Katie's Corner: Elizabeth's 'Pampered Petz'
Eleven-year-old animal lover finds a way to keep busy this summer
This summer, 11-year-old Elizabeth Chadwick of Atherton channeled her love for animals into a summer job.
Elizabeth has always wanted pets of her own but has been unable to convince her parents to let her get a pet. Her parents also love animals but felt that they were not ready to make a commitment to a full-time pet.
So, as summer was approaching, Elizabeth found a way to be around pets and make some money as well. Instead of spending her summer at the various local summer camps, she approached her family with the idea of starting her own business, which would involve taking care of other people's pets.
Her parents, Mary and George Chadwick, were impressed with her business plan and helped her put her dream into motion.
Elizabeth sent out fliers to friends and neighbors. Soon she was flooded with business. She had pets coming from Atherton, Redwood City and Menlo Park.
Among her new clients was Angela Schaufler, who was very busy planning her wedding and barely had time for her two pet guinea pigs, Pearl and Amber, which can usually be found in her third-grade classroom at St. Raymond Catholic School in Menlo Park.
Elizabeth stepped in by taking the guineas to her home and caring for them. She also bought all of the supplies Pearl and Amber needed.
Her business, Pampered Petz, has provided services for dogs, cats and, most recently, a cockatoo. What I found so unique about Pampered Petz is that Elizabeth takes photos of the animals while they are under her care and she e-mails the photos to the owners to give them a sense of comfort when they see that their pets are happy and in good hands.
Pampered Petz is great for pet owners who are going away for a day or two; kennels are very hard for some animals or for unique pets that cannot be left at kennels.
Pampered Petz is also great service for people who work and need someone to take their dogs for a walk or just come and check up on them during the day.
Elizabeth's various tasks include walking dogs, feeding the animals, going from house to house to clean animal cages, and, of course, playing with the pets.
After each visit, Elizabeth writes down which days she has taken care of them, what she has bought for them to satisfy their needs, and how long she spends with them. She uses this information for her billings and to inform the owners of anything out of the ordinary in their pet's behavior.
Elizabeth does all the work, although her parents drive her to the homes and pet shops.
All animals are accepted by Pampered Petz. As soon as Elizabeth accepts a pet, she thoroughly researches the type of animal she will be caring for. She looks forward to someday caring for turtles, chickens and maybe some fish.
I know one of the first things my mother asked our family when we decided to raise chickens was, "Who is going to take care of them when we are away?" Now I have the answer: "Pampered Petz"!
Pampered Petz has kept Elizabeth very busy all summer. It is almost like working a full-time job, but Elizabeth doesn't mind.
"This gives me the opportunity to be around all the different varieties of animals because I have never had many animals," she says. "They all have their own personalities. It's like a treat for me. It doesn't seem like a job."
I could see from the enthusiasm in her face that Elizabeth loves animals and she is very devoted to her job. Elizabeth plans on donating 20 percent of her earnings to charities involved in aiding homeless animals, such as "Pets In Need" in Redwood City.
Now that summer is coming to an end, Elizabeth is going to wind down her business so her work does not interfere with her studies at St. Raymond Catholic School. However, keep your eyes open for Pampered Petz flyers for next summer! Elizabeth intends to carry out her business every summer and is considering adding a few employees.
Katie Blankenberg lives in Portola Valley and is a sophomore at Sacred Heart School in Atherton.