by Neal Rentz
Kristi Ohlsten worked in the corporate world for many years, but her career took a different path when she decided to do something she would enjoy more. So, she translated her lifelong love of dogs into a business by opening Fur Babies Pet Sitting eight years ago, with a clientele that includes residents of Tarrytown, Sleepy Hollow, Briarcliffe Manor, Hawthorne, Pleasantville Elmsford and Ossining.
Ohlsten, who formerly did administrative work for Goldman Sachs and American Express, joked “I never liked corporate America, but the paycheck was good.” She and her husband, Raymond, moved to the Midwest for a time and after moving back to Westchester, Ohlsten said, “I really was hoping to not have to go back to corporate America.”
An Ossining resident who formerly lived in Tarrytown, she had a difficult time finding a pet sitter for her two dogs after returning to the local area. Though she eventually found a dog sitter, the idea for her business was sparked. “There’s a calling here for more pet sitters and I love dogs, so I gave it a try.” Ohlsten recalled. She has generated clients mainly through word of mouth and been assisted in attaining new clients through the positive recommendations of Laura Haupt, owner of the Bark and Meow pet shop in Tarrytown.
Ohlsten goes to her clients’ homes rather than having the pets come to her residence because her two Havanese dogs, Sancho and Pablo, “don’t like visitor dogs too much.” Most of her clients ask Ohlsten to dog walk their pets because they work long hours. She will also come to pet owners’ homes to spend nights with the animals when the owners are away. “It’s good for the dogs. They don’t have to leave their environments,” Ohlsten said.
To help prepare her for her new line of work, Ohlsten completed a course in “Doggie First Aid” provided by the American Red Cross. While she tries to limit her work to weekdays, she does work holidays and has stayed with pets on weekends. Dogs are not the only pets Ohlsten has worked with. She has also cared for cats, a tarantula, hedge hogs, and bearded dragons (big lizards who feed on live crickets).
Ohlsten’s people skills, gained from working in the corporate field, have helped her work with her clients successfully. “I think that my administrative background gave me the ability to deal with a lot of different kinds of personalities,” she said. “You have to be very service-orientated.”
“For me it’s a calling and something I love to do,” Ohlsten added.
For more information about Fur Babies Pet Sitting, call 862-849-6274 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.