We had the good fortune of connecting with Tawny Carlson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tawny, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
Many people don’t see professional pet sitting as a “real” business. The Animal Pro, LLC is my full time job. I am the service provider, office manager, scheduler, payroll clerk, marketing manager, HR director, CEO & CFO. I carry insurance for my business, have a contract for service and professional backup providers if I am unable to provide contracted service for my clients. Often the general public thinks that getting someone to look after their pets and home is like using a teenage babysitter to watch the kids while they grab dinner. When you really think about it, you are leaving your home and pets in my care for days or weeks (not just a few hours) Knowing I am insured and bonded. trained in pet CPR, and you have a legal contract with me to provide you with a designated level of care, gives you peace of mind and legal rights. Professional pet sitters should conduct themselves with integrity!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Well with my first career as a Zoo Keeper, I have over 21 years in professional animal care. Personally my family raised and showed Basset Hounds and Lakeland Terriers. I have owned horses since I was 13 years old and participated in 4-H horse projects throughout my teenage years. I have kept cats, dogs, horses, lizards, fish and snakes as pets. At the zoo I cared for many different species, from elephants, apes, monkeys, big cats, hoofstock, wolves, anteaters (the list goes on and on) to rattlesnakes,boas, Gila Monsters, scorpions and fish. I trained animals and staff and assisted at the vet hospital. Working with large and potentially dangerous animals taught me to be patient, observant, to constantly learn and evaluate myself and the situation. I can always learn something from anyone, even if it is how NOT to do something!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would take them for an autumn seven day trail ride, camping out in the White Mountains. Hoping to catch a glimpse of the descendants of the Mexican wolves that we released into the wilds years ago. There is an old saying, “Nothing is better for the inside of a man (or woman) than the outside of a horse.” This is Arizona and we have such wonderfully diverse natural habitats here! You could spend a lifetime exploring the incredible wild lands Bird and wildlife watching in Madera Canyon, fishing the Little Colorado in Greer or hiking the slot canyons up in Navajo country.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
After 21+ years as a Zoo Keeper I was “downsized.” I was at a loss, not knowing what I wanted to do, other than care for animals. Through a friend I found the Arizona Professional Pet Sitters & Associates (APPSA.net) networking group. All of the members were so welcoming, willing to give me advice and mentor me in the business of being a self employed professional pet sitter. I had vast knowledge in the animal care part, but the business side was “daunting’ and I owe so much to APPSA, especially Kara Jenkins, Jann Kemp, Susan Luffey, Lori Kay Hein and Polly Peterson Norton for being great mentors!