Caring for Pets and their People

Caring for Pets and their People
By Arlene Hisiger
from the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

Think politics makes strange bedfellows? Try public policy and pet sitting. Most people wouldn’t typically couple the two, Bethany Stevens is anything but typical. She has managed to contain them both under one “roof.”

Electing to pursue a bachelor’s in childhood education through an ecological framework, at Hobart and William Smith in Geneva, Stevens was eager to become a teacher. Until she wasn’t. While fulfilling her classroom teaching practicum requirements, Stevens soon realized teaching wasn’t for her.

Fortunately, one of her double minors was in public policy. This field so resonated with her that she went on to earn a master’s in it. “While my passion is working with children,” Stevens explains, “I realized that by applying my academic background to the policy level I would greater fulfill my passion for working on behalf of children.”

But a funny thing happened on the way to her earning her master’s at George Mason University, in Arlington, Virginia, she helped someone start a dog-walking and pet-sitting company. This experience, along with her post master’s consulting work in public policy related positions, helped her realize how much she enjoyed business operation and strategic analysis.

Five years ago, after returning to Rochester, she took the plunge and started her own dog-walking and pet-sitting company, On the Move Pet Care (OTM).

Stevens offers more than mere lip service to personalized pet care. “The depth of staff available, assures our clients that we can offer consistent reliable care as well as take care of pets when an emergency arises,” she says.

While Stevens was uncertain of the demand for her company’s services at the outset, she was convinced of the benefits of this type of service could bring to a dog-and pet-friendly community.

Her conviction has paid off. OTM currently services over 550 client households.

“The professionalism and care that Bethany puts into everything she does is commendable. She is always thinking and planning ways to grow her business and support her client’s needs,” says longtime client, Margaret Heveron.

Stevens gives that same level of commitment to her communal activities, whether she is working to help an Afghan family become acclimated to Rochester through the No One Left Behind refugee program or at Nazareth’s Center for Entrepreneurship, where she imparts her knowledge and experience of entrepreneurship to aspiring entrepreneurs.

Personal: Age 32, Married with 2 children, lives in Brighton
Occupation: Founder and owner of On the Move Pet Care, LLC
Education: George Mason Graduate School of Public Policy, Masters in Public Policy, 2009, Arlington, Virginia; Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Childhood Development through an Ecological Framework, 2007, Geneva
Recent work projects and achievements: Launching on the Move Pet Care; I’m proud to have created jobs for talented, deserving individuals in our community and am honored by the trustworthy reputation we’ve built as a team
Current community activities and recent achievements: Rochester Young Professionals Board since 2013; Lollypop Farm; Habitat for Humanity Women’s Build; Grace Road Church; and Third Presbyterian Church food pantry;  Co-founded Hair of the Dog event, a dog-friendly beer and wine tasting, showcasing local pet vendors, encouraging downtown revitalization and raising funds for local animal shelters, including Verona Street and Lollypop Farm
Biggest Challenge I’ve Overcome: Returning to my hometown of Rochester after living in Washington, D.C., I was uncertain where my professional path would take me. My remote D.C. contract had ended and I suddenly found myself without work and living in a job market that did not readily align with my master’s in public policy. This “what now” moment inspired me to start my business.
A person who inspires me: My husband, Justin, has been my biggest supporter playing an integral role in the success of my endeavors. His vote of confidence and provision of emotional and financial support allowed me to dive head first into my business ventures, for which I am eternally grateful.
Future goals: Professional aspirations include continued growth for OTM while ensuring that we do not lose sight of the personalized nature of our services. As our children enter the school system, I hope to re engage my passion for education policy  through participation in the Brighton School Board. Personally, our family has a goal to travel somewhere new, domestically and internationally, each year, Our next stop includes Barcelona, Spain
Advice you’d give to someone starting out in her professional career: Don’t panic if you aren’t certain about your professional path but fo make sure to learn from each opportunity and you will hone in on what you ultimately want to do