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Lonely Pets Club franchisee
Laura McConnell has always
been surrounded by animals,
in fact you could say it runs in her
family - she and her twin sister are
vet nurses and her mum regularly
rescued pets throughout their
childhood. "I remember hearing
stories about her constantly bring-
ing stray cats home when she was
a teenager. I think her compassion
for animals must have rubbed off,"
Indeed McConnell made her
first pet 'rescue' at the ripe old age
of seven when she discovered an
injured bird. "I found a little blue
budgie injured on the pavement
that had been attacked. I took him
home to clean him up, put him in
a shoebox with an old tshirt in
it and then I took him to the vet
clinic at the top of my street."
It seems like a career working
with animals was always on the
cards. Her first job in the animal
business was working as a volun-
teer for the RSPCA in Sydney
when she was 12, but it was a
later stint volunteering at an ani-
mal refuge in Bolivia that really
sparked her interest, and vet nurs-
ing followed soon after.
McConnell's latest animal ven-
ture is Lonely Pets Club, a profes-
sional, multi award winning pet
sitting and dog walking ser vice.
McConnell explains: "We visit
your home to care for your pets in
the comfort of their own environ-
ment. We believe that pets are much happier
left in their own home than in a dog boarding
kennel or cattery."
Lonely Pets Club can also organise to exer-
cise your pet if you're too busy to do it yourself:
"Our dog walking service provides individual
attention - we only walk one member's dogs
at a time. We care for all types of pets includ-
ing cats, dogs, rabbits, birds, fish, guinea pigs,
poultry and reptiles. We will also water your
plants, collect your mail and security check
With over seven years in the industry,
Lonely Pets Club is well equipped to care for
your pets. "Each and every carer must pass ref-
erence checks, a police check and a two stage
interview process," ensuring only the most
qualified animal lovers make the grade.
For McConnell it is this peace of mind and
quality of care that makes Lonely Pets Club
stand out from the plethora of pet sitters and
dog walking ser vices available. She also truly
believes if you look after your pet they will
look after you: "The unconditional love that
pets give you is just amazing. They will put a
smile on your face everyday. The bond that
develops between a pet and its owner is so
special and unique."
The power of love
Foster a pup and discover
For Naomi Anastasi and Shirralee Ransley, becoming
foster carers for RSPCA Qld was one of the most
rewarding decisions they've ever made. The couple,
who have been together for 12 years and are both
involved in social work, became foster carers because
they felt they had a natural af nity with animals.
"I think a lot of gay people tend to feel a slight
sense of disadvantage," says Naomi. "But animals
offer you unconditional, non-judgemental love. Plus
of course you're playing a vital role in making certain
they move on to a better life."
The couple are currently fostering a six year old
toy poodle who they've named Lucy. She was one of
well over 100 dogs that were seized from a puppy
"She was very timid when she rst came to us,"
continued Naomi. "But now she's settled right in and
our twelve old cattle kelpie cross Indie has taken her
under her wing. In fact Indie's the real hero. After
twelve years of being pampered she's had to share
her toys and put up with an intruder!"
RSPCA Qld is currently in urgent need of more
foster carers, particularly for special needs animals
that might require that extra bit of TLC. "The gay
community has always been very supportive," says
State Foster Care Coordinator Rosslyn Valentine.
"Often they tend to have more time for training
because in most cases they have no children. They
also tend to be very active which means the animals
get plenty of exercise. Frankly it's a win-win situation
because the RSPCA pays for their food, grooming and
of course any veterinary costs."
If there is a downside, it's that foster carers can
become so attached to their charges that they can't
bear to give them up. "It can be very hard," admits
Shirralee. "But you have the satisfaction of knowing
that you've given them a new start and they'll be able
to nd a good home."
Shirralee grins. "We'll just have to wait and see..."
Pamper your pets at Lonely Pets Club
Who: Laura McConnell -- Sydney franchisee for Lonely Pets
What: Professional pet sitting and dog walking service.
Where: All over Sydney and Melbourne and growing!
Cost: From $18 per walk. Holiday service from $25.40.
More info: www.lonelypetsclub.com.au
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