0 comments 12.01.2016
Every Wednesday, I will share a resident of the South Bay contributing to making our community a better place.
Today’s #WCW title belongs to South Bay resident, Brittany Neal, who started her own dog walking and pet sitting business on top of giving animals left at shelters another chance at life.
Brittany, 24, realized that she always had a deeper passion for animals than most. She grew up surrounded by many different types of animals including fish, turtles, a rabbit, a frog, lizards, snakes, cats, and dogs. “Whatever animal someone didn’t want or we found we kept,” she says.
For some time, she watched her uncle’s animals while he was out of town and also worked for a dog walking company in the South Bay for a summer. She worked for the dog walking company for about six months until deciding to focus on graduating from CSULB. Upon leaving her job, many of her previous clients asked if Brittany would continue working for them as a dog walker when time permitted and suggested she’d set her own rate with them.
After graduating from CSULB in 2014, Brittany’s previous clients continued referring others in need of animal sitting or dog walking to her. Knowing that she loved it so much, she decided start her own business, Purfect Companion with the referral clients she started to obtain in 2014.
Purfect Companion services include dog walking and exercise, in-home visits, pet taxi and overnight stays. Details of her services can be found on the website here. Currently, Brittany runs the business alone with occasional help from her sister, Keilani. She is searching for the perfect employee to assist her at the moment, but is taking her time in finding the right match.
When asked what makes Purfect Companion differ from other dog walking businesses, Brittany says, “I make sure to meet with the owner and animal prior to welcoming them as clients. I take the time to get to learn and take notes of each animals quirks and I always have constant communication with the owners. This, I feel, makes the owners at ease and creates a closer relationship with my clients so they always feel comfortable coming to me with questions or concerns.”
Brittany hopes to one day be able to patent her own technology for her business, which will help her to be able to expand into the Orange County region, as well as Hollywood/Santa Monica Area. “At the moment, there isn’t the exact software/app program, etc. that correctly fits the needs of my employees, my clients, and myself,” she explains. She hopes enhanced technology will allow her clients to stay connected with her which results in better organization and all-around happier clients.
She is always seeking ways to spread the word or do anything she can to help a dog/cat find his/her forever home. Growing up, her family has always taken in strays and had many types of unwanted animals so she believes this is where she has gotten the drive from. “I don’t know any different,” she says.
Currently, she has five animals living in her home. One cat who she adopted from the Carson Shelter, one cat came from an accidental litter, one cat was found drinking gutter water outside of the restaurant she works at nights, her own dog who was adopted from an unwanted litter of puppies, and finally her foster dog Achilles whom was adopted from the Carson Shelter in October 2015.
She’d come across a video of an injured and completely adorable dog online that no one seemed very interested in. She went to the shelter and saw that Achilles was located in a quarantined area and his front left paw was injured and he wasn’t able to use it.
After a lot of back and forth with the shelter, Achilles was finally (after a month) available to be adopted out on a health waiver. She had to sign papers stating she was aware he needed further medical attention and that she would return with proof of this.
“I felt so bad for this poor guy sitting at the shelter for a whole month unable to even be considered for adoption, that I had to take him in. It was difficult and taking a long time getting a rescue group on board to try to get him out as a foster, and I just wanted him to be safe and not stand a chance of euthanization, so I went ahead and adopted him in hopes of re-homing him in the future,” she explains.
Once adopted, she took him to her veterinarian Dr. Kumar at the Animal Medical Center in Hawthorne and he did the works on him. Achilles had kennel cough, tape worm, flea infestation and after x-rays and tests, they found that his paw had nerve damage to it.
She also took Achilles to a neurologist and they agreed as well. There was nothing to do but wait and see if the nerves would repair themselves over time. Both veterinarians told her that with some cases, dogs can get serious injuries due to not being able to feel their limbs and sometimes even bite off their own limbs.
After three months of being with Achilles, the worst case scenario happened. The dog managed to somehow bite off or rip off one of his toes (the dew-claw that is located higher up on their arm). She took him to the vet and they and I agreed it was best to amputate his arm since this would only get worse.
Over the span of just 4-5 days, any time Achilles was left alone for only a few minutes, he would manage to rip off the bandaging and make his wound even worse to the point you could see bone. Brittany says, “at this point, amputation was urgent”
On January 5, 2016, Achilles became a 3-legged dog. She says he is adapting extremely well and it’s almost as if he wanted that leg removed. She finds that he is just fine and is in very high spirits. Brittany is extremely grateful for her mother, Riki Rodriguez, who helps Achilles when Brittany is unable to. She explains that Riki is her dog sitter and helps watch him while he is healing.
With the help of non-profit dog rescue, The Lovejoy Foundation and Erin Lovejoy herself, Brittany believes she will be able to find Achilles’ forever home in hopefully the next month or two. Donations to help Achilles can be made directly on his Go-Fund me page here.
Outside of opening her own business, Brittany has always wanted to help a rescue group or start one of her own and she hopes to spread awareness to the South Bay about adopting animals and not purchasing them. “There is such an epidemic going on with overcrowded animal shelters and animal abuse cases that it is imperative to help spread the word to anyone willing to listen. I hope to be able to connect with the people of South Bay and make a difference for these poor animals who did nothing other than be born,” she says.
She believes this can be done by providing information on low cost or free spay/neuter clinics, low cost behavioral specialists so animals have a chance to correct unwanted or bad behavior, so they ultimately do not have to be given away for these reasons, and information on the importance of continual care for your pet for its entire life.
Brittany would like others to know that animals should be treated like children. “They require time, money (lots of it sometimes), patience, training, and love. So if you aren’t willing to make a 10-16 year commitment to NOT just leave your animal in the yard, or give them away when you move, then don’t get one in the first place,” she says.
Although busy, Brittany still manages to have her own pets with the exception of help too. “I have help, just like my clients have me to help them. Sometimes I have to plan ahead of time with my schedule and ask a friend or family member to swing by to check on my animals or feed them. I have lots of spare keys just for the animal’s needs,” she explains.
Brittany’s animals sleep with her inside, and if possible, she takes her dog on vacation with her as well. In addition, she makes sure they all have a routine of when they eat and she knows when they need to go potty. She believes that having taken the time to know each of her animals as well as each of their personalities, has made life easier.
When she isn’t being a wonderful mom to her own pets, rescuing dogs, or walking and sitting dogs, she enjoys grabbing food/coffee with friends and just catching up with their lives. She also loves music and enjoys going to concerts whenever possible. Brittany currently resides in Lawndale and grew up in the South Bay.
To learn more about Achilles and how you can help, please refer to the following link:
Achilles gofundme link for donations: www.gofundme.com/achillesleg
Purfect Companion Business Inquires:
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/purfectcompanion
Thank you, Brittany Neal for being a wonderful member of the South Bay community and providing not only exceptional services but by offering a voice for our fur friends who are unable to speak.