Pos­i­tive about dog­gie day care

DAILY GRIND He­len Schreuder trained as a vet nurse but soon re­alised it wasn’t for her and went for a job which of­fered her more ‘‘pos­i­tiv­ity’’. She spoke to Ka­rina Aba­dia about look­ing after other peo­ple’s an­i­mals.

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

When you are do­ing what you love it doesn’t re­ally feel like a job, He­len Schreuder says.

She is the man­ager of Pets in the City, a ho­tel and day spa for cats and dogs in Mt Welling­ton.

The 28year-old came into the job in a round­about kind of way.

She spent a few years work­ing in ski re­sorts in Canada in her early 20s be­fore re­turn­ing home to study a cer­tifi­cate in vet nurs­ing in 2010.

She grew up in a fam­ily which al­ways kept pets and knew she wanted to work with an­i­mals but found that vet nurs­ing wasn’t quite the right fit.

After com­plet­ing her cer­tifi­cate she went to work in an out­door ken­nel fa­cil­ity in Hamil­ton.

When the busi­ness sold she started look­ing for jobs back in Auck­land and her sis­ter told her about Pets in the City.

Learn­ing all the names of the reg­u­lar cus­tomers and their dogs was a bit of a chal­lenge at first.

‘‘It’s just so much fun get­ting to play with dogs all day. I also like get­ting to know the cus­tomers and hav­ing good chats with them.’’

Her own dog Chassy gets to go to work with her and join in the fun sev­eral times a week.

Ms Schreuder’s typ­i­cal work­ing day starts at 7am, check­ing in cats and dogs at re­cep­tion.

On a busy day she might stay on un­til 7pm but usu­ally she fin­ishes around 3:30pm.

Own­ers Ca­role and Rob El­lis mod­elled the fa­cil­ity on Amer­i­can-style ken­nels where dogs are kept in­side.

Their core busi­ness is day­care but among the more un­usual ser­vices they of­fer is mas­sage and there is even an an­i­mal chi­ro­prac­tor who comes in to re­lieve pets’ bad backs.

Be­hind the re­cep­tion area you find Bark­ing­ton Place which con­tains the six fenced play parks where dogs get to run around and play all day.

They are grouped ac­cord­ing to age, size and tem­per­a­ment and there are al­ways staff mem­bers on hand to make sure they are get­ting along.

They gen­er­ally play well to­gether but there is a knack to know­ing if trou­ble is brew­ing.

It’s all about read­ing ca­nine body lan­guage, she says.

If a dog has an up­right tail, its hack­les are up and it’s growl­ing it’s ob­vi­ously not happy.

But some­times the signs are more sub­tle.

‘‘The way dogs look at each other some­times show that you’ve got to get in there pretty quick be­fore some­thing hap­pens,’’ Ms Schreuder says.

Photo: KA­RINA ABA­DIA

Play­time: Pets in the City man­ager He­len Schreuder loves spend­ing her days sur­rounded by an­i­mals.

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