Saying goodbye….Paws on Pine Dog Walking and Pet Sitting Blog

It was November 2013. Paws on Pine was officially in business for less than a year. I was dog walking and cat sitting 12-16 hour days with practically no time off. My friends and family started asking me when I was going to hire someone. Hire someone? How the heck can I trust ANYONE with my new furry family members? I thought they were nuts. But after almost a year of working alone, I wondered, do they have a point? I did some “deep diving”, as we used to say in corporate life, and started taking seminars about hiring in the “pet sitting” field. Hiring people for your own business and for the service industry is SO much different than hiring in corporate America. Not only are these people representing ME, but also they’re going into clients’ homes and taking care of their furry family. So, I took what I learned and went to work. I’m not going to go into too much detail about my hiring processes, but after placing an ad and receiving over 200 responses, I weeded that down to three people, and then eventually one, Melissa Lauder.


Melissa with Clementine the English Bulldog

I met Melissa later that month when she came in to interview. Melissa was not only an animal lover, but was a proud parent to many dogs, cats, and even a horse. I was amazed by her passion and experience. She also lives on Staten Island, which I have a soft spot for. My biggest test for employee prospects was how they acted with my girls, Doxy and Bebop (who are no longer with us). Melissa gravitated to them immediately, and gave them so much love. If someone came in and ignored them, they were out of the running immediately. Even though I met Melissa in November, it wasn’t until January 2014 that she began working for Paws. I still was so unsure about hiring someone that it took me almost two months to decide (shame on me)! Well, it turns out that hiring Melissa was one of the best decisions I made in my life. She has such compassion for animals, and all of our furry & human clients’ love her. She also works for a vet office part-time. She is always aware and well informed, helping me & the human’s know if their pets might be sick or allergic to something. She also takes the best pictures, and truly captures our clients’ personalities. I don’t know what I would have done without her.

Melissa with Samson

Melissa with Samson. Melissa is the only walker Samson likes. She is his girlfriend!


So, imagine the devastation when Melissa told me a month ago she was moving on. I felt like a truck hit me. I was upset, but after thinking about it, I was thankful and grateful she stayed with me for almost two years. I don’t have human kids, but I’m going to associate this feeling with kids leaving for college— bittersweet.



This post is dedicated to Melissa. Thank you so much for the dedication, compassion, and love you gave to our clients every single day. I know I speak for everyone when I say you will be missed greatly, and of course, the door is always open! 🙂


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