BirchBay women are dogs’ other mothers

Published on Thu, Aug 10, 2006 by Jack Kintner

Read More News

Birch Bay women are dogs’ other mothers

By Jack Kintner

Kathi Gilbert and Katie Nelson both say that none of their work days are typical as professional pet sitters and care givers.

And neither would trade places with anyone, and they’ve been able to translate their love of animals into paying, custom animal care businesses that seems to keep growing.

Gilbert, 49, has run her small animal pet sitting service called The Other Mother for five years and specializes in day visits for what she calls little animals – cats, dogs, birds and so on – that live in the Blaine and Birch Bay area.

Nelson, 36, runs her six-year-old operation All Creatures Large and Small out of her house in Birch Bay, and deals with small and large animals throughout the county.

She often stays overnight as her years of experience with horses and cattle has taught her that night time is often when problems happen.

While both women invite new clients it’s clear that their highly selective approach to working with pet owners has paid off both in a lot of new human and animal friends as well as a loyal following.

Each begins with a phone interview followed by a personal visit at which both the prospective client and caregiver interview each other.
Gilbert charges $15 per visit, and Nelson charges $17 for one to two visits per day or for an overnight stay.

A visit can be anywhere from a half hour to several hours depending upon the situation and the chores that have been assigned.

They both, for example, pick up mail and bring in newspapers for absent homeowners.

Nelson is a Blaine native who’s also lived in Vancouver for a while, “and I raised a daughter but have stuck pretty close to home,” she said.
Gilbert worked for years as a production fit model in Los Angeles but says she’s happy to no longer have to measure herself two and three times a day to maintain herself at a perfect size six.

She began fostering dogs while still in California, and since moving to Blaine has continued her focus on animal care. She spends most of her time with clients’ pets in days that can run from 6 a.m. until past 10 p.m.
When finished Gilbert comes home to Dena, her quiet and dignified Dalmatian.

Two years ago she fostered and then adopted two more dogs, puppies named Spot and Gabe, that she says are a cross between a Boston Bull terrier and a Shih-Tzu.

“The woman who bred them calls them Bulls---s,” Gilbert laughed, “but she’s gone now so these are the last ones. Cool dogs, though.”

Contact Katie Nelson at All Creatures Large and Small at 371-3208, or on her cell phone, 927-1082. Kathi Gilbert, The Other Mother, can be reached at 371-8698.