I see the subject of “my why” come up often, people who talk about their journey to becoming a business owner and what inspired them.
So today I will talk about my personal “why” and what makes my business perhaps a little different than others.
I started working in rescue as a teen. By the time I was 18 I was screening applicants for a cat rescue, making sure the kittens and cats found their perfect forever homes. I fostered a kitten myself to understand the process from all levels. I also volunteered every week at a local shelter and witnessed the tough decisions being made every day. It was difficult and heartbreaking at times, but I never regretted the time I spent with the animals and providing them comfort and socialization.
I took a break from rescue for awhile to raise a family, although we always had a home filled with pets. As my children grew older I had a bit of free time and started to volunteer again, this time at a wildlife rehabilitation center. After two years I became a staff supervisor. I had the incredible opportunity to work closely with many species including opossums, raccoons, baby squirrels, songbirds and birds of prey. After the wildlife center relocated I was offered a job at my vet’s office. I was trained as a vet tech and experienced yet another aspect of animal care. I enjoyed the daily interactions with cats and dogs and learned a lot about the struggles many pet owners have at home, one issue that came up frequently was finding a reliable and trustworthy pet sitter. This was something that I could relate to since I had a home filled with special needs and senior pets, including a very fussy parrot! When the veterinarian I worked for retired, I decided to start a business pet sitting and walking dogs.
I researched and learned everything I could about the pet care industry. I joined NAPPS (National Association of Pet Professionals) and later PSI (Pet Sitters International). I became insured and bonded and began accepting clients. I quickly learned there was a huge need for my service and made the decision after my first year to add sitters to my team so we could accommodate more requests. I continued my education, studied feline behavior, basic dog training and also became certified by PSI as a professional pet sitter. I also became certified in pet CPR/First Aid and this year our entire team attended training for pet emergency care at our local animal ER and specialty care hospital.
I believe we are unique because I have cared for a wide variety of animals, including large birds and reptiles. We can provide out of cage time and enrichment for parrots and understand their specific dietary needs. Since I spent many years working with rescue cats and studied feline behavior, I added a “cats only” addition to our company this year and have a team of sitters who can provide high quality care for cats. Because I have a medical background, we can care for special needs felines and also provide behavior consults to help collaboratively solve common behavior issues cat owners might be experiencing. I have also rescued dogs for a number of years and have extensive personal experience with senior dogs, dogs with behavior issues and chronic medical conditions as well. These type of situations almost always require a professional pet sitter as they are not good candidates for a kennel or doggy day care.
My love of animals is the main reason I enjoy my job, but helping pet owners gives me great joy as well. When I started this business in 2010 I had no idea where it would take me, but I am truly blessed to have found a career that not only feeds my soul but also helps so many people and their pets. We are much more than just someone who comes in and plays with pets while their owners are on vacation or at work.
We provide peace of mind and comfort to the concerned pet parent.
This is my “WHY”.