NORA GUSSIO and Roxanne Simon met years ago while they were working corporate jobs, and they discovered that they both loved animals. Today, they are co-owners of RNR Pet Sitters Inc., based in Woodstock.
After years of working in finance, the women decided it was time for a change. "We decided there has got to be a better way to make a living," Gussio said.
They discussed their idea, worked up a business plan and opened for business in February.
"It's terrifying to walk away from a full-time paycheck," Gussio said.
But they did it, and the business has taken off. "We're both still shocked," Gussio said of their success. "We were originally interested in a kennel, but this had a lower start-up cost," Simon said. "And it's a lot more fun."
RNR stands for "Recess 'n Recreation for your Pet, Reassurance 'n Relaxation for You!" according to the company's slogan.
Gussio and Simon have two types of clients, daily care and vacation care. Before caring for a pet, the women meet with the client, gather information about the pet's habits, medical history, sleep and exercise patterns and neighborhood buddies, along with vaccination history and emergency contacts.
"We try to get as much information about the pet as we can," Gussio said.
Gussio was a veterinarian's assistant for seven years before becoming a financial manager. "It has helped tremendously in the business," she said. "Clients are always happy to know that if something goes wrong, someone with some knowledge is looking after their pets."
RNR visits as many times a day as the client requests, and fees are charged per visit. The women serve the Route 32 corridor. Simon, who lives in Woodstock, takes the jobs in Howard County, and Gussio works in the Carroll County area.
Gussio said that in the past, professional pet-sitters were uncommon because the job was usually given to family members or neighbors. Services such as RNR's are used more frequently now, she said, because of growing awareness of them.
"The benefit to using us, or any professional, is that we set a schedule, we show up every day, we leave notes to let the owner know that we have been there and exactly what the pet has done," Gussio said. "The key to the pet-sitting business is to make the pets as comfortable as possible."
Boy Scout Troop 737's kayaking trip on Maryland's Eastern Shore last month didn't exactly go as planned.
The troop's camping trip last summer was so successful that the troop couldn't wait to go again. So, although heavy thunderstorms were forecast, the boys departed for the Eastern Shore.
"With that level of anticipation, it was easy to keep only a half-ear to the weather report," Assistant Scoutmaster Betty Steil said.
High winds and downpours doused plans to kayak Saturday. "Troop 737 could end the drought if we planned more outings," Steil said.
Instead of the planned excursion from the Shelltown boat ramp to Fair Island in Pocomoke Sound, the Scouts set up camp at Janes Island State Park near Crisfield. After securing the tents so that they wouldn't blow away, the Scouts busied themselves building fires.
While some Scouts kept the campfires going, others set about catching crabs. Troop historian Shane Dunn said the group spent the rest of the day "crabbing and sitting around."
"Those crabs sure were good," he said.
Some of the Scouts had to return home Sunday morning, but many were able to stay and kayak out of Janes Island. "When the sun rose the next day, it was perfect for kayaking," Shane said.
After they reached the bay side of the island, several boys went swimming in the chilly water. "Some of the boys threw caution and better judgment to the wind," said parent Bob McGuillicuddy. "[But] they appeared none the worse for wear."
Despite the weather, the Scouts reported having a good time. "I went in a two-man kayak with my dad," Scout Thomas Bubb said.
"It was great, but also hard work," Tyler Burroughs said. "I worked hard trying to control the kayak and came home with souvenirs of two blisters on my thumbs."
Also attending were Scouts Jacob Seils, Grant Waldron, Alex Bailey, Erik Funk, Nikhi Sinha, Doug Hesselgesser, Cameron Ero, Matt Breton, Brian Buzbee, Eugene Gardner, Chris McGillicuddy, Brian McFee, Pat Roswell, John Miller, Chris Black, J.R. Brown, Randall Mazzarino, Danny Goldstein and Adam Yozwiak.
Family members Don Breton, John Seils, Julie Sullivan, Lenny Black, Tim Bubb, and Jeff, Lauren and Victoria Ero rounded out the group.
"God's Great Gallery: Exploring God's Wonderful Works," is the theme for this summer's Glenelg United Methodist Church vacation Bible school.
Classes for children ages 3 through preteen will be held from 9 a.m. to noon July 29 to Aug. 2. Registration is $15 before Monday or $20 after Monday.
The church is at 13900 Burntwoods Road in Glenelg.