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Best critter caretakers: Peaceful Pets Pet Sitting Services

It’s just another cute-dog-filled day at the office for Peaceful Pets Pet Sitting Services’ James McKellips.

It’s just another cute-dog-filled day at the office for Peaceful Pets Pet Sitting Services’ James McKellips.

Photo By ryan donahue

It’s more pleasant taking a dog for a walk than sticking it with a needle. That was obvious to veterinary technician Dana Strickland back in 2005, but when she discovered that she could make &8220;just as good a living&8221; with the walks as she was earning in the clinic, she started Peaceful Pets Pet Sitting Services.

Over the years, Peaceful Pets has expanded, including the addition of another full-time staff member—James McKellips, who joined in 2006 and also happens to be Strickland’s husband—plus two independent contractors.

On a recent warm summer evening, Strickland—petite and fair-skinned with berry-tinted plaits, 36—walks with McKellips—tall, lean and tan with short dark hair, 42—and three of their own furry family members on leash: a basset hound, Rosco, and border collies Cash and Joker. They amble along the goose-poop-bombed walkway at North Natomas Regional Park; they are off the clock now, of course, but it’s normal for the couple to log 10- to 12-hour days caring for other people’s dogs and cats.

At nearly two dozen clients per day, Peaceful Pets’ services include dog walking, in-home and overnight pet sitting, feeding, playing, and administering medications (yes, even with needles, if necessary) for dogs, cats, birds, turtles and more, plus some other light house-sitting duties. There is the added perk that Strickland and McKellips often snap pictures of clients’ critters and post them to their Instagram feeds (@thedanes and @lorax42love, respectively) so the animals’ people can check in—and most likely coo—while they’re away.

And although Peaceful Pets’ services isn’t focused on training dogs, McKellips said that 95 percent of behavioral problems are alleviated by regular walks twice a day.

Despite the long days, McKellips said, “I don’t think I’ve called in sick in over six years. I don’t grumble about Mondays.”

Strickland still works as a vet tech one day a week to keep up her skills, but it’s clear that the couple loves what they do.

“If you told me at 10 [years old] I’d be taking care of animals [as a job], I’d say, ’No way!’” McKellips said. “It’s a great fit for me.” And for his wife, too. (916) 397-3201,