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November 25, 2010 | 12:00 a.m. CST
For some people, the best things in life are furry. This couldn’t be more true for Anita Keck, founder of All Pawsitive Pet Care and licensed pet sitter. Starting a business has given her the freedom some nine-to-fivers can only imagine. Keck’s experience as a registered vet technician is especially useful when caring for animals all day.
What is a typical day like for you?
With most of my clients, I’m just letting the animals out to exercise, taking them for a walk, feeding them or watering them. If the owners want me to take the dog to the dog park, I go pick them up, and we have playtime at the park. If pets need to go to the vet’s office or to the groomers, we taxi them there and pick them up.
NAME: Anita Keck
COMO RESIDENT SINCE: 2009
AT JOB SINCE: 2010
What inspired you to start this business?
In 2002, when my grandma was sick, I stayed with her pretty much 24 hours for 14 days. I did a lot of soul searching. I kept thinking, “What do I really want to be doing?” The answer was always that I wanted to help animals in some way.
Where did your love for pets come from?
I take after my mom and my grandma. They’re very compassionate toward animals. If we were driving and there was an animal that looked hungry or stray, we picked it up and tried to find the home. If we couldn’t find its home, we kept it. We always had pets growing up. I had a cat I was really close to. Her name was Bingo, and she was the same age as me. My parents got her when I was a baby, and she lived to be 21.
What’s rewarding about pet sitting?
I get to walk dogs every day and pet cats and be around animals. It’s the perfect setup for me. I love going to see my daily clients. One little chow-shepherd mix — he’s 16 years old — does his business and does this little trot afterward that makes my day every time.
Is dog walking as hectic as the movies sometimes portray it to be?
I won’t walk more than two at a time because that can be a mess. Some people are good at it, but I think it’s too dangerous. You go in, talk to the dog, play with them for a while and say, “Let’s go for a walk.” If we can do it on the trail, that’s always better than a highway or a road. But sometimes you just get the poop bag and go walk on the sidewalk.
What is the advantage of a pet sitter over animal kennels?
Most pets will get anxious or stressed at a boarding service. If animals can stay in their home environment, it’s the best-case scenario. I even do sleepovers. There are a lot of pets that have serious separation anxiety or storm anxiety. They get really anxious, and they pace and pant, and they look for their owners in these situations. Just being there helps.
Is there any animal you don’t love?
I do not like snakes. I would have a hard time taking care of a snake. I wouldn’t feed a live rat to a snake. I don’t like killing anything — not even a spider.