With a larger than life name and personality, Isay Pop brings tons of his passion to caring for dogs. This week’s Pet Sitter Spotlight features a man who cooks home made meals for his four legged friends and specializes in morning cuddle times. He’s a certified dog trainer but most of all, he’s ready to be your dog’s best friend. In fact, he says that the most difficult part of his job is always having to say goodbye.
How has your DogVacay.com experience been?
When I heard about DogVacay, I thought, this is too perfect for me. I’m a huge dog lover and I know how precious someone’s dog can be to them. I see taking in DogVacay dogs as inviting someone into my family. No dog ever comes through my home without getting a lot of love and attention.
How did you get started working with dogs?
My dog Plato was the one that taught me how to be a good dog owner. He taught me how to be responsible for another creature. Every decision you make in life has to kind of revolve around the dogs that you own. In 2004, I started collecting dogs. I wound up having four dogs at once within a year and a half. They all just kind of came to me serendipitously. I live in a small town and people would see me with the dogs when we would go on our daily hikes. All of a sudden, people started dropping off dogs with me when they either couldn’t take care of them any longer or when they found a stray. I’d take the dog in and find a home for them. Over the next two years, I just kept rescuing dogs.
What is your experience caring for dogs?
My mother told me she found a great online dog-training course. I got certified as a dog trainer and I soon realized I was drawn to dogs with behavioral issues: dogs with aggression, dogs with phobias or dogs that are ill. Once dogs with problems or issues enter my pack, that problem just melts away. It’s remarkable.
Tell us a little bit about a dog you really connected with.
I had a dog that just passed away three months ago at 17 years old. His name was Plato and he was a huge, beautiful Labrador-Shepherd mix. Plato was my rock, he was always by my side and the best dog anyone could ask for. Losing him wa sone of the most difficult things I ever had to endure. When I got a tattoo on my chest in honor of him so he can be with me until my dying day. I adopted Plato when I was quite young and it was so clear that he was the dog I was supposed to have. I had Plato for a little over a year when my ex-wife pressured me to give him up so that we could move to Los Angeles. We gave up the dogs to a couple we knew and it was so difficult to part with him. Four years later, I get an unexpected call; my ex-wife saw a picture of Plato in the local classifieds. To my dismay, I realized it was a column that featured dogs from the pound that were about to be put down. It was the worst feeling I ever had; my heart was completely broken and I was guilt-ridden. Luckily, we called the pound and they said they would hold the dog for us. We picked up Plato from the pound and I felt like God was giving me a sign. I vowed to never ever give up a dog again after that point.
Why is home dog boarding a good option?
A lot of times in kennels, when 6 o clock comes, everyone leaves. All the staff is gone. Your dog is now in a cage with no supervision. Your dog is not being well looked after. With me, your dog is never left alone. There is nothing better to be on a great hike with a pack of dogs running together. It’s one of the most amazing experiences to watch. Dogs need so much individual care and attention. It’s really stressful for dogs to be away from their owners and I feel that I do a great job in bridging that gap and making them comfortable. If a dog comes in to my home with an issue, for some reason, once they’re part of the pack, the issue just melts away.
How did you start doing in-home dog boarding?
After rescuing so many dogs, I decided that I wanted to start doing doggy day care to make a side income. The interesting thing about in-home dog boarding, is that it’s actually more like family member day care. The people that send dogs to in-home boarding really see their dogs as a part of their family. It’s not about the money for me; it’s about taking care of the most precious member of their family. When clients call me, the first thing I want to do is talk about your dog. I want to hear all about them, their personality, their habits and their routine.
What can prospective clients expect from leaving their dog with you?
If it’s hard for you to leave your dog, then I’m the pet sitter for you. That’s my ideal client. I understand how difficult it is to leave your dog and if they stay with me, there’s so much love that gets exchanged between the dog and me. I’ll have a dog for a week, and when that dog gets picked up, I really miss them and I feel that loss very deeply. All of a sudden, that dog isn’t sitting where he used to and that really is the hardest part of my job, always having to say goodbye.
I do morning and evening cuddles where I greet each dog individually and tell them that they are loved. We even do a late night snack. I prepare raw food for the dogs for each meal, which is why my dogs are so healthy. I can feed a dog for $1.65 a day with a healthy diet. It does take time but it’s so much better for them. All I do is prepare some raw beef, some freshly blended vegetables and rice. I won’t crate dogs because they deserve to be free within the home. There’s no place in this house that dogs aren’t aloud to roam in.
Do you have any dog parks/trails/etc. near you?
When it’s good weather, I take all the dogs out by the creek. There really is nothing quite as incredible as seeing dogs run together in a pack. When I take them to the creek, they all fall in line and run and play with each other so well. After a long day of rolling around in the dirt and swimming in the water, I make sure to give each dog a really thorough bath. Most owners are surprised that their dog is cleaner when they’re picked up than when they arrived.
Dogs need so much individual care and attention. It’s really stressful for dogs to be away from their owners and I feel that I do a great job in bridging that gap and making them comfortable. If a dog comes in to my home with an issue, for some reason, once they’re part of the pack, the issue just melts away.
I make sure to take a picture of the dogs every day. I take photos of the dogs doing all the activities we’re doing and I post them on my Facebook and send them out to the dog owners.[To book with this sitter, click here]
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