green acres

green acres gilbertI understand pet parents are upset over the recent news out of Gilbert and the Green Acre’s “boarding facility” It makes me sick too.

As a pet sitting business owner for over 12 years, and seeing a lot of businesses come and go, I have learned a lot and I hope to offer you 6 lessons to really consider this summer for all pet parents. 

To me, there were so many things wrong with this business and I use the word “business” lightly. It was even published that they did it for friends and family for a very long time and only a year ago started doing it for the public. Unfortunately, this happens all too much in the pet care industry. Some, get greedy with the money and don’t stop and think of the responsibility that comes with owning and operating a pet care company.

This is in no way to bash anyone. Not pet sitters, kennels, pet parents, or the State. But there are certain obvious problems that I just can’t wrap my head around. I hope that this helps educate the public on what to really look for, what is important, and more importantly what isn’t important.

My heart goes out to the pet owners who trusted Green Acres with their pets. I know more than anyone that your pet IS your child. After all, if you look up at the top of this website, you will see Rocco, my fur kid. It is why I started my company, so we could take care of your kids in the comfort of their own home. My heart also goes out to the owners of this facility. I do not believe that they meant for any of this to happen. I think they made a tragic mistake in thinking they knew business and then it snowballed when they didn’t handle it all the correct way.  I believe that they just saw a way to make money, not understanding the exponential amount of responsibility that comes with caring for living animals. It isn’t as easy as everyone thinks it is. It is a very real responsibility.


6 Lessons From The Green Acre Tragedy To Consider:


  • You should ALWAYS know the facility in which your pets will be staying. A tour of the facility including areas where the pets sleep, eat, play, and hangout. If anyone is unwilling to let you see the facility, leave. This tour is important to use all your senses. SEE the cleanliness and the restraints from preventing the dogs from getting loose. Are there bugs? Sticky floors? SMELL the oder. LISTEN to the noise. It is common for the dogs to be barking when you walk through, but what about before you did? Your overall FEELING?  If it is no kennel, how do they ensure that the other pets coming in are not sick? How are they trained to know their temperament? There is SO MUCH!!! I could go on and on….
  • There needs to be stricter laws for kennels and boarding in our cities and counties. There has been SUCH A HUGE rise in all these “hobby sitters” or “hobby kennels” starting up…. (a lot of them) do not have the proper insurance, facilities, care, or arrangement to properly and healthfully care for these pets. For example, every facility should have TWO barriers to the “outside”  In all the picture I have seen of Green Acres, there is a 5 foot chain linked fence. That was it. Any dog could jump that. Also, a 10 X 10 area for 20 dogs is not safe. How much insurance should a facility be required to carry? Should this insurance only be for the business liability or also for the structure of the home/facility as well? What about for the workers? What would happen if your dog bit one of the workers? Saying you have “insurance” is way to vague. The business owner and the pet owner needs to know what that protection means exactly.
  • Will this finally lead to legislation for kennels in our State? That is what will change things. How did the dogs even get to the AC wires? Why weren’t they all in a kennel? What would have happened if they all got in a dog fight? No one was checking on them all night long. No surveillance or emergency alarms. These are basic necessities that all kennels should have as a STANDARD. But when they are not regulated by the state… anyone can do anything they want. This company appears to have a Vistaprint website. That is the cheapest thing a business can do and just shows that they aren’t serious about their business. The only thing I have seen in Arizona is that you need to obtain a kennel license for $75. If you don’t, you can be fined $25.Source:   SS11-109 If I have missed anything here, I would welcome the redirect to more accurate or robust information in the comment section of this blog.
  • The best thing any pet parent can do is arm themselves with information. I heard that one of the pet parents did a background check on one of the owners. That is all fine and dandy, but it doesn’t mean ANYTHING It is exactly why I wrote a blog a while back about what do references really mean? The things that matter (IMO) are public recognition. Communities leaders vouching for the business. Their involvement in the community. Basically, their REPUTATION.
  • Cheapest isn’t always the best. Dropping a dog off at someone’s residential house may sound like a cost effective way to obtain pet care, but is it really? That is why the popular popping up of all these and and really scare me. They give non business owners a chance to make a quick buck while giving the pet parent the false sense of security about their pets.
  • This isn’t the last time this is going to happen. I hate to say this, but it is the truth. It doesn’t just happen in kennels, it happens with pet sitters too. Check out this story from a few years ago where this pet sitter killed pets in her care. I believe the only way we have to combat this terrible tragedy is to 1 – EDUCATE pet parents on what facilities are safe. I try to do this constantly with our blog with over 300 articles on everything under the sun. 2 – LOBBY for proper legislation for kennels in the State of Az so that any Joe Shmoe can’t open one up.


So How Can You Have Peace Of Mind Next Time You Need Pet Care?

If I didn’t own a professional pet sitting company, here are the things I would do if I was looking for a kennel for my beloved Rocco.

  • Do a tour (unexpected) of the facility.
  • Take mental note of the smell, sound and feeling of the facility.
  • See the barriers they have in place to avoid the pets from escaping.
  • Look at the enclosures the pets are contained in.
  • Find out the limit of pets they will have in their facility.
  • Make them prove they are registered with the city/state.
  • See a proof of their insurance.
  • If “kennel free” I would investigate the magnitude of the staff and how they are trained at dog behavior including temperament tests.
  • Google the business’ name to see if anything came up.
  • Check them out on social media to see how social responsible they area. This gives you an idea of how much of a “business” they are and not a hobby (In my opinion)
  • I would ask your vet what they know about them and if they would ever bring their own pets there.
  • I would ask my friends on social media who they recommend.

This all being said, if you are in the Scottsdale area the only kennel I would ever recommend and bring my own “fur kid” to is Hillside Unleashed. They are an exemplary facility that every kennel should model after! Our hearts, prayers, and thoughts go out to all of those effected by the is tragedy. No doubt about it, your pets will be there waiting for you on the other side of Rainbow Bridge    

rescue a dog


Recently in Central Phoenix, a 6 month old Pit Bull puppy died after being locked in a hot car. The outside temperature was a sweltering 110 degrees. If you saw this dog locked in the car, would you have broken the window to rescue that dog? Would it have been legal? The question was raised and there has been a lot of conversation debating the legalities of doing exactly that. reported on this debate and spoke with attorney Russ Richelsoph. In a nutshell, here’s what they found out.


When Is It Legal To Break Someone’s Car Window In Attempt To Rescue A Dog?

Mr. Richelsoph stated that it would be rare for a person to be charged with a crime in an attempt to save a dog from the sweltering heat citing the Necessity Defense. The Necessity Defense essentially means that “breach of the law is more advantageous to society than the consequence of strict adherence to the law”. He goes on to say that the police will consider these things when deciding if your decision to break the window in attempt to rescue the dog was warranted:

  1. How much is the dog suffering?
  2. Will the dog die if the window is not broken?
  3. Is there time to call the authorities and wait for their help?
  4. Can the owner be found quickly and in enough time to save the dog?

“You should really call the police or call the fire department before you do it,” said Richelsoph.

If you are unsure if a dog trapped in a hot vehicle is suffering from heat stroke, here are some of the signs:

  • Excessive panting
  • Salivation
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Unusually red gums and/or tongue
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Inability to stand up


service area pet sitterI recently attended a Pet Expo and had the opportunity to stop at and speak with many pet sitters at their booths.  I noticed a trend happening in the Scottsdale pet sitting community that I wanted to make you aware of.

As more and more pet sitting companies start popping up in the Scottsdale area, some of these pet sitting companies are spreading themselves too thin.  You might be thinking “What are you talking about, Bella?”  Well, what I’m saying is that more companies are expanding their service area.  This sounds good – in theory however, many companies do not have enough pet sitters employed to SAFELY cover that large area.  Pet sitters are having to driving quite a distance to cover all of their scheduled pet visits in one day.  This could be problematic and does not present the most secure option for pet or pet parent.

Here at Bella’s we keep small service territories.   ALL of our pet sitters live within a 10 mile radius (at the most) of the homes they service.  This means we are always close by!



Why Is This Important?

  • Emergencies! We can be there within minutes.  Last week one of our clients was hospitalized.  Things happen!
  • Funerals or other last minute out-of-town trips! We’re there when time is of the essence
  • Last minute meetings at work or after work doctor’s appointments! Or hey, maybe the hunk in the cubicle asked you out! (You never know!)
  • Traffic due to accidents or pokey drivers!  Need I say more than “RUSH HOUR!
  • If the Pet Sitter breaks down or has their own emergency, we have other sitters on hand that can fill in!  Serving a smaller service area with sitters living in close proximity can mean all the difference!

We serve a more condensed area because from experience we know that emergencies happen and sometimes the best laid plans can fail.  Our protocol always includes a plan B. Our decisions always include you and your furry babies that’s why we don’t extend our service areas.  Use caution and think ahead.


Keep This In Mind When Searching For A Professional Pet Sitter:

When you’re interviewing a pet sitter in Scottsdale, find out: how close the pet sitter lives, do they have a plan B, what is their plan B, as well as how big of an area they serve.  Don’t think “it will never happen to me”.  We’ve been in business far too long and have seen it all. We want you to be prepared for the unimaginable.   Call us at Bella’s House and Pets….We plan for your happiness, your pet’s happiness and ….we know you don’t want pet urine on your carpet!

We often hear about how pets have separation anxiety when their human counterparts leave them alone.  However, there is much separation anxiety to be had on the part of the pet Mommies and Daddies out there too!  Many pet parents experience terrible separation anxiety and worry when they leave pets alone while they go to work or vacation.  In some cases, it’s so severe that some pet parents opt not to even take vacations unless they can bring their dog!  This limits their options and is completely unnecessary!!   Well, I am here to tell you some great ideas on how to help with pet parent seperation anxiety.

In some cases, separation anxiety is so severe that some pet parents opt not to even take vacations unless they can bring their dog!

Great Ideas to Help With Anxiety:

Find a pet sitter that will love on your pet like you do. Someone who will keep your pet on a schedule that mirrors his every day schedule with you!  Your professional pet sitter will play with your pet, exercise, feed and cuddle with them just like any ordinary day in his life.

At Bella’s we actually stay with your pet until the job is done whether that takes 20 minutes or an 40 minutes with no extra cost to our clients!  We stay and play until your pet has had so much fun that he cries “Uncle”!  We leave your pet played out and contented so you , as the pet parent, don’t have to worry about what your pet is doing or how lonely he’s feeling while you’re away! This will help keep your anxiety to a minimum because we truly DO care!!

Another way we help minimize pet parent anxiety is that we communicate.  We keep our pet parents “in the know”!  When you hire Bella’s you never have to wonder how your pet is doing because we keep our pet parents updated!!  What does that look like?  We will send you text updates, or emails, and we can even call and chat you up while you’re away.  Imagine sipping pretty umbrella drinks on a crystal beach somewhere and receiving up to date photos and text messages about all the fun Fido and Fifi are having with us while you’re away.  You will breathe a sigh of relief and who knows, maybe next year you’ll take two vacations! We promise to take care of our pet clients as well as you, the pet parents.  We can ease your separation anxiety as well as your pets.  Call us and we’ll explain all the ways that we help pet parents deal with their separation anxiety! Or…. just take a look at this short 30 second clip. Watch how we care for this kitty named Toonces:



6 Father’s Day Gifts from Your Pet

Father's Day Gifts Pets


So another holiday is upon us! It’s time to celebrate Dad and we don’t just mean the Daddies to the humans in our lives! The Daddies to our pets deserve some recognition too. It’s ok, admit it – you’re one of THOSE pet parents! You know, the ones who celebrates every holiday with their pet child, signing their pets name on gifts and placing them under the tree. Ring a bell?? Mmm hmmm …that’s you! Well, don’t be ashamed…we completely get it and that’s why we wanted to share with you 5 great Father’s Day Gifts from your Pet to your Pet’s human Daddy-o!


  • Go ahead and start the gift giving with Father’s Day ECards from Sloppy Kiss Cards – completely customizable with your pet’s picture! You will have so much fun creating it for you pet to give to his Daddy, I’m sure you’ll create more than one!! This is sure to touch the heart of even the toughest Daddy!

Father's Day Pet Gifts



  • Pet Paw Print in Polymer clay – Your pet’s paw will be forever imprinted on his Daddy’s heart so what better gift than clay paw print to forever symbolize the loving bond between Pet and Daddy? Follow the link for super easy instructions on how to make the paw print out of polymer clay. We’re sold on this idea. What do you think?

Claw paw print



  • Real men Love Cats T-shirt from shop on etsy! The title says it all. The cute part is that the design is inspired by the creator’s own cat Abby. They rescued her as an abandoned kitty! She inspires all of their cat merchandise. Go ahead and say it..”awwwww.”

Fathers Day Gift Pet




  • Make a donation in Dad’s name to Foothills Animal Rescue. This is an amazing cage free organization that rescues dogs and cats all the while providing the best care while helping to find them their fur-ever home. This wonderful rescue has found homes for 822 cats and 1,010 dogs since its opening in 2010! How awesome is that? AND it’s located right her in Scottsdale!! Daddy can go in and see how his donation is saving lives – one paw at a time.
Father's Day pets

Nilla – Ready to be adopted!

Father's Day Pet gift



  • Get Dad a drop cam so he can watch Mr. Puppy or Mr. Kitty ALL day! While he’s at work or on the go he can take a peek at his best pal right from his computer, ipad or iPhone! This camera is so easy to set up, of high quality and has some other really cool features like night vision and zoom…BUT, the best part is…are you listening??? This drop cam has two way talk! Dad can not only see his pal but he can log on and say hi at any time during the day.

Fathers Day Gift Pet


  • Finally, present your pet’s Dad with a gift certificate for the best of pet care from Bella’s. Long days at the office and business dinners are no longer a problem. We can ease Dad’s anxiety and provide peace of mind by stopping by on scheduled visits to keep Dad’s best pal loved on, hugged on, exercised and entertained. Father and pet will both reap the benefits of this one!

Father's Day pet presents


So how will you be celebrating Father’s Day this weekend? Any special plans or events? Maybe you are taking day trip or quick weekend getaway? Tell us what is on your agenda below! You might just hep give others ideas too!


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