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Occupation: I own Always Safe at Home Pet Sitting. It’s a Newtown-based, family-owned, pet care company that has been in business here for 23 years. My mother, Adria Henderson, started it in 1994, and I took over it in 2010. I currently have a staff of seven pet sitters. We cover all different types of services like weekly midday dog walks, overnight stays, trail hikes, and puppy care.
Family: My family consists of me, my boyfriend Eric Vitolo, who is a remodeling contractor; and his two sons, Kyle and Tyler. Kyle is 16 years old and attends a high school in Toronto, Canada, which is ice hockey based. Tyler is 12 years old and is a student at Fraser Woods in Newtown.
Pets: We have four pets, who are all rescues. Our dogs are Zoe, a 13-year-old lab mix adopted from the Ridgefield Animal Control in 2007, and Coco, a 4-year-old hound/boxer mix we adopted from Puerto Rico. Our cats are Jules and Wallace; both are about 2 years old and were adopted from Kitten Associates in Sandy Hook.
How long have you lived in Newtown? My older brothers, Eric and Corey, and I were all born in Brooklyn, N.Y., but when I was about 2 years old we moved to Westport. We moved to Newtown when I was about 6 years old. I later moved away for a couple years, but I moved back to Newtown as an adult.
What do you like to do in your free time? When I do have free time, I like to spend it with my boyfriend and his boys. I also work out every morning before work, and I like to go to The Edge in Danbury and The Dojo in Newtown.
Do you have a favorite author? I like Nelson DeMille and other crime/suspense writers, because I was a private investigator back in Chicago, New York, and Connecticut before I started my pet sitting career.
What is your favorite travel destination? When I do get to travel, I try to accompany my boyfriend to Canada so we can watch Kyle and Tyler play in ice hockey tournaments.
What is the best part about Newtown? I get to meet hundreds of pet-loving families who form a huge part of this community, and I make longstanding friendships with many of them. I love Newtown. It’s amazing.
Who has been the greatest influence in your life? My boyfriend Eric has been the biggest influence on my adult life. He was instrumental in supporting me in changing my life’s path for the positive. We’ve known each other about ten years and have been together a little over three years now.
What was your favorite concert? Metallica.
Do you have a favorite TV show? This is Us. I always make sure to record it when I’m not around. I enjoy that it’s very genuine and realistic.
Do you have a favorite movie? Dances with Wolves. I was drawn to it because of the Native American history and culture.
What is something you cannot live without? All my pets. My family owned a boarding kennel and training facility when I was a child, and when we moved to Newtown we had lots of dogs and always had cats. Animals have always played a huge part in my life.
What is your proudest accomplishment? I was able to successfully take over my mother’s pet sitting business, which was called Safe At Home, in 2010. We are on the third generation of pets with many of the same families that started with my mom 23 years ago. I’m fortunate to have had this opportunity and to keep the business in the family for so many years. I love what I do and not many people can say that.