Recently, I was at an event when someone walked up to our booth and asked how Bad to the Bone differs from another local pet sitting company. I couldn’t help but laugh because I am all too aware that from outside perspective, most pet sitting companies look the same. At first glance, we all look like little groups of animal lovers all doing the same thing for the same reason, however that is not the case when you take a deeper look.
Bad to the Bone Pet Care came to be by sheer accident. I began pet sitting in the Fall of 2013 because I wanted to share my love for animals with my community, not because I wanted to start a business. Because my passion resonated with my community, my pet sitting grew into a business before I knew what was happening. Since then, I have merely followed the demand and my gut. If you look at the way Bad to the Bone is structured, our policies, and our community involvement, you will see that we are built entirely around true insatiable love and respect for all animals, not around building a large company.
When pet care businesses become too focused on growth and monetary success, questionable decisions are made. Companies like Rover and Wag are perfect examples of what happens when the focus shifts from animal welfare to money. Because Rover and Wag must hit certain margins and pay back their investors, they will cut corners and hire anyone to represent them with no oversight of their work. There have been countless news articles of missing or sick pets, and disrespect of clients households from these companies because of their mindset. Bad to the Bone will never be a company driven by investors or spreadsheets.
All Bad to the Bone pet sitters and dog walkers go through multiple interviews and training visits before receiving their own clients. This ensures they are not only true pet lovers, but are also up to date on everything from how to properly hold a leash to current canine illnesses going around. All of our visits are timed, GPS tracked, and monitored by our Operations Manager to ensure every client is getting what they paid for. Not only that, but all communication between clients and sitters goes through our app so that we can ensure nothing ever “falls through the cracks.”
Bad to the Bone only utilizes positive reinforcement techniques. While we are not dog trainers, we have a good understanding of the basics of dog training and the canine psyche, and we believe that there is never a reason to use a negative reinforcer. That being said, we turn away any and all clients that ask us to use things such as prong collars, shock collars, and so on. Policies like this and others, such as no pets being left alone for more than 12 hours maximum, do cost us business but are necessary for us to share our true love and passion.
Giving back to the community is a huge driving factor for our team of pet sitters. We believe in making the world a better place, and thanking those that make this dream possible as we grow. This led to our involvement with helping to start the Friends of John Gorrie Dog Park volunteer group in 2017, which I currently serve as the City of Jacksonville Liaison for. Bad to the Bone also started The Northeast Florida Pet Professionals group in 2019 as an initiative to get local pet businesses to bind together and raise the standards across the board. We hold regular meetings for local pet professionals to get to know each other and discuss how to make the most positive impact on our clients and communities.
In 2018, we began supplying various parks with dog waste bags as an effort to help keep our parks clean and beautiful. A percentage of our earnings every month go to supplying these waste bags, as well as regular donations to several animal rescue groups around the state of Florida.
Our focus on providing the best pet care while making a positive impact has led us to be voted Best Pet Sitting Service in Northeast Florida 2016 and 2017, a top three finalist in 2019 by Bold City Best. We have also been chosen Best Jacksonville Dog Walking Company 2019 by ThreeBestRated. We currently have a growing team of 20+ pet care professionals covering Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, Orange Park, Lakeland, Plant City, Tampa, and surrounding areas.