• ad hoc part time pet sitter and dog walker/swimmer since 20++ years ago during college days in the USA; dad's GP medical assistant until he retired 7 years ago
• long term full time PERMANENT (no doubt!) pet sitter, dog walker/boarder since 7 years ago, with my Physical Education hubby as my assistant and ball trainer, we are godparents to local and overseas pets
• keep countless pets since young, with rabbits and dogs lived past 12 years old, cats lived up to 19 years old. 4 Pets in the recent 7 years belong to ex clients who entrusted them to me after relocating elsewhere
• walk/jog dogs daily and cat sit regularly, handled SEVERAL hundreds of pets to date, well-versed in a variety of different pet behaviors including skittish/reactive/difficult cats and dogs. I do NOT train dogs, I only reinforce discipline and correct dogs' unwanted habits/behavior
• beck and call for many clients and replaced several pet sitters and dog walkers who quitted during Covid; several condo guards have addressed me as the only one familiar and consistent RESIDENT pet sitter through the years
• a PetSmart USA member, volunteer at local and overseas animal shelters in handling pets, transportation and food donation drive
• connections with a number of dog trainers who use positive/force free/reward based reinforcements, occasional dog meetups with them
• family in Tanzania Africa and Oregon USA - we travel yearly since 13 years ago to rural areas of Africa, Australia, Canada and the USA for wildlife study and photography at safaris, farms, national parks, lion rehabilitation camps, underwater reefs (Cairns, Hawaii, Thailand). We often self-drive, spot tiny movements, listen for sounds of wildlife, have extremely close encounters with them. We get stares and recognition for being the only long-stay Asians at rural areas and certain national parks. We are Tarzan and Jane wannabes, we bond easily with the WILDEST pets, we possess quick reflexes and an extremely sharp sense of smell, sight, and hearing
• FB Ruby's Animal Adventures - updates, articles, videos, activities
• clients who live walking distance from me have HUGE advantages - hire me to find out!
CAUTION: hire me at your own risk! My Bt Timah neighborhood dogs and their owners stop by my house gate daily, refusing to leave. Regular clients who used to have multiple pet sitters/dog walkers decided on just me after their pets show preferences and obedience towards me. Some dogs pull pull their owners when they see me or my van, some drag their feet and are unwilling to go home after spending time at my place, some follow me closely or refuse to alight my van when I send them home, until their owners have to hold them back or come "rescue" me.
Skittish/reactive pets: note that animals read body language - unlike humans, they don't choose pet sitters based on scent or looks. When they sense fear (esp from sweet gentle humans who scream and run away), it activates their hunting mode and they start chasing the fearful human. Many locally experienced pet sitters got scratched and bitten, resulting fear in entering the pets' homes. Skittish pets look up MUCH MORE to those who exhibit confidence and a strong sense of leadership (of the pack or pride) yet have a calm and reassuring disposition.
Priority, and Phase 2/3:
Being a very familiar consistent face to many condo guards has made it easier since they know that I have clients under quarantine and essential services, as some strict and fussy guards (they shared with me, they prefer familiar consistent pet sitters) have refused entry to several unfamiliar pet sitters, groomers, trainers. That's why it's important to stick to one consistent pet sitter.
I will only accept regular clients during peak periods. Some fickle clients switch between multiple pet sitters, forcing pets to constantly adapt to new pet sitters with different styles which leads to stress and confusion, some pets became more skittish. Pets settle down immediately when they are already familiar with my voice, tone, no-nonsense style and/or with my home protocols. I study them, build strong, long term relationships with them (and their owners) and treat them like my own. Thus they are VERY attached to me (clients and their dogs' trainers/groomers can attest) and this makes it easier to reinforce discipline and correct them. I have the same clients for up to 10++ years or until their pets' last days.
After I have spent time and effort to resolve dogs' pulling issues to zero, some clients either went back to previous dog walkers or hired cheaper dog walkers who undermine discipline and the dogs start pulling again. They came back to me again - I don't have time to deal with these.
Know what you really want, because some fickle clients go by feeling ("Sorry Ruby, we feel that this other pet sitter goes better with my cats") but ended up changing pet sitters every few months ("Sorry Ruby, our previous pet sitters didn't work out with us". Poor intuition?). Clear minded clients usually look for committed and consistent pet sitters.
Rates/Hours (managed only by me and my husband, we are not super humans):
• long term, consistent and committed service - I am always there for my clients (constant re-scheduling, very late meals, etc.) although I don't prefer much disruption as I still have a life to live. If I am contacted at the last minute, I can only do a quick one because some persomal plans cannot be changed, or I would need much rest if my day is packed
• 365 days, go extra miles, quality services - longest standing pet sitter/dog walker
• dog boarding/daycare - you can drop off your dog at my place anytime, but my pickup service only starts from 10am due to frustrating early morning traffic peak hours in several areas. I cater to clients who start their day late and end late
• dog walking/dog sitting/cat sitting - short term or adhoc early morning (8:30am onwards) is OK, not long term as I care for pets till midnight and I need sufficient rest, please respect that
• flexible timings appreciated (eg. 9 to 11am, or 2 to 4pm, etc), I cannot adhere to a particular strict timing as I go by route planning which is time and gas efficient for me
There's misconception that pets would die of hunger if they don't eat at strict timings like 7am. Timings are dictated by humans, and sometimes pets purposely delay their meals for hours because they don't need the energy to hunt unlike wildlife, and food is always there, served by anxious human slaves.
Passion is about doing it for several years over and over again (not short term), persevering despite hard times like Covid, being physically exhausted and not paid well, but found love and joy through it all. ALL regular clients and visitors feedback that I work the hardest among all pet sitters/boarders/hotels they had used previously, and some offer to pay me up to double/triple.
Many pet owners come across my profile but move on to look for cheaper options, then end up hopping from a cheap one to another every few months. I have been around long enough to see that cheap services don't last beyond a year - even if it's so-called not doing it for the money - because they will leave after a short while for a higher paying job.
I cannot waive cost for transport, paid parking, ERP in CBD areas and Sentosa residents since such expenses are high in Singapore. Sentosa pet sitters and dog walkers/boarders usually move out of there within a year due to high living expenses.
I am a strict handler towards dogs, my husband is on the softer side. We feel disturbed when we see dogs exhibit bad habits or behavioral issues. It's just 2 of us handling several pets a day, thus consistency and discipline are needed to produce well behaved dogs in order to reduce risks. Simple stuffs like meal times, boarding/alighting my van, need to be in orderly manner. I do expect dogs to already have good recall training from their owners. We are educators so we believe in reinforcement, not overly positive because different dogs respond through different methods - one method doesn't fit all, a handful don't respond to positive reinforcement even after several months/years (and ended up being rehomed), some take other kinds of reinforcements better. We received well rounded education, we excel in sports, we have a thirst for knowledge esp in wildlife - naturally we want the pets to be well rounded too thus we train cats and dogs (only if they are willing!) to be agile and quick in reflexes as these are survival skills in the wild. We believe in dog socialization and pack walking because dogs learn, incease their confidence and get exposed to other dog behaviors too.
Dog boarding at a NON luxurious landed property with a big garden and big semi indoor/outdoor porch which has been assessed by relatives, visitors, groomers and dog trainers. Some dog trainers/boarders have even copied my profile and boarding style (so you are actually looking at the original ONE!):
• top 3 things that clients first noticed and commented: space and garden, soothing music, huge fans that produce strong breeze
• many new clients (previously used other kinds of boarding) tried out during Covid and they get priority. There were dogs at my place almost everyday for the latter half of 2020, and everyday this year because my quality services spread like wildfire!
• contact me if you GENUINELY want landed property (not condo) as your ONLY choice, I will not reserve for indecisive or irresponsive clients
• rate is non-negotiable - it's a huge place, I don't have a helper, thus all the cleaning are done by me. Dogs always anticipate activities at my place. I am well equipped with leashes, balls, toys, flirtpoles, brain/mental games. I spend ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF TIME keeping them busy, cleaning them, cleaning my place, spray cleaning the garden's carpet grass, cleaning my van after transporting them, cleaning the huge fans for dogs' use - I am the most exhausted at the end of the day
• basic 2-3 solo/pack walks/day, 1-2 visits/week to dog parks (weather permitting)
• dogs must be fully house trained, potty trained, have no separation anxiety (we don't have 24/7 supervision because we are out for a couple hours each time in the morning and evening), no excessive barking, no chewing, non-aggressive (I have elderly parents who fall easily) - strict rules because it's my parents' house. Do not send them to my place to be trained - I am not a trainer
• meant for dogs who love outdoor, space and grass, OR grass trained slow/elderly dogs who need easy access - we want them to have some movement and be versatile both indoor/outdoor; don't mind getting dirty, muddy and smelly (I will clean them), thus revolution/frontline/nexgard required. Unsuitable for dogs with serious skin issues (it attracts flies) or prone to eye infection
• limited to 5 dogs at a time. Dog socialization and pack walk help one another in their skills, discipline, etc. I match them based on personalities, practice recall and teach respect before they feel comfy with one another. Not more than 5 dogs because they need space to run and I only have 1 pair of eyes to watch them!
• free-roaming at a semi indoor/outdoor breezy porch with many industrial grade fans, which clients have commented that I went great lengths to make it cooling and comfortable. I have visited many landed homes, both dog owners' and other home based boarding - NONE came close to mine. A huge garden (see FB video) where dogs suntan, relieve themselves, play tag, roll and run deliriously. It is COLD at night in my area
• if it rains heavily and continuously for hours, dogs still have space to run and play at the sheltered porch, and take a quick pee in the garden
• 24 hours light background music - I'm a musician afterall
Match your dog with the boarder's personality (indoor/outdoor, introvert/extrovert?) AND place. If your dog needs only 1-2 walks/day and 24 hours of pampering indoor airconditioning play, 99% of the boarders who stay at condos/apartments offer these at cheap rates. If you have a medium to large active dog with physical potentials or loves ball/frisbee training, we have already taught German Shepherds, Labradors, Poodles, Terriers to be quick, agile and sharp through their constant stays at our place. We also use balls and toys to reinforce their basic commands and teach new vocabulary.
Adhoc or weekly basis please, as it's getting popular due to many clients' recommendation. Clients feedback the problems found at other daycare/boarding places:
1. long journey rides of up to 1.5 hours each way (time wasted, daycare shortened by 2-3 hours!) with lots of starting and stopping, poor driving skills by outsourced drivers that caused dogs to feel unwell and depressed. Dogs jump happily into my van but refused to enter other vans as witnessed by security guards who feedback to me
2. boarders couldn't cope physically with medium/large active dogs due to incompatibility or lack of handlers, thus these dogs got bored and depressed, videos show that little was done
3. lack of discipline due to too many dogs, high turnover rate of part time and inexperienced pet sitters - most of them are outsourced, lowly paid, not trained, no knowledge of handling fights or treating wounds. Dogs may be tired at the end of the day, but clients noticed that they picked up bad behaviors from other dogs
4. sick dogs infected others easily at enclosed rooms (with many other dogs) that promote 24 hours airconditioning where bacteria thrive and spread easily at cold temperatures. I had dogs coming to my place infected with flu from such places. Too much AC discourages your dogs from getting out of their comfort zone and thus they lose less heat and energy. I have dog groomers/trainers commenting that my healthy home environment encourages dog to be active
5. food that is not consumed within 20 mins will be disposed, thus many dogs lost weight at these daycare through not eating well, not through exercising
6. many temporary full time boarders try out for a year or so and moved on to other jobs
Please include $10-$20 (2 way, depending on location) fee if you need me for transport. If you live more than 15 mins drive from my place and need transport for your dog, do consider the dog sitters/boarders in your area first unless you really really cannot find a suitable one.
May-July 2021 - some clients used to patronize a highly recommended (even by the media) and luxurious airconditioned commercial boarding/daycare that received many complaints - van driver drove aggressively without safety. Some dogs caught kennel cough from other dogs despite living in separate rooms (due to central airconditioning), staff knew it but didn't inform the owners
June-July 2021 - some clients used to patronize another highly recommended daycare/boarding where a number of dogs are cramped into a room most of the day, and some dogs (the active ones) are left out from walks/outings due to lack of staff or lack of experience and inability to handle.
July 16, 2021 - my regular client's subtle comment about my genuine and over diligence prompted me to ask other regular clients' videos of their previous doggy boarding/daycares. I saw the massive difference and realized why they all switched to me.
Dogs with separation anxiety, barking issues, lunging, aggression
Some dog boarders/trainers who use force free/reward based reinforcements, terminated their boarding business after neighbors' complaints due to the dogs' unresolved behavioral issues. Such reinforcement unfortunately is a very very long process and authorities would only give 1-2 days for dogs to be evicted. Security guards shared with me dogs' unchanging behavioral issues despite owners hiring several dog trainers/walkers. Some popular dog boarders/dog trainers leave all the walking and training to their maids/helpers.
Many dog owners reject training for their dogs with behavioral issues, and go silent when I ask about crate/playpen/obedience training. I once had an obnoxious client who rejected training for her neglected dog (passed away at a young age, overweight health issues, unkempt and too much pills) whose behavior disrupted my neighbors and got them concerned, till I had to send him home. When the ordeal was over, she revealed that she expected me to train her dog out of his behavioral issues, which I must emphasize that my place is meant purely for daycare/boarding, not training.
The dog's progress depends largely on the owner. Some dog owners are too busy to follow up the dog trainer's or my advice/instructions, or just want to use their own way/method, or choose to miss opportunities presented to them, or left the dog entirely to the MANY maids/helpers who do little. Thus I will not accept any dogs having above issues. Please engage a dog behaviorist, not a dog trainer, not me.
Pics/Videos for dog boarding/daycare:
I usually send a set of quality pics/video clips once at the beginning/end of the day. I am not the kind who spams every few hours. Being a perfectionist and a wildlife photographer, I won't send much if I am dissatisfied with my pictures. I don't take pics of all walks, because I need to correct their bad habits and look out for sudden dog confrontations. I don't wish to be distracted by phone messages, so dog owners who hire me ought to trust me.
Dog walking/pack walking/park outings:
My service is very popular, I have walked a number of dogs consistently for over 5 years already. For now, I will only accept clients who live in or near my area (Bukit Timah) as I wish to focus on my daycare/boarding services due its fast rising popularity. I will probably resume dog walking at slightly further areas when my husband helps me full time next year. Clients' dogs who live very close to me will get to socialize/pack walk with other dogs at my place.
Option 1: 30 mins highly focused and discipline walks (for the young or energetic) or 30 mins casual walks (for the elderly)
Initially there were confident clients who asked for 45 to 60 mins walk using themselves, the maids or previous dog walkers as the benchmark but after I took over, 90% of the dogs sank and stopped with excessive drooling and panting within 30 mins. I reinforce discipline and correct unwanted habits/behavior, so when they stay focused on moving forward, it trains their stamina and drains their excess energy very quickly. 60 Mins of frequent stopping/sniffing/marking every tree/pillar/lamp post, distractions such as eyes glued to the phones/tablets will barely tire the dogs out.
Option 2: 60 mins of pack walking/park outings (additional surchage)
If you want longer walks for your dog, and you want your dog to socialize, I do pack walking twice a week. I bring dogs to dog parks twice a week usually in the late afternoons too. Both according to my schedule, not you or maid's schedule.
I constantly receive feedback from security guards, clients (whose dogs are well trained and well behaved) and delivery men that there are dog owners who hire untrained students to walk their dogs due to cheap rates. These young dog walkers are not able to control the dogs at dog parks, lifts, etc. I took over a number of such dog walking and discovered that these dogs jump and pull hard. Thus I will NOT walk your dog if you hire untrained dog walkers at the same time because they undermine discipline - bad habits are very very very hard to unlearn. Dogs need continual reinforcement through the years even after they had gone through obedience training. I have seen dogs turned aggressive and territorial towards other dogs after lack of reinforcement for years. Many dog owners/maids/dog walkers stood clueless during dog confrontations, used wrong methods, wrong tone and wrong choice of words to stop barking dogs, resulting in more aggression and I had to intervene and disrupt them. A successful dog walker possesses dog psychological understanding AND leadership qualities. I have tackled mongrels, stubborn and skittish dogs who struggled with or refused other dog walkers.
Maids who help dog walk - There has been increasing number of dogs bolting from maids who are busy chatting with friends or on the phone outside, many passing dogs got attacked or injured. Your maids should not be your main dog walkers as owners of injured dogs will sue you (many reported incidents already) and your face will be all over the news the next day. I have also seen maids abusing dogs during walks - it may be your maid and your dog, you end up having to spend more money on medical expenses or compensating the other dog owner instead of hiring a dog walker.
IF YOU HAVE A PUPPY: Puppies need to start off with good discipline and habits, but many dog owners hire young dog walkers with zero puppy knowledge. Knowledge does not come from owning a few dogs and/or walking dogs alone, it involves alot alot alot of self study, readups, video tutorials. I engage in discussions with my husband who's a Science and PE teacher, with dog trainer friends, with national park rangers and safari guides, with clients who have rich wildlife background. I had a couple years of Pre-Veterinary Science course (followed by Music) while I was studying in the US.
June 2021 - 2 Dog owners contacted me, insisted in having SUPER long walks for their puppies, thinking that it's the only way to burn puppies' excess energy. Since 4 months old, these puppies were given super long walks by mildly experienced dog walkers (with many good reviews). Advice and suggestions by me (the same as any vet or dog trainer) went unappreciated, dog owners still insisted in their own ways. I have taken over many of such assignments where the puppies developed health and behavioral issues when they became young adults.
July 2021 - I took up a puppy walking assignment, in the absence of a young mildly experienced dog walker with good reviews. It is one of the worst hard pulling and jumping dog in my history of walking hundreds of dogs. He tried to chase after kids who ran away upon seeing him, other parents were terrified and tried to protect their kids. Passerbys were shocked and avoided him as he attempted to jump on them. He picked up anything off the ground, attempted to chew and eat them. I constantly reinforced discipline until he finally got it. But the previous dog walker says that she finds it fun that he picked up stuff and that he chased after kids. A gentleman living in the same area feedback that she allowed all the pulling, jumping and chewing, thus the dog walker has set up MORE room for the dog to rebel against the owner, who uses prong collar (?!) to discipline his dog at home.
Dog/Cat/Rabbit/Bird visits (surcharge for any additional hours):
My face is an access pass to about 40 condos due to my excellent PR. I have forged strong friendships with cleaners and security guards (some greet me in pet languages, some lunch with me). I have brought pets to the vet, reached homes not easily accessible, handled homes' water leakage and ant/roach problem. We have cared for pets' ill health and heartbreaking last moments while owners are away.
As a cat sitter, I have easily tackled shy/skittish cats. Such cats will not be bribed. They look for certain character qualities in cat sitters. I studied big cats and their hunting skills/instincts from lion rehabilitation camps, and have (unexpectedly) turned some outdoor cats, Bengal, Turkish Van, Maine Coon, Persians, Ragdolls, Siberian etc into panting ninjas!
Please note that I cannot do long hours of dog sitting as my priority goes to dog boarding/daycare, dog walking, cat/rabbit sitting. If you really need me to do so, text me as I have a couple of solutions.
Pet taxi/transportation (registered pet care service business since mid 2018):
I used to ferry dogs in my Honda Civic for several years but since 4 years ago I own a van which dogs prefer due to bigger space. Dog trainers and regular clients have been using my services for emergencies, grooming, beach/park outings since it's easier to get hold of me as compared to other pet transport. I love driving (and motorcycling), and have clocked at least 40,000km in total on the roads of the above countries that I have self driven.
I volunteer in food collection and transport for animal shelters and communities, forge friendships with staff volunteers and rescuers. I coordinate with pet food suppliers who either donate or sell me bulks of food at extremely low prices. I store the food at my place, organize and send them to the stray animals communities and pet shelters (Mercylight, Mdm Wong's shelter, SOSD, Causes for Animals). If you have any unwanted food, cage, cat litter, newspapers, old towels, old blankets, and wish to donate, please don't hesitate to contact me and I will come pick them up.
I've been on the market for a daycare that has a similar outlook on dog discipline as me for a long time and I finally found it. Many places claim that they can handle all kinds of dogs, yet the bulk of their staff are part-timers who love dogs, but have weak forms of correcting dog manners and/or give the dogs too much leeway.
Ruby was open to taking on my large-sized energetic dog and attempt different handling techniques with me when my dog was over-stimulated. She proposed a date on which she was hosting other high-energy social pups, and my dog ended up having a very fun play day. Ruby texted regular video updates (there's always music playing in the background), and at the end of the day, my dog was completely well-exercised and exhausted.
Her profile is accurate in that her place is basic and not luxurious, but the dog play area is large enough, well-shaded, and she has large fans to keep the place ventilated and cool. She also enforces breaks if she notices the dog is heated/exhausted by leashing or isolating them - this tells me that she is keeping a watchful eye on the dogs for red flags. I feel confident about going back to her again when I want my dog to have a social day. Thank you, Ruby!
Sent videos of her playing with my cat. Definitely recommend 👍🏼☺️
Gift of instruction - especially in the areas of animals and performing arts. I have been coaching since a teenager to music students, english students, adult choirs, youth choirs and pet assistants. High level of patience and creativity. Highly sought after (as a music coach and judge for competitions, and pet sitter), have been interviewed by both local and overseas media a number of times but managed to keep a low profile as I am not comfy being in the limelight and I don't want to tire myself. I hardly have breaks. Had been offered positions such as music pastor, choir director, university music advisor, assistant dog trainer, etc, but I declined all.
Gift of leadership - often chosen by others (but if given a choice, I prefer to chill and work behind scenes) to lead in performing arts area because I am firm and assertive, I build relationships and communicate/articulate well - probably contributed to easy bonding with cats and successful walking of stubborn and selective dogs. I am a pack leader!
Some dog owners told me that their dog trainers needed several sessions to get their dogs to do something, whereas the moment their dogs see me for the first time, they just obey me instantly. I have encountered strangers' dogs who listened to my commands, and not their owners' or trainers'. Unfortunately, I am not a dog trainer. I am not qualified. Maybe I should have gone for training during my younger days. Maybe it's my leadership quality (which I don't deny it, yet don't use much of it) that commands respect. Maybe it's my unique voice tone. It's only in the recent years I realized I can handle aggressive dogs and cats (actually I am very very scared too, and I prefer not to handle such). I was puzzled on occasions where clients' dogs bit everyone (family members, maids, other dog walkers) except me, or aggressive cats hesitate attacking me. It does require some guts, wit, brains and knowledge, but aggressive pets are cynical and would only trust humans of VERY high integrity and genuine love.
Resourceful - I am very well travelled and thus blessed to have very good knowledge and connections, so I know where to get quality stuff at good deals. I have driven in to Malaysia (right up to KL) hundreds of times already.
Excellent driving skills, even in heavy downpour with zero visibility or on streets with zero lamposts and reflectors (yes, Africa) - I have been told that I drive more than an average American in the USA due to the many national parks I have visited. Driven all kinds of cars, MPVs, SUVs, vans, both automatic and manual (Africa only rent out manual gear cars). Rode a motorbike for 10 years but stopped after getting married. Wanted to try class 4, but no time. I have also mastered the skill of driving humans and pets with extreme motion sickness. Overseas drivers have actually allowed me to take over the wheels when passengers started puking. I have been headhunted by doggy daycare centres to be their driver (because a lot of dogs puke when others drive) but I declined. Besides music and animals, driving, travelling and photography are my passion.
Planner - I research and plan most of my overseas itineraries since I do alot alot of self driving, thus my geography is good. I have helped friends with theirs too and given clients much recommendation for their travel.
Sharp sense of sight (very observant, detect movements quickly), hearing (can hear distant noises like water drips/running, slight movement noise, high pitches - did much sound mixing for music bands in the past, ears get painful at even tiny feedback, high pitches and screaming kids), smell (can detect a roach, rat or certain animal in an enclosed area; nauseate upon bad smell).
Personality - free spirited, adventurous, rugged, strict, fussy, selective, meticulous, cautious, firm, assertive, dedicated, consistent, gutsy, frugal. I am very much a cat person but many tell me that I am very good with dogs as I pass own calm energy to them.
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