Animal House Pet Sitting is run by me (Jacqui) and my partner, Oliver. Both of us grew up with animals and we each have experience working with animals in different environments. The majority of my experience is with horses, livestock, dogs, cats, and small animals, while Oliver mostly has experience with dogs and small exotic animals, so between us we have dealt with pretty much everything.
We are fully licensed through Castle Point Borough Council (licence number 150) and are fully insured through Protectivity. We are also DBS checked and are both Accredited Canine First Aiders.
Here we each go into a bit more detail about our animal-related work.
I have always had animals in my life and cannot imagine life without them! I grew up with cats in the family, taking responsibility for looking after our family cat from a young age, and insisted on having “my own” pets as well, in the form of gerbils and, later, chinchillas. My childhood home had a large badger sett in the garden where I was fascinated to watch the badgers bumbling about in the evenings.
During my school years I undertook work experience at veterinary surgeries, dog kennels and an animal sanctuary to learn how to care for a variety of animals, and followed this up with a year working full-time at a riding school before going to university. Whilst working at the riding school I completed my NVQ Level 2 in Horse Care and have since achieved Stable Management and Equitation tests 1 and 2.
At university I studied Animal Behaviour and Welfare, graduating in 2014 with First Class Honours. I also gained a Certificate of Professional Industrial Experience from a six month placement at the West Midland Safari Park where I cared for a number of species, including larger, smaller, more exotic and less appealing animals.
After university I became the Assistant Yard Manager at Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary where I cared for horses, donkeys, goats, sheep, cows and cats. While I enjoyed my work there, after setting up Animal House Pet Sitting I found the two jobs conflicted and so in January 2016 I took a part-time position closer to home, enabling me to spend more time with our furry guests. I now work entirely from home, which allows me to better cater to our client’s needs (and of course spend more time playing with our residents!).
Some of my earliest memories are of my first dog, Kimmy, and my family’s three cats. As a young child I was happiest around animals and was always more interested in visiting zoos or farms than places such as theme parks. Many childhood outings included a trip to the pet shop to see what they were looking after at the time, and I spent a lot of my time researching different species.
While I was growing up I spent a lot of time with my grandparents, who had previously owned a variety of animals including monkeys, parrots, chipmunks, exotic koi carp, goats and small rodents. While I did not get to spend time with these animals, I did enjoy hearing stories about them and learning how they had been cared for.
As a teenager I trained my Uncle’s German Shepherd Dog, and shortly after this I got a job breeding dogs and small exotic animals. This included royal pythons, corn snakes, leopard geckos, rhino iguanas, common tortoises and many others. I was also involved in breeding crickets, locusts, mealworms and other small animals as food for the larger species I was caring for. Although this was not the best paid job in the world, I learned a lot from it and I truly enjoyed working there.
Over the years my career has taken a different path, but animals have remained an important part of my life. My business is home-run, which means I am able to spend plenty of time with our animal guests.