Grace Martinez of 2 Dogs and a Cat

This is Nominee Spotlights, a series in which the Best of Western Washington chats with local business owners to get the inside scoop on everything good.

Like so many pet owners, Arnie and Grace Martinez felt badly and worried about leaving their two dogs and cat home alone all day while they put in long hours commuting and being at the office. Eventually, they decided the long hours away from home were not going to jive with a house filled with kids and dogs. That conversation sparked the idea to open their own pet sitting business: 2 Dogs and a Cat. What started as a part-time business in 2001 is now a full time job. We caught up with Grace to get the a glimpse into the pet sitting world.

How did you get your start in the pet sitting business? I have always loved dogs and cats. As mentioned before, we were in the need for a pet sitter. We couldn't find one that would meet our needs. We knew that we had good business sense and that our love for pets and the quality of care would be a great start.

Describe your role at the business We are a co-owner operation. I handle all the A/R, A/P, marketing, advertising, scheduling, communication with clients, and some pet sitting. My husband Arnie, does most of the visits.

How would you describe your clientele? Some clients have become dear friends and we are thankful for meeting them and their furry friends. We appreciate all of our clients and know that without them we couldn't be living our dream.

2 Dogs & a Cat, on Facebook

What about you - do you have any pets yourself? Of course! When we initially started we had two dogs & a cat. About two years ago, both of our original dogs passed. We were heartbroken. Luckily, our kids taught us the value of moving on and we opened our hearts to our newest dog Bentley. Our 14 year old cat, Katie is still with us. But unfortunately, due to her old age, she doesn't like change and refuses to like Bentley!

How do new customers find you? Referrals, word of mouth, social media, and church advertisement.

Do you offer any special services to specific types of animals? We tend to cater to pets that don't do well in boarding situations, aggressive, shy, elderly, and in need of medication.

Is there a time of year that is busier than others? End-of-the-year holidays tend to be the busiest for us. We are extremely booked during that time-frame.

What is your favorite animal that you have ever sat for? There are a few dogs that I look forward to visiting whenever there is a need because we have been visiting them for so long. They are a part of our extended furry family.

What's the best part of owning your own business? Even though we have been in business for almost 12 years, we are still learning. We are always trying to better serve our clients and their furry family by addressing issues as they come up and offering new services. We truly appreciate that we are self-employed, able to provide for our family, and doing something we truly love.

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