By: Tom Fink | Category: Pets | Issue: June 2019
Pet Sitting Services of Tulsa co-owner Krista Keesling (left) said “the dogs always come first” with regards to her business. Keesling’s business partner is Jill Pratt (right), who handles much of the company’s marketing.
To assume that Krista Keesling and Jill Pratt are running “just another pet sitting service” would be barking up the wrong tree.
For Keesling and Pratt, dogs aren’t just their pastime; dogs are their passion.
“At Pet Sitting Services of Tulsa, the dogs come first – always,” Keesling said.
As to how Keesling and Pratt first got into business together, it’s hardly a shaggy dog story.
Even pets with special needs, such as older pets, those hard of hearing or with vision-impairments, can be cared for and looked after through Pet Sitting Services of Tulsa.
“I moved to Tulsa from California about five years ago, and four days after moving here, I met Jill at a networking group,” recalled Keesling. “She was the first person I ever met (in Tulsa), and we bonded over dogs. She literally looked at me and said, ‘You. Me. Lunch. Dogs.’ -- there was just an instant connection between us, and she’s been the greatest friend to me ever since.”
Although both women were already working at the time, they bonded through their mutual love of dogs, and it was this that led to them going into business together.
“When I was in California, I had been involved in rescuing (dogs) for 20 years, but I never really did pet sitting. When my neighbors were out of town, I might look after their dogs, but that was the extent of my pet sitting experience,” she said, “but just a few days after I moved here (to Oklahoma), I got a phone call from someone who’d heard about me and knew that I did rescue. From there, I started getting phone calls from people who’d heard about me and thought I might do pet sitting – even though I’d never really done that, I got started (pet sitting), and it just blossomed.”
Soon, word-of-mouth got out, and Keesling was inundated with the number of calls she was getting, requesting her to pet sit.
“Eventually, I went to Jill and said ‘I think someone’s trying to tell me something,’ so May 1, 2019, the duo founded Pet Sitting Services of Tulsa.
“We’re the ‘velvet glove’ of pet sitting services,” Keesling said. “We don’t do boarding but rather, one of our staff is sent to pet sit at the client’s house, which is more comfortable for the animal – to be in their own environment instead of being kept in a kennel or somewhere unfamiliar while their owners are away.”
All pet sitters employed by Keesling and Pratt are interviewed extensively before being hired, to ensure they’re the “right fit” for the company.
“We don’t hire people who are just here because they want to make money – we only hire people that we hand-pick personally, people who love dogs the way we do, people who are comfortable around dogs, people who have the right disposition to interact with the animals – it’s better for the employees and for the dogs they sit,” Pratt said. “Whenever we get a client, we’ll dispatch potential sitters to the dog owner’s home for a ‘meet and greet’ between the dog and sitter to make sure it’s a good fit for both.”
But even more than the employees, Pratt said that it’s Keesling herself that separates their company from the rest of the pack.
“You’re not going to find anyone who cares more about the animals than Krista – her experience, her heart, her commitment to the animals – I’ve honestly never met anyone who has such a passion for caring for dogs the way she has,” Pratt said. “This isn’t to say that other people don’t, but she (Krista) has a connection with dogs that’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen – dogs that normally bite will get along with her – dogs take to her in a way I’ve never seen happen with anyone else.”
Pratt and Keesling accept clients across Tulsa and the Tulsa metro areas and are excited to be “getting the word out” to others.
“We’ve been in business for about a month, and things are slowly picking up – the clients we’ve had just love us and what we do,” Pratt said. “We’ve gotten very positive testimonials, which we certainly appreciate.”
For more information about Pet Sitting Services of Tulsa, call 918-633-0237, visit them on Instagram, Facebook or PetSittingServicesOfTulsa.com.
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