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 ten years. Given emergencies and life itself, I found someone I trusted, who I worked with for eight years. Yet people change, and not all issues can be navigated successfully. The integrity of my work is at the core of what I do. So I am starting out 2022 working by myself again. As far as self awareness–I am still learning and growing in a positive direction. There are two people in the field I can recommend as a back up, in case of an emergency. Clients should seek a trusted person in the field or not, especially for pet sitting jobs, as a back up or in case I am indisposed, as in an emergency, can’t work time of situation.
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.