I chose the name Conscious Pet Service for my pet care business to reflect one of the important ways I approach the animals I work with. The relationship I form with each dog I walk and each cat I care for is the foundation for everything that I can do with that animal.
Does this animal trust me?
That is one of the questions I ask myself every day I am working. If not, how am I working to develop this trust? Being attuned to the animal and being able to ‘read’ that animal matters not just when things are going well, like on a daily dog walk, but especially when things go wrong, like when a cat is ill. Dogs need a person who they respect, who can set limits and yet do so in a way that is not harsh, but from a place of respect and understanding.
Cats are very different; they need to feel safe with a person, and to be treated with care and sensitivity.
Giving love and affection is what I naturally feel for them, but it is also out of the understanding that animals who are without their guardians for periods of time can become lonely, stressed and depressed.
I give 100% of myself to my work, and I strive to be aware and present with the animals I am entrusted to care for. I see these as the cornerstones of my pet care business.
I worked by myself for eight years and almost all of the time there was never an issue. But emergencies do happen in everyone’s life, and as the years went on I realized having another person who can fill in for me would not only relieve some of my stress but also for my clients as well. Finding the right person was another issue entirely. It would have to be someone who takes care of animals in the way I do, who can connect with the guardians, and who can be trusted in my clients’ homes.
Choosing Eddie was a natural outgrowth of our friendship. I have known Eddie Pedroza since 2004. Eddie has always been an animal guardian and he has grown and evolved in his care for animals, as I have. Before he began working with me, Eddie took care of my animals when I was really busy; given that my second dog had many medical issues and my cats as well, it became the training ground for our work together.
Eddie does have a full time job but he works in the neighborhood and he can carry one dog walk in the day, and pet sitting jobs. He is skilled with both dogs and cats, and since he is a runner, he has taken some dogs out on long runs.
Caring for animals with special needs, medical issues and disabilities
Learning to care for animals with medical issues and disabilities began with a cat I adopted in 2004. He had physical disabilities and also developed a serious disease which I learned to treat and manage on my own, with help and guidance from my vet. As I gained experience in administering medication, I began to see how I could apply this to my business. I began working with clients whose animals had serious medical issues, who needed medication administered on a daily basis, and had issues that would invariably develop as they aged. I have walked dogs who were deaf, blind dogs, dogs with limited mobility, and older dogs who tend to become very fragile at the end of their lives. I have cared for young cats and two cats who reached the age of 22.
I have cared for dogs and cats with various medical conditions, who either needed pills given orally, trans-dermal medication applied topically, given subcutaneous fluids, or just being watched closely and cared for due to the stress many animals feel when their guardians are away on vacation. The kind of relationship I have with an animal when there is pain resulting from a medical condition or physical disability matters a great deal because the dog or cat needs to trust me. Administering medication can be a stressful experience for the animal, and minimizing the stress by being calm and gentle is essential.
Committed to animal welfare
Since starting my business, my passion for dogs and cats has extended beyond my day-to-day work. I am a strong advocate for animal welfare in the city of Chicago, in particular for the care of feral cats in Rogers Park. I have dedicated myself to the management of what was once a large feral cat population (through humane capture and spaying/neutering) in my neighborhood. Now there are two colonies, both managed responsibly, and my colony currently has six healthy cats who live outdoors.