Some refer to Critter Nanny as doggy camp. Jim and I (Nancy) have hosted pet guests in Oregon since 2001. We began in Colorado (1993) with a garage, a big yard, a dog, and a dream.
Critter Nanny is a lifestyle. Passion, patience, dedication, a little courage, LOVE of animals, respect for nature’s creatures, no vacations, dirty knees and laughter describe the ingredients for the crazy, unique life we live.
When we transplanted from Colorado we brought 31 animals, including birds. All but 2 were rescues. Four of which were adopted just prior to the move. That was CRAZY! That is us.
Our home business day begins at 6:30 am Monday through Sunday, around 10 pm we start to settle in for the evening. We are on animal time, therefore the schedule for the day is at the mercy of their needs.
Mother Nature never takes a holiday. We are on her schedule (wind, rain, weeds growing, etc.) Normally the phone rings 20-50 times a day. Besides the other priorities of the day, I am returning calls, making reservations, and setting tours with new pet parents.
The phone is almost silent now.
Jim and I would like to take this moment to THANK YOU for reading our story.
Through the years many challenges have been overcome. This one is like no other. COVID-19 has hobbled most in one way or another. Unlike restaurants and other small businesses, we do not have the option to offer drive thru, take out, or delivery services.
Even if everything opened up at this moment, it would be physically impossible to board enough of your pet children to make up for the financial losses.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been harsh. Working together and kindness create hope.
2019 was a good year for Critter Nanny’s business in rural America. We have wonderful, loyal pet parents and referral services. Reservations for 2020 were up.
Plans for repairs, improvements, and training for the mini horse, Auberon, were scheduled. Some have been on the “To Do List” for a while. Expansion of cat and dog sleep areas were on the drawing board as well.
Spring break generates money to pay for winter expenses and projects, many of these are seasonal and time sensitive.
Looking back, cancellations began mid February. The international travel and cruises were the first to go.
On March 8, there were several calls as pet owners were cancelling reservations.
On March 11 we dreaded answering the phone. People were so apologetic and well wishing for us to be “okay”. We were all trying to figure this virus out and scrambling to grasp the repercussions of it.
By March 27 people were cancelling April and May. In two weeks $25,000 walked out the door. This did not include lost income from reservations never made. April Income= $1,410.
Your contribution is the hope for Critter Nanny and the critters we care for in our sanctuary.
Many of the financial solutions are not realistic for a rural, self employed business like Critter Nanny Ltd. There are loans for small businesses, but it looks like we will not be receiving any of these. The first $310 billion congress approved was gone within the first week. Some relief funds have been gone in 17 minutes. There are 30 million small business owners in the U.S.
Jim and I have always been self reliant and able to make something out of nothing. Our lives have dramatically changed. The “Finish Line” is unknown.
Our goal is to raise $185,000. Your donations will help us care for our animals, replace retirement savings, credit card charges, cover expenses and pay Alyssa through July. We were one of the first services to be hit and will be one of the last to recover.
The following stories are expense projections through July 2020:
$80 to $100 Urgent Grooming Needs- Lilliana
Lilliana is a beautiful cream colored long haired kitty. She was rescued from a parking lot. Lilliana is good natured until put into the sink to bathe and shave her back which is matted from neck to tail.
Well nice kitty turned into “HELL KITTY”. She nearly removed mine and Alyssa’s faces. It was a life threatening event. We need the expertise of someone who is knowledgeable, loving, and gentle to groom Miss Lilliana.
Most of our family is furred, feathered, hooved, web footed, or children of Mother Nature. And then there is Jim.
$10,000 to $15,000- Urgent: Dental Work for Jim
For a year we saved money for seriously needed dental work he needs. We’ve had to use it to pay mortgage, property taxes, insurance, etc. A few days ago another tooth broke off and became infected. We can’t afford to go to the dentist. So much has already been put onto credit cards.
$1,420- Blaze, Tennessee Walker without teeth… More dog than horse
Blaze is a gentle 1100 lb horse who is in his upper 20s. He loved daily snacks in his toy. He would roll it around until the treats fell out. When he heard us coming to the barn he would run up with his toy hanging out of his mouth, hoping for a refill!
Three years ago most of his teeth had to be pulled out. Of the few that were left no two lined up, so he couldn’t chew hay. Now his diet is a mixture of Timothy Hay pellets, Haystack, Equilux, and an assortment of supplements.
Two hours prior to feeding, we mix the foods with water and create a mash. Four times a day (8 am, Noon, 4 pm, and 8 pm) we mix his foods into a bucket and serve it up. He doesn’t get to eat unless we feed him.
$2,285- Urgent: Dead Trees felled, burned or removed...Fire hazards
A 20 ft foot evergreen tree next to the horse corral is dead from the ground up. This happened due to drought the last two years. Yes, Oregon is experiencing drought conditions.
There are several trees in the 3 acre tree farm that have died as well. We are trying to qualify for National Habitat.
These must be cut and removed before fire season. The experts that do this service charge $22-$24 per hour per person.
$1,835- Bakita “The White Jewel”
Bakita is a 900 lb white Appendix mare. She is beautiful and very smart. For most of her life, Bakita has had some form of cancer. With her first owner she had already been through two eye surgeries. In 2001 as we prepared to move to Oregon we learned that Bakita was going to be given to a camp which would have been detrimental to her health. Jim and I paid $1 for the purchase transaction and $500 paid for her to move with us.
Since then Bakita had two more eye surgeries and two surgeries in the groin area because the cancer had traveled into her lymph nodes. The last surgery was emotionally traumatic for Bakita. When taking the stitches out she reared up, fell back, snapped a wood post, and fell forward onto her knees. Her back was damaged for years, but her fears lasted much longer.
Sometime later the cancer returned in her eye area and two little black nodules appeared in her groin area again. It was suggested this may need to run its course.
The growth was also affecting her breathing. I couldn’t accept this. One night I went to the computer. At 3 am the next morning I discovered McDowells Herbal in Australia. For the past five years we have managed her cancer. The tumors on her groin are constant. They have grown on the outside of her body and at most are the size of a grapefruit, which shed and fall off constantly. Each order of meds is a minimum of $365 with shipping cost equaling $65 more or less.
Two times daily an ointment is put onto the growth by Jim and one other person. Two times a day an assortment of holistic drops are added to a soaked pellet mixture and given to her.
This has been done two times a day,seven days a week, since 2015. Bakita is in great shape for a girl in her late 20s.
$500- What do Mason bees and flies have in common?
Flying through a rip in a screen door. The door is a lovely source of light into the dog sleep area and the main office.
The screen portion stores in an area at the top of the door. When it is pulled down, the screen comes down too. Something has slit the left side of the screen leaving a gaping hole for Mason bees and flies to fly in.
$415- Bill the Cat and his sidekick Crosby
Bill, a rescue, has special dietary needs. The tiniest amount of dry food causes crystals to form and block his urethra. Each time it happens scar tissue forms. If it happens again it could lead to surgery or worse.
For the rest of his life Bill must eat only wet food. Occasionally, we cook chicken for him. Since Bill and Crosby share the kitty cottage both kitties eat the same diet. The food is special ordered from a source which does not have by-products, less water, and more nutrients compared to most brands. And for a reasonable cost.
Crosby, a snowshoe kitty, is a rescue as well. Both kids are spunky seniors. Bill gives love bites and Crosby loves to sit on our shoulders.
$580- Refrigerator failed first week of pandemic lock down
Freezer froze over and the fridge stopped cooling. Pet foods, medications, and produce were kept in it. We ordered a refrigerator and paid by credit card. We kept items cool by rotating freezer packs into the fridge section day and night for a week.
Before pulling the insurance coverage on the truck, we made one last trip to pick up the refrigerator and unloaded it ourselves. The delivery charge would have been $100.
Alyssa is a friend, animal wrangler, greeter, computer mastermind, a college student, she can whistle, gardens, is a car mechanic, and a shitologist. She has saved many Mason bees who have flown into the Animal House. Alyssa has been a valued member of the Critter Nanny family for 4 years.
Alyssa sacrificed half of her pay and moved in with us around March 11. She recognized the seriousness of the pandemic lockdown and knew what a burden it was going to be financially and physically on Jim and I. We are so grateful for the selfless and thoughtful decision.
It has been a challenge for the 3 of us to keep up with the sanctuary, the landscaping, the stress of chasing food bank schedules, and keeping each other moving forward. Fortunately all of us find joy in the smallest of life’s wonders like the wild bunny who nudges our ankles for a pet.
I do have one problem with Alyssa. I think my dog, Mona, likes Alyssa more than me. Thank you Alyssa for everything…We heart you.
P.S. We are missing Taylor, Lindsey, Natalie, and Tina a BUNCH! They are the rest of our wonderful team. They are students who help us on weekends and during the summer. All pet lovers from their toes-up.
I (Nancy Kazragis) and Jim Parkhurst are the owners of Critter Nanny and want to thank everyone for their love and support. We have opened an account for the GoFundMe and plan to deposit the money into it to use specifically for animals and the business of Critter Nanny. Thank you all ❤️. Your donations will allow us to continue creating a happy, loving environment for our pet guests. We are grateful you read our story. Please share us with others. If you would like to communicate with us directly:
Email: [email redacted]
P.O. Box: P.O. Box 1106 Mulino, OR 97042
Facebook: Oregon Critter Nanny Ltd. Pet Resort
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