Pet Sitters International, Daniel Reitman

Pet Sitters International (PSI) has named Daniel Reitman as 2021 Pet Sitter of the Year. The title means that Reitman, owner of Dan’s Dog Walking and Pet Sitting in Port Washington, N.Y., will be the face of the professional pet-sitting industry of 2021.

“Our association is comprised of some of the most professional, educated and caring pet care business owners in the industry, so selecting a winner for this top honor is no easy task for the judging panel,” said Beth Stultz-Hairston, president of PSI. “With his extensive pet care experience and business savvy, along with his innovation, creativity and commitment to giving back to his community, Daniel exemplifies the qualities needed to succeed in professional pet care. We know he will inspire fellow pet care professionals as the 2021 Pet Sitter of the Year.”

Reitman has been a PSI member for more than a decade. His pet-sitting journey began in 2009 when he started his business as a solo pet sitter with the goal of simply making enough to match his previous salary as a veterinary technician, PSI officials said in a statement. He told PSI that he “never imagined his business would grow to generate actual salaries for actual employees.” Since that time, however, Dan’s Dog Walking and Pet Sitting has employed hundreds of pet-care specialists, onboarded more than 2,000 clients and completed more than 250,000 pet-sitting visits, according to officials.

While his business, like many others, has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Reitman’s team has rallied together to ensure they can still meet clients’ needs and is optimistic for the future, officials said.

One of the secrets to his success? Reitman’s focus on customer service: “We are not in the dog-walking business, we are in the peace of mind business,” Reitman told PSI officials. “Our clients know that when they hire us to care for their pets, they can go about their day without worrying.”

Reitman also gives back to the pet community. His company has collected more than 40,000 pounds of pet food for local shelters and organizations, raised more than $50,000 for various pet-related organizations locally and nationally, and even went to Texas after Hurricane Harvey to help rescue cats and dogs, officials said.

“Service is a cornerstone of our business,” Reitman said.

The other top five finalists in the 2021 Pet Sitter of the Year competition were:

  • Jane Budnick of 4-Legged Kids in Ellisville, Mo.
  • Rachel Reisner of Cats and Hamsters in Outremont, Quebec, Canada
  • Linda Ross of Choices Pet Sitters in Jasper, Ga.
  • Gail Wunderlin-Beigh of Princess Gentle Paws Pet Sitting and Care in Liberty Township, Ohio

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