Supplier Spotlight: Rainbow Pet Sitter

I had the pleasure to speak with Elizabeth (Liz) Cooney, Founder of Rainbow Pet Sitter. We could very well say that nglccNY now has it’s very own 6ft tall Lesbian Pet Whisperer. Through exploring her intense love for animals, years trying to understand her sexuality and finally the need to belong to a strong LGBTQIA community, Liz stumbled upon nglccNY. Today, Rainbow Pet Sitter is a newly certified LGBT Business Enterprise. Certification was important to Liz as she wanted her business to be easily found in the community and she also wanted to weed out people that wouldn’t want to be associated with a lesbian-owned and -operated business. 

Elizabeth Cooney
Founder, Rainbow Pet Sitter

Liz discovered her natural ability to gain the trust of most animals at a very young age. Especially animals that didn’t usually trust people or animals that didn’t fit into what society viewed as “normal” or “acceptable” behavior. “I strongly feel that a big part of the reason I connect with these types of animals is because I’ve always felt like a bit of an outsider myself,” says Liz. “I had several learning disabilities which made succeeding in the traditional education system really challenging,” she said.

Quickly learning that a career veterinary medicine was not for her – passed out while observing her first surgery – Liz pursued Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, instead. Shortly after college, she found herself running the therapeutic horse program at two (FL & CT) Hole in the Wall Camps. After a few years and needing a break from this emotional kind of work, Liz moved to California and Pacific Northwest. It is here where she began dog walking/pet sitting, and solidified her confidence in caring for pets with special needs. She also became the lead canine behaviorist at a veterinary clinic where she developed a canine rehabilitation and resocialization program. “My programs served dogs with aggressive tendencies and struggles with overcoming socialization challenges due to the new physical realities of blindness, seizure disorders, or other physical limitations,” said Liz.

Always seeking a vibrant gay community, Liz moved to NYC and launched Rainbow Pet Sitter in the West Village, which feels like home to her. Between boarding (“overnight care”), pet hotels (“fancy way to describe kenneling”), and pet sitting, she recommends pet sitting for your pets – “It’s where they are most comfortable, they can continue their normal routine and sleep in their own bed,” says Liz. She also points out that this is the least stressful for pets with behavioral or medical needs. Rainbow Pet Sitter has a slightly different approach to the pet sitting model. They believe in treating clients like family and consider themselves to be a socially conscious business. When your pet is in their care, they are treated as their own. From pet groomer, vet, and training appointments to even letting you back into your own home if you forgot your keys – this is what they do!

Rainbow Pet Sitter’s goal is to provide the best in pet care, a great client experience, create jobs for the LGBTQIA, and safe and empowering work environment . They pride themselves in being authentic, however, that often comes with its own challenges. “Not everyone is a good fit for us and telling this to a potential client can be challenging,” says Liz. I always trust my gut but it never feels great. I remind myself that every client I take on takes away a space for another client that may need our services more,” she said. An ideal client would be people that believe in the “it takes a village approach” to pet care and LGBTQIA folks that feel strongly about supporting an LGBT business – especially a woman owned one!

Liz leaves us with some advice for those seeking a pet sitter, she says: 
“Always request references and ask if they are licensed, bonded, insured and belong to any pet sitting organizations. Also, avoid sites/apps like Wag and Rover – although they may be cheap, the sitters have little to no professional pet care experience.”
As a former 4PawDad myself, and having had complications with our “dog-hooman,” Gizmo, I wish my path with Liz would have crossed 3+ years ago. Although it may have not changed the outcome, I do think it may have gone easier for both Gizmo and our family.

Some fun and interesting facts about Elizabeth Cooney:
  • Has lived all over the world, to include: Arizona, Australia, California, Connecticut, Florida, France, Italy, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Thailand, and Vermont.
  • She’s a classically trained pastry chef. Interned at a fancy restaurant in downtown SF and hated it. Now makes intricate desserts for birthdays and special events; even a few friends’ and family members’ wedding cakes. She can’t cook for her life, but can make obscure European pastries you've probably have never heard of. 
  • Worked at a large U.S. government organization where she was harassed and discriminated against for being gay. She certainly showed them... Feel free to ask her for more details. :) 
  • Honoring her uncle who lived in NYC (gay and passed due to AIDS related complications), the activists of previous generations, and to help prevent queer folks from experiencing workplace discrimination are just a few things that inspire and motivate Liz.
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Elizabeth Cooney
Founder, Rainbow Pet Sitting
Mobile: 508.735.1819

Interview by 
Gonzo Araya,
Executive Chair, Media Communications Committee, nglccNY
Chief Creative Officer, Socio

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Socio is a creative, communications and customer experience agency shaping how companies do business. A certified LGBT Business Enterprise.

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