Officially, she is the alpha in charge of Woofgang Petcare, but you can tell from her photo that she’s not just a dog person. Gill is a qualified Veterinary Nurse with 10 years’ experience in busy veterinary clinics in both New Zealand and Australia. Besides doggy day care and dog walking, she looks after different kinds of animal companions as a professional pet-sitter.
It was so inspiring to see Gill at work. She was smiling non-stop the whole time we were out dog walking, each one of her clients was waiting by the door long before we pulled up, and they just bounded into the van ready to play! I couldn’t help asking her a few questions about her entrepreneurial journey….
A: How did you become a professional pet carer?
G: While working as a vet nurse, the clients started asking me if I would walk their animal companions and pet-sit when they went on holidays. I realised this was something I absolutely loved doing and that was it. I’d found something I can do everyday, even when I’m 90.
A: Did you have any kind of extensive formal training before you took on clients?
G: My professional training and years as a vet nurse had already prepared me to work with animals in many situations. And as a child, I always had an affinity with dogs: I was born in the Year of the Dog, I could tune into them, sense what they were feeling and just befriend them. I also had many pets and animal friends growing up. I remember being the midwife at the birth of a few litters as a teenager. When my dog Ross’ daughter had her first litter, she went to each one of her grandbabies to clean them up as soon as they arrived! I have a photo of me, my cousin and auntie, holding nine of the most adorable pups in our arms.
Like anything, pet care is based on common sense. Before you go to an animal, especially a young pup, you should try to clear your head and be calm and peaceful. It is your temperament and presence really, which sets the tone for their behaviour and traits.
A: What advice would you give anyone who wants to turn their favorite pastime into a full-time business?
G: Just do it. Keep it simple and don’t try to overcomplicate things. I started out watching Cesar Millan’s videos — he’s known as “The Dog Whisperer” in a TV show by that name. Also, he’s a self-taught animal behaviorist, living proof that if you love something, you’ll figure out how to do it well.
I watched her *excuse the pun* walk her talk all morning. She alternated between calm assertiveness when calling out to the dogs — who had the odd tendency to favor a particular patch of oil-slicked grass — and sweet praise when they came back or fetched the ball. I also felt her love for the City of Fremantle; she would point out the most interesting streets and corners, and even say hello to residents along the way, knowing both four and two-legged varieties by name.
How many people you know have the luxury of choosing who they work with and where — down to the scenery in the background?
If you could design your own business, what would you do? Who would you want to serve? Where would you like to take your clients?
On that note, I’ll end with some scenic views from our journey. Thank you, Gill for coming into my life through Reiki, and for sharing some of your happiness with us.