Indianapolis pet sitter finds an overnight niche
Before starting her pet-sitting business in Indianapolis, Marti Knowles knew her city was missing something. During conversations with family and friends, she realized that animal owners long for peace of mind while vacationing.
So Knowles decided to launch I Love Pets in 2007 and offer clients something they had never seen before: a pet sitter willing to spend the night.
“My motto is, if the pets sleep with you, they can sleep with me. There is nothing better than to wake up in the morning with lots of kisses,” says Knowles, who each month spends about three weeks worth of nights at clients’ homes.
Coupled with walking the animals, light cleaning, watering plants, bringing in the mail and taking out the trash, Knowles easily found her niche in a city full of pet sitters.
Indianapolis Angie’s List member Karen Porter praises the dedicated pet sitter and says overnights are one of the many reasons she trusts only Knowles with her animals.
“She doesn’t mind that my 75-pound golden retriever sleeps in the bed with her,” Porter says. “I never worry about my pets while I am gone because I know Marti is loving on them. She goes above and beyond the scope of her job — my pets love her.”
2012 Angie's List Super Service Award winner: I Love Pets
Owner Maren “Marti” Knowles, who opened the business in 2007, has won Super Service Awards for Animal & House Sitting in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Knowles, who charges $60 for overnight stays and $17 for daytime care, says the best part of her job is being able to make a difference in the life of an animal.
“They love unconditionally and are so innocent, they depend on us,” she says. “I am a surrogate parent when their owners are away.”
Those same maternal instincts led Knowles to her career with animals. At 6 years old, she rescued a bloody snake from the woods, put it in a shoe box and gave it grass, water and bugs. Eventually, the snake recovered and she freed it, but the experience made her feel destined to spend her life caring for animals.
Unsure how to make a career out of her passion, Knowles worked for 25 years in the mortgage industry. When the subprime mortgage crisis hit, she found herself unemployed.
After weighing her options, she realized that she needed to make a change.
“I decided it was time to follow my passion and do what would make me the happiest,” she says. Knowles lined up clients by utilizing her address book, church directory and advertising in local newspapers. Those efforts, combined with her love of pets, helped her create a successful niche.
Today, her pet-sitting business continues to flourish. Knowles, who is also licensed and bonded, cares for seven clients’ pets every day, and the number doubles during the holidays.
”Marti is always dependable and we trust her with our house, alarm code, and most of all our beloved dog, Maggie,” says Indianapolis member and Knowles’ longtime client, Kitty O’Donnell.
The Super Service Award recognizes contractors and health care providers that have maintained a stellar service rating on Angie’s List throughout the past year. Be sure to always check the List before hiring, however, as ratings can and do change.