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Bark for Life - Dogs help raise money for Cancer Society

New women's business group offers support and more to local business owners

Summit held to discuss plan for animals during state disaster

Middletown Transcript logo

January 16, 2012
Section: business
Edition: Web Edition

Local business owner strives to help homeless cats

Kim Manahan
Middletown Transcript

With Delaware's homeless cat population on the rise, one local business owner has taken on the task of finding some of these felines their forever homes.

Theresa Overbey, owner of Paws and People Too Pet Spa in Middletown, has teamed up with the Faithful Friends, a no kill animal shelter based in Wilmington, to help save more cats.

At any given time, the pet spa has between six and eight cats available for adoption, said Jane Pierantozzi, executive director of Faithful Friends Animal Society.

Other stores that focus on pet needs have also joined the initiative. People coming in and out of the store see the kittens, Overbey said.

Since Jan. 9, three cats have been adopted from out of Overbey's pet spa. Two of them even went home together.

Overbey said that the six cats in her store have been like a greeting committee. They're all people oriented, she said. When someone walks into the store, they come to the edge of their cages; some sticking their paws out from behind the bars.

"Everyone in has been excited and happy to see the cats," she said.

The cats all come from the Faithful Friends rescue, after being abandoned, found outside or surrendered.The shelter approached Overbey a few months before she opened her shop and asked if she would be interested in the partnership.

"Theresa didn't hesitate when we asked to share space with us to partner with us to save more cats," Pierantozzi said.

Overbey said that it's a win-win for her.

"It's nice marketing for me," she said. "And it's an important thing to do and helps out Faithful Friends."

She sees it as a way to really make a difference. Pierantozzi says that Overbey is the model of a good businessperson.

"She cares about her community and helping us save more cats lives," she said. "We are proud to be her partner."

All of the cats are kept up to date with their shots and Faithful Friends backgrounds each animal. They are all also either spayed or neutered.

Paws & People Too is located in the Summit Shopping Center on Rt. 896 in Middletown.


New women’s business group offers support and more to local business owners

By Jessica Sturgis
Middletown Transcript
Thursday, April 2, 2009

Middletown, Del. - Early on a Saturday morning, a group of area businesswomen gathered to outline the procedures of their newly-formed group as well as share some laughs and things that might be of interest to other members.

The M.O.T. Women’s Business Group held its third meeting March 21. The new group is designed to provide a casual yet professional environment and offer support to its members while maintaining a non-competitive environment.

Founder Theresa Overbey, owner of Paws & People Too!, said she wasn’t finding a group in the area that fit her schedule or needs. Her business, which offers professional in-home pet sitting, dog grooming and now dog training, keeps her busy at odd hours.

“I have a weird schedule and I was getting very frustrated,” she said.

Overbey contacted some women in the business community who she thought might be interested and from there the group has been meeting once a month.

“I know I leave here feeling really good and excited,” she said, “and motivated. It’s important to grow your business but it’s just as important to be motivated.”

Other members include business owners Tracy Clevens of Clevens K9 Scoop, Jennifer McDonald of Paws & People Too!, Becky Cronin of Sew There Embroidery, Kimberly Jones of Every Occasion Specialty Baskets and Gifts, Bonnie Edson of The Organizing Assistant, Anette Schuetz of The K9 Bakery and Beth Delligatti of Shabby Chic’.

Jones, who does custom gift baskets, said the group has opened doors for her to other businesses in the area and she can refer people to others in the group. McDonald said the members have helped each other as well and many use each others services.

Cronin, who does custom machine embroidery, produced fleece jackets for several members and was able to put custom logos on them. She said she has enjoyed making the new connections.

Edson, who helps clients with organizational issues, said she likes the non-competitive environment, especially in a small community.

Schuetz, who just began her canine bakery business, said she also likes that it is non-competitive.

“I get a really good feeling from the group,” she said.

Clevens, whose business specializes in dog waste removal, said she has found the group to be truly supportive and filled with good ideas.

Delligatti, an interior design business owner, said she noticed at the first meeting that every other member had a Web site. She had no idea how to go about setting one up, but Schuetz was able to help her do so.

“I think this group gives the members a place to come in and problem solve,” she said.

Delligatti said she had joined other women’s groups before, but this group has a different feeling.

“I feel like they are all pulling for me,” she said, “ and that support goes a long way.”

Clevens said members also remind other members of what’s going on in the area.

Overbey said she wanted something that was informal yet professional, too.

While the group hopes to help its members network as well as provide support, it also involves a community service aspect.

Cronin said the group recently donated 20 stuffed animals to the Middletown Police department. The officers can give the animals to children they meet in stressful situations.

Overbey said the police were thrilled with the donation.

Each member said she enjoys owning her own business and serving her clients.

For more information about the group, call Theresa Overbey at (302) 838-5140.

Summit held to discuss plan for animals during state disasters

By Shauna McVey Staff Reporter

In the event of a disaster, pets across the state will be kept safe with the help of many departments, organizations and pet enthusiasts, including Middletown resident Theresa Overbey. Overbey, who owns Paws and People Too, was asked to be a part of the Delaware Emergency Management Agency’s State Animal Response Summit on Nov. 14.

SART was a meeting of representatives from state departments and organizations, veterinarians and other pet enthusiasts to brainstorm ways to help keep Delaware’s pets safe in the event a disaster happens in the state.

Overbey said she will be a responder to help with search and rescue. Other volunteers are needed to help at shelters and veterinarians and vet technicians are needed to help with animal health care.

Each state is developing its own SART program as a result of President George Bush’s Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act, which was implemented after Hurricane Katrina. It is an amendment to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to ensure that state and local emergency preparedness operational plans address the needs of individuals with household pets and service animals following a major disaster or emergency.

“In order to keep human beings safe, we have to take care of the companion animals because the human-animal bond is so strong that people will not leave their animals in a state of emergency,” Overbey said. “When people evacuate, they have to be able to evacuate with their animals and have a place for their animals to go.”

Anne McCann, the DE-SART coordinator for DEMA, said Delaware’s program has been in the planning stages for about two years. She said she is working closely with Dr. Sara Busch, state veterinarian for the Delaware Department of Agriculture, as well as the American Red Cross, the Delaware National Guard, local veterinarians, the Delaware and Kent County SPCAs, and other organizations.

“We competed for grant funds nationally and were awarded grants to hold the summit,” McCann said. “It gave us an opportunity to bring a lot more people into the planning effort. The next step is going to be doing even more outreach.

“We want to do outreach to the animal community – the veterinarians, vet technicians and people who work in animal-related businesses who have skills to bring to the table to assist in a disaster,” she said. “The plan is so when we do have to activate shelters for people’s pets, we will know who is going to be coming and SART can make plans to try to help us.”

McCann said the SART volunteers will go through disaster and animal training to prepare for an evacuation situation. Training will begin within the next six months so volunteers can be ready in time for the hurricane season, which starts June 1, 2008.She said SART is working on memorandums of understanding with the SPCAs and the Delaware Humane Association to secure emergency animal shelters.

“We have a large list of places we could potentially use depending on the scale and location of the event,” McCann said. “The county emergency managers would select the sites and that information would go out on the radio and all over the media. It really would be event-driven and the number of sites would be based on the scale of the event.”

She said members of the North Carolina SART conducted the summit, and are traveling to each state to deliver the information they gained after Hurricane Floyd hit the east coast in 1999.

“They had three million animals die in Hurricane Floyd and they had a significant problem with what to do with the animals that were left without homes,” McCann said. “Everybody saw pictures from Hurricane Katrina, and the nation came to a consensus that this can’t happen again.”

She said while SART is in its planning stages, information is available for pet owners to help prepare for a disaster. The information can be obtained through DEMA at (302) 659-3362, at various animal shelters for those who adopt animals and will soon be available at vet offices.

“We really can get the word out in a very proactive way to let people know what they can be doing in advance of a disaster,” McCann said. “We must have ways of accommodating people’s animals in a disaster or people themselves won’t evacuate. The key message is that if it’s not safe for you to remain in your house, it’s not safe for your pets.”

Paws and People Too

Overbey established another way to make sure local pets aren’t forgotten on a regular basis, not just during disasters.

She didn’t want to put her Italian Greyhound, Shaman, in a kennel when she went on vacation several years ago, so she hired a pet sitter instead. Overbey realized then that other pet owners might want to keep their pets in the comfort of their own home while on vacation. When she moved to Delaware in 2000, she decided to take her idea and start a business so she could stay home with her foster children.

Now, Paws and People Too is thriving with clients who want to make sure their pets are taken care of.

“The first client I got was a lady who needed her puppy taken out during the day,” Overbey said. “The business has grown and now I have four employees.”

She said she has about 175 clients who use her services either a few times a year for vacation, or on a regular basis.

Overbey’s employees make house calls to feed animals, administer medicine, let pets outside to use the bathroom, change litter in the case of cats, and will even take dogs for a walk.

“We make sure the house is OK and the dogs didn’t have any accidents,” she said. “We put trash out for people. We bring in the mail and newspapers. It’s a personal service.”

Overbey said she has several customers who use her services on a regular basis while at work.

“A lot of them are people who have puppies that can’t wait long to go to the bathroom,” she said. “It helps with house training, too.”

The majority of the animals her business cares for are dogs and cats, but she’s dealt with ferrets, birds and even llamas.

Paws and People Too offers daily dog walks, and a pet taxi to and from a groomer or veterinarian.

“It’s a wonderful service because when we take care of pets, we are taking care of people,” she said. “They don’t worry because they know their pets will be taken care of in the safety and comfort of their own home.”

She plans to expand her business to include pet grooming in the near future.

For more information, go to www.pawsandpeopletoo. com, email or call (302) 838-5140.

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