Even as a young girl growing up in Marion, Shawna Gibson could sense animals would be a part of the rest of her life.
“I grew up on a farm, a racehorse ranch actually. We had everything,” she said of her girlhood home, located about 30 miles northeast of San Antonio. “Actually when the school bus would pass my house I would be teased, ‘And to the right, friends, is the Marion, Texas Zoo. You will find deer, horses, emu, bobcats, goats, peacocks, etc …
“We took in everything. If an animal was injured or hurt the town would bring them to our ranch we would nurse them back to health and then back into the wild. At one point 96 horses (of their own).”
Today, you will still find her, at age 48, surrounded by animals through her business FETCH Your Pet. Now living in Benbrook, Gibson started the online service about seven years ago.
The concept is simple. She has 15 ladies around the Metroplex who contract to work for her, and if you have an animal that needs watching, walking, or such, you contact FETCH Your Pet and they do the rest.
“Unlike other pet sitting apps FETCH girls receive between 80%-100% of the revenue. I only take what it costs to run the website and pay for advertising,” Gibson said. “We will bring your pets in our homes to care for them, or we will come to you and bring the love to them.
“Wellness checks or walks, if you’re stuck at work and need someone to pop in and check on your baby, or take them for a walk, we are happy to help. Do you need someone to stay the night? We do that too.”
Of course, you can also bring your pet to them if that’s what you prefer. They are all pet CPR and first aid certified.
And we’re not talking just dogs and cats.
“We offer in your home or ours pet care. All pets, all shapes, all sizes,” Gibson said. “From dogs, cats, raccoons, lizards, snakes, horses, llamas, cattle, miniature goats, ducks, chickens — and if you had an elephant you bet we would.”
How FETCH was born
Gibson, who also owns the Brick Gym in Fort Worth, got into the pet sitting business somewhat by accident. She was attending a wedding out of town and needed someone to care for her dog Sasha — whom she named the Mayor of Fort Woof, a city dog park.
“Typically it’s not an issue, she can stay with friends. But this wedding, all my friends were going. The thought of her staying in a cage at a vet’s office broke my heart,” Gibson explained. “So, I canceled my plans and stayed back and ended up caring for everyone who needed a pet sitter.
“From there I started helping friends and/or clients out when they would go out of town. In their home or mine. They would ask me to send updates, pictures etc. all the time. It was beginning to interfere with my ‘real’ job. So, I created a Facebook page to direct people to see their videos and photos daily. When my crew and I care for your pets you can go to the Facebook page to see how happy your fur kids are. FETCH was born.”
Her own family, she jokes, consists of “a feral 6-year-old human (her son), a 14-year-old rescue Aussie mix (Mayor Princess Sasha Gibson); her 10-year-old three-legged pit mix Captain Jack Sparrow, a rescue/foster fail they found bound and tied on the side of the road; a 9-year-old rescue cat named Ollie; and the latest addition is Dexter, another rescue.
Gibson credits growing up on a farm and being the only girl with six brothers for much of the discipline it takes to run such a successful business.
“I was close to my brothers, all of us animal lovers. They all live in San Antonio and the surrounding areas. Not one day goes by I don’t miss the boys,” she said. “I come from the generation of you are outside if it’s daylight, come home when it gets dark. You wake up, you take care of your responsibilities, you do your part, which meant cleaning stalls, feeding animals, breaking ice if buckets frozen over, riding six to eight head of horses, all before sunup and school started.
“I wouldn’t trade one minute. My son has had a responsibility list since he was 3. Chores is a word that has dread all over it. As a member of a family, no matter how big or small it’s our individual responsibility that helps make a household run smoothly.”