Marc Amerlinck, RVT
Job: Owner of My Pet’s
Butler (Professional In Home Pet Care, Dog Walking/Pet Sitting
Q&A with Shawn
OAVT: Where did you go to school and what made
you decide to take a Veterinary Technology program?
Shawn: St. Clair College. I had chosen the program
because I enjoy living on a border city. My first impression of St. Clair
College was a positive one and I envisioned myself residing in Windsor
long term. Windsor has a beautiful waterfront and I enjoy
the multitude of events that take place throughout the year.
Of course, my passion for caring for animals and
people’s pets in particular gives me a sense of fulfillment.
I chose a career where I could make a difference in
people’s lives, their pets' lives, and also educate people
on knowledgeable pet care.
OAVT: You are currently your own boss! When did
you decide to open your own business?
Shawn: I opened My Pet's Butler on Dec. 1, 2011. I knew
absolute nothing about opening a business. It was an exciting venture
I was about to take on, but at the same time it was a feeling of
I researched, studied the demographics, looked at
my competition and listened to the public when I was employed at the animal
hospitals. I was able to figure out a niche where I knew I
could make this business work, successfully thrive, and at the same time
continue my passion in helping people with their pets...all in the comfort of
their own home.
I chose to enroll in the SEA Program
(Self-Employment Assistance Program) to further my knowledge on how to run and
operate a successful business. I was one of eight
that graduated from that program. The SEA program gave me all the
tools, resources and knowledge to jump into the world of becoming an
OAVT: What do you love about your
Shawn: Meeting new people, providing a level of service to pet
owners above and beyond their expectations and “raising the
bar” in the pet industry. Most of all, I very much enjoy
receiving a good dose of companionship from my clients' pets on a daily basis.
OAVT: What made you decide to go into business
Shawn: After being employed at two of the most
reputable animal hospitals in Windsor and working with some great people, I
began to listen to most of the clients during appointments and their
concerns. I had been receiving personal requests from clients to
perform nail trimming, grooming and other routine tasks. After having
conversations with people over the years, I thought that I could bring
the services a Registered Veterinary Technician could perform
to them, in the comfort of their own home.
The guilty feeling most pet owners have when they
leave their dog and cat for boarding was evident on their faces, so I decided
to retire the scrubs and replace them with a professional looking
uniform. The long hours, being confined to a clinic setting
and being on the verge of “burnout” lead me to take the
leap and set my sights on becoming “my own boss.”
OAVT: What other jobs have you had in this
Shawn: I was employed at Forest Glade Animal Hospital
& Tecumseh Animal Hospital for 18 years. I did shift work at 24 hr
Walker Road Animal Hospital dealing with critical care patients. I volunteer at
Windsor Essex County Humane Society, and participate in local pet charities and
OAVT: What advice would you give to RVTs who
have an idea and want to go into business on their own – but may be
too afraid to make the jump?
- Do your
Check out your
demographics. Is there competition?
Is it viable? Can
I make a living at this or is it just a hobby?
Do you have a
Ask questions to
random people. Do a survey
for investing a lot of your time and personal sacrifices
Set goals and
reward yourself when you reach them
Failure is not an
Most of all, your clients and their pets are your
business. Treat your clients, their pets and their homes with
respect. Creating a bond, interacting with their pets, gaining your
clients' trust and loyalty are all factors which will lead to success; after
all you are in their home!