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Meet Zenia Avelenda and Helen Yam of Barkhaus Petsitters in Chino Hills

Today we’d like to introduce you to Zenia Avelenda and Helen Yam.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Zenia and Helen. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Zenia: I worked as a kennel assistant for my very first job. I have always loved working with animals. I had the opportunity to work up to a veterinary technician and I did that for 8 years. I worked in general practice veterinary medicine and cardiology. As we all know, we all take our animals to the vet when they are sick and my heart couldn’t take it.

After becoming very attached to numerous animals, I decided to go a different route. After meeting Helen in 2004, we decided to start up pet sitting. It started off more as a hobby than a business. We had many clients when we both lived in Oceanside, but didn’t have a name for ourselves. It wasn’t until May 2016 when we started Barkhaus Petsitters.

Helen: As a kid, I always knew I wanted to work with animals. I wanted many pets and enjoyed caring for them. As a I got older, the idea of going into an industry where I could do it was a job really intrigued me. I worked at a resort and camp for pets in Oceanside for a few years. They were connected to an animal hospital so I got to learn many things. I had the joy of supervising the play of over 20+ dogs in camp, caring for cats, birds, and exotic animals that boarded at the facility. When Z had the idea of helping some of my clients out with pet sitting, I was definitely on board.

We moved to Chino Hills in 2016 and that’s when Barkhaus Petsitters came about. We have been growing steadily and have many repeat clients. We love what we do. It’s our passion and the love we give all these animals is genuine as if they were our own.

Great, 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?
When we lived in Oceanside, we had many clients. If most places were booked during busy weekends or holidays, we would be approached to do drop in visits and overnight stays. Since we have been in Chino Hills, both of us have had to flyer to city, use car magnets to advertise, and depend on word of mouth.

Recently, we added ourselves onto Google and Yelp and it has helped. We had to start from ground zero with no clients and no reputation in the city.

As a small business, we don’t have all the resources that some of the larger internet-based pet sitting businesses have. We are very driven and customer service oriented, so our focus has really kept us in motion.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Barkhaus Petsitters – what should we know?
Barkhaus Petsitters is a team of two. We are both very hardworking women that love what we do. To sum it all up, we are a dogwalking/petsitting duo. Your pet doesn’t have to necessarily bark or meow, we care for all animals. Our services include everything from drop-in visits, playtimes, dog walking, administering medication, feedings, overnight stays, or simply cuddling with your pets. Because we are not internet based, we provide a direct line where clients can reach us.

We pride ourselves on answering the phone and customer service. Our business is truly built on trust and communication. We offer our clients our background reports and copies of our IDs so they feel comfortable when we enter their residences.

What sets us apart from others is our veterinary background. When we care for our client’s pets, it’s not just about feeding, water, and walking. It’s about making sure they are healthy while their owners are away. We have encountered numerous situations where clients are so thankful that we’ve noticed fleas, or worms in stool, etc. We have been hired to simply come and give IV fluids to sick pets because of our experience.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Our customer service! We are honest, straight-forward, reliable, and very trustworthy.

We offer face to face “meet-n-greets” with all potential clients. We are extremely thorough and people appreciate that.


  • $10 Drop-In visits (Potty Break)
  • $15 Dog Walking (30-45 minutes)
  • $40 Overnight Stays (In Your Home)

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Sharon L Hofer

    October 9, 2017 at 03:53

    We have had the privilege of having Helen and Z work for us since June. They cared for our 2 dogs and a cat for 2 1/2 weeks while we were on vacation. Our animals are 9-17 years old, and they need 4 different medications. Barkhaus handled it easily! Now they help us because of an unexpected surgery. Both times they had the same love and enthusiasm for us and our pets. Also, they are super at alerting us to possible health problems. The kitty got treatment for his draining, squinty eye. Now a dog is being watched because of the effect of having his diet changed. I can relax about the thought of going out of town now!

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