By Kathleen Swift

Caring for your dog when you have to be gone can cause some stress, but Lauren Gilbreth makes it easy for pet owners with her business, Just Like Home.

“I started 20 years ago watching pets for people I knew from church or who were my parents’ friends,” said Gilbreth. “I’m a huge animal person, and through word of mouth, I would bring friends’ dogs home to stay with me while the owners were gone.

“After college, I got on and started keeping pets for people I didn’t know. At that time, I mostly kept pets for longer periods of time, like two to four weeks. When I moved in with my boyfriend, I took a sabbatical from pet sitting. When Lee, from Show Me The Ozarks Magazine, reached out a couple years ago about keeping her dogs, that’s when my boyfriend became okay with me keeping dogs. He loves all the dogs that visit our house, just as much as he loves our own dogs.”

For Gilbreth, it’s important the dogs she keeps feel like they are at home. She has two dogs of her own, and when a pet stays with her, it simply joins the family. They have the run of her house with her dogs.

“Every dog is treated as if they were my own,” said Gilbreth. “I have a large fenced-in backyard, lots of dog toys and multiple dog beds throughout the house. I always clean and
sanitize after every dog visits. Clients are welcome to bring their dog’s crate, blanket, toys, whatever makes them feel comfortable. I give special dog cookies and rawhide-free treats. With the owner’s permission, I give the dogs Frosty Paws, dog-friendly ice cream on hot days.”

Gilbreth asks owners to bring their dog’s food and any medication they need. “Owners receive updates with pictures and videos every 2-3 hours. I want to make sure they know their fur baby is safe and happy. As a security measure, each dog wears an Apple air-tag until they leave. I only take three dogs at a time because I want to be sure every dog gets the love and attention they need while they are here.”

When Gilbreth goes to the store or is at her other job, she is never gone for more than a few hours. “When I’m not at home, I keep the tv on to the Lucky Dog channel, so the dogs can watch that. I also have cameras in the house that only I have access to, so I can check to make sure the dogs are doing well.”

Gilbreth also offers drop-in visits for owners who prefer to leave their pet at home or who have a large number of pets. “I go to the home to check in on the dog(s), feeding and letting them out for a potty break. I stay for 30 minutes to 1 hour. I will send pictures and/or video updates during the visit. I can make 1-2 visits per day. I am not set up to take care of cats in my home, but I can do drop-in visits for cats.”

This cage-free, kennel-free environment provides loving care for your pet when you are away. It’s just like home!

Find Just Like Home on Facebook to book your pet’s stay.