We had the good fortune of connecting with Natalya Karelina and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Natalya, what do you love most about your work?
“Find a job you enjoy doing and you will never have to work a day in your life” -Mark Twain
True Friends Pet Care – dog walking and pet sitting service was born out of pure love for animals.
After graduating from university with a DVM and realizing that the veterinary field was way too rough for her, Natalya was looking for ways to utilize her education and unconditional love of animals. In 2010 she founded True Friends Pet Care – a professional pet care company based in Los Angeles. She started with just one client and in 10 years they grew to having close to a thousand long time, amazing clients, many of whom became great and loyal friends.
True Friends Pet Care offers high quality, customized dog walking and pet sitting services at clients homes, where pets feel the most relaxed and comfortable. Each pets’ safety, without compromising fun, is their first priority.
True Friends Per Care is fully Bonded, Insured and Licensed.
Being a huge animal lover, this job, feels like a dream. Animals bring an enormous amount of joy to me. I love them unconditionally and I absolutely adore their unique, sometimes quirky personalities. I believe time spent with an animal is never wasted. Their happiness and positivity is contagious. They inspire me and I learn from them every day how to stay positive, be happy and live in the moment.
When I hire people to work for us, I always look for like minded individuals. Our service is heart based and our human customers share the same view about pet care as we do, having a pet is like having a human child, they are an integral part of the family and should be treated with the same love, kindness, respect and patience as any family member.
Having a pet is a huge responsibility and it’s a life long commitment. Our clients are the best and I am so grateful they chose us to take care of their precious fur children. Their trust in True Friends Pet Care and their loyalty are priceless.
Why I love what I do?
When you put all your heart, soul, vision, dedication and hard work into your company, it’s impossible not to love it When your customers are happy with the services and appreciate you, it makes you happy too, its such a rewarding feeling. I feel especially excited when our human clients return home from a hard day at work or their dream vacation and see their fur kids healthy and relaxed, at that moment they understand that they made the right decision in hiring us. And they are always so thankful, its touching.
In return, this reassurance and positive feedback encourages us even more to do our best in providing unparalleled, premium pet care service. At True Friends Pet Care we treat each client as if they are the only client we have. We strive to provide highest quality care. Each pet sit and dog walk is individualized and built around the needs and requirements of our furry and human customers.
We go above and beyond the call of duty. We want to be sure all pets enjoy their time with us to the fullest, have an enriched and stimulating environment, are safe and most importantly – loved. We want our human clients to have peace of mind, happiness and a worry free time while away from their homes. And when this goal is achieved, I feel beyond happy! It’s another reminder to me that I am in the right business and doing the right thing.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Founded in 2010, True Friends Pet Care offers premium pet sitting and dog walking services by professional, caring and compassionate caregivers. We strive to provide the best care possible to any animal. In addition to most common fur babies – dogs and cats, we care for bunnies, guinea pigs, hamsters, tortoises, turtles, fish, crabs, chinchillas, snakes, lizards, parrots, chickens and even miniature pigs. We don’t discriminate against any species or breed. Everyone is welcomed to our True Friends family.
Under our care, pets always get individual, loving and personalized attention in the stress free environment – their own homes. And the animals’ safety and well-being is our foremost priority.
Unlike bigger pet sitting companies, who use multiple sitters coming to one home, we have the same caregiver on each visit from start to finish. Pets feel so much more comfortable and are less nervous when they have a strong connection with the same pet sitter. We stay in touch with owners 24-7. Any concerns, questions, clarifications can be addressed in no time.
We want to assure our clients that their fur kids and houses are always in reliable, gentle and protective hands. We are always here for them.
Sending clients daily updates and cute photos of their pets is customary and expected. All pets in our care get lots of love, petting and interaction. We do spoil them!
We pay great attention to how animals feel, physically and emotionally. If a pet behaves out of the ordinary, we monitor them, discuss any concerns with the owner and do whatever it takes to make them feel better. We take care of homes too, plant watering, mail pick up, light rotations and security check ups are all part of the package. We are fully Bonded, Licensed and Insured and our first consultation is always Free of charge.
There are few things I am proud and excited about. First, my business excites me every day! Meeting new people and their fur children and building lasting friendships is exciting. Even today, 10 years later, we have clients who are with us from the beginning. Throughout the years, many of our customers have moved out of state or retired and no longer utilize the services, yet we still stay in touch and care about each other. I think that alone tells a lot about the business and its approach to customer care.
Second, building a company from the ground up and keeping it successful for many years is not an easy task. It takes lots of time, energy and dedication. I started with just one client and we gradually reached about thousand clients in ten years. Its truly an American dream to own a small business, run it successfully and enjoy every day doing what you love the most and I am very proud of it!
Yes, I’ve had them too. Even though I always loved animals and had an instant connection with them from an early age, I’ve never seen myself being a business owner. As True Friends Pet Care grew, I had to learn lots of new things, everything from marketing to billing to customer service and everything in between. However, the most challenging of them was hiring new people to work for us. Its quite easy to find someone who just puts food and water down for kitty or a dog, but finding like minded, reliable and dedicated pet sitters who want to provide the best service possible and go above and beyond the call of duty is challenging. I had to learn to use my intuition in finding the right staff, to be able to trust them and to use a special process to train them.
The lessons I’ve learned along the way are to never give up, work hard and have lots of patience and a strong work ethic. When one puts lots of energy, time and effort into something, it will pay off sooner or later. True Friends Pet Care is a small locally owned company, but our passion for animal care, reliability and dedication to our clients exceeds any expectations. We look forward to meeting you and your fur children and providing the best pet care possible.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My favorite breakfast and brunch place is Jinky’s cafe in Agoura Hills. The breakfast food is so delicious and the service is top notch. The atmosphere is dynamic inside and tranquil outside, with some nice views of the hills.
LA also offers many art exhibitions and live concerts, that would be our next stop. The Troubadour, for instance, one of the smaller venues, is a great place to visit where you can be close to the stage and enjoy your favorite bands in a more close setting.
Hiking in Thousand Oaks with the best city views is great too, Tarantula trail is one of the best ones for views. A peaceful day kayaking in Oxnard is also a must There are several dinner options after a long day. Cinepolis in Westlake Village is one of them. Its a movie theater which offers great food and drinks while you’re watching a movie. I have had only great experiences there. The Grill in Westlake Village is a nice place for special occasions or Boccaccio’s on the lake with incredible views of Westlake Lake and the surrounding hills. But any restaurant on the ocean is great. I especially love Malibu Farm restaurant. Its on the Malibu Pier and it offers delicious, very fresh food and beautiful views of the Ocean. As the one of most unusual experiences, I would recommend visiting the Thien Hau Temple in China Town of Los Angeles. When I visit this place, I feel like I’ve traveled thousands of miles and I am in a foreign city. It is such a happy and meditative place to visit. Being able to observe the unique culture and traditions in such an intimate setting is amazing. Los Angeles is such a diverse city with many wonderful places for any taste and preference.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to give a huge shout out to my parents who taught me very early in life to love and respect all animals and nature. They are both huge animal lovers. My mom could never just walk by any creature in need. If she saw a homeless cat or an injured bird or any other animal who needed help, she would always rescue them and find homes for them. She still does it. Just recently someone dumped 8 kittens by her house. She took them in and cared for them until every one got adopted. One time, during a rain storm, she found a fledgling baby sparrow and brought it home for us to take care of it. We let it go once it was able to fly. My father would take me to the local pond and let me play with and observe all the water creatures out there. We collected leaves off the ground and picked up pine cones, he showed me how beautiful nature and all the creatures were. They always encouraged me to interact with dogs and cats and they supported me in every idea of getting my own pets too. I had hamsters, a tortoise, cats and dogs as long as I remember. I think its so important for parents to let their children have pets. It teaches kids to be responsible, dependable, caring and kind. It opens their hearts for love and compassion.