Have pets, will show

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 28, 2007

ELBERON—A couple of stay-at-home moms have come up with a unique idea of how to make money while home-schooling their kids.

Both avid animal-lovers with every conceivable species between the two of them, the young farm wives have decided to start a petting zoo/pony ride business they call, “Critters of Inspiration.” They already have several parties booked.

“It’s the best of all worlds,” said Deb Robertson happily. “We already have the animals. Our kids love them; Kristy and I love them, so why not share our love with others and make a little money at the same time?”

Robertson, 34, and Kristy Moody, 29, friends for more than a year now, live on farms near Elberon a few miles from each other. Together they have three children. Moody’s daughter, Kendyl is 4, while Roberson has a daughter, Hannah, 5, and a son Colby, 3.

Several months ago, the women decided to pool their “resources” and start the business.

“We wanted to stay home and teach our children and we wanted to keep our animals. This is a way to sort of defray the costs of raising the animals,” said Moody.

Robertson brings to the mix two miniature horses, one named Butterball and the other, Tinker Bell and two ponies, Molly and Dolly, along with a number of rabbits and several sheep. Within the week she expects to acquire a miniature donkey and a llama, who is expecting.

At the moment, however, Robertson’s baby goat named “Baby” gets most of the attention.

Moody has a herd of goats, one of whom is named Dorothy and a flock of chickens with such names and Twix and Twinkie and a rooster named Midnight.

“Our kids help us name them,” laughed Moody.

She added that the children are a great help in handling the animals.

The women said although they have some parties lined up, they have many more openings. “We offer a variety of things for almost any kind of party that involves children,” said Robertson

“We offer pony rides and a petting zoo, of course, but we also have face paintings, magic shows, theme parties for special occasions, cowboy and cowgirl parties and lots more.

“We’re constantly coming up with special things. We’ll work with the parents and try to accommodate them.”

Showing the animals is not limited to just children, however.

Moody said, “We’ll take them to fund-raisers, fairs,

parades, and we hope to eventually take them into nursing homes.”

But back to the children.

Robertson said she has a special saddle for smaller children who want to ride Butterball, and “we’re always by the side of the child who is riding.”

“Tinker Bell, on the other hand, is only 28 inches tall,” she said,

“so she’s too small for riding, but children love to pet her.”

The two ponies, Molly and Dolly, can accommodate the larger youngsters who want to ride, Robertson added.

The animals are transported to and from the each party in a horse carrier pulled behind a pickup.

The women book parties usually within 30 miles of their homes, but will go further on occasion.

Charges are set prior to each event depending on the type of party and the distance to be traveled.

“We are licensed and insured,” Moody said.

“Of course we take all safety precautions and guarantee that our animals are child friendly.”

To book a party, call Robertson at 375-5172, or Moody at 813-0449.