By Libby Hopkins

Pets aren’t just animals; they are members of the family. Many love and care for them as if they are children and would never go out of town and leave a child with a complete stranger.

Paula Moore of Wimauma grew up in a military family that traveled often, but her family always moved their pets with them because they were part of the family too.

“We often relied on the kid next door or placed the dogs at the vets while we traveled,” Moore said. “Sometimes this was satisfactory and other times not so much.”

Moore’s love of her pets and their care is what motivated her to start her business, Paula’s Pampered Pets in 2002. She is a professional pet sitter and she provides a stay-in-your-home service.

“I have many years of real life experiences with all kinds of animals from gerbils to horses,” Moore said. “I am very flexible and easy to work with to suit the clients and their pets needs.”

Moore is up everyday at 5 a.m. in order to care her animals before heading to clients homes in order to walk their dogs by 6 a.m. to keep them on their schedule. Her last visit of the day usually ends after 9 p.m. During her visits, she feeds her customer’s pets, does light grooming, cleans the litter box if they are a cat owner, and has playtime with the pets.

“I also water plants, bring in newspapers and the mail while I am at the home,” Moore said. “There has been a few times when the air conditioner was not working and after informing the clients, I met the repairman and waited while he worked on the unit.”

Moore has clients who have been with her since she started her pet sitting business.

“They love me because they find that I am reliable and trustworthy,” Moore said. “I am able to provide care when they can’t be there.”

Moore would like to expand her business into other areas because she feels the community is growing and she would like to grow with it.

“This area is prime for a huge expansion in the next few years, and I want to be known as the pet sitter to call,” she said.

To learn more about Paula’s Pampered Pets, visit www.paulaspam peredpets.com or call 634-8894.