When Michelle Gruber moved to Bexley 10 years ago, she quickly made friends with man's best friends -- dogs and cats.

When Michelle Gruber moved to Bexley 10 years ago, she quickly made friends with man's best friends -- dogs and cats.

The Atlanta native, who worked her way through college pet sitting, founded Whiskers n' Tails in 1998 to make a living from her love of animals by watching pets while their owners are away from home.

Her company, now co-owned by Bexley resident Jodi Steele, services Bexley, Berwick and parts of downtown Columbus.

Gruber, who owns three dogs and two cats, said that when she moved to central Ohio, there was one other company providing in-home pet sitting services.

"I thought it would be a good area due to the sidewalk-lined streets," she said. "Ever since I lived here, I thought it was such a neat community."

Gruber said that the company's three employees each visit about 15 houses a day. Many of the homes have more than one pet.

"My favorite thing is being with the animals all day," she said. "I've loved animals my whole life."

Gruber, who runs her business out of her home on Vernon Road, said many of her clients have used Whiskers n' Tails since its start.

Kathy Ebersbach, who owns two dogs and three cats, has been using Whiskers n' Tails for almost eight years after her neighbor recommended the company.

She appreciates Gruber's friendly touch.

"She has always been so good with them," Ebersbach said. "She is someone you can trust."

She said that one time when she was out of town and one of her cats became sick, Gruber took Shep to the veterinarian.

"She is extremely knowledgeable about animals," Ebersbach said. "She saved his life."

Mark Sulzmann said his family has been using Whiskers n' Tails for their pets since the company opened.

He said last February when their boxer died, Gruber came over to offer her condolences.

"She is just the whole package," Sulzmann said. "She is really just an unbelievably conscientious person."

Ebersbach said she considers Gruber to be like another daughter.

"It's a lot about a person's energy around them," she said. "Because of that, I can get away and know my animals are in good care."