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Conversations with Sarah Bottum

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sarah Bottum.

Hi Sarah, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?

Thank you for having me. I’m happy to share a bit about my journey into pet care. Since I was a young child, I’ve felt deeply connected to animals, nature, and people. I envisioned a career where I helped humans and animals, although I wasn’t quite sure what that would entail. I had my first professional experience with pets when I was attending college at California State University Fullerton. I worked as a receptionist at an animal hospital for several years and enjoyed every moment. I learned about veterinary science, animal behavior, and how to work with dogs and cats while supporting pet parents. When I graduated college, I transitioned into my field of study, hoping one day I would work with animals again. In 2019, I got the opportunity to work for a startup company in the pet food space. I learned about nutrition from an industry insider and continued to expand my pet knowledge base. Right before the pandemic began, our company experienced layoffs, and I found myself unemployed. Although I was heartbroken, I decided to venture out as a sole proprietor and follow my passion for pet care. Happy Pumpkin Pets was born, and I began providing pet sitting and dog walking services to pet parents in my community. I’ve built a trusted small business, and I’m proud of the compassionate care and genuine love I provide.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It’s mostly been a smooth road. My passion for pet care helps me stay motivated during difficult times. Even on rough days, I’m happy to be doing something I truly love. My background in pet health, startup companies, and brand management helps me feel confident in my ability to build a business and provide a high level of care to my clients. I’ve had the privilege of working with some fantastic entrepreneurs that model how a growth mindset can help me improve my skills and follow my dreams.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?

I specialize in individual dog walking, potty breaks, and pet sitting services in my clients’ homes. I provide cat sitting, dog sitting, and I even provide care for a desert tortoise named Carson! I recently added a pet parents’ night out visit so folks can go out to dinner and enjoy an evening away, knowing their pet is cozy at home with a sitter. Pet taxi services are offered should a pet under my care need to visit the vet or the groomer. All my services are customizable, and I send optional media updates via text. My background in the veterinary field sets me apart—it allows me to safely administer medications, identify hazards like toxic plants, and spot symptoms of possible diseases and illnesses. I’m proud of my sensitive nature and my ability to effectively communicate with pet parents. I service the communities of Laguna Beach, Dana Point, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Hills, and Laguna Niguel.

Where we are in life is often partly because of others. Who/what else deserves credit for how your story turned out?

I’ve been lucky to receive support from my family, friends, other pet business owners, and my clients. My two sisters were my first dog-sitting clients, and they actively tell all their friends about my business. I love my family so much, and I appreciate their support. My group of friends have been encouraging and help keep me motivated. I’ve also met some wonderful people in the pet industry that have cheered me on. Lisa Elias from Hot Diggity Dog Walking has been amazing to network with and has referred some of her clients to me for overnight pet sitting services. Katie Smith from NewRoad Foods is a previous boss of mine and has provided mentorship. I’m grateful to them both, and I’m happy to work in an industry that champions each other’s success. My clients are spectacular and provide referrals and leave online reviews. Their kind words warm my heart. I could not have gotten my business established without the support of my family, friends, other business owners, and clients.

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Image Credits
Tiffany Alfonso

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