Meet the Staff

Kay Cochran, Owner/Operator, Dog Trainer, Pet Sitter

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Kay Cochran, owner of Zoo Crew Pet Sitting and Dog Training, started her career working with animals as a zoo keeper at Pt. Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. After acquiring a vast array of knowledge on the care of animals, she decided to focus on training and caring for the animals we share our homes with. Rescuing and rehabilitating dogs is her passion. She graduated from the Karen Pryor Academy Professional Dog Training Course and is now putting her mind to helping people train their pets, and making the daily lives of our furry loved ones better. She doesn’t just train dogs though, but cats, birds, pigs, goats, chickens, and horses too. She’s done it all, and can’t wait to help you with any training issues you and your pet may be facing. Another passion of hers is staying active outdoors. So if you need a dog walker, you can count on Kay.

The Zoo Crew also has employees, all of whom come from a zoo keeping background. If Kay isn’t available, she can easily set you up with one of her well qualified sitters or dog walkers. Just give her a call, set up a meet and greet, and let your pet get to know their new best friend!

Erica Baker, Pet Sitter12592654_10100191953455976_7730736740029277440_n

It is hard for me to remember a time when animals were not the most important facet of my life. As a young girl, I was mesmerized with animals of all kinds. Through caring for a variety of family pets, adoring animals featured in movies and books, and frequent trips to my local zoo, I was insatiable. My family was incredibly supportive and encouraged me to follow my dreams. My problem at that point, however, was that there were so many different and interesting careers that had to do with animals! How could I ever figure out what I was meant for? I wanted to be everything; from a field biologist, to a veterinarian, zookeeper, or animal trainer… the list went on. I couldn’t decide, so I decided to see where my studies and career opportunities would take me.

I went on to pursue my degree at Eastern Washington University studying Biology with an emphasis on Zoology. EWU was the only university that had partnered with a wildlife refuge for research, so I spent much of my time doing field studies on mammals, birds, and aquatic life. It was there that I was given the opportunity for my first post-grad job as a field biologist and environmental educator.

Through the years I have also spent time working with animals in the veterinary field, and as an animal trainer and zookeeper at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. I have found my passion in working hands-on with animals both wild and domestic, and have the pleasure of waking up every morning with a smile on my face because I know that what I do could never be “just a job.” I am living my childhood dream and making a positive difference for the animals I care for every day.

I consider it a great privilege to be a part of your pet’s lives, and while my job is to enrich their lives, they inevitably do the same for me. I look forward to taking care of your family members and giving them the exceptional care they deserve.

Ariel Woodruff, Pet Sitter

In third grade I turned on the tv and sparked a lifetime passion; the Westminster Kennel Club dog show was being televised and I was dazzled by the perfect partnership between the handlers and dogs and the spectacle of the event. The green carpet. The bright lights. The evening gowns. The glistening coats. I wanted to be there someday exhibiting a dog of my own. There was only one problem with that dream; although I owned and adored fish, hermit crabs, and cats, I didn’t have a dog.

My family firmly believed in researching prospective pets before bringing them into the home–a belief that I continue to practice and advocate today–and we’d not yet heard of or found a dog breed that fit our lifestyle. In fact, my parents weren’t sure that such a dog existed! It took two years of careful, diligent research, but I did find the breed, and in fifth grade, I brought home my first puppy, a Shiba Inu. At the time, the breed was not particularly well known, and their learning styles and temperaments quickly taught me to become a thoughtful, creative, and patient trainer.

These skills served me well as I expanded to show American Pit Bull Terriers in conformation, presenting dogs to multiple best in show wins. I loved developing a bond with each dog and learning what it was that made them shine. These dogs were not my own pets, but I treated them as such; getting to know and respect them as individuals with particular needs and quirks was a favorite part of my job, and one that I feel helped my clients stand out in the lineup. I also enjoyed educating the public about pit bulls, advocating for responsible ownership, and encouraging people to take a second look at this misunderstood breed.

I remain active in dog sports and just as passionate as ever. I have dabbled in obedience, agility, tracking and tricks, and actively compete in conformation.

The joy and excitement I experienced as a child, in studying, researching, and applying what I’ve learned about an animal has never waned. Today I’m privileged to share it with children and adults in my professional role as an educational interpreter at a zoo. My career ensures that I am always learning something new about a variety of species, and always seeing our animals with the fresh, wonder-filled eyes of our visitors.

Now I’d like to share my passion for animals with you! I will always treat your pet like one of my own, providing personal and individualized care, tailored to your family member. My goal is to see that each and every one of my animal clients enjoys their time with me, and that you feel great knowing they have a sitter who loves her time with them too!

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