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Area Pet Resorts, Kennels Anticipate Busy Season
Published: December 24, 2007
SARASOTA - While her clients are hundreds of miles away, enjoying Christmas Day in colder climes, Lynda Seeber will be wrangling some 30 dogs, maybe more.
Seeber, owner and operator of AAA Pet Resort in Bradenton, does not put up Christmas lights, lest the scores of dogs that come through get electrocuted.
Christmas will be just another day for the dogs, who will spend it running in the resort's 2.5-acre fenced play area or listening to the television from their dog beds.
"In between the holidays, I can have as few as two," said Seeber of her client list, so holidays are when her bills get paid. The semi-retired legal secretary opened the dog resort when she moved to Bradenton 3 1/2 years ago.
Holidays are busy times for people in Southwest Florida's pet care industry. From Bradenton to Port Charlotte this week, kennels will be full and pet sitters will run from house to house like animal-loving Santas.
The cost for boarding pets varies and can depend on the size and type of pet.
Expect to spend between $15 and $30 a day for dogs depending on the kennel or, in some cases, resort you take your furry friend to.
Some boarders and sitters will work out deals with customers who need an extended stay or frequent services.
The Ace Pet Resort for Dogs in Sarasota is booked through Christmas, taking in about 65 dogs, cats and birds.
Meanwhile, roughly 200 animals will get in-home attention from Venice's Professional Pet Sitting.
"October through December is, by far, the peak traveling time," said owner Monica Leighton, who will take six hours away from her holiday to check on pets.
Other staff pet sitters begin their day at 6:30 a.m. and do not stop until 10 p.m.
"The people here don't have family close by," said Leighton of clients who trust their pets to her company while they see relatives elsewhere during the Christmas holiday.
In Port Charlotte, those looking to get their best friend into the posh 55-square-foot pet suites at Paws Dog Daycare are out of luck. All the suites have been booked since November.
"We're always exceptionally busy during the holidays," said owner Richard Witherill.
Paws Dog Daycare customer Carmen Connors said being able to leave her five dogs with Witherill has changed her life.
"Before Paws Dog Daycare opened I didn't vacation as much, as I was worried about my dogs being taken care of and I couldn't stand the thought of them being left in a traditional kennel, Paws understands that my dogs are my children and provides them all the love and care away from home that they get at home" she said.
Paws Dog Day Care has allowed Connors and others to travel guilt-free.
While the suites at Paws Dog Daycare are spoken for, the business still anticipates some last-minute calls from pet owners who did not plan ahead.
In those cases, the company will try to find a spot for the dogs, even if it means spending the night in an ordinary kennel instead of a suite with a television.
"We try to encourage everybody to book early," said David Witherill, Richard's father, who helps out with the dogs.