After working as a veterinary technician for several years, Rebecca Williams realized she wanted to focus on tending to both geriatric animals and their owners. Her understanding of the compassion fatigue that comes with caring for an older pet led to the opening of her veterinary-focused pet care business, LouPetville. Meet our inspiring new FACE of Louisville, Rebecca Williams!
What inspired you to open LouPetville?
I was a veterinary technician for several years, and I initially thought of starting something like this when I was working for a local hospice veterinarian who focuses on geriatric hospice care and euthanasia. She would come in and diagnose and prescribe, and I would go and do the vet-tech care. I spent a significant amount of time in these clients’ homes helping them after hours — I spent a lot of time with the pets, and I spent a lot of time with the owners. It was then that I realized the focus I wanted to take with animals. I left that clinic for another that offered me more stability and more hours, but I just could not stop thinking about the experiences I’d had with my former clients. I ended up quitting my job at the clinic and going back to school — but then I started this business because I realized it was still what I wanted to do.
Why are you motivated to focus on geriatric animals specifically?
I wanted to specifically help geriatric animals that needed a little bit more care and really help the owners get their life back. When you are taking care of an older pet or pets who need more medical attention, you lose basically all of your identity and experience really terrible compassion fatigue. That’s why my business is catered toward those people — so they can get their identity back, feel more at ease with themselves, and come back home and feel happy to see their pets instead of stressed out about having to care for them.
What services do you offer, and are they available exclusively to geriatric pets?
We offer pet sitting, dog walking, and medical care. For daycare and boarding, we are not currently accepting new clients. Ideally, we’d like to focus exclusively on geriatric animals, but we are not going to turn anyone away. Until we get to the point where most of our clients are geriatric, we’re going to accept all pets.
Can you tell us a bit about the medical care aspect?
We offer veterinary technician services, so every staff member is a Fear Free-certified professional. Fear Free is a really detailed, extensive program that’s offered online through Fear Free Pets. It is a different way to interact with a pet specifically to reduce and prevent fear, anxiety, and stress.
Since opening in 2018, what has been the best part about running LouPetville?
I can never pick one thing — I’ll give you a couple of things! First of all, I love being able to help owners gain relief. It is just amazing to be able to see them take a sigh of relief and know that they can go out and do something enjoyable and not have to worry about their pet. In addition to taking care of the owners, I love spending time with animals. Even now, I still think about how crazy it is that my employees and I are getting paid to do something that we love so much. Also, I think it’s amazing that I’m able to create jobs. Those are the three things that I really feel are the best parts of being the owner of this company.
On the flip side, what has been most challenging?
I am not a business-minded person. I went to school for humanities, and I don’t have a business degree. Just having to learn the ropes along the way is still incredibly difficult because while I have this idea of what I want the business to be, having to actually manage staff and finances has proven to be really hard, especially in the beginning. That’s when I have to find resources; other local resources and networking has been really helpful. The business aspect outside of the dream of having this company is definitely the hardest part, especially managing staff — that’s very difficult.
What are your plans for the future?
We are strictly a mobile business, so I think it’s a great setup for catering to pet owners all over the country. I think it would be really great to find other people who are passionate about tech like we are. If we can get Fear Free-certified professionals and veterinary technicians in as many cities as we can, that would be amazing. I know that sounds crazy because I don’t know how to expand a business, but that would be kind of like a future goal: to figure out how to do that so we can help as many pet owners as possible.
What is the best advice you’ve been given or received?
Don’t eat yellow snow.
Aside from faith, family, and friends, what are three things you can’t live without?
My pets, obviously! Animals, in general. I have five dogs. Bailey is a Pitbull mix, Santa is some kind of hound mix, Pepper is part border collie, David is a Jack Russell/Chihuahua, and Ruby is probably a hound/Pitbull. Also, music and education — animals, music, and education.
All photography provided by Rebecca Williams.
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