Eric Eldred, Pet Services Manager, STL Critters and Creatures Care

By: Alicia Sexauer

We spoke with Eric Eldred, pet services manager and pet sitter of the local St. Louis pet sitting and dog walking company STL Critters and Creatures Care.

Q: Today we are sitting down with Eric Eldred, a professional pet sitter and manager of a local St. Louis pet-sitting company, STL Critters and Creatures Care.  How are you doing today Eric?

I’m doing great, thanks!

Eric taking a selfie with Arlo, a pet sit client. By: Eric Eldred

Q: Wonderful! So, tell us a bit about yourself?  Are you a St. Louis native? 

I am not, I moved here from the south side of Chicago in 2000, I’m an avid football fan. I love the outdoors and everything there is to do with it, and obviously I love animals (gestures to cat behind him lounging on a pocket pet cage).

Q: That’s interesting! It does look like you’ve got some fun going on there behind you. How did you get into pet sitting professionally?

It started as a part time job for me about two years ago with a different company, the lady that owned the company ended up not wanting to pursue pet sitting anymore. And we ended up opening STL Critters and Creatures Care (in 2018) and I have been management and working as a pet sitter since then. 

Eric taking Minnie, the guinea pig for a short stroll. Photo by Alicia Sexauer

Q: Do you only take care of dogs and cats? 

No, we take care of a wide variety of animals.  Everything from horses to reptiles, to pocket pets, cats, dogs, and everything in between!

Q: So when you are out doing a pet sit, how does a client know that you’re actually there walking their dog?

We have an app (Precise Petcare) for our phones that has GPS on it, when we get to their house we clock in and it shows we that have clocked in at their house.  It will also follow us throughout the pet sit so that they can see that their dog has actually been walked down the street. When we clock out, it cancels the GPS until we get to the next sit.  

Q: Do you walk pets in inclement weather?

We do, we walk pets in all types of weather, but we do shorten our walks a little bit more if there’s thunderstorms, or if it’s over 95 degrees (F) or if a little bit icy out.  We try to minimize the walk and then come back inside and we have more play time.

Q: And if anyone wanted any more information on your company, where can they find you?

They can find us at www.stlcrittersandcreatures.com or they can call us at 314-802-0257.

Eric Eldred and Alicia Sexauer catching some R & R with their critters after a hectic 2018 holiday pet sitting schedule. Photo by Angela Reeves

Eric sat and spoke with us longer after his video interview, and also answered the following questions.

Q: So It isn’t just you offering services, how many other sitters work with you?

Currently we have a total of 12 sitters working with us, they are career animal lovers that are passionate about what they do and the bonds they form with the pets trusted to our care.  They don’t look at what we do as just a little side money in addition to their day jobs, they enjoy the perk of being paid to spend quality time with animals.

Q: What does a typical day look like for you?

I start the morning by checking my visit schedule for the day and planning my route.  After that, I usually handle any management functions needed for the company such as client phone calls, sitter scheduling, and just general PR.  While I am on visits during the day, my company phone is on to field questions from new and current clients.  Once I head out the door, I’m usually gone anywhere from 4-6 hours traveling around the St. Louis area.  On weekdays, the majority of my visits are on-going daily walks, these are our dog clients whose owners appreciate knowing they get some extra exercise and TLC every week.  I will also have some vacation clients mixed in there and that may span from breakfast/lunch/dinner let outs and TLC to sleepovers with pets at the client’s home.

Q: What is your favorite thing about the job?

Eric Eldred hanging out with a dog-walking client, Curtis. Photo by Eric Eldred

I love being able to say I’m paid to play with dogs and love on pets all day.  It really is a change of pace from working 40+ hours a week in the chemicals industry.  There is still some job-related stress, but it’s generally more trying to figure out the best routes through traffic or dealing with people.

Q: What’s your least favorite thing about the job?

Traffic (laughs)

Q: Is there any sort of professional certifications that are required to be a petsitter?

It’s recommended to have at the minimum your Pet First Aid/CPR Certification, I acquired mine through the Red cross, but there are some other companies out there that I am looking into when it’s time to renew mine next year.  There are also some voluntary professional petsitting organizations such as NAPPS and PSI that offer Professional Pet Sitter Certification.  I am working on getting my CPPS (Certified Professional Pet Sitter) through Pet Sitters International.  It basically certifies that I have demonstrated the knowledge and capability to care for many different species in addition to properly owning and operating a business.

Q: How many dogs do you walk at a time?

Just one – yours! (Unless your household includes multiple dogs, of course. But we only walk one household’s pets at a time.)

Q: Do you offer any complementary services?

Yes! We believe it’s important to know if our service will work for your family before you make a commitment.  We always offer complimentary meet and greets to our clients and have even trialed walks for potential dog walking client.  We try to offer discounts and other specials where we can.  One of the on-going things we are able to offer clients is so much off per visit when they have 3 or more visits scheduled each week.  We think our clients appreciate that we attempt to acknowledge to them our thanks for their continued trust in us providing personal care to their pets.

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