With increasing frequency, the word “concierge” has assumed a spot in the U.S. pet care industry. But just what is a Pet Concierge? To help answer this question, what follows is a description of some services I have had the privilege of delivering to San Diego pet owners.

Early one morning, I rang Grace Bentley’s (my client’s) doorbell. Grace lives in a senior retirement community and does not venture out much except to give her dachshund Sally short walks. She no longer drives her car so she depends upon me for handling her pet services. Several days earlier, Grace telephoned to request that I schedule a teeth-cleaning appointment for Sally with her veterinarian and replenish her supply of the special diet dog food and treats she purchases directly from the vet. I arranged the appointment, obtained the pertinent instructions leading up to Sally’s procedure and requested the food/treats. The night before the procedure, I called Grace to remind her not to feed Sally after midnight but reassured her that giving Sally water was perfectly fine.

On that morning, Grace hands Sally to me and I carefully place her in her doggie carry bag for safe transport. Off we go! I can sense that Sally is apprehensive upon arrival at the Vet, so I hold her gently and speak softly to calm her fear until it is time for her procedure. I look directly into Sally’s eyes and tell her that I’ll return later to take her back home to Grace. She licks my nose to confirm her understanding.

Shortly afterwards, I was in my car heading to Tracy Bowman’s home. My clients, Tracy and her husband Rick lead very busy lives. Both have high-powered careers, use the services of a nanny to help care for their two young children and depend upon me to help care for their two German Shepherds, Trixie and Timothy. Today, I’m transporting Timothy to doggie day care and then bringing Trixie to the grooming salon for her day of beauty. I always secure both dogs in the back seat of my car with doggie safety belts. However, this does not prevent Timothy from trying to lick my ears while I’m driving. As we get closer to his destination and he sees where we’re headed, Timothy moans with anticipatory excitement. Since we’re best buddies, I’m able to translate his vocalizations to mean, “Just get me there. My friends in the big dog play group are waiting.” After Timothy leads me into the reception area, I try to say goodbye and give him hugs, but he’s not looking back.

Once Trixie and I arrive at the salon, I remind the groomer of Trixie’s skin allergies and the importance of using a hypoallergenic shampoo so as not to irritate her skin. I give Trixie a kiss on her head and tell her that I’ll be back in several hours to pick her up.

So just what is a Pet Concierge? I would answer this question as follows: A licensed, bonded and insured pet care professional whose business it is to perceive his human clients’ needs with regard to their pets. Moreover, it is someone with an exceptional customer service orientation who comes to anticipate both what pet owners want and what their four-legged children need. To be successful, a pet concierge is an extension of his client’s family. Lastly, being a pet concierge is a pawsitively awesome job!