Business: Zoo Sitters LLC

Owner: Vanessa Sorace, 37, of Cape May Court House  

Location: Goshen Road, Cape May Court House

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Started: 2006

Employees: 4

Phone: 609-846-4641

Zoo Sitters is an in-your-home pet-sitting service that also specializes in farm-sitting. We’ll take care of horses, alpacas, chickens, whatever someone has.

I used to be zookeeper. I have a degree in psychology with a concentration in animal behavior from West Chester University. I did my internship at the Philadelphia Zoo and worked at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb.

I left there and worked in the corporate world for eight years, in stocks for a while and then life insurance. Then I considered opening a bed and breakfast in Costa Rica, but decided instead to come back and open Zoo Sitters.

We do daily dog walks, feedings, litter changes and playtime exercise.

All of our sitters are certified in pet first aid and CPR. This past year, we were recognized as a finalist for Pet Sitter of the Year by Pet Sitters International, making us one of their Top 5 pet sitters in the country.

This year we were nominated for Business of the Year by the Middle Township Chamber of Commerce.

We offer 15-, 30- and 60-minute visits, as many times a day as you need. We also offer an overnight service where we stay in the house from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

The 15-minute visit for one pet is $16, the 20-minute is $22, the 60-minute is $38, and overnights are $77. For all of those services, it’s $2 for each additional pet. If people have more than five pets or if it’s a farm, we’ll do customized pricing.

All of our sitters are fully insured and bonded. We’re also accredited with the two leading industry organizations.

Right now we serve more than 300 clients. We always have a backup pet sitter, who can print out your background and do the job.

Our biggest challenge probably is summer traffic. I look at this like taking care of someone’s children, a big responsibility.

Entry: When I came back here, I realized I really missed being a zookeeper. But I have a business side of me I enjoy and wanted that to flourish.

I opened in 2006 and it definitely flourished, and we had our first employee about a year later.

The future: This year I founded the Cape May County Network of Professional Pet Sitters, where everybody can get together, answer questions, work together.

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