I started Dog's Best Friend in 2010 as a means of supplementing my income while in college. I enjoyed working with my clients and their pets so much that it became one of my priorities while I was working on my degree. I began reaching out to various people in the community to learn dog behavior and emergency first aid care to better serve my clients. In efforts to gain more experience, I also volunteered at Second Chance Cocker Rescue as a foster home. These early experiences have shaped the way I operate Dog's Best Friend today.

Now, four years later, my role in the business is shifting. I see a need for a different type of pet sitting service, a partnership with pet owners, and this is a niche I believe Dog's Best Friend can grow in. In setting out to grow this business, I have three main goals: 1. to provide a valuable service, 2. create enjoyable and engaging jobs, and 3. to support our local animal rescue community.

Santa Barbara is a unique city in that we have an exceptional volunteer oriented community, which animals benefit from greatly. Many of our clients have rescued pets, and learning about animal behavior has become one of the biggest principals of Dog's Best Friend. I believe we cannot befriend an animal if we do not do our best to accept and understand them on their level. I try to view an animal's experiences based on what we, as humans, understand of animal instincts, biology, and behavior.

Dog's Best Friend does not aim to train animals, and behavior modification is not our objective by any means, but we fill a unique role in a pet's life, and serve as a partner to the pet owner. In order to care for animals humanely, I feel it is valuable for us to take the above principals to heart. We may find ourselves working with trainers and pet owners on care plans for animals, and this is where a good foundation of knowledge will help us greatly.

Many times the pets we care for are well socialized and easy going with humans and other animals. However, there will be times we may care for animals with separation anxiety, reactivity, aggression, or fear. To serve our community well, Dog's Best Friend believes in doing what we can to accommodate such behavior issues. Even when we are caring for animals without behavior concerns, there will be situations when this experience will be valuable. As busy pet sitters, we come across many people and animals every day who will test our abilities. These interactions are often out of our control, though our experiences will directly guide us in how we handle them. I strongly encourage Dog's Best Friend employees to participate in activities and experiences that teach them about being a savvy pet lover, and an experienced pet sitter. In addition to the on the job training they receive, we prepare our employees with an employee manual, and in it are many resources, our policies, and examples of real pet sitting experiences. I believe that in supporting, training and educating our employees, Dog's Best Friend offers Santa Barbara the best pet sitters available.

Britta Harris

Dog's Best Friend Founder and Owner