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