All Pet Care Is Not Alike, Comparison Reveals

Systematic Industry Shortcomings Spawn New and Improved Approach

BERKELEY, CA--(Marketwire - February 7, 2008) - Amid the gamut of choices today, one survey found that pet owners deem kennel boarding a "necessary evil," overwhelmingly preferring at-home professional pet care for the convenience, safety, overall well-being and peace of mind it affords pets and their owners. This according to FETCH! Pet Care (, America's first and only nationally franchised pet sitting and dog walking network in the U.S.

With approximately 63% of U.S. households, or 71 million homes, now owning at least one pet, the pet care industry surpassed a whopping $41 billion last year -- and with no end in sight. The pet sector is, in fact, the 7th largest retail industry in the U.S., exceeding the jewelry, candy, toy and hardware industries.

Clearly, consumer demand for safe and reliable pet care is at an all-time high and Americans, of course, have a choice. Available services range from the "old way" -- using a neighbor's kid, friend or family member or checking pets into a kennel or boarding facility -- to 21st Century at-home pet sitting and dog walking service provided by professionally trained national providers, which allows animals to maintain their normal routine and receive attention and affection in familiar surroundings while their owners are away.

"As pets become more ingrained as bona fide family members in our culture and owners increasingly recognize their pet's well-being and safety is paramount, they are becoming more discerning about who is caring for their pets and how," notes Paul Mann, founder and CEO of FETCH! Pet Care. "Despite conventional thinking, however, all pet care services are not alike."

Consider this representative comparison of FETCH! Pet Care with other typical pet sitting options, which also underscores emergent pet care marketplace trends:

Franchised Friends / Kennels /
Experience The Fetch! FETCH! Pet Independent Neighbors Boarding
Difference Care Pet Sitters / Family Facilities
---------- ------------ ---------- ----------
KEY: Y=Yes; ?=Maybe; N=No


Wide range of at-home pet
services offered Y N N N
---------- ------------ ---------- ----------
Select home care services
offered Y ? ? N
---------- ------------ ---------- ----------
In-Home service in familiar
environment Y Y Y N
---------- ------------ ---------- ----------
Follows client's desired
schedule and activities Y ? ? ?
---------- ------------ ---------- ----------
"Free-range" pet care
environment Y Y Y ?
---------- ------------ ---------- ----------
Low risk of sickness &
disease transmission Y Y Y N
---------- ------------ ---------- ----------
Low risk of pet physical &
psychological trauma Y Y Y N
---------- ------------ ---------- ----------
Expert service provided Y ? N ?
---------- ------------ ---------- ----------
Home security checks
performed Y ? ? N
---------- ------------ ---------- ----------
Free in-home consultation Y ? N N
---------- ------------ ---------- ----------
Satisfaction guarantee Y N N ?
---------- ------------ ---------- ----------


Large staff always available Y N N ?
---------- ------------ ---------- ----------
Emergency backup staff
available Y N N ?
---------- ------------ ---------- ----------
Staff criminal background
checks performed Y N N N
---------- ------------ ---------- ----------
Staff reference checks
performed Y ? ? ?
---------- ------------ ---------- ----------
Professionally trained staff Y ? N ?
---------- ------------ ---------- ----------
Bonded & insured staff Y ? N ?
---------- ------------ ---------- ----------
References provided Y ? ? ?
---------- ------------ ---------- ----------
Dedicated dispatchers Y N N N
---------- ------------ ---------- ----------


Online reservation system Y N N ?
---------- ------------ ---------- ----------
Toll free customer care
number Y N N N
---------- ------------ ---------- ----------
Report card after every
assignment Y ? N N
---------- ------------ ---------- ----------
Satisfaction survey after
every assignment Y N N N
---------- ------------ ---------- ----------
Prompt 24/7/365 phone & email
availability Y N N ?
---------- ------------ ---------- ----------
Emergency pet tracking system Y N N N
---------- ------------ ---------- ----------
Credit card payment accepted Y N N ?
---------- ------------ ---------- ----------
Key security program enforced Y ? N N
---------- ------------ ---------- ----------

Why did survey respondents apparently regard kennel boarding pets in such a harsh manner? Almost half indicated their "biggest concern about kennel boarding" was that "it puts my pet's emotional health at risk, including depression, separation anxiety, and stress from alpha dogs."

Nearly one-fifth indicated their biggest kennel boarding concern was because "it puts my pet's physical health at risk due to transmittable airborne diseases," while almost one-quarter conceded that "it makes me feel guilty and anxious knowing my pet is in a kennel."

The majority of survey respondents felt "overnight sitting or daily visits in the pet's home" was "the most valuable pet care service."

Nearly three-fourths indicated the "greatest benefit of at-home pet care" is that the "pet maintains its daily routine in comfortable and familiar surroundings." Other reasons included the "pet receives regular affection, attention and nurturing," the "pet not exposed to germs, viruses and diseases common to group care," the "pet receives regular exercise," "personalized care, medical needs and otherwise," and "convenience."

When asked "how important do you feel it is for a pet care professional to be professionally trained, screened, background checked, bonded and insured?" 80% of respondents indicated "extremely -- I won't entrust my pet otherwise."

To help consumers make informed choices, FETCH! Pet Care offers this at-a-glance comparison of its approach to at-home pet care with other available options online at Also from this site, or via toll-free telephone at 1-866-FETCH-ME, consumers may find a reliable at-home pet sitter near their location.

About FETCH! Pet Care, Inc.
Founded in 2002 and with over 1,400 service areas across the United States, FETCH! Pet Care is the pet sitting industry market leader -- the new face of pet care in the 21st century. The company offers a humane alternative to kennel boarding by providing loving, in-home overnight and/or daily care to any kind of pet in the most professional and reliable manner possible. FETCH! Pet Care's carefully selected, screened and trained pet sitters and dog walkers, who are all pet owners themselves, have serviced over 10,000 clients this past year alone. The company has been featured in Small Business Opportunities magazine's top 20 "Boom Businesses" to get into in 2007, named among Pet Product News International's "25 to Watch in 2007" and included in Entrepreneur magazine's coveted Franchise 500 list in January 2007 and in its "7 Hot Businesses That Can Make You Rich" feature in September 2007. For franchise information or to find a location near you, visit the company's Web site at or call the corporate office at 1-866-FETCH-ME.

Note to Editors: Mann available for interview. Visit for full results of survey through which Americans rated in-home pet sitting and dog walking services as "top dog" among other key findings about the various methods of pet care available to consumers. Press contact Merilee Kern,, 858-577-0206.



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