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Pets get a vacation from owners

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Robyn Lipschutz understands the anxiety that can result when pets and their owners are separated for an extended period of time.

Pet lovers want to know their animals are safe and happy when being cared for by a stranger during vacations. And the pets want to see a familiar face and surroundings while their owner is away.

To satisfy that need, Lipschutz founded In Home Pet Services six months ago to serve animal owners in eastern Queens and Long Island with dog walking, pet sitting and other services as a stress-free alternative to more expensive kennels.

“I take care of animals in their own home, which they seem to be more comfortable in because they can follow the same routine that they’re used to,” said Lipschutz, a Little Neck resident.

The 26-year-old former zookeeper at the Bronx Zoo and manager of Flushing’s Pet Menu store is using her expertise and love of animals to offer a comprehensive range of pet care with a personalized approach.

Lipschutz already counts 128 clients which rely on her for services such as dog walking, pet feeding and even clipping nails and wings on birds “from giant macaws to little canaries.”

Unlike most dog walkers, Lipschutz does not walk several dogs at a time but rather schedules each family’s dogs for individual walks at the hour they are accustomed to getting their exercise.

Her experience with endangered animals has taught her to closely monitor any changes in pets’ behavior that could indicate illness, and she often leaves notes for pet owners notifying them of any problems.

For no extra charge, she gives pets their medications, brings in newspapers, waters plants and rotates lights when her clients are away.

“My whole goal is to make people and their pets’ lives easier,” she said.

Lipschutz said the fact she is fully insured and bonded and can provide a host of references has earned her the trust of many pet owners.

“A lot of people know me in the community,” said Lipschutz, who even offers overnight stays in people’s homes so the most skittish animals can have some company.

Lipschutz cares for fish and reptiles in addition to dogs and cats and provides housebreaking and training in addition to standard care.

She meets with pet owners in a free consultation before her first visit to discuss the individual needs of the animals and clients.

In addition to extended pet-sitting, Lipschutz offers a flexible schedule of daily dog walking for older adults or people who work long hours.

Lipschutz charges $10 for a 20- to 30-minute dog walk and can exercise the pooches for up to an hour at a time. Additional dogs are $2 each for the same family of dogs — a bargain compared to a rate of $40 a day at a typical pet-boarding facility. She will care for up to three cats in one home for $10 a visit.

Lipschutz, who owns a parrot and a tortoise, couldn’t be happier spending her days helping fellow animal aficionados take care of their best friends.

“I can’t think of a job that’s more rewarding,” she said.

For additional information about In Home Pet Services, call 516-553-0602 or e-mail Inhomepetservices@yahoo.com.

Reach reporter Ayala Ben-Yehuda by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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