DSC_0626.jpg

About

SIES

Pronunciation Cease | Latin Carduelis spinus | English Siskin | Frysian Syske |

“It is a trusting, sociable and active bird.” 

ORIGINS

As a professional animal carer and social scientist, my work life so far has been exciting. I love to travel and learn more about people in different societies. As a human geographer, I researched indigenous people's relation to their natural environment, livestock and wildlife in India, Kenya and Zanzibar. However, my greatest passion is caring for animals.

While working in various veterinary clinics in the Netherlands as a veterinary nurse and then the international development sector, I was never able to resist taking home my little 'projects' (read: old, sick cats). This is why, in 2016 I found it was about time to professionalise my services and start my own caring company. Through this, I combine caring for people’s pets in my own personal and flexible way and connecting people with each other.

ENVIRONMENTALIST

I am an advocate for our ecosystems and believe we need to protect, rather than neglect them. This is why I work according to strict standards to do no harm to our natural environment, mitigate climate change and support  organisations that work towards a greener future. 

WHAT'S NEXT?

After five years of being a dog walker and medical pet care specialist, I have decided to take the next step. I'm currently setting up Autumn Animals, a holistic hospice care service provider for pets.

Autumn Animals will offer services such as veterinary palliative and hospice nursing care for pets, End-of-Life support for the caregivers, at home euthanising of pets and pet bereavement talking groups. Autumn Animals will be a Community Interest Company (or Social Enterprise) which means the focus will be more on making an environmental and social impact as a not-for-profit organisation. 
I expect it to be in full service by mid-2022.

Fun fact no.1: The black and white Border Collie featured on this website is Joey, my first love. 

Fun fact no.2: I currently live together with my two other loves, my husband Jamie and Lewis, the 15 year old Business Cat.

 

The team

Sies.JPG
Sieske Valk

Founder &

main dog walker

DSC_0112.jpg
Lewis

Business Cat &

mental health coach

 
 

Philosophy

The best part of my work is that I get to connect with people from all backgrounds and walks of life. When pet parents trust me to come into their homes and take care of their beloved furry friend, that really makes my day. 

I know that everyone has their own wishes and needs (I know I do when it comes to the care of my Lewis) and I will do my best to cater to those needs, provided they are in line with animal-centric, empathetic care.

The care that I provide will be given according to the following (S.I.E.S.) standards:

SPECIES APPROPRIATE

Cats and dogs have very different psychological and dietary needs. Most cats would look at you as if you were crazy if you'd offer them a piece of carrot, whereas a dog would find it the most delightful and scrumptious piece of heaven in an orange jacket. In a dog's eyes, food is food. 

Dogs also desire a more intense interaction with me and their peers. Some want to run like it's the end of the world and others like to sniff the environment and other dogs. I will always try to bring the appropriate energy, interaction and treats for the respective animal(s) I'm taking care of.

INTERACTIVE

You'll never catch me hanging around endlessly nattering to a fellow dog walker or staring at my phone whilst the group of dogs runs wild. I believe I'm at service to the animals that I'm taking care of and they need me as a guide (to get to the park safely), a buddy and team member. Moreover, dogs need to be able to be dogs, so I find it incredibly important for them to have the freedom to interact with other dogs in- and outside the team. 

You might receive less Instagram-worthy footage at the end of the walk, but a better entertained pup!​

Be sure to know that I'll give them the same affection as I would give my own lovely cat Lewis.

ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY & ETHICAL

In our individualised society, we often forget to see things from other humans' (and non-humans') perspective, resulting in a massive divide between rich and poor, humans and their natural environment, and humans and other species.

I hope to counter that movement, one step at a time, by keeping my (and our) carbon paw-print as little as possible and sticking to species appropriate practises. 
A few practical examples are that I am the first dog walker and pet carer in the UK that uses an electric cargo-bike. It's powered by myself with a little bit of help from Bulb, an electricity provider that only uses renewable resources. 

The poo bags I use are made of maize starch, the treats I give are vegetarian where possible (dogs only!) and organic. This website is made available via Ecohosting and my electronics have been recycled and refurbished. 

SAFE

When you ask someone to take your furry friend out on an adventure to the park, you need to be able to trust that person to not only keep your animal safe, but also your home. 

Starting with transport, my cargo bike has been designed to transport small children and babies in a city environment. I have altered the cargo box in such a way that it's safe for dogs to be transported in. This means it has seat belts and a protective hood with windows to keep all paws and noses within the box, away from other traffic participants and stopping the occasional rogue pup from jumping after a squirrel/scooter/moped.

I keep the keys to your home on my person when out and about, without any indication of which address it belongs to, and in a safe place when I'm at home.

And in the unfortunate event that something would happen with your dog or cat, I have over ten years of experience in veterinary care to assess whether I can help her myself or have to rush her to the nearest veterinary clinic.

I ask dog parents to equip their dog with a well-fitting harness. There are various reasons for this, such as safety during transport, but the main reason is that I find a harness to be the most ethical piece of gear for the dog. It limits the kind of micro-aggression on your dog's spine that a collar would give.

Finally, safety goes beyond your animal and home. It's also about our natural environment. I strive to keep it, other people and animals safe from contagious diseases and parasites by being a responsible pet carer and picking up dog poo at all times - no excuses!