dog, the theory is that it could be seized by the tail to thwart its attack.

So how is it done? One of two ways, the first being surgery and the second, more common technique is known as “banding” “In which a ligature, normally an orthodontic band, was placed over the end of the puppies tail at 24-96 hours old. This effectively cuts off the blood supply to the end of the tail, which comes away within 3 days.”-Vet News.  The cut goes through skin, cartilage, nerve endings and bone. Does it hurt the puppy? The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) states that “Puppies, just like human babies, have a fully developed nervous system and do indeed feel pain. They point to biological markers, which show pain is occurring during and after a procedure such as tail docking.

So it seems the real question is not “How harmful is the procedure?”, but rather “Is there sufficient justification for performing it?”-Canadian Veterinarian Journal. Dog Gone It

The Stinking Truth: Comparing Kitty Litter

Small kitten in blue plastic litter cat isolated on whiteWhat is that smell? Where did all that dust come from? If you are a kitty owner, then the dilemma of WHERE to put the cat box and WHAT litter to put in it is a constant battle! Clay litter has been around since the 1940’s and“Clay is still a great absorber, and cheap as dirt (well, clay), too, but it’s more environmentally unfriendly, since you have to dump out the whole litter box once it’s full (in other words, once a week)” -Dr. Justine Lee.

Scoopable litter came about in 1996: “I hunted around and found clays that were dried but not baked. They were very absorbent and would form a clump when the cat urinated on them. The clump could then be removed, thereby getting rid of the urine. I had a box of litter I did not change in 10 years—I just added more—and it had absolutely no odor at all.” -Dr. Nelson, Cat Fancy Magazine.

Below are six different products with their pros and cons. After sifting through many boards and reviews, I found that layering a couple of the litters may be the perfect solution since no one product does it all!

1. Simply Pine    20 lb. $12.00
northeastern white pine pellets from 100% pure
Pros:

No dust and no tracking
Chemical free, additive free
Cons
Allergic reaction to pine
Lets litter pool in bottom of cat litter pan

2. Fresh News Cat Litter    25 lb $15.00
Recycled paper with baking soda added
No dust and no tracking
More volume and 3x more absorbent than clay
Pros:
100 % recycled paper
Can be composted and used as soil amendment or mulch
100% nonallergenic
Cons:
Lets litter pool in bottom of cat litter pan
Strong pee odor persists

3. World’s Best Cat Litter    28 lb $29.00
Clumping Litter
Pros:
corn-based litter that is both flushable and biodegradable
Neutralizes cat urine with no artificial odor
Cons:
Doesn’t hide smell of urine very well (they now make a pricier scented version)

4. Litter Purrfect    30 lb    $7.00
Clay based
Pros:
GREAT at absorbing odor with it’s Lemongrass Essence
Clumps well for easy disposal
Dust Free
Cons:
Large clay pieces that some cats don’t like and may not dig in it to cover their deposits

5. Cat Attract    20 lb. $22.00
Herbal scent, ideal texture and particle size
Clay litter
Pros:
100% Biodegradable
Hard Clumping
Dust free
Cons:
Sticks to cat paws and gets tracked around house
Long-haired cats can get clumps on their backside
Concerns that bentonite clays will “set-up” in a cat’s stomach (un-founded according to numerous vet sites)

6.  Scoop Away Multi-cat    20 lb $25.00

Pros:
Virtually masks all scent of pee
Good for multiple-cat owners
Easy cleanup clumps stay together
Litter lasts a long time
Cons:
Dusty
Composed of clay, natural but nonbiodegrable

What are your comments? How many litter boxes do you have?

Cat Fight After Identifying Friend or Foe

slider

How do I tell if the cat coming toward me is a Friend or Foe? Even us kitties use our gut feeling (instincts) when greeting a new cat. Sure, I could state the obvious: if their claws are out, back arched and fur standing on end – probably Foe. Yet this is also the pose a scared young cat will make to bluff that it is bigger and fiercer (when actually she is quivering and ready to bolt)

One thing to keep in mind: most of the time the Foe is a male trying to stake out new territory or a female cat. So when a new cats stray into my neighborhood, it’s usually a Foe. When a sweet house kitty gets out for a few hours, primarily a Friend. When I encounter these cats, there are only a few moments to decide which one they are. To do this, I use my method of identifying potential threats, called: Slider’s Superior Skills System or “SSSS” and I make that sound when practicing

Step 1: Control the First Impression
Scared Kitten
Make sure to Fluff your fur to MAXIMUM. For the best angle, turn your body sideways but keep your head facing forward. Start flicking your tail back and forth like a whip. Stare-them down.

Step 2: Verbalize
Choose between growling and hissing to verbalize your intention. If they reply in the same tone, the fight is on  If the foe seems particularly tough, an all-out caterwaul is in order “Mrreeooowwwaahh ”

Step 3: Action
Circle each other, striking out with a fully-claw-extended paw. Go for the neck, grabbing ahold to land a solid bite on the back. Finally, kick like crazy at the torso, hoping to drive home the idea “I need to get out of here.”

Of course there can be positive interactions as well – like with my friend Frosty. She is a silver tabby that sits on my front porch, patiently waiting for me to get let outside. We take turns rubbing against the railing beams, marking our scent. Then we roll on the pine-straw, laying side-by-side in the sun. She likes to lean over and lick my ears, cleaning out the dirt and smoothing down my fly-aways. That is a true friend!

Medicines vs. Natural Remedies for What Ails Your Dog

Stream Rice In Electric Rice Cooker On White Background

Does your dog need a drug to fix what ails him? Or would an all-natural remedy work just as well? There are two sides to every coin, so depending on the way you fall in your beliefs, both options are offered below for the top five most common ailments among our furry best friend – the dog.

For Arthritis:
Meds:
1. Rimadyl
2. Novox (generic equivalent of Rimadyl) non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) used to treat pain and inflammation

All Natural:
1. Compare to the natural remedies of Green-Lipped Mussel (ewwww) or
2. Glucosamine sulfate “helps rehabilitate damaged cartilage by stimulating the production of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and chondroitin sulfate, the essential component of cartilage. Glucosamine has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory activity.”-Homeopathy Works.

For Upset Stomach:
Meds:
1. Immodium A/D (loperamide)
2. Pedialyte
3. Pepto/Bismol

All Natural:
1. Bland diet of rice and white chicken
For example: offer 75% of a the rice bland diet with 25% of the dog’s regular kibble and give it for three days. If the does well, then offer half rice diet and half dog kibble in a 50-50 mixture for another three days.
2. Banana Baby Food
3. Probiotics – Prostora made by Iams , Proviable made from Nutramax Labs and Fortiflora made from Purina.


For Diarrhea:

Meds:
1. Immodium A/D (loperamide)
2. Pepto/Bismol (carefully measure correct dosage – may cause side effects such as darkening of tongue or stool

plain_yogurt

All Natural:   
1. plain yogurt or cottage cheese – Probiotics such as Fortiflora or Culturelle may be also helpful to promote the growth of good bacteria
2. Fast the dog. This will give his gastro-intestinal tract some rest and time to recover (24-hour fast)
3. Unflavored Pedialyte to help replace lost electrolytes – keep the dog hydrated

For Constipation: 
Meds:
1. Lax-eze
2. Lactulose Solution for Dogs and Cats (Hi-Tech Pharmacal)

All Natural:   
1. Ground dark green leafy veggies: 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight 1-2 times daily with food
2. Canned 100 percent pumpkin: 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight 1-2 times daily on food
3. Organic Apple Cider Vinegar unfiltered (ACV), 1/4 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight added to your dog’s food 1-2 times daily.

For Hot Spots:
(most commonly around the ears and flank regions from excessive biting/licking)tea-tree-oil-4oz
Meds:
1. Betagen
2. Genesis Topical Spray
3. Sulfodene Skin Medication for Dogs 4

All Natural: 
1. Be Soothed. Tea Tree Oil
2. HomeoPet Hot Spots

BEWARE the Caterpillar

stinginrose

I discovered the oddest creature, it fell right out of the Oak tree onto me! Arching my back, I flung it off onto the wooden planks, where it inched around the big fern. It had long tufts of snow-white hair, lots of little stubby feet, and evil black horns. Unlucky for me, the catepillar stung through my fur. Perhaps it was the odd howl that came next, or the collapse onto my side, eyes rolling and tongue panting. One look at me and my owner shrieked at the kids to call Doctor so-and-so. “Where is that insect identification book when you need it? Go look on the computer, Google “stinging caterpillars and key in the description.”pussmoth

No, it was not a common White-Marked Tussock Moth, they don’t sting. They have a distinctive red head. Also on the porch, flung onto the fern, was a super-hairy Asp. This is a toxic caterpillar
with the sting feeling “often very severe, radiating up a limb and causing burning, swelling… with headache, abdominal pain, skin rashes and blisters, and even chest pain or difficulty breathing.” (Eagleman 2008).

There was now a noticeable swelling on my back, and I was having trouble breathing. Thank goodness we keep Benadryl around. I didn’t even mind when the sticky stuff was squirted down my throat. I was wrapped in a towel and carried to the waiting car. We zoomed off in a haze and I fell asleep. The next thing I remember was a bright light…

No, it wasn’t kitty heaven, I have used up only 3 of my 9 lives. I was recovering in the animal hospital. The Dr. had removed the barb still stuck in my back with tweezers. Using commercial tape, the doctor had repeatedly placed fresh pieces over the wound and slowly pulled them off, removing any remaining hairs. Next, hot soapy water was used to clean the area. A topical antihistamine was applied and then an ice-pack to reduce the swelling. The quick reaction of my owner probably saved my life!

Upon returning home, I went to my favorite book and looked up “Poisonous Caterpillars in North Carolina.” It listed the Asp as the most toxic! A few others to beware of:

1. The bright colored Spiny Oak Slug Caterpillar. The vibrant orange and red stripe across it’s light-green back warn of poisonous spines.

2. The Saddleback Caterpillar, looking very slug-like and found in the garden. This guy has a brown body, green horse-saddle (really, it looks just one) with a distinctive brown spot in the center of it’s back.

3. The Stinging Rose Caterpillar (often found on rose bushes), has beautiful colors of vivid yellows, reds, purples, and oranges. It almost looks like blown glass, smooth with the yellow tendrils sticking out full of poisonous barb.

Traveling With Your Pet

Summer holiday, Travel - family ready for the travel for summer

“In the Summertime, when the weather is fine…” people travel with pets!

Here is a short list to check-off before you take-off:

  1. Veterinarian Phone number
  2. Any medication’s your pet is on (including Benadryl in case they get stung)
  3. Remember a leash! Many rest stops regulate pets and want them on a leash at all times.
  4. Bring a water Dish and Water Bottle, so they have something to drink out of.
  5. Dog/Cat food and Treats (Some brands are hard to find and you do not want to switch foods on a trip as it can effect the pets digestive system)
  6. Leave room for pet, when packing owners often try to cram the dog underfoot or put the cat facing backwards in hatchback.

A few Do’s and Don’ts:

DO check with the hotel to make sure you have a pet room, and verify if there is an additional charge

DO check with family so that they know your pet is coming with you and are prepared

Do NOT leave your pet in the car while you break to eat, instead get food to go or find a restaurant with outdoor seating

Do NOT feed your pet anything unusual because they could get gassy, stinking up the car

DO consider having Four Paws Pet Sitting watch over your pet, if they don’t travel well, are a puppy, or are older and are used to a routine!