Episode 44: Why Your Business Needs Pet CPR Training With Cara Armour

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In this episode of "Bella In Your Business", Bella speaks with Cara Armour, Product Manager and Marketing Manager for ProPetHeroa pet CPR and first aid online training program for pet business owners.

In 2003 Cara Armour co-founded Active Paws Inc., in the Boston, MA area. In 2009, Cara won Pet Sitter of the Year. She is decorated in many accolades and even expanded to opening a grooming and holistic pet supply store.

Pet CPR Training

Since 2003, Cara has been trained by the American Red Cross as well as several veterinarians in Pet First Aid and CPR. In 2011 she completed an instructor training course and became a certified Pet First Aid and CPR instructor. In 2015 she co-founded an online Pet First Aid academy and now works as a product and marketing manager for ProPetHero, the Pet First Aid and CPR division of ProTrainings.

She is also a volunteer and foster home for The Boxer Rescue Inc, a health conscious breeder of Boxers.

Bella and Cara talk about Pet First Aid and how to go about training you and your staff.

They discuss the benefits of being trained which are:

  • Being able to save the lives of your pets or pet clients.
  • Learning to recognize potential issues with a pet and bring that to the owner’s attention.
  • Using that trained status to stand out from your competition and create greater security among your clients.

They talk about how an online training course, such as the ones available through ProPetHero are more useful than in-person training because:

  • You can do them at your own pace and anywhere you want.
  • The cost is significantly low compared to sending staff to an in-person training course
  • You can monitor staff's progress and comprehension of the material.

Topics & Key Points

  • Pet first aid and CPR training with Kara Armor.
  • Evolving from in-person teaching to online courses
  • Pet sitting training and certification
  • Pet sitting industry training and marketing strategies
  • Pet sitting industry competition and marketing advantage
  • Pet first aid training and its importance
  • Importance of CPR/First Aid training for pet sitters


  • [2:08] From in-person teaching to online courses
  • [4:37] Training and certification
  • [9:20] Training and marketing strategies
  • [14:06] Marketing Advantage
  • [17:56] Pet first aid training and its importance
  • [22:37] CPR/First Aid training for pet sitters

Notable Quotes

[1:34] ” I knew if I had someone else’s animal, my care, I had to know what to do when things go wrong because they do. ”

[6:26] “Because I have used CPR twice, I had a greyhound that was having a stroke. And I was able to bring him back, get him to the vet. ”

[18:53] ” If you have CPR and first aid certification, you are going to stand above your competition that right there alone. I mean, it’s one more accolade. ”



There is even a special discount for “Bella in your Business” fans. You can get 10% off by going to here.
Coupon code: CPR-petsitter



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Welcome to Bella in your business where Bella will discuss anything and everything about your pet-sitting business to help you land on target. So get ready Bella’s God your shoot legs John,
welcome to another episode of Bella in your business. My name is Bella Vasta from Jump Consulting and today I’ve got a guest that I’ve had on my show before but she was so excited and everyone loved having you on that I had to have you on again. Welcome, Kara armor. How are you?
I’m doing fabulously although the weather is not it is boring.

Well, that’s what you get for being in Boston. For those of you who do not know Kara, Kara is the co-founder of Active Paws Inc., in the Boston area. In 2009, Kara won petsitter of the year. She’s decorated with many accolades and even expanded to opening a grooming and holistic supply store. Kara is on today, because this month in April, is Pet First Aid Awareness Month. And Kara works with pro pet hero. And that’s what we kind of talked a little bit about, but the last time I wanted to have you on again because not only is it just so timely right now, but I just kind of wanted to first take everyone back and explain how did you become a part of pro pet hero because I know your story starts with you starting something like that yourself. Right?

Yeah, so I’m a go-getter. And when I started my company, I knew it was important for me to have pet first aid and CPR training. I knew if I had someone else’s animal, my care, I had to know what to do when things go wrong because they do. So I kept returning to the Red Cross class, which was hilarious because the instructor finally after three years, told me they don’t expire. So in 2009 When I wanted a pet to the year, I became aware of pet tech. And I wanted to be a part of sharing the knowledge I had become more advanced in it and I wanted to be an instructor. So in 2011, I became an instructor. And then I realized that geographical limitations. My classes were selling out I had waiting lists. I wasn’t willing to drive more than an hour because it’s a lot out of your day, you know, for our class becomes a six-hour endeavor.

And probably lugging all those stuffed animals and stuff to I imagine it was the tables.

I was very lucky when I would teach in churches, they had tables and chairs. But when I would teach in daycares, they didn’t. So I was traveling, I was traveling, traveling roadshow. Yeah. So I had a student in my class. And he said, You know, I was looking for an online class, I said, Oh, you can’t teach this online. And he said, why not? So I started doing some research. And you can and there are a lot of studies, which I know we’ll talk about a little bit later, that show that this information and lots of information can be portrayed better online. So I built my online course. And that was in 2015. And then in 2016, I found pro pet hero. And it was everything that I knew I didn’t have. So they were an actual veterinarian teaching the course. And that’s something that I thought was important. I felt confident in my skills and education. But I felt like this information should come from somebody who has saved hundreds of pet lives. And so I called them up and I said, guys, I know I built a course that’s I guess your competition. But I want to be a part of your awesome because what they are doing is just awesome. And they have a similar story. Roy Scott and Paul Roy was an EMT, paramedic, he started the business back in 2003. As a paramedic, he was sick and tired of being traveling roadshows, he was tired of the geographical limitations. And so we had two friends who were able to help him get his classes online for humans. And then they opened up into the pet market in 2016. And I bar trading.

Here I am, and I can picture that happening for you, Kara. probably love it. I, you know, you made a really good point there, the whole veterinarian-trained part. And I liked that story. And I wanted my listeners to hear that because I wanted to hear how your heart evolved. It wasn’t like you all of a sudden just wanted a job and you got hired from this company. And now you’re repping for them. It’s so much deeper than that and more of an evolution than that. So thank you for sharing that.

Yeah, I was able to take my pride and set it aside, I had built something that I wanted to succeed. Yeah. But when you know, there’s something better. It’s better to join it rather than fight it. And I wanted to join it.

I love that. I love that I wish more people had that mentality. And that’s why you’re one of my favorite people. So let’s talk more about this online learning thing. You know, when I was in college, oh my god, like 15 years ago, I felt old whose mind was just starting right. And it was kind of like this taboo weird thing. But as I prepared for this call, I heard that there’s an increasing number of students selecting distance learning courses as a part of their regular college curriculum. And there’s been a 150% increase between 1998 and 2008. Now one could say well, Kara Bella, we’re talking about saving pets’ lives. Hey, and Kara, I’m gonna tell you what I think about that. And I want to hear your thoughts because I know you have thoughts. My thought is, we’re not veterinarians, we are not vet techs, we are pet sitters and dog walkers. And technically, if a client is out of town, we’re only there for an hour and a half to three hours out of a day for doing three times a-day visits. So the possibility of something happening while we’re there is pretty slim, for us to triage and start doing compressions and, and help this like, I don’t know how many times you’ve done it in your petsitting career, but I don’t know many pet sitters that have had to do compressions on a dog. I do know understand and appreciate the whole first aid element. You know, in Arizona, you get cactus in the paw or you get something up your snout or dehydration or heat exhaustion, you know, that kind of stuff. But when we’re talking about the real hard triage and veterinarian kind of stuff, you’re going to be getting the dog to the vet, right? So the whole like, you can’t teach this online. I don’t think applies. I mean, even veterinarians are taking their courses online. So why not pet sitters learn online for a fraction of the cost in the comfort of their own home and then be able to replicate it to their whole staff?

Well, I sound like a little bit of a sales right now. And I don’t mean that, but this is what’s going on, in my mind. What do you think about all that, Kara,

I think you bring up some really good points. Because I have used CPR twice, I had a greyhound that was having a stroke. And I was able to bring him back and get him to the vet. And then his parents did choose to say goodbye. And then I had unsuccessful CPR in a car with a cat that was alive and alert, but you know, tacky gums blue gums when I had arrived, and I sent him back in the car and my heart just sank. And I said I should go check on him. And sure enough, you know, his heart had stopped and I was doing compressions. And I was only five minutes from the ER. And that’s a whole nother story.

I’ve never met anyone like that. That’s amazing. Yeah. But your point is very valid in that you’re right. We’re rarely even as a petsitter going to use CPR. But it’s one of those things, if you don’t use it, you lose it. If you don’t use the mentality of something could go wrong, and the what ifs, you’re not going to be prepared. And I think the importance of this training is it prepares you for the what ifs, and most importantly, are going to use that first aid and first aid Awareness Month. Be aware. And that’s what I trained my staff to do. I tell them, they need to go into every situation and just be aware of their surroundings. Be aware of your safety, and be aware of the pet’s safety. I’ve gone into meet and greets and found mammary cancer on a shitzu that they weren’t aware of. Yeah, you know, I had a golden retriever that had a limp. And the owners were like, Oh, I’m pretty sure it’s ACL tear when you’re getting into the vet and I said, you might want to go sooner than later it turned out to be osteosarcoma. So I think the training allows us and this is perfectly adapted to learn online because what happens online is you learn from the best at their best. I’ve gone into classes, I’m not gonna lie, I’ve taken some cough medicine, I’ve had a cold. If I did teach a class last Saturday, I would have been a wreck. So I think it’s important that online learning allows you to get the absolute highest learning from the best person at best day editing makes, you know, we can make us look a lot better. I think it’s just important as pet sitters to have this information for the what ifs and the first aid you’re gonna use, like, you’re gonna get puncture wounds, you’re gonna get a cat paw, you’re gonna walk into all kinds of issues, you need that the other  thing that I think of because, you know, one of my platforms is helping the industry kind of get employees in the staff. And I don’t know what day or how the logistics or whatever work if you did find a trainer or I don’t know what you call a trainer to come in-house. And what do you just tell all your clients, we can’t do it this day, like we can’t help you because we’re in class all day? Or do you individually send them out? Or do you individually say you’re responsible for going to this training and making them do it, taking them off the schedule?

I mean, the logistics of doing that in person once it’s not just you and once you do have a staff are crazy to me, and also the payroll. Yeah, that’s right. Not only you’re paying for this class, but you’re also paying them per hour to be there. That’s a really good point. I didn’t think of that. It just logistically sounds like a nightmare to me. And when you can do something online, and then you can have it to refer to and Kara since since I started with the program, every Sunday night, I get a new video. That’s just kind of a cool refresher course. So what I’m thinking again, with people that have staff, maybe they have their own Facebook group, or maybe they don’t, they just email their staff. But that’s something that you could email out to people and start a discussion on your staff. That’s part of that ongoing training that essentially helps your staff feel like wow, my boss cares about me and my boss wants to keep like giving me education and people feel loved that way people feel like they’re a part of that. A team and they just like their job better.

You know, I also make games of it too. You know, I’ll go in, I have a new hire. His name’s Ken. He’s a model. That’s been, most of my staff are ladies. And my husband was like, Huh. So his name was Ken. It’s Ken. Anyway, great guy. And I hope he doesn’t hear this now. I’ll go in and I asked him today, I said who are some of your favorite dogs? And he’s like, Oh, I love Maple the lab and I was like, Okay, how would you do chest compressions on her? Where’s the highest part of her chest? And so I get them to think about things like that so that they’re always paying attention to. Yeah, you love maple. She’s a great lab, and she’s fun. But what happens if Maple cuts her paw, and you’re, you know, six blocks away from the house? Uh-huh. So you can have fun with it, the refresher courses, the videos are just, they’re good for not only refreshment, they’re good for, you know, breaking conversation and talking to your staff. They’re really good because you know, their video. But also, this course in particular, I don’t know of any in-person course that tests retention, I can sneak onto my account and see what Ken’s passing score was. And that’s cool, because that tells me, You know, I can see the areas that he had a problem with the questions that he didn’t know so well. So when those videos come up, if he didn’t do so well, on temperature or heart rate, I can, you know, kind of ask him all right, you know, do you understand why heart rates are important? So, it sparks the conversation and gives you something to talk about, you know, the water cooler discussion, and it’s also educational.

I also think of this neuro-marketing standpoint, Kara, and I really hope our listeners aren’t thinking I’m trying to sell them this I’m not, I’m just having this like an open discussion with you. Because it is so kind of mind-blowing. And I’m not quite sure why more people don’t take advantage of it. From a marketing standpoint, you know, every single pet-sitting website, well, maybe not every single 80 to 90% of them say that they go above and beyond that they care for their pets as if they’re their own. Did they turn the blind to the lived-in look that there’s no travel trauma, there’s no exposure to illness, they say all the same things they sell the industry, right? And how cool would it be if you were a client looking for someone to care for your baby? That was talking about like all of our staff are First Aid CPR certified? And here’s what that means, you know, or here’s what our ongoing training looks like. We have a fully trained staff, our staff, our employees, and they’re trained with our training manual. Well, that’s great. How about talking about what’s in that training manual? How about talking about that exact story that you just gave me, that kind of story would be an incredible Goldmine on the Facebook Live on your page for two minutes that say, Hey, guys, I just wanted to tell you about this awesome new hire I have. And I just want to make sure that you know that I want to make sure he’s doing a great job. So we have this cool training, that’s pet first aid, CPR certification. And he was telling me how much he loves this, Mabel. And you could forward it to Mabel’s mom, too. And you could say, you know, I asked him like, why would you do chest compressions if anything ever happened in April? That would be a cool story. That’s something that’s going to bring your business and your value to life, right Kara? It’s just like, I see that it’s just something so different that nobody’s doing. And so not only could, of course, this just give you the knowledge, but it’s the knowledge that you could snowball into so many different areas.

It’s exciting to me, it’s super exciting because I think what we all know is very important. This industry is growing, and it’s growing rapidly. And there’s a lot of noise in it. We all know, and I’m one of the marketing kinds of things you have to pay attention to is your niche market. And how do you stand above the rest? So let’s just put this on a human side, if I’m looking for a babysitter for my child, and I’ve got two wonderful 17-year-old girls or high school students, they’re straight A’s, all of that, that got great references, and one certified in CPR and first aid and the others not, which was you’re gonna make. So I think that’s one way not only that we can stand above the crowd. But it’s also going to become a mark my words, it’s going to become regular. You know, 13 years ago, when I started my company bonding and insurance people were like, what’s that? Right? Yeah. Oh, yeah. You know, and now it’s not 100%. You know, not every client asked for it. But it’s a lot more common knowledge, especially with our larger, you know, online booking services. They’re talking about it to insurance at least. So why not set the tone and be the kind of first people that say, Oh, well, I’m certified in first aid and CPR insured and bonded, because that says to them, I’ve put your pet as number one. Yes, I care. So I think it’s a huge marketing advantage for pet sitters, because you know what, while many petitting companies are still enough, aren’t and that will allow you to stand above your competition for sure. It’s a competitive advantage that everyone should consider.

This is so important, and I need to cut to a quick commercial break. But when we come back, I want to continue with this competitive advantage. Because Karen, something is happening in our industry right now, where a lot of pet sitters are feeling something good nipping at their heels, and this could be the perfect solution for them. We’ll be right back wanting to get yourself or your staff pet First Aid CPR certified, but don’t know how Gone are the days of having to take off the day at work just to go sit in the classroom. Take it online, pro pet hero is a veterinarian training program given in modules that test your knowledge of the material at the end of each section. Pro Pet Hero can even give you a certificate to show all your clients and post on your website. Imagine future clients being drawn to you because of your extensive knowledge. Sign up today. www dot jump consulting.net forward slash CPR that’s jumped consulting.net forward slash CPR, use coupon code CPR dash petsitter for 10% off. So Kara, this big competitive advantage that we’re doing right now is talking about, I’m gonna put it out there Rover’s coming up whether you like it or not rovers coming up. And it’s not a test between who’s best or who’s right or who’s wrong. We all know and have our feelings about stuff. But Kara, I was on a call this week with a business an $800,000 business, that’s feeling the pressure from Rover. And the feeling is coming because her price margin is really low. It’s really low, like 18 to $20 low. And then there are discounts on top of that as low as 1550. A walk. Yeah, so it’s between like 15, to the 18, that that was the range. So not only does she have that going for her, but if you could come on, and you could say something like, you know, I mean, this entire month, you could create an entire marketing campaign. And if you’re looking for ideas, Karen, I can give you endless ideas, oh, my god, like every single day, we could show you how you could like be using this whole pet First Aid Awareness Month all over again. But going back to your analogy of that 1617-year-old straight-A student, one has a CPR, you are going to be starting to be looked at compared to the rover. And the price can be one thing that sets you outside of that market, you know when you’re 25 $30. But another thing can be how trained Are you and touting that on the front page of your website, you guys, because people do care about this, people will pick you because of this. And oftentimes the people that are trained Kara, I’ve never really seen one lead with this in marketing. I’ve seen it as a little emblem hidden at the bottom right corner of the website. I’ve never really seen it like we are trained in this. And this is why this matters, or little emblems next to each one of your staff members that are you know, certified or trained or whatever it might be. I just see this, you know, the more competition that enters or the more choices consumers have, I think the more important something like this could be a game changer for those businesses.

It’s also a topic of conversation, I present to any new clients that I’m you know, I go to a meet and greet. Yeah, and some people are still going, Oh, that exists. And then they’re fascinated to talk about it. And then they’re even more confident in their choice of you. Because they’ve now learned something cool and new. And then now they’ve learned that you know how to do it. So their pets are in the best hands.
And it justifies a higher price to a Yeah, yeah. Anybody knows that, especially with the rovers of the world you can go online and find anybody to watch your pet that’s known. Yeah. And rovers. I know we could talk all day about the insurance. But the fact is, they have insurance. The clients don’t know the coverage. They don’t understand that that’s a whole nother can of worms that centers do sometimes either. They don’t understand that they’re not covering only the clients but correct.

So I can tell you that nothing is stopping the rover centers and if people are listening who are on the rover, here’s your chance and level the playing field. If you have CPR and first aid certification, you are going to stand above your competition right there alone. I mean, it’s one more accolade. Yeah. It’s one more accolade to put you there. And you know, why not proudly display that certificate, the badge? It’s just it doesn’t make sense. I’ve been doing it since 2003. Yeah, it’s been a second since I started this company. I think, before I even had my first client was a cat. I think before I even service them. I went to that Red Cross class. Yeah, you know, it meant so much to me then and to find out that still so many people don’t take advantage of it from both the safety perspective and the marketing perspective. It’s silly. Yeah, there are a lot of perspectives. Tell me more about other ways, like minor ways that people might use it. Like, I arrive at a pet set to walk a dog, and a dog’s limping. How would I assess that? This course would give me things to feel right things to look for things to know better other than your dog was limping today. Right?

Yeah, well, like I said, So this course is to kind of train my eyes to pick up on stuff that not only I noticed as a pet sitter caring for the animal, but things that the owners don’t even notice yeah limps or changes in the gate when you see the pet everything Good day, and it might be arthritis. So it starts slow. But then you haven’t seen the dog in two or three weeks and you go to pet Senate and you’re like, you know, Nancy Brando’s kind of limping pretty badly. And then she says, Oh, I thought so. And then she gets him to the vet. He gets a remedy. His life is better. Yeah, I mean, there’s just that but also the emergency. So, you know, I just wrote some because it’s pet first aid month, I wrote a couple of blogs on puncture wounds, and my dog ate what?
That’s a good pet sitter one. I mean, my dog ate what?

Well, my dog ate what was at my staff’s house, it was not her fault. It was a complete accident. But she had this dog, she petted him before 11 pounds, get her key mix. And he’s not created at home. He’s not created at her house. I’ve been over the house, it’s dog-proofed, it’s safe. She went to the gym, we’re allowed to go to the gym, right? We’re allowed to leave our house and leave a dog behind. She left him confined in her room. She came back all was well. The next morning, he threw up it was just bile. So we weren’t thinking too much of it, ate his breakfast, and then immediately threw up again. That’s when we go hmm, something’s not right. Yeah. So we said, Okay, we’re going to work with you all day. My husband looked at me and said, yeah, he seems a little off. Let us know how he is at dinner, turned his nose up to dinner. This is not a picky eater. This is a child’s house. My husband’s like, he needs to go to the vet. And only because we knew that dog, and we knew that you know, some people, I would say, oh, it’s stress. You know, let’s give him to the morning. I’m glad we didn’t wait. We bring them in $4,600. Later, they had to go into his stomach. And they found a little round plastic desk. The vet texted that to us, the owner. She’s been with us for 10-plus years, she was phenomenal. But she’s down in Florida worried about her dog. Yeah. So little round plastic desk, my employee immediately goes, Oh, my chair has been wibbly, the little plastic disc that’s nailed into the bottom of your chair to make it slide on carpet. He ate it.

Your doggy what he would have suffered a lot longer. Had we not known him and known him to get you know, there was no amount of hydrogen peroxide, we could have used to get that plastic bit up. I don’t even know how it went down. It was big, and he was smart. But I think he’s probably chewing on it. And it slipped, I don’t know. But regardless, that was important. We knew that animal we knew what was usual and what was not. And that’s what I always try and tell people this is what this course will teach you will teach you to look at the animals in a different light. And you will find stuff that you will be trained in, you find stuff that your clients didn’t even notice. And it’s amazing. It’s not the clients of love their animals to death. It’s just they don’t notice these things, you know, and they can’t tell you their puppies gaining a little weight because they see it every single day.

Yeah, I love that. I mean, I know I forget things, I have brain fog. And unless I write it down, it’s really hard to go back to it. So I did take a pet CPR first aid course when I first started because that’s what I thought I should do. And I do remember being in the course, I don’t remember anything from the course. But I’m lifetime certified. I’m kind of like a poser, you know, and there’s so much going on in our lives. And especially when we replicate it with staff, I just see how the online thing can be so much more fruitful because you can go back to it and you are getting those constant training. So, Kara, thanks for reminding us about how important this is, especially with First Aid CPR month. Thank you so much for your time and for being on here. Again, I’ll post a link in the show notes. And also here on YouTube, if you’re watching on YouTube, how you can get 10% off if you want to sign up. And just to throw it out there you guys, this is like a $50 course it’s not gonna break your bank. And it’s not going to add like 1000s of dollars to trying to send a staff member to a course where you can also depending on your pay structure, I had some cancellations the other day with my new staff member Ken and I said, Hey, this is a great time for you to sit in that dog’s apartment. We’ve got their Wi-Fi. I’ll shoot their parents an email, and let them know that you’re staying a little bit longer with the dogs who’s gonna care about that? And why don’t you finish up your course? And he was like, okay.

That’s awesome. I love it. I love it. You’re a great manager Kara. Thank you so much for your time and a special thanks to Pro Pet Hero. Like I said in the show notes you can figure out how you get 10% off for you and all your staff. This has been another episode of Bella in your business. Thank you so much for watching. Subscribe to us on iTunes and Stitcher. And remember always to keep jumping.

Thanks for jumping in with Bella in your business. For more information, free articles, free coaching sessions, and more go to jump consulting dotnet and remember, fellas God you shoot

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