A Hawke's Bay animal lover is taking her passion a step further by starting a much needed pet-sitting service in Hawke's Bay.

Bay Pet Co owner Tess Williams has long had an affinity with animals, so much so that she's made it her full-time business.

Dog walking and a soon to launch her pet-sitting service are on the cards, something she said Hawke's Bay is seriously lacking.

"People are so busy these days and because pets are like our family, I think it's natural to feel bad leaving them at home while we are out working and socialising.


"I love drop in visits because I get to cuddle and feed animals and let them enjoy a little bit of extra attention in their day," she said.

"I honestly don't understand people who don't love animals. I'm lucky to have been born with such a natural empathy for them. I think life would be very dull without pets.

Animal expert Mark Vette said pets, particularly dogs could suffer from anxiety when left at home by their owners.

"Dogs are highly social animals, they co-evolved from the wolf 40,000 years ago so they slowly adapted to human settlements and started to scavenge around them, then they became village dogs," Vette said.

"They really do need to be in a social context, they don't do well without socialisation. That doesn't mean you need to have them in a pack, they can bond with humans in a very similar way they do with dogs, if not even more closely according to the latest research."

Vette said at the same time, it was important to teach dogs 'separation'.

"It is something that owners actually need to teach their dogs because they're not going to learn it by themselves - they'd rather just be with you."

Vette said when it came to pet sitting, animals preferred to stay in their own familiar territory, but said being removed from it could encourage strong socialisation with other dogs and people.


"It's most important to socialise your dogs in that two-four month period so getting a pet sitter to look after them is a really good way to go and it also teaches them separation as well; if the pet sitting service is run well then the dogs will have an amazing time."

Williams certainly matches that criteria, growing up with and looking after an array of animals including possums, calves, cats, dogs and a magpie called Larry, not to mention horses.

She also has qualifications in Equine Tactile Therapy and Canine Myofascial Therapy - a form of animal massage.

Williams' said the power of the right touch could transform an animal, relieving it from pain, loosening and relaxing its muscles.

She's also completed a certificate in animal First Aid, so not only can she administer CPR on a cat or dog, she can even revive a mouse or bird.

For more information on Bay Pet Co's dog walking services and pet-sitting, go to www.baypetco.co.nz.