This week we spoke with Neil in Edmonton, AB, Canada!
Neil is a visual artist and pet sitter and heserves a very important, unconventional role to one of his canine clients.
So let's get right to the good stuff...
Hope you enjoy our chat with Neil!
How did you get started pet sitting?
We had a beautiful American Eskimo Dog, Nikko, who was with us for over 14 years. Once, we took Nikko to a kennel when we went away, and when we picked Nikko up I could sense that something was wrong.
I initially believed the issue to be stress, but after a week of Nikko pooping in the house (very odd behavior for him) I realized he was traumatized from the kennel. I’m not sure what happened while Nikko was there, but we started looking for alternatives to a kennel environment.
Nikko is the reason I am a pet sitter today!
In looking for a better solution for him, we came across DogVacay and decided to book Nikko with a sitter. The experience was awesome!
Nikko response was so different when he was at the Sitter’s home versus the kennel. And when we picked him up, he was happy.
How long have you been pet sitting or walking with Rover?
I started with DogVacay January 2016 & transitioned with Rover when the time came in 2017.
For you, what is the best thing about being a pet sitter?
The best thing about being a sitter is I get to hang out with dogs all day while everyone else has to go work!
Would you tell us about causes or activities you devote your time to or issues you feel passionate about?
I am an artist and I work from home. This gives me the perfect opportunity to be a dog sitter; I am at home so why not have a few puppies around?
I also love to garden. Cooking with fresh veggies from your own garden; nothing tastes better.
What's your sitter "super power"?
Not sure this is a super power but dogs instantly seem to take to me. They want to be petted and held right off the bat.
I have had many owners say to me they never seen their dog warm up to someone so quickly.
If you needed a pet sitter or dog walker, what are the top 3 characteristics you would seek out?
Right demeanor and personality
Clean environment where the dog will be staying
Someone that sends communication on how my dog is doing
How do you recharge after a busy day?
To be honest I don’t have busy days. (This is by my design!)
To relax, kick back, I paint, garden, bike ride, enjoy a glass of wine...
What is your favorite podcast, book/author, TV show and/or movie?
I am kind of a geek with shows and movies; I like sci-fi and period movies.
What advice would you give to a new sitter?
Be professional. I treat every client the way I would be wanted to be treated even if that means a meet and greet goes 2 hours long.
That pup is their family member and it takes time to build the relationship and trust that you will take good care of their dog. So take the time to get to know the details.
Also send lots of pics when they are away!
You have a unique career! Would you mind telling us about it and how you got started?
My career in art was not always my main focus, but it has been a theme through all of the many jobs that I have had over the years.
As a kid I drew and painted a lot. I took all the art classes I could growing up in school.
I have a grandmother that is a very talented artist & I would go to her house to paint with her as a teenager.
After high school, I ventured out into the world to attend school to become makeup artist. This took me to wonderful places doing makeup for theater and fashion.
I also freelanced for cosmetic companies doing makeup events which lead to a stage in my life as an Account Executive and then as a trainer for a cosmetic company. I loved that job and worked at it for 14 years of my life.
As I matured, the glamour of always traveling did wear thin. I resigned my position, floated around for a bit, got back into painting and then Rover kind of fell into my lap.
Here I am today an Artist/doggie sitter!
What do you love about the area where you live?
Living in Edmonton, Alberta, has its challenges in the winter...
It’s very cold and long can get down to -30°C (for those who are non-Metric users, that’s -22°F!)
But in the summer it can get to +30°C (about86°F) and the days are long. The sun comes up 6am and sunset 10pm.
I have a large yard and tons of walking trails surrounding my house.
Also Edmonton is a very artsy city with never ending festivals all summer long!
Do you have a favorite story about a dog you have met through Rover?
The story that means the most to me involves a day I received a call from one of my clients.
He asked if he could come over and have a serious talk with me.
I agreed for him to come over and in the meantime my mind wandered to the worst possible reasons why he needed a serious talk. Kind of like googling medical symptoms you may have, the worst possible thing pops up and you are convinced you are dying or have one month to live!
My client arrived and he was all nervous, and then he said, “You know we had a baby recently and we had to redo our wills...”
His question to me was: Would I be his dog’s godparent if anything should happen to them!
He said he could not think of anyone better to leave his dog to.
So it’s official, I am a dog godparent in the will!
A dog godparent!!! Perfect :-)
If you'd like to see more on Neil's profile, you can right here
Neil's website that showcases his work as an artist can been seen here!