Many years ago when my two boys were still quite young, our home was known as the neighborhood zoo. We had all sorts of creatures in residence. It was quite an attraction. Everyone knew they were always welcome to visit. And they did. In those days we had a wonderful Golden Retriever mix we called Johnny. I thought of him as my third child, the “good child.” His favorite toys were the cats and we had at least 2 at any given time, sometimes 3 or 4. But it hardly stopped there. No, we had birds, frogs, turtles, rabbits, a rat, fish, a goose, hamsters, gerbils, geckos, salamanders. And, I am probably forgetting a few creatures. Our home was open to all sorts of pets because of the shared interest and a collection of hearts much too soft to turn away those whose humans were no longer able to keep them. Because of our much talked about affinity, it was natural that we were often asked by family, friends and neighbors to care for their pets when they had to be away. We loved it! One summer looking for a way to keep the boys busy through the long weeks between mid-June and early September, I decided it might be a fun project to take our mutual interest and channel it into something of a little business venture. Further, I felt it would keep them supplied with money to pay the ice cream man and show how it is possible, even advisable to identify and utilize what comes naturally to us in an entrepreneurial spirit. That is the summer we became the neighborhood pet care service. We called ourselves, “Sitting Pretty” and set out regularly visiting dogs and cats and birds and things who were home alone. In 2002, we started a “for real” pet care service, “No Place Like Home.” Today we are “Friendly Pet Care” and I am able to say that the very thing I set out to impress upon my boys from our summer project is what I am able to live each day on a very personal level. When we turn to what is in our heart to guide us, we choose wisely. It is true of love. It is true of our life’s work. The heart speaks more softly than the mind. But it speaks wisely. We should listen carefully. So, here we are. Each day bringing a passion to work.

Gina Zimniuch, Friendly Pet Care Pack Leader