In 2013, Elizabeth Burr had reached what she thought was the pinnacle of her career when she accepted a position as vice president of operations but a year later she lost her job. While this might seem devastating, after some reflection, Eliza realized that the times she was most happy was when she was working with animals. She started taking classes to become certified as a professional pet care giver and, in 2017, started Preferred Pet Partners. “In June of 2018 I left the corporate world for good to run Preferred Pet Partners full time. It was scary and exciting at the same time but now I wake up each morning grateful and excited about what I do.”
ALLISON: Tell me about your background with animals.
ELIZA: As a kid, my dad was forever befriending and bringing home stray animals. I inherited from him a deep respect and appreciation for everything that barked, meowed, whinnied, mooed, squealed, chirped, or clucked. I graduated in 1986 with a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology and continued my education with a Pet Sitters Certification from the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters in 2017. Additionally, I’ve worked with animals for many years at the National Humane Society as a volunteer. And last but not least, I have 40 years of experience as a pet owner myself caring for all types of animals.
ALLISON: What other experience qualifies you to run your business?
ELIZA: I’ve spent over 30 years in management and operations positions across a variety of industries. In addition to extensive people management experience, I’ve worked in a variety of areas including finance, HR, engineering, quality assurance, marketing, R&D, and continuous improvement.
ALLISON: Share a memorable moment.
ELIZA: I remember my very first client. I was anxious to make a good impression on her and her two cats, so I spent a lot of time preparing and practicing for the meet and greet. I arrived as planned and sat down in the living room. I wasn’t there more than a couple of minutes when the cats came out to meet me and, rather than saying hello, promptly hissed at me and ran away. I was crushed! The only thing I could think of was: “How are people going to trust me to take care of their furry family members if their pets hate me?” Luckily, the kitties warmed up as I got to know them and she’s still a client to this day!
ALLISON: What keeps you going through the challenges?
ELIZA: My awesome staff and our amazing clients and their pets keep me going. I feel a huge responsibility to them and I don’t want to let them down!
ALLISON: If you were to change one thing about how you started, what would it be?
ELIZA: I would have started PPP sooner! I loved my career in corporate America, but I feel like I’ve found my purpose working with pet parents and their pets.
ALLISON: What have you learned about animals in your business?
ELIZA: I’ve developed a keen appreciation for what rescue animals in particular go through on their journey to their forever home. I’m continually amazed at their ability to love unconditionally despite difficult pasts.
ALLISON: What have you learned about people in your business?
ELIZA: I’ve been floored by the dedication to and love that people have for their pets. My own pets have always been an integral part of my family, so I can completely relate!
ALLISON: If I visited your business, what would I expect to see?
ELIZA: Today Preferred Pet Partners is a small team of dedicated pet caregivers. We come to your home and care for all kinds of pets. I know how hard it is to leave your pets, so we strive to give you peace of mind.
ALLISON: Sell my readers on why they should use your business.
ELIZA: For our furry clients we provide a stress-free experience by allowing them to stay safe and sound in their own home. For our human clients we provide peace of mind that their homes and pets are in good hands and are receiving the personal love and attention they deserve. We do this through the personal initial meet and greet to get to know you and your pets, through exceptional service and responsiveness, and through daily updates with pictures so you don’t have to wonder how your pets are doing.
ALLISON: In what ways do you give back to the community?
ELIZA: Part of our mission at Preferred Pet Partners is to give back to our community and to our local rescues. We give our time to a variety of great organizations including: Muddy Paws Second Chance Rescue, Nebraska Humane Society, Little White Dog Rescue, and other great organizations. Additionally, we partner with local animal rescue organizations in Omaha and Council Bluffs by offering our time to pick up and deliver any items our clients would like to donate to a rescue and by offering a free pet sit or dog walk to any new client that has recently adopted a rescue animal.
ALLISON: Anything else?
ELIZA: It’s been a while now since I left the corporate world to be a full-time pet care specialist and, even though it seems like a lifetime ago, I still wake up each morning grateful for my amazing Preferred Pet Partners team, my awesome pet parents and their fantastic furry family members.
EDITOR’S NOTE: I am proud to announce that Lincoln Pet Culture and Preferred Pet Partners will be exchanging blog articles in the months to come!