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Published February 15 2010

Q&A with Laurel Ecklund of Pet Nannies Plus

Laurel Ecklund thinks her business is the cat’s meow.

Ecklund is the proprietor of Pet Nannies Plus in Fargo.

The business, which she launched in 2001 after moving to Fargo from California, provides home pet care in Fargo, West Fargo and Moorhead.

Ecklund, a pet owner herself, operated a home pet-care business in the Golden State.

Pet Nannies Plus works primarily with dogs and cats, but also cares for other animals.

Prices begin at $14 for one visit per day from one of the five employees of Pet Nannies Plus.

For more information, call (701) 232-1055 or e-mail info@petnanniesplus.com.

The Web site is www.petnanniesplus.com.

Q: What’s your business all about?

A: We provide in-home pet-sitting services for people that travel, that can’t make it home at noon, businesspeople, vacation people.

We walk, we feed, we play with. We’re sloppy seconds to mom and dad.

But it’s great fun. We meet the nicest people.

We provide a service. We’re professional people providing quality care, I feel.

It’s said that people with pets increasingly see the animals as members of their family … .

Totally. It is members of the family. We’ve been to the home (of a client) who said, “The cat is 14. I’ve had her longer than the husband.”

Has the weak economy affected your business?

A little tiny bit.

The businesspeople aren’t traveling quite as much as they used to.

But this past January was much better than a year ago. That’s a good indicator, I think.

(She was uncertain why things have picked up.)

Any surprises when you started the business here?

Coming here from California, I really thought it (the business here) would have the variable of weather.

And it doesn’t. Not at all.

Dogs and cats are the core of your business. What are some of the other animals you care for?

It’s not as exotic as I had in California.

Here, ferrets. A few lizards. A few bunnies. Guinea pigs.

The stereotype is that dogs tend to be friendly and cats arrogant. Is that true?

At times, in certain homes.

Cats can be very, very shy. So can dogs.

Do you need licensing? How about bonding/insurance?

We have both insurance and bond, absolutely. There’s no licensing here. I don’t know if they license pet sitters anywhere.

You stress safety in your business … .

When we’re coming and going, your home is a little bit more secure.

We shut lights off and on. We take in your mail, we water your plants, whatever little things you want us to do.

Our primary goal is always the pet. But I think you’re a little bit more secure if there’s movement in the home.

Who do your customers tend to be?

Totally across the board. I can drive though any neighborhood (and point to clients’ homes).

They come from all walks of life, all manner of business. They all love their animals.

Who do your nannies tend to be?

A lot of women, mainly women. Age group, 28 on up. That’s who tends to apply.

You definitely seem to enjoy the business … .

We have a good time. It’s been a good nine years, and I think that will continue.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Jonathan Knutson at (701) 241-5530