Calhoun couple launches pet boarding, sitting service 2023

James and Kreslie Freels, a Calhoun couple, decided to establish a small company a few months ago.

While unsure of what sort of company to start, the Freels knew they wanted to aid McLean County.

The family founded Freels Critter Sitters, a home-based pet boarding and pet sitting business, at the end of April.

“We ran some ideas on the drawing board, and we both love animals and it’s something we could still do working our public jobs,” James Freels said.

Sacramento native James Freels stated his family had animals.

“My brother and I picked some dogs from animal shelters growing up,” he added. “Cats and dogs were always around. We adored them, and we had a bird once—so we’ve always had animals.”

Monticello native Kreslie Freels was unusual, despite loving animals.

“I didn’t have pets,” she remarked. “Turtles here and there, but (nothing) really in the house.”

The Freels have two cats and a Bowling Green animal shelter puppy after marrying two years ago.

James Freels said the firm was meant to have a more “at-home” vibe than previous companies the family has dealt with.

“We want to be personable in the home rather (than) in a big facility with a lot of barking dogs, especially if the dog has anxiety or is used to being at home alone,” he added. We have a couple pets and our dog at home.

Kreslie Freels laughed. “We want to keep them comfortable. Our fundamental objective.”

The Freels started the firm to address a county shortage and have flexibility.

Kreslie Freels said, “We’ve had to base our trips around the boarding facility of what time we are going to pick up and drop off, are we going to be back by (a certain) time because if not you have to pay a full extra day; and it gets pricey after awhile.

“… One thing that’s difficult is that certain facilities are open at 8 a.m. and close by 4 or 5 p.m., and say it’s one of those deals that you leave town really early or if you get home late (or) (if) the facility (is) closed on Sundays,” James Freels said. “We can really work with people if they work with us. We can modify their schedules for simpler pick-ups…”

The Freels call, text, and send clients regular images of their pets.

Kreslie Freels stated the response has been positive. “(The family) loves to see what they’re doing while they’re gone, because I know they worry.”

James Freels reported a successful business partnership with his wife.

“Kreslie is the tech wiz and she’s good at accounting and keeping track of (who’s) coming in (while) I’m more of the… labor of the operation,” he added. “We recently bought and assembled new dog crates. I tidy crates after they go. Early in the morning, I stroll them.

Due to their work schedules, the Freels want to care for two to three pets a week before growing the business.

The Freels founded the company to “give the county what they need,” but any four-legged pal is welcome.

James Freels remarked, “We welcome any customer from (anywhere). We welcome anyone who wants to bring a dog or pet.

“If I see a dog at my house with a waggin’ tail, I feel like I’m doing something right.”

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