Melodie Durham is the owner of a new Napa pet-sitting service called Tails Up! Napa Valley

Melodie Durham is the owner of a new Napa pet-sitting service called Tails Up! Napa Valley.

Kathryn MacDonald Photography

With potential holiday travel coming up, you may be wondering what to do with your animals while you’re away.

You can board them, of course, but Melodie Durham, owner of a new Napa pet-sitting service called Tails Up! Napa Valley, says she has an idea you and your pets might prefer — in-home pet care.

“We don’t board animals,” Durham said. “We go to your home and can stay overnight with your pet or pets, or we can provide day care where we will go and check on your animals.”

Something else that sets Tails Up! apart is they also provide the service for horses.

“As far as I know, we are the only people who are doing that for horses,” Durham said. “We really know horses, which is important because we can look them over and tell if something is wrong. We do a lot more than just feed them, clean their stalls and turn them out.”

To go on vacation and ask someone to take care your horses for you, “it’s a big ask,” she said. “It’s a couple of hours a day, and then you have to wonder, ‘do they really know horses?’”

Durham says she faced the same challenges during her 31-year career at Cal Fire.

“When I worked with Cal Fire, I was always away fighting fires, so I had to find somebody that I could trust with my dogs and my horses. I have four people who work for me and two of them have had horses.”

“When you really love your animals,” Durham said, “you want to know someone is taking care of them who really cares about animals. In my role as a firefighter, I was always service-oriented, and this is just another way I can provide an important service for people. It feels good filling an important need for other animal lovers.”

“One of my clients told me recently how we had given her complete peace of mind, and had taken the load of worrying about her animals when she was away off her.”

“Since we will stay overnight with your animals when you are away, it’s like we’re house-sitting and pet-sitting at the same time,” she said. “And the animals get to stay at home where they are comfortable, and they can relax in a familiar environment.”

Animal safety is a big deal in Durham’s business, and not all pets have the same needs. “With cats, we make sure to check on them every day,” she said. “If something is wrong, like the cat ran out of water somehow, two days is too long. And we always keep dogs on leash when we’re walking them.”

Tails Up! is licensed, bonded and insured, which, according to Durham, “protects us and gives clients peace of mind.”

They also haves software that will update you on their activities with your animals, what time they get there and leave, and what they did while they were there. “So you know exactly what is going on,” she said.

Why Tails Up! for a name? “I picked the name because when animals are happy, their tails are up. I actually researched animal behavior to be sure I was right,” Durham chuckled.

This small business owner said their service area is generally greater Napa, and will go as far as St. Helena. She also said they would like to have some advance notice, but don’t hesitate to call if you are called out of town suddenly.

Everyone’s needs are unique, and we can tailor our services to your specific needs,” Durham said. “That’s the big difference between us and a kennel.”

Overnight visits or horse care starts at $65, with an additional charge for multiple animals. Daily walks or checks start at $25. Durham says they will also look in on pets for visitors to the area who are staying in hotels.

For details, call 888-99-Tails (82457) or visit