Studio City, California - Michael Landa and Brett Montana have turned their love of animals into a new career. Their company, The Pet Staff, has become California's largest pet-sitting service, boasting a staff of over one hundred who make thousands of pet visits per month. How do they pamper pets in their care?
"By caring for pets exactly as our clients want us to, " says Landa, a former Universal Studios executive. "We meet our clients ahead of time and go through a formal interview process that can take up to an hour and a half," he says. "During that time, we capture all the information necessary to give the pet the best possible care according to their specifications."
Those specifications can be demanding. For instance, Nathan the cat likes to lick the juice of half-bitten grapes for dessert, and Sonia the tarantula needs her mealy worms hand fed. Winston the Shar Pei insists on his favorite meal of turkey burgers and vanilla Haagen-Daas, while Wizard, the leopard frog, needs to have hemorrhoid medication applied and his diet of earthworms cut in pieces.
Among the Hollywood celebrities who trust their pets to The Pet Staff are Don Johnson, Andrew McCarthy, Cybill Shepherd, George Carlin, Marissa Tomei, Charlie Sheen and Scarlett Johansson.
Landa and Montana founded the business when they couldn't trust anyone to sit for Max, Montana's aging black lab. They cancelled their flight to Colorado and drove instead, with Max in the backseat. Somewhere in Utah, the idea for The Pet Staff was born.
"A lot of people will call, almost embarrassingly, to ask, "Well, would your pet sitter sleep with my dog?" says Landa. "Of course we would! We do it all the time. We have sitters who sometimes sleep with four dogs on a bed. These clients don't want their pets to be alone for the evening, so they hire us to come in and do a sleepover. That's 10-15% of our business."
The Pet Staff can be reached at (818) 771-9900, (310) 273-5600 or visit www.thepetstaff.com.
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