What began as just another one of Sarah Fast's many "crazy ideas" came to fruition in March when she finally launched Fast Pet Services and began taking care of people's pets professionally.
Registered as a sole-proprietorship, she currently operates the business out of her home but primarily makes house-calls on the pets of her clients so far. She earned the early business by savvy fliers at area pet stores and other places pet owners may notice.
Minot, she said, is a changing city and services like hers are part of keeping available services at market demands and interests.
"I just kind of did my research on bigger cities and there is a lot of pet sitting services in those places. I know we've got a couple of kennels but that's pretty much all we've got in Minot," she said. "More people in town, too. A lot of people who go out of town for work ... or people who want their pets to be taken care of all the time and people on vacation, especially with the weather warming up. The dogs need to be walked now because they've all been hibernating for so long."
The Minot native got her first dog at 4-years-old and fell immediately in love, a love that has lasted ever since and many pets later. She even spent years as a volunteer at the Humane Society animal shelter. She shadowed animal workers at various animal clinics and at the Roosevelt Park Zoo during her high school years.
She graduated from Minot State University with a double major in psychology and criminal judgement and is now continuing her education to suit her new business by taking dog and animal grooming courses.
That's because she's at the ground floor of her business meeting her first customers, but has already made capital investments in her business when she installed fencing around her yard to allow more animals to play outside at once. It will prepare her for the larger customer base she hopes to achieve by her reputation and through the number of returning customers.
A couple customers have already posted five-star reviews to the company's Facebook page, which is regularly updated with pictures of dogs playing and sleeping in her care.
While checking up on animals at a client's home to exercise, feed, clean up after and play with for 30 to 45 minutes per session is her primary business, she also offers longer term care and pet sitting for clients who will be away. She has already had one yellow lab stay for multiple days and a cat for a week.
"You get to know their personality. Jake, the yellow lab, always wanted to be outside to play, playing fetch," she said. "The one I'm babysitting now is very independent."
She offers in-home consultations with prospective clients to see if her extensive service list meets their needs and to also run through the pet's medical history as well as checking on the animal's history of aggression.
Business has been good already and she looks forward to developing a client base large enough to lease or own a facility down the line.