Pet sitter gets top award

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CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE -- Vanessa Sorace, owner of Zoo Sitters LLC in Cape May Court House, has been named Pet Sitters International's 2012 Pet Sitter of the Year.

“This award is presented annually to one pet sitter who embodies the passion and professionalism of the pet-sitting industry,” reads an announcement about the award. 

Created by Pet Sitters International (PSI) in 1995, the Pet Sitter of the Year designation is considered the pet-sitting industry's highest honor. The 2012 selection process brought in more than 360 nominations for professional pet sitters across the United States.

Sorace received her bachelor's degree in psychology with a concentration in animal behavior and worked as a zoo keeper, caring for a variety of exotic animals including monkeys, lemurs, bats, bears and large cats. Her zoo experience included an internship at the Philadelphia Zoo as well as working as a keeper in the Lied Jungle at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, Neb.

 After leaving the field, she decided to pursue her MBA and spent several years as a national accounts manager. Despite her success, Sorace soon realized that corporate America was not as fulfilling as she had hoped, according to a press release about the business.

 "I began to think about combining my two passions—animals and business," said Sorace. "After six months of living in Costa Rica and observing many exotics in their natural habitats, I decided to return to my hometown of Cape May and start a professional pet-sitting business."

 Sorace returned home to open Zoo Sitters.   She joined Pet Sitters International in 2007.

Many pet owners in Cape May are glad Sorace's decided to go in to the pet-care business, according to the press release. One nominator commented that Zoo Sitters was the best thing to happen to Cape May County in years.

"I'm thrilled that our clients and our local veterinarians, as well as other pet sitters in our area, reached out to nominate us and to share the experiences they've had dealing with Zoo Sitters," Sorace said. "It shows me that we have promoted professional pet sitting in a positive manner and have become an asset to our community."

"The number and quality of nominations received for the 2012 award is a testament to the increased role pet sitters play in their clients' lives," noted PSI President Patti Moran. "Vanessa's nominations, in particular, highlighted how important her services were to her clients—whether helping evacuate a hospitalized client's cat during Hurricane Sandy or simply providing reliable, quality pet care to enable her clients to travel with peace of mind."

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