All About PacKare and its PacKeepers
What's a PacKeeper? A PacKeeper is an employee of PacKare who is chosen with excruciating care and possesses our most esteemed traits – dedication, kindness, love, trustworthiness, experience, honesty, empathy, knowledge, enthusiasm, and industriousness. Only those with strong recommendations and a clean background check can join the PacKare team. In turn, they are well-compensated, can take the time off that they need, and have a retirement plan. They become part of the family and feel the love of the pack.
PacKare's philosophy revolves around the idea of pack, of unity, that we're stronger together than we are on our own and that the care of people and their pets is the most important thing. It was born on April 1st, 2012. It is part of Pet Sitters International, the world's leading educational organization for pet sitters, and its owner is a Certified Professional Pet Sitter through PSI. PacKare is also insured and bonded to protect you, your home, and most importantly, your pets.
Alicia Skjoelsvold - Owner, Chief PackOperator
In 2008, Alicia graduated magna cum laude from UWS which was just a hop, skip, and jump away from Duluth where she was born and raised. Armed with a bachelor's degree in psychology, she was ready to trade her three part time jobs in for a full time career. After awhile, she landed a challenging job with benefits. She was on cloud nine, having a retirement plan, health insurance, and paid time off. It wasn't in her field per say and didn't involve her love of animals, but it paid the bills.
And then reality set in. The pushy sell-sell-sell culture of the job felt like an itchy, undersized sweater. She was making decent money but felt terrible working in a place that valued the bottom line over people. She wished the company could run differently, could put people first.
She asked herself what she should do. As a kid, she wanted to be a veterinarian but wasn't sure if she could put down animals and see them routinely sick or in pain. She had also done pet sitting for friends and family and loved that, but many said that pet sitting was for neighborhood kids or only as a part time job at best. She loved nature and getting out in the elements, and the more she thought about it, the more the idea of being a full-time pet sitter and dog walker stuck in her head. She researched the job, found out what she needed to do, and dove in, full of faith that it would all work out.
Now Alicia is excited to own PacKare. It is the hardest thing that she's ever done but also the most rewarding. She works at balancing home life with providing care for hundreds of families and treating her own employees like the awesome people that they are and not just cogs in a machine. She's happy to have a business that runs like a family and loves watching her pack grow.
Darren S. - Executive Volunteer PacKeeper
Darren was a missionary for about a year in England and went into finance to fix the system from the inside. As Alicia grew her business, he was drawn in by the sweetness of the pets and was happy to take a break from retirement plans once and awhile to help out. He is one of the most sensitive PacKeepers and will often find himself stuck on a visit because a kitty or pooch has curled up on his lap and looks too comfortable to be moved.
As a PacKeeper, Darren is the resident cat-whisperer and often finds shy cats warming up to him quickly. Even pets who usually don't like men are often drawn to his kind energy.
Becky M. - District Pet Implementation PackVisor
Becky worked and volunteered at Animal Allies for over 6 years before joining PacKare in August 2015. She developed a love for animals at a very early age. She has had pets in her life starting at the age of 2, including dogs, rabbits, cats, fish, and a fire-belly newt. She enjoys exercising, hiking, and taking her three adopted dogs for walks with her husband.
As a PacKeeper, Becky is empathetic, warm, and compassionate. She takes special care to look out for pets' well-being and is always ready to offer a helping hand.
Joe F. - Senior Operations PackVisor
Joe grew up on 40 acres of land with dogs and barn cats. He enjoyed spending time outside with his pooches and recently got his very own Texas Heeler who is his best running budy. He's currently striving to become a certified trainer and is a fellow of many talents, making crafts and working as a handyman.
As a PacKeeper, Joe is energetic and spirited. He is great at playing with rambunctious pooches but can also be relaxed and cuddle with affectionate kitties.
Jenna J. - Dynamic Paradigm PacKeeper
Jenna started out pet sitting for family and friends, while working other jobs to support herself. She later volunteered and worked at a local animal shelter for awhile. In 2015, she volunteered in the dog kennels. Her passion for animals has led her to take in, foster, and re-home many rabbits. Currently, she has three rabbits and a dog of her own.
As a PacKeeper, Jenna has a quiet determination and a calm, kind energy that puts shy pets at ease. She is focused, friendly, and thoughtful.
Betsy B. - Central Innovation PacKeeper
Betsy grew up with family dogs, primarily labs, and several pocket pets. At 24, she got her first dog, a Siberian Husky, and in time another, and then another. In due course she began skijoring with these dogs and got the bug to grow her dog pack and get into sprint skijor racing. Ultimately Betsy’s pack grew to include a MinPin/Chihuahua mix and a kennel of Siberian and Alaskan husky sled dogs who loved recreationally sprint racing and skijoring. On top of that, in 2017 Betsy completed a professional dog training internship. She now leads puppy socialization classes and beginning obedience classes. Betsy also is a Pilates instructor and is fond of year-round outdoor activities.
As a PacKeeper, Betsy brings extra love to the table and truly enjoys caring for and interacting with the wide variety of animals that she gets to visit and walk. She has a mind for training and can come up with helpful solutions and suggestions for pets in all kinds of situations.
Maggie T. - Artisanal Functionality PacKeeper
Maggie has always been drawn to the healing power of animals. Throughout her childhood, she had the opportunity to care for a lovely family of guinea pigs, bunnies, and hamsters. She fondly remembers strolling the neighborhood with her guinea pigs in a doll carriage! Just in the nick of time, she adopted her first dog in her early teens. This wily pup, Augie, inspired her to always have a loyal companion animal by her side.
Maggie spent her adult years traveling as a professional cook and rambunctious rambler. Living in communal spaces through most of her 20’s, she had a wide variety of critters she co-parented… kitties, lizards, very “assertive” pups, ducks, pigs, geese, hedgehogs ... and loved the whole experience. After living all about the country, she finally came back home to sweet Duluth, is renovating an old house, and caring for her senior mutt Mae. After a working in a handful of customer service industries, she’s discovered critter clients are the way to go at the moment.
As a PacKeeper, Maggie is very honored to pamper all the furry family members entrusted in her care. She has a special place in her heart for the sassier, more assertive pets. She finds the calming, peaceful energy she must bring to the table when working with them is carried throughout her day. Thanks for the opportunity to care for your sweet critters!