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A Year as a Pet Sitter

A year ago today, I opened my pet care business, Ollie and Friends Pet Care. Every second was a new learning experience, and I wish there were a way to thank each person, dog, cat, fish, and bird that has been a part of my first year as a small business owner.

The decision to open Ollie and Friends came quickly but not after some mental reconciliation. My favorite job, to date, was pediatric hospital chaplain. Typically, when I say that, people cannot believe that anyone would enjoy such a job, but I loved it. I loved being a part of a family’s most precious moments, whether traumatic, sorrowful, or joyful. It was a blessing to be there for both hugs and tears. Yet finding a permanent chaplaincy position isn’t easy, and I had to find other ways to use my Master of Divinity and minister to children. All the while, nothing made me happier than being with animals.

Growing up, the one major bond my mom and I shared was how close we felt to God when walking a dog in the woods or riding our horse. I have always been told I have a gift with animals but never thought of using that as a basis for a career, let alone combing my faith and animals to create my own business. That all changed after meeting with a pastor who attended the same church in Houston and the same seminary in Austin. He encouraged me to talk to a fellow seminarian who said she was “a pastor to people through their pets” and told me it was not important to follow my passions. Animals are my passion.

That week, Ollie and Friends Pet Care, named after my oldest Boston terrier (the “friends” are my other three pups), opened with a small website and an email out to my Junior League friends asking them to spread the word.

Here we are, a year later, and the growth of my little pet care business is astounding. A day off is a luxury, but I wouldn’t trade it. I love the challenge of dogs who are fearful and need some extra love and work. I love being greeted with wagging tails at every visit. It’s also nice to finally be able to put all those books on dog psychology and training I’ve read to use on dogs besides my own.

To every two-legged, four-legged, finned, and winged friend out there: Thank you for giving me an unbelievably incredible first year. It is a blessing and honor to love, care for, teach, and learn from your pets.

Many thanks,

Jessica

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