Tea business offers pet owners options for pet sitting



The love of animals led a Tea couple to start their own pet sitting business a year ago.

Kelsea Zillgitt and her husband, Shawn, started Claws n’ Paws Pet SitterZ out of their home last August. They offer boarding at their home, but most of their business involves mostly going to people’s homes to care for pets when their owners are out of town.

They have watched cats, dogs and chickens, with dogs taking up the majority of the pets they have watched.

Zillgitt said she and her husband started watching pets for friends a few years ago and it was fun.

“For a long time, we thought about we should do this. I had one other girlfriend who said just do it. She gave me that kick in the butt of why haven’t you started yet,” she said.

In addition to pet sitting, Zillgitt also works as a veterinary technician full time at the Tea Vet Clinic. Her experience there makes her feel like she has seen a lot and feels comfortable watching other people’s pets.

In addition to Tea, they have pet sit for people in Harrisburg, Sioux Falls, Hartford and Crooks.

  When Zillgitt gets contacted to pet sit, if they are going to board their animals at her home, she asks them to bring the pet for a meet and greet to check out the area. She also asks for vaccination records and the client should bring their own food and a favorite toy or blanket. They have a fenced in backyard, kennels available and a dog couch.

When she goes to the client’s home to pet sit, she goes to their home before the first time to meet the pet. She finds out their routine and feeding schedule. She also gets their preferred way for her to enter their home. When she pet sits, she likes to send pictures to her clients.

Her neighbor has a dog who was a rescue dog and is anti-social and loud noises scare him. That dog likes being able to go out in his own yard and be on his own couch. Zillgitt said every animal has a right place to be when their owner is out of town.

“There’s a right place for every animal. If we can’t meet the needs of the animal and the client, I always refer to either the vet clinic first or another boarding facility,” she said.