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Pet sitters guide 

A guide to pet sitters and kennels

With the beginning of the summer vacation season comes the perennial question of what to do with your pets. There are many options available, but first you have to decide whether to go the boarding route or hire a sitter. Most animals prefer their own surroundings to a kennel, as anyone who's ever had a dog try to slink out of a vet's office knows. If that's the case, vet boarding may not be a suitable option, even if it sometimes makes the most economic sense. What follows is a list of some of what Central Arkansas has to offer for pets of all persuasions.

SITTING

Affectionate Pet Sitters. This business' website states, "Each animal has his/her own personality, and we respect them for who they are!" APS owner Leslie Gorrell takes her sitting, and her love for animals, seriously, from prickly Pomeranians to laid-back labs.

Gorrell started her business in January 2008, but she's been sitting with pets since moving back to Arkansas in 1992 (and years before that). APS is based in North Little Rock, but serves locations in Little Rock, Maumelle and Sherwood as well.

Pet services include the obvious like providing fresh water and food and attention, and extras, such as midnight visits and transportation to and from the vet, groomer, doggie day care, etc. — kind of like a pet chauf-fur. Overnights and extended stays are available to non-smoking households.

APS sitters will also bring in newspapers and mail, carrying trash and recyclables out/in and water plants.

APS is insured and bonded and Red Cross Certified in Pet First Aid, trained in dog CPR. Sounds gross, sure, but could save a life. It's also a member of the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters. 607-2122. AffectionatePetSit@sbcglobal.net. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sat.

Rates:

1 daily visit, $18

2 daily visits, $34

3 daily visits, $48

4 daily visits, $60

Overnight Visits range from $55 to $85 per night.

The Good, the Bad and the Fuzzy. There's good news for the many pets and owners who bemoaned the end of The Good, the Bad and the Fuzzy several years ago — GTBF is back in business! Holly Hope, who once ran the enterprise with her husband, Ian, now partners with Kelly Quinn to offer in-home care for animals of all stripes — and spots. They limit themselves to the Heights/Hillcrest/Capitol View area, with occasional exceptions made for Argenta or downtown. Rates not currently available. Holly Hope: 681-2120 (cell), 374-6534 (home); Kelly Quinn: 661-4642.

Rockin' Paws. Ashley Brown spent the last few years helping manage the premier dog walking and pet sitting company in Portland, Ore., and has now brought this experience back home. Brown caters to the specific needs of client and pets, from daily dog walking, running sessions, drop-in pet sitting, basic obedience, specialized dog training to full-service overnight house/pet sitting. She relates the story of a certain lonely client — a beagle mix named Hank — who just wanted someone to take him joyriding during the day. Brown happily obliged. She says she treats all her canine clients with the same care she gives her beloved long-haired dachshunds. Fully licensed, bonded and insured and a member of Pet Sitters International. 352-0111. ashley@rockinpaws.net. rockinpaws.net.

Rates:

15-minute visit, $17

30-minute visit, $19

45-minute visit, $22

1-hour visit, $26

Wags and Whiskers. In business three years, owner Michelle Wilkerson says a typical home visit involves feeding, walking, brushing and playing with your animal and lasts approximately 30-40 minutes. Morning visits are made between 5 a.m.-8:30 a.m., and evening visits are made between 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Dogs require a minimum of two visits per day if they stay in the house. Bonded, insured and a member of the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters. 501-416-PETO (7380). MichelleWilkerson@hughes.net.

Rates:

1 visit per day, $21

2 daily visits, $36 per day

3 daily visits, $47 per day

4 daily visits, $60 per day

BOARDING

Chenal Pet Palace and Arkansas Pet Resort. Family-owned and -operated since 2005, Chenal Pet Palace and Arkansas Pet Resort might be called the Ritz-Carltons of pet boarding. Every "guest" receives one-on-one attention and resides in themed suites with televisions. Some of the rooms even have doggy doors that lead to private fenced-in outside areas.

Depending on your dog's personality and tastes, you can choose from one of these themes: hunting, rock 'n' roll, princess, seaside and Razorback. (Not kidding.) The rooms are perhaps more for the owners' benefit than the dogs', but still are preferable to a cage or kennel. One wonders, though, do dogs really watch TV? And, if so, should they?

Other amenities include room service, fresh linens, daily housekeeping and three to four daily playtimes in a 10,000 sq. ft. exercise area.

Both locations welcome pet owners to come by for a tour and to meet the staff. Rates range from $28-$48 a night. Arkansas Pet Resort of Maumelle, 8402 Counts Massie Road. 753-5855. Chenal Pet Palace, 14309 Kanis Road. 223-2688. 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sat.-Sun.

Downtown Dogz. In February, owners Stephanie and Brent Rogers moved from their old location by Interstate 30 into roomier digs — 16,000 square feet to be exact. They pride themselves on being a cage-free facility in which dogs are free to socialize and play — all while being closely monitored. Should you have an anti-social or older dog who's not up for tussling and playing, other accommodations are available. Sunday pickups by appointment only. Overnight boarding $25, includes daytime playtime with daycare. 624 Byrd St. 375-3647. (The Rogerses also operate a separate pit-bull rescue program).

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