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Business Spotlight : Kaehla's Kritters in Virginia Beach, VA

Last Updated: March 17, 2018


Business: Kaehla's Kritters

Owner: Kaehla Barlow

What made you decide to start your business?

I decided to start my business for one simple reason: my love for animals. I started walking dogs at age 10, I would take regular copy paper and multiple different colored markers and sloppily write “Dog walks $5” and put them up in every single one of my neighbors' mailboxes, even if they didn’t have a dog. I did that for about 3 months. I then moved into a bigger house and was much more mature, so I began pet sitting here and there and have not stopped since. I’ve learned a lot through my many years and continue to learn more and more.

Did you have any experience in the industry before starting your business?

Before starting my actual boarding business, as stated above, I started walking dogs at age 10. I’ve lived with animals my entire life. I don’t think there was a time I didn’t have a pet, so I’ve always had hands-on training with different types of animals.

What's your favorite part of running your business? What about the most difficult?

I would have to say my favorite thing is definitely seeing how happy my clients dogs get when they see me. I have two specific clients that tell me their dogs will start getting really excited when they turn on my street. I love knowing that I have a connection with the animals I care for. The most difficult would have to be the wear and tear of your home, and sometimes communication with clients.

When you're not running your business, how do you enjoy spending your time?

On the days when I don’t have any boarding dogs, I am usually studying for exams. I am currently working on my associate's degree for veterinary technician. I also work part time at a local pet cremation company. I love working there, it has opened my eyes to a whole new side of the veterinary field. I have two dogs of my own, so they always have my attention when ever I’m taking a day off.

How long have you been using DoggieDashboard to manage your business?

I have been using DDB for about 1.5 years. I found them through a Google search. Being a independent business with just me running everything I was on a tight budget and didn’t want to have anything too crazy. DDB was simple enough for me and did everything I needed at the time. With all the new upgrades and now DDB premium, I am still loving the site!

Any advice you'd like to give to people considering starting a pet care business?

Patience. It takes time to build up a clientele, it takes time to really become successful or break even after a few months. If you are using your home, be mindful things will get messed up, chewed, peed and pooped on. Your house will smell like dog and everything will be covered in hair. You’ll have no shows, and people who don’t like to pay, or they will try to haggle you in price. Keep an open mind. This is not for everyone and that is okay. Be committed and see things through. When things get though, have a clear mind and problem solve.