Jeanna Ruehter gives pets (and owners) the gift of time
By John Beaudoin

It all started with a neighborhood walk with a neighbor’s dog.

And nine years later, Jeanna Ruehter is setting the standard for in-home pet care and dog walking.

As each entrepreneur has his or her own story of risk (and, ultimately, reward), Jeanna is no different.

A stay-at-home mom before taking her risk nearly a decade ago, Jeanna opened Latchkey Pets after seeing a distinct need in her community. One dog walk turned into referrals and needs from additional families for pet sitting.

“I really enjoyed visiting with the pets and decided to try to actively get more clients. It has just grown from there,” Jeanna said. “I grew up with a dog and love of all animals. As a child, I really wanted to be a veterinarian. Being a pet sitter is way better. We get to spend our time playing with and loving on them.”

She’s since vastly expanded her pet domain to 60 pet sitters and 10 managers, expanded to Overland Park, Kan. and the surrounding KC Metro area and is in the process of franchising the business – an enormous next-level risk for her.

“This is a huge risk financially and can seem very overwhelming, especially while trying to balance that with my family’s needs,” Jeanna said. “However, the thought of supporting another person in starting their own business and mentoring someone like my Velocity mentor has done for me, keeps me pushing toward my goal.”

Taking the risks of hiring and expansion means more work, too, for Latchkey Pets. Where Jeanna’s company was seeing 50-100 visits a month five years ago, that number has skyrocketed to over 1,000 a month today.

“We went from using a paper planner and every highlighter color imaginable to using online calendars to keep the entire team on the same page (I eventually ran out of highlighter colors!),” Jeanna said.

Taking the continued risks has paid off for Jeanna as a business owner, especially when she considers the impact she’s having on her family, her employees and her business.

“Without question, the most rewarding aspect for me is the freedom of my time to spend with my family and friends,” Jeanna said. “A very close second is the ability to support families on both sides of the business.”

For more information about Latchkey Pets, visit http://www.latchkeypets.net.