Fetch! Pet Care Loveland to Boulder, a franchise of a Michigan-based pet service firm, launched last week under Longmont-resident Patrick Kuhnell’s ownership. His life-long love for animals and community involvement led him to his new venture.
Prior to officially opening the pet care service on Sept. 22, Kuhnell worked as a global strategist and market researcher. He was attracted to the Michigan-based franchise company Fetch! Pet Care because he could work with pet owners locally while being tapped into a larger company. Fetch! Pet Care has 110 franchise businesses in its network in 38 states, according to a news release from the company.
‘I like the idea of a franchise because I can be the local owner, and I can run my business locally and recruit my sitters and walkers, and I can build all the relationships locally,” Kuhnell said. “It's kind of a good mix of both worlds. I get to be my own business owner, and run my own business, but I have some great support and technology to back me up.”
Fetch! Pet Care Loveland to Boulder offers several services including private dog walks and pet sitting. The pet care company also can help transport animals with its “pet taxi” offering, assists with puppy potty training, administer medication that's already been prescribed, and overnight or “almost overnight” sitting. Though it mostly caters to dog owners, its staff also cares for cats and small animals.
So far Kuhnell has three employees including a vet technician. His wife Sandy Kuhnell — who he said isn’t a co-owner on paper but is for all intents and purposes — also works as a backup sitter and self-proclaimed cat whisperer. His three staff members are based in Boulder, Mead and Longmont to help service his franchise region, Kuhnell added, and he plans to hire more sitters if the demand calls for it.
Kuhnell said he and Sandy moved to Longmont less about a year ago from Minnesota after having an empty nest. After moving, he got involved with volunteer work with Longmont’s Sustainable Opportunities, Lifestyles and Leadership (SOLL) Project. In the last few months, he started volunteering with animal organizations, walking dogs for the Longmont Humane Society on Monday mornings and helping with the Colorado Pet Pantry, a food bank for pet supplies.
When Kuhnell started looking at a career change, his volunteer work inspired him to get into the pet care biz. Now as a business owner, he hopes he can use Fetch! Pet Care Loveland to Boulder as a way to engage with the community.
He held a meet and greet with the Fetch! Pet Care Loveland to Boulder staff at PC.'s Pantry for Dogs & Cats in Boulder last Saturday. The company is one of the sponsors for Virtual Paws in the Park 2021, a virtual fundraiser walk benefiting the Longmont Humane Society on Oct. 1 to Oct. 10.
“That was one thing I liked about owning my own business is I could be involved in the local community and I could tie it together to the business,” Kuhnell said.
Kuhnell’s experience as a pet owner also inspired him to care for other people’s furry friends. He said he has always had animals and Sandy grew up on a farm. Their children also shared their passion for pets, and the family had lizards, bearded dragons, a scorpion and a horse. Today, Kuhnell and Sandy have two tabby cats Cooper and Taito.
Originally from New Orleans, Kuhnell isn’t the first person in his family to work in pet services. His grandfather Anthony Benedetto in 1950 founded Jefferson Feed, a pet and garden store that still operates in New Orleans today with several locations. His uncle now owns the business.
“We have kind of a long family history of taking care of pets one way or the other,” Kuhnell said.
Kuhnell hopes he can service several pet owners in the Northern Colorado area between Loveland, Longmont and Firestone, adding that he would like to eventually care for 1,000 pets each month. But the ultimate goal is for other animal-lovers to trust Fetch! Pet Care Loveland to Boulder with their pets.
“To me, I'll know I've succeeded when I don't need to spend on marketing anymore because the word of mouth is so strong and people have such a good feeling about Fetch! Pet Care,” Kuhnell said. “When they hear it, I want them to feel like it's somebody they can trust and they could be confident in, and they can relax knowing we've got their pets' best interests at heart.”Fetch! Pet Care Loveland to Boulder can be booked through the company app that’s available for apple or android, going to the local website or calling (720) 823-8852.