Susan Tomasetti grew up in a home surrounded by animals. She had the more popular pets, like a cat, dog, and guinea pig, but also had less common animals, like a horse, a monkey and a parrot.
“I actually always wanted to be a vet, but life didn't turn out like that. With my passion for animals, I figured I could use it some way,” said Tomasetti.
About fifteen years ago, the Matawan resident began cleaning homes full time. It was a natural transition for her, she said, to start caring for some of her clients’ pets while they were away on vacation.
Tomasetti continued to care for pets while still cleaning houses, but about eleven years ago she decided to become a full time pet care provider. And like that, The Pet Nanny was born.
“A dog walker is someone who comes in and walks the dog on a daily routine. But pet sitting is when you actually care for the animals more than just daily walks. It’s feeding, walking, medication and vacation care,” she said.
Working seven days a week, Tomasetti offers a variety of services to clients depending on the needs of the animal.
“If it's a healthy pet, which I guess about fifty percent are, I check their food and water bowls, make sure there are no accidents or messes and do whatever the owner wants. It may be play-time or a vigorous walk. It ends with usually a cool down or calm down time, so I don't leave them all excited,” Tomasetti explained.
Unfortunately, many of the pets under her care suffer from illnesses like diabetes and kidney disease. She is tasked with dolling out doses of insulin and hydrating fluids and checking the pet’s demeanor and even the pH of the pet’s urine.
It can be a challenge to administer medication to an animal bent on not receiving it, but Tomasetti is glad she can offer care and comfort to animals throughout the day while their owners are at work.
“I enjoy more the ones who are not well because I know that I'm helping them,” she said.
After years of caring for the same pets, Tomasetti finds that her furry clients and their not-so-furry parents often become like family.
Linda Gornley and her 8.5-year-old Pomeranian, Kismet, have grown to appreciate Tomasetti's services. Gornley began searching for a pet nanny in Matawan about two years ago, and after interviewing several candidates she hired Tomasetti around the time she had her son.
"I just adored her right away," Gornley said. "For all the years I've had my dog, I've never met anyone who truly, truly loves animals like she does."
When Tomasetti first began caring for Gornley's Pomeranian, Kismet was healthy. About a year ago, however, Kismet was diagnosed with diabetes. Tomasetti not only taught Gornley how to administer Kismet's insulin, but now also comes to feed the Pomeranian at lunch and dinner seven days a week.
"There's no way I could make my life work without her," Gornley said. "She's never let me down, not one time."
Despite demanding hours, Tomasetti has found a way to help others with her passion for animals.
"I could see myself doing this until I physically can't do it," Tomasetti said. "I love it. I truly do."