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Pamper your pets and your residence

Dickinson's Michelle Shreve recently pursued one of her dreams by opening a home and pet sitting business - My Best Friend's Backyard. Shreve has been thinking about this business for about 12 years. "This is something that I've been wanting to d...

Dickinson's Michelle Shreve recently pursued one of her dreams by opening a home and pet sitting business - My Best Friend's Backyard.

Shreve has been thinking about this business for about 12 years.

"This is something that I've been wanting to do for a long time, so I decided to go for it," Shreve said.

She started her business in April and is now one of the area's only home and pet sitters.

"So far, we're up to about six houses a day," Shreve said.

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She goes to her clients' homes when they are at work, on vacation or away for any reason and takes care of their pets and homes.

She offers a wide range of services and does any combination of those services, depending on client needs.

Shreve's home sitting includes checking on the home, watering plants, taking out the garbage, taking in the mail and newspapers. She also opens or closes windows and curtains, and turns on or off lights.

"It's just making it look like someone's still home," Shreve said.

Some of the services Shreve provides for pet sitting include letting pets outside, feeding and refreshing water, taking them for walks, cleaning up their messes and playing with them. She also gives baths and administers medication if needed.

"I stay anywhere from a half hour to two hours, depending on what their needs are," Shreve said of pets. "I have one family where I go in six times a day."

She added her main goal is to make pets feel comfortable while their owners are away.

"It's all basically doing what they're used to," Shreve said.

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She also takes care of any caged animals, including rodents, birds and reptiles. She gives the animals food and water and makes sure their cages are clean.

"I will go out of town, but anything out of Dickinson 10 miles is 50 cents a mile," Shreve said.

Another service she offers is pet taxiing.

"That's picking them up from the vet and to and from the groomers," Shreve said. "A lot of elderly people require that service."

Shreve also provides kennel care services.

"That's for people who have more than four dogs that are breeders," Shreve said. "I'm really good with litters of puppies."

For animals with separation anxiety or other needs that require more contact, Shreve can bring up to three pets into her home during the day. Because she does not board animals, the pets must be returned home by 6 p.m.

"I'll pick them up at their house and drop them off (in the evening)," Shreve said.

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If the owner chooses, pets that need to stay at Shreve's home during the day can play with Shreve's pets.

"I'll ask the owners 'Can I socialize the animal with my dogs?'" Shreve said.

She has six cats and five dogs of her own that enjoy socializing with other animals.

"I love pets," Shreve said.

She also provides farm and ranch animal care.

"I've fed a lot of calves in my life, so I can pretty much feed anything," Shreve said.

Along with plenty of farm and ranch experience, Shreve has worked with a variety of animals personally and professionally for most of her life. She was the assistant director of the Fargo-Moorhead Humane Society for four years.

Shreve also enjoys creating her own pet treats and sells them as well. Some of the flavors she has available are cheese, chicken soup and garlic. Shreve only feeds pets treats if their owners want her to.

To keep owners up to speed with her activities, Shreve keeps a daily log book.

"I give them an explanation of what goes on," Shreve said.

She writes down everything she does inside her clients' houses, what she does with their animals and when she provides her services.

Since every client has different needs, she works with them to determine a schedule of when services are to be provided.

"My clients have certain time periods they feed their dogs at," Shreve said. "I go according to exactly what they say."

Shreve is looking to expand her business in many pet-oriented areas.

"Eventually, I'm going to have to hire someone to help," Shreve said.

My Best Friend's Backyard provides services Monday through Friday, 24 hour a day. To contact Shreve, call 701-590-3732.

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