WORTHINGTON — Christine Klein-Korthals has loved animals for as long as she can remember. Growing up on the plains of Kansas, she recalls spending countless hours exploring nature and observing wildlife.

It's no surprise that Klein-Korthals became a veterinary technician — a 15-year career she loved before relocating to Worthington to be closer to family.

Working at a small-animal hospital that offered boarding, Klein-Korthals noticed that boarding seemed to be a stressful experience for both pets and owners. She preferred to use an in-home pet sitting service for her own pets, so they wouldn't be surrounded by strange smells or frightened by the noise of other animals.

When Klein-Korthals arrived in Worthington, she observed that in-home pet sitting wasn't offered locally, so she decided to start a business herself.

Christine's Critter Care offers a variety of pet services, including overnight sitting in the owner's home, 15-minute let-outs during the day, 30-minute walks and grooming. While dogs and cats are the most common pets Klein-Korthals works with, she also serves a variety of animals, like pocket pets, fish and exotic birds.

"Seniors are probably what I love most," Klein-Korthals said. An owner of four senior rescue dogs herself, she has a soft spot for aging animals — just like some folks love working with senior people, she noted.

Klein-Korthals realizes some people might feel reticent to try in-home pet sitting due to nerves about letting a stranger stay in their house. She pointed out that Christine's Critter Care is insured, bonded and registered with the state. She also has references available.

"I try to accommodate what the animals are used to at home," Klein-Korthals said. She will keep the pet's routine and administer medications at set times.

To get to know the animals, Klein-Korthals prefers to do a meet-and-greet prior to the service appointment. However, she is willing to do last-minute visits as her schedule allows.

Klein-Korthals also has a special compassion for animals that have been neglected or abused or who have special needs.

"The more that's wrong with them, the more I want to help them," she said, noting that she's not intimidated by pets who require special care.

Although her business is new to the area, Klein-Korthals said her services are already in high demand. Some clients have booked overnight visits for dates in 2020.

One reason for her popularity is her competitive pricing. Additionally, the clients she has worked with so far have given positive reviews. They agree that Klein-Korthals makes both pets and owners feel comfortable and safe.