I grew up in a small town in Hungary. When I was a small girl, I collected stray animals from the street, even though it was always a struggle to convince my mom to let me keep them. After my studies in Commerce, I moved to Germany, then later to England. Eventually, I traveled the world as a photographer. During my travels, I met my best friend and now husband Jeff Stefaniak. We initially met when we were seated next to each other on a flight from Paris to Miami.
As my travels continued over the next two years I again met him in Italy, Singapore, and Alaska, all without planning our meetings! In 2001 I moved to Florida and we married shortly after. He also stopped his traveling and became a paramedic firefighter for the city of West Palm Beach. My first job here in the United States was working as an office manager for a small hotel in Sunny Isles Beach. This was the time when once again, my whole life changed. While the pay was nothing special, it was enjoyable because I had a lot of time to read and study while sitting in a quiet office.
One day Wolfy (an elderly Husky) walked in with his elderly parents to rent a room. This was a tiny hotel with no dogs allowed, but I made an exception (they needed a place to stay as a recent hurricane had damaged their home), and the couple with their cute dog stayed in the hotel for few weeks. One day, I asked them if I could walk Wolfy and they let me take him for a short walk around the hotel. I hadn’t been able to have a pet dog while traveling, and I really missed them! At that time I couldn’t even dream about having a dog in our tiny rental apartment. When I returned Wolfy to his owners, they paid me $20. I was totally shocked. They paid me, so I could spend some fun time with their dog? I had thought they were doing me the favor!
As soon as I got back to my computer I started to google babysitting for dogs and I instantly knew I would be a pet sitter. The only problem was that I was really poor and I didn’t even have a car. Fortunately, I had a lot of free time while sitting in the hotel office and I learned website design and created my first company. Shortly thereafter the hotel was sold to a developer and I was on my way to start my pet sitting business in East Hollywood. For the first two years, I was bicycling to all of my clients because we couldn’t afford two cars. My clients loved me, I still have clients who since moved and their pets have passed away, but I am still in contact with them. Once I got my first car, I started to grow my company. 10 years later I was running a company with 70+ pet sitters in the Miami Dade, Broward, and in Palm Beach tri-county area.
A couple of years ago I sold my company and moved to West Palm Beach to a house with a big yard. Finally, Jeff didn’t have to make the long travel home after his 24-hour shift. I love gardening and this is the place I always dreamed about: a house with a big yard. When we moved, I also started a new company, Friends of Peanut, to offer private dog boarding for small dogs in our home. Jeff and I don’t have kids, but we have four wonderful dachshunds who are our babies. We adore dachshunds and every year I organize a fundraising event for Dachshund Rescue South Florida in West Palm Beach called Dachstoberfest.
Since I sold my first pet sitting company I had a lot of time and I started to paint and work with clay. If you are interested to see the artistic birdhouses I create, here is a link to my art website. I always loved to be creative, and finally, I was able to pursue this dream while I was taking care of a couple of little dogs in my home. My other interests are sustainable gardening, running, listening to Audible books, and taking classes and workshops. I am interested in so many things that sometimes I have to remind myself that there are only 24 hours in a day!
When I sold my first pet sitting company, I was happy to have all the freedom to paint in my free time, but after a couple of years, I felt like I was not working hard enough and that I could contribute more to the world by creating another pet sitting company. With all the knowledge and experience I accumulated in the pet care business for over a decade I felt confident launching my new company: House and Hound Care. My main goal is to create a solid reliable pet sitting team whose members share the same commitment to quality service as I do.
I am looking forward to finding the best pet sitters to join our company who not just love animals, but take the extra effort to provide an outstanding quality service to our clients, with no shortcuts. Finding the right people to represent my company is the most crucial part of running my business and I will do my best to find those pet sitters who share my vision for reliable quality pet care.