We had the good fortune of connecting with Nanette & Rae and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Nanette & Rae, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
For Nanette, it started roughly 16 years ago when she was working as a nutritionist and generally feeling like it was not a career she was meant to do in life. Although it was an interest she had, it wasn’t a deep passion, and the more work she put into it, the greater unease she felt. When she thought about what really brought her joy and made her happy, she thought about her two dogs at the time, Winston and Lily. There was a lot of stigma around making dog walking and pet sitting a full-on career, but Nanette felt like that was where she felt the most whole and connected. It started off with doing dog walks and watching friend’s dogs on the side, and eventually once word got around about how great she was with animals and the connection she made with even the most reactive pups, the requests for dog walks and pet sitting greatly increased. Nanette decided to follow her heart and throw herself into pet sitting and dog walking full-time. Since then, with the addition of her partner, Rae, the business has been rebranded with a new name and is advertised as an LGBTQ+-identifying, woman-owned-and-operated pet sitting business. It’s really important to us both that we’re able to fill a need within our community and be a safe space for folx wanting care for their furry, feathered, and scaly family members.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Rainbow Pack Pet Care provides pet sitting and dog walking services for the San Diego area. We think what sets us apart from many others is that we advertise ourselves as being an LGBTQIA+, woman-owned-and-operated business. It was a very intentional decision of ours to start adding that verbiage to our website and change our name to “Rainbow Pack”. Unfortunately, we did face discrimination on quite a few occasions before we made that change. We would show up to meet a client for the first time and would get looks and side comments and we would have a feeling of unease and even have to worry about our safety at times. Once we realized that our LGBTQIA+ clients might feel this when they hire a pet sitter for their own pet, knowing that it’s a stranger they’re inviting into their home and not knowing how they will be received, the decision to rebrand ourselves was an easy one. One of the biggest lessons I think we’ve learned along the way is to just be real with ourselves about what makes us happy and what feels congruent with who we are as individuals. When you have your own business, there are times you find yourself having to make decisions that aren’t always the most energizing. At the end of it, though, if we can look back and say we made the choice we did because it’s one that will help us be better individuals, business owners, pet parents, and partners to each other, then it’s all worth it. What we want the world to know most about us and our story is that we really do view every person and animal we interact with as part of our extended community and family. We know how impactful even the shortest interaction can be, and we try our best to be mindful of that each time. And obviously, we want our LGBTQIA+ family to know that you are always safe to be everything you are with us.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Omg we don’t even think a week would be enough time to experience all the amazing things San Diego has to offer! But, we would definitely take them to Torrey Pines to hike and stand on the cliffs overlooking the ocean. Maybe even see some dolphins jumping around, too! If they’re a super adventurous friend, we might even go to the glider port there and go paragliding! We would also take them kayaking in Mission Bay or snorkeling at La Jolla Cove. We would take them to Balboa park to eat at The Prado and also do brunch at Parkhouse Eatery for their amazing mimosa flights. We’d go to Old Town to check out the shops filled with items from local artists. We’d also have to go to Barrel & Board in Hillcrest for some upscale cocktails and charcuterie boards! We also can’t forget about the secret swings in La Jolla at sunset, which features a rope swing hanging from a tree branch on top of a hill overlooking the ocean. Finally, we’d go to Extraordinary Desserts in Bankers Hill neighborhood for their phenomenal cheesecake.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Honestly, we really want to give a shout out to our clients. Without them, we wouldn’t have the business we do today. There are some clients who have been with us for all 16 years, and some that we’ve only had for 1 week. But, regardless of how long they’ve been with us, each one of them makes an impact. Our clients are our biggest supporters and both them and their pets have been there for us for the happiest times as well as some of the saddest. Words really can’t describe what it’s like to be having a really tough day, and then walk into your client’s home and be bombarded with kisses and tail wags from excited pups. Or to have clients send words of encouragement when they know we’re going through tough stuff. Our business changed a ton when the pandemic first hit and everyone was staying home with their pets and not traveling. But our clients are the ones that continued to support us and lift us up until we were able to get back on our feet again. We truly would not be here without them.

Website: www.rainbowpackpetcare.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/rainbowpackpetcare

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/rainbow-pack-pet-care-san-diego

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutSocal is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.