By Scott Rosts, Niagara This Week | View Article
Kimberly Kester has a passion for animals that goes far beyond the simple act of walking dogs.
In fact, she takes pride in her motto “Your Pet’s Best Friend, When You’re Away,” hence the name of her Lincoln-based business, Best Friends Dog Walking Pet and House Services.
“It’s all about the animals,” says Kester, who has operated the business full time for more than a year, but also performed similar work periodically for about three years.
Kester’s No. 1 priority, to keep pets safe, healthy and loved, dates back to when she was a child, and so does her dog walking.
“I actually did it when I was little,” said Kester. “I’ve always wanted to work with animals.”
Unlike when she was a kid, however, Kester’s resume is filled with professional skills and achievements.
She is certified in pet first aid and CPR. She is a member of the All-Canadian Pet Services Network, a professional organization for pet sitters and dog walkers. She is also a member of Pet Sitters International, an educational organization for professional pet sitters. She works to continually upgrade her professional skills and knowledge through seminars and educational training and the business is fully insured and bonded.
“It’s important to take your pet seriously,” said Kester, who left the transportation business to found Best Friends Dog Walking Pet and House Services. “It’s a pet, but it’s also part of the family.”
The benefits of a pet sitter, said Kester, are many. When people are away, they can take pride in knowing their pet will be cared for by Kester like it’s one of her own. It will remain in familiar surroundings and experience less stress at home. Instead of relying on a friend or relative, you can rely on a professional to care for your pet’s needs. Your pet will receive personalized attention and diet and exercise routines remain interrupted. Outside of the animal realm, your mail and newspapers will be picked up daily and it will appears as though your home is being lived in.
“It’s all about peace of mind,” said Kester. “When you’re away you can feel confident your pet is in capable, and most importantly, caring hands.”
Even when you’re not away there are benefits. Living in a bedroom community there are many residents who commute into the GTA and work between 12 to 14 hours per day. Kester can help out in that situation by checking on a pet and taking it out.
The possibilities in terms of pets are endless. “It can be any type of pet,” said Kester, who serves the west end of Niagara, as well as St. Catharines and Stoney Creek.
Rates vary depending on the situation, whether it’s a simple visit or walk, or even a pet taxi service to assist in preparing your pet to be transported to the vet, groomers or other locations.
Whether it’s a dog, cat, bird or other animal, Kester sits down with clients for a consultation to go over any personal needs or issues. Pet information, emergency information and other pertinent information is kept on file, should there be any issues. New clients are even provided an orientation package to ensure communication of all the necessary information is completed and any type of releases, such as a veterinary release, are filled out and kept on file in the event of an emergency.
“We cater ourselves to serving the client in the best possible way,” said Kester. “When it comes to customer service, we go above and beyond.”
Kester also gives above and beyond when it comes to community service. She is a long-time volunteer with victim services in Haldimand-Norfolk, once winning an Outstanding Volunteer of the Year award, she has volunteered with the humane society and for numerous other charities.
“I truly believe you have to give back to the community. It makes it a better place to live,” she said.
For more information about Best Friends Dog Walking Pet and House Services, contact Kimberly Kester at 905-562-3977, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or online at www.bestfriendsdogwalking.ca.