Holly Sorenson's clients call her 'The Cat Whisperer' for her ability to comfort animals experiencing stressful circumstances. The title aptly describes her affinity for cats as well as dogs, and makes her career choice a perfect fit.
Sorenson, owner of Pawswego, a petsitting and housesitting service, has aspired to her career since she was in junior high school. She babysat for her veterinarian's family, and one day was invited to accompany the vet for the day. She knew after that experience that she wanted to spend her life working with animals in some capacity.
'I thought I would be a veterinarian and I even went to a veterinary technological school for awhile, but that was all a bit sad for me,' said Sorenson. 'I get very attached and am too empathetic to see or feel them suffering day in and day out. Although, every vet I've ever worked for has told me I have the magic touch.'
A veterinary assistant since 1992, Sorenson has completed course studies on veterinary technology, companion animal first aid and pet CPR. Currently studying for an international certification as a petsitting technician, she is constantly continuing her education as a pet care provider.
'I was a veterinary technician for years in Montana before I moved here,' said Sorenson. 'And when I came to Lake Oswego I went to work for Oswego Veterinary Hospital. I often pet sat for clients from the office.
After a while it became apparent that I was developing quite a business. Anne Lazar (owner of Oswego Veterinary Hospital) encouraged me to establish a petsitting business on my own.'
That was 1995, and in that time she has served 515 families in Lake Oswego and 121 families in West Linn.
Sorenson offers in-home petsitting, so that pets can remain in the comfort and safety of their own home during an owner's absence.
She meets potential clients and their pets in their home and learns about the pet's routine, health and medical history. She tries to match the animal's normal routine and do whatever is necessary to keep it happy and stress-free.
'Dogs typically need two to three visits per day and cats usually need only one daily visit,' said Sorenson. 'We will arrange a schedule to best suit your pets. Dog sitting visits are never more than 12 hours apart and cat sitting visits are never more than 24 hours apart.'
The average petsitting visit is about 30 minutes.
'People consider cats easy to care for,' Sorenson said, 'and often will tell me to just leave fresh water and food and don't worry if I even see their pet, because they are shy. With those animals I tend to just sit around for awhile and talk to them. They need that companionship.'
And there isn't a dog alive that doesn't like a walk.
'I am often asked: 'What did you do? My dog is so easy to walk now?''' said Sorenson. 'I don't train animals, but understand how you need to communicate with them.'
Many of Sorenson's clients are away for weeks at a time and some take advantage of her availability for quick weekend junkets. It's not uncommon for clients to hire her or an associate to take Fido for his daily walk in the park.
Pawswego Pet Sitting service is licensed, bonded and insured. Clients' house keys are coded and always stored in a locked and secure location in the office, separate from any files or information that could link the key to an address. During a pet's session, keys are clipped onto a sitter's person at all times.
Sorenson uses her wealth of knowledge about dogs and cats to ensure a pet's comfort during the owners' absence. Perhaps another title for her could be 'The Pet Owner Whisperer' for the peace of mind her services provide.
Visit her Internet Web site at www.pawswego.com.