When licensed veterinary technician Alexis Seckel found out that pet and general pet care could be a career, she made the leap and launched Emerald Isle Professional Pet Care.
“It was always what I thought was a side gig, but I read it up and I was really fascinated by the fact that pet sitting is a way of making a living and a career,” said Seckel.
Seckel was born and raised in Kodiak. He grew up surrounded by cats and dogs. She also visited her family in Idaho and fell in love with horses there.
Seckel said she always loved animals and wanted to be a veterinarian since childhood.
She finally found her passion after working as a veterinary assistant for two years. She learned on the job before receiving a license in 2018.
After getting her license, she researched professional animal care as a profession and decided to take a risk and start her own business.
She ran the business for a year before pausing it for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic as well as personal reasons.
A few months ago, Seckel restarted Emerald Isle Professional Pet Care.
Their services include dog walking, day grooming, and night grooming for pets. Her goal is to keep her clients’ pets in their typical routines as much as possible to make their time from their owners less stressful.
Seckel recently added basic dog training to the list of services it offers. She was convinced to add dog training from clients who found her techniques helpful with their aggressive and fearful dogs.
“This has happened quite a bit, both as a veterinarian and as a carer,” Seckel said, referring to times when dogs that were aggressive towards most people would warm up to them within a short period of time.
She said that as far as she knows, there has been no professional dog training on the island in the past five years.
Although Seckel hasn’t exactly established why typically aggressive dogs tend to become more approachable around her, she attributes this change in behavior to her calm demeanor and patience.
“A lot of people around stressed dogs will show fear and get involved,” she said.
Seckel said her calmness and lack of fear in the face of aggressive dogs were due to her years of experience caring for animals, as well as her ability to sense the mood and behavioral patterns of the animals she is grooming.
Seckel said resuming her business during the COVID-19 pandemic reduced the number of customers, but right now she has an appropriate number.
“Overall it was great. … I have wonderful customers. All of the animals I looked after were fantastic, ”she said. “I’m pretty happy. COVID made it difficult not to have a lot of business, but in general there is a good balance. I am not too crowded. It works pretty well. “
As a veterinary technician, she enjoys working with a range of pets with a range of problems, including chronically ill pets, older pets, and pets with anxiety and aggression.
She is also familiar with administering medication and injections, and is CPR and first aid certified and insured.
“I’m prepared,” she said. “When something goes wrong, I’m there to deal with the situation and have the training to do it.”
While cats and dogs are the most common pets she looks after, any exotic pet can be looked after as well.
The knowledge Seckel gained from her veterinary technician license and her time as a veterinary assistant can come in handy as a dog sitter.
Once she left a dog outside in the yard. The animal returned a minute later and gushed blood, likely after an argument with another dog. Knowing that dogs can often bleed profusely from a tiny cut, she calmly cleaned and bandaged the wound and later took the dog to a vet for a few stitches.
“If you have someone who may not have any experience, they might have seen that amount of blood and panicked,” she said.
Seckel said she frequently takes advanced training courses on animal behavior, animal safety, and training. She is currently pursuing her Veterinary Technician Certification in Behavior.
Seckel hopes to start a puppy socialization course next year.
In the meantime, she continues to offer bespoke care to her current clients and also takes care of her dog and 3 year old daughter.
Emerald Isle Professional Pet Care can be contacted on Facebook or at 907-942-5644.