Updated: May 27
Word on the street is that the Pup-parazzi found owner, Hunter Bonar, on a walk earlier this week and managed to snag her away for a quick interview!
In this exclusive interview with Hunter, learn more about her background, what sets Hunter's Pet Sitting apart, and if THE pet whisperer herself is more of a dog or a cat person!
Let's dive right in:
Hunter, we know what you do for work, but can you tell us more about yourself & your background?
I graduated from UCF in 2016 (Go Knights!) after attending the university for five years. Like many others, I had no idea what I wanted to major in and I actually started off my freshman year as a Health Sciences major. I was quickly humbled by a few science classes and switched to Advertising/Public Relations. Little did I know that my passion would lead me to becoming a business owner!
Working with animals was my goal from a very early age. I recently found a book that I made for my first grade class that asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. My answer was, “I want to work with pets!” It’s very cool to see how life comes full circle.
Very cool! Did you walk dogs/pet sit/etc. before starting your business? How many years of experience do you have working with pets?
I did! I began pet sitting professionally during my sophomore year of college and realized that it was a career path that I wanted to explore further. After graduating college, I worked at one of the busiest pet boarding facilities in Central Florida, before branching off to start Hunter’s Pet Sitting. I have eight years of experience working with pets professionally, in addition to growing up around pets.
So, what made you decide to branch out and start your business?
I had been operating as an independent pet sitter for quite some time before deciding to start my own business. It was a huge leap of faith for me! The idea of being an entrepreneur seemed so daunting, but the payoff has been incredible. The amount of pride that I take in owning and operating my own business, and being able to serve our local community is unmatched.
How long have you been in business?
I have been a registered business since March 2018, but began my career as a full-time dog walker and pet sitter in August 2017.
The people want to know...what sets you apart from other pet sitting business/third-party apps like Rover & Wag?
Apps like Rover and Wag have their pros and cons. They can be great for the client who is just getting their foot in the door to the world of pet sitting. But, like many other industries, it all comes down to personal preference. Hunter’s Pet Sitting offers professional and personalized care for dogs, cats and exotic animals. We are a team of trained and passionate pet sitters and dog walkers who put our clients first and truly care about both the pets and their owners. I treat my clients how I like to be treated; by establishing a personal connection with each person and by guaranteeing transparent, detailed care.
How has your business grown or changed since opening?
When I first established Hunter’s Pet Sitting, it was just little ole’ me. With a burst in clientele around December 2018, I began hiring on contractors, with my current team sitting at five awesome (seriously, the best) team members! Our areas of service include Downtown Orlando, Conway, College Park, Winter Park, Baldwin Park and more.
What is your favorite part of this type of work?
My favorite part about this field, hands down, are the relationships that I’ve been able to build with my clients and their pets. The service industry offers such a unique opportunity to get to know the people that you serve and I cherish every minute of it. I also really value the active aspect of the job. I get to exercise every day while working (with the cutest pups!), which is very rare when we live in a 9-5 world.
Lastly, I want to give a shout-out to my team members. Their passion and dedication to pet care is what makes serving the Orlando community possible. My virtual assistant, Kelsey, curates photo and blog content for the Hunter’s Pet Sitting Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest pages, and helps showcase client pets every chance we get!
What does a typical workday look like for you and your team members?
A typical workday begins bright and early for us. We start off the day by visiting our morning clients. These are typically dogs and cats whose owners are on vacation and will also need 1-2 visits throughout the rest of the day.
Lunchtime is our busiest time. We love all of our regular weekly walks and drop-in visits because they allow us to grow such a strong relationship with the pets. These are typically owners who have busy workdays. After lunchtime is when I tend to work on any administrative work. I love supporting local and often find myself working at a nearby coffee shop! We finish up the day by visiting all of our evening pets whose owners are on vacation.
What's your favorite part about owning your own business?
There are so many incredible parts of being a business owner. I was born and raised in Orlando, so this city means a lot to me. Owning my own business has allowed me the opportunity to meet so many cool business owners, clients, pets and aspiring entrepreneurs. Our city is incredibly diverse and I think my favorite part is that l am able to contribute to it in my own special way.
Did you have a vision for your business when you started? If so, how has that vision changed?
When I first started Hunter’s Pet Sitting, I took everything one task at a time. I didn’t initially start my business with a fully-developed vision in mind. It was something that evolved over time. In the beginning, I felt like I was bound by the limits of my own imagination and self-confidence. My family and friends have played a HUGE role in helping my vision for Hunter’s Pet Sitting grow. They continue to support me every day and push me to become the best entrepreneur that I can be! I can see clearly now what I am after as a business -- a client-first, transparently run, passionate pet care company that contributes back to its local community and is engaged in pet adoption and advocacy.
Aside from cats & dogs, what other pets do you offer services for?
We offer services for exotic animals of all sorts. In addition to cats and dogs, we currently have hedgehogs, snakes, chickens, tree frogs and leopard geckos in our care. They keep us on our toes!
Now the real question we all want to know...are you more of a cat or dog person?
I can’t confidently say that I’m more of a cat or dog person… But I can say that I have always had dogs! I’ve somehow surrounded myself with family and friends who have cat allergies, so adopting a cat isn’t in the plans, unfortunately. Maybe one day!