An Animal Lover’s Dream Job

By Connie Swierski
Co-owner of Connie’s Pet Sitting

Please tell us about your business. Connie’s Pet Sitting is a drop-in pet-sitting service. I stop in once or twice a day and feed your pets at your home while you’re away. My husband, Dave, and I have extensive experience with dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, rats, mice, guinea pigs and all kinds of reptiles. In the seven years we have been on Kaua’i, our experience also has expanded to small farms. We have taken care of horses, mules, donkeys, cattle, goats, sheep, pigs and, of course, a lot of chickens. However, on a daily basis, we primarily care for dogs and cats, which make up the majority of our furry clientele. In addition to caring for your animals, I also check the mail and papers on the way in, turn on the lights, draw the drapes, take out the trash and generally keep things going while you’re gone. But the most important thing is, of course, to feed the pets and to play with them and give them their walks, clean their litter boxes and just generally make sure they’re healthy and happy when you return.

How long are your visits? It depends. Sometimes it will be half an hour or sometimes it will be an hour. The more pets, the longer it takes, usually.

What are your visiting hours? My time frames are usually from 6 to 9 in the morning and from 4 to 7 in the evening.

What area do you provide your services? Kilauea and Princeville. I only visit residences in these locations because I learned a long time ago, when it comes to the expense of gas, maintenance on your car and the time you can spend with the pet, you’re better off to keep the area small. That way you can concentrate on the pets more. I spend more time with the pets instead of on the road.

What is the length of time you are willing to petsit? Any length of time. I have pet-sit for as long as six months. People do wonder how their pets will do on extended periods of time, but they’re home, so they’re going to be just fine.

Why do you do what you do? It’s been a lifelong calling for me. This is my 30th year as a professional pet sitter. I just do it because I love doing it. And the whole reason Dave and I started the business in the very beginning, while we were still living in California, was because I just didn’t have the heart to put my dog in a kennel. I would walk into kennels and just feel so depressed with all the animals in cages. I knew I couldn’t enjoy my vacation knowing my dog would be there. So I started the business because of that.

Do you give medications to animals that may need them?Yes, I’ve done IVs; I can do diabetic treatments and administer pills.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of what you do? That I still love it 30 years later. I actually moved here thinking I wasn’t going to do this anymore, but this gives structure to my life, and I love pets.

What makes you get up every morning and go to work? The call of the food dish.

What’s the most challenging aspect of what you do? The only downside is you work seven days a week, split shifts. Your life is no longer your own really, because if something comes up, you drop everything to make good and take care of those animals because they are your top priority. You work harder on the weekends and you work every single holiday twice as hard as anybody you know.

Do you take any security precautions? I’m very security conscious. I don’t park in people’s driveways. Most of the time, we’re in unmarked cars. We also know a lot about security systems. Also, we are an insured, licensed and bonded business.

What advice would you give to a budding entrepreneur? Stick with it. Don’t expect miracles overnight. It takes time to build anything, and I don’t even think of myself as halfway there right now.

Connie’s Pet Sitting 828-1181