The most accurate bio of Emilia, owner of Soul Dog Zen Cat, would be co-written by a dog and cat. We all know that animals are the best judges of character. They have that instinct; they know who's genuine, who's trustworthy and who you can count on to be there when you need them. And of course, they always know when you're hiding something -- especially if that something is edible! Well, dogs and cats LOVE Emilia. They want to be near her, in her calming presence when they need to chill and sharing her endless energy when they feel like playing like there's no tomorrow. Dogs and cats know she'll never flake on them and that she was born to care for them. However, although Emilia is very good with animals, not even she has figured out how to get them to type -- or share a keyboard, so until someone invents the Dr. Dolittle app, you'll just have to take it from a former client who, like an eager puppy, jumped at the chance to tell you Emilia's animal-loving story.
Long before she ever thought of making pet care her career, it was her passion. She was that kid -- the one spending her allowance on scrap meat to feed the local strays. The one bringing those strays home. Growing up in Poland, Emilia had plenty of opportunity to answer that nurturing call. She set her sites on becoming a veterinarian. Of course, real life has a habit of intervening, and like many of us, she veered to another calling -- studying English Philology (the study of language) at the University of Lodz. But animals were always in control of her internal GPS -- and she soon found herself far from home, but right back in a very familiar space: surrounded by animals as a veterinary assistant at Hollin Hall Animal Hospital in Alexandria, VA. During her three years with the DC Metro-area vet, she gained invaluable knowledge in basic animal care, learning to recognize various illnesses in dogs and cats, becoming proficient and comfortable with administering medication and vet-recommended care and maintenance. But she craved more one-on-one, less sterile interactions and more connection with her four-legged patients. She found that at Arlington Dog Nanny, where she was lead walker and at Woofs! Dog Training School, where she completed an apprenticeship and began working as an assistant trainer. Positive Reinforcement techniques were the guiding principals at both businesses, a science-proven approach that complements Emilia's natural dynamic with dogs. She was in her zone and learning all kinds of new tricks from her many teachers -- dogs of all breeds, sizes, ages and temperaments schooling her in body language. (Emilia doesn't need any app to communicate with dogs -- she knows they tell everything with their bodies. Too often, humans aren't listening.)
Emilia's listening skills are heightened by her deep interest in spiritual discovery and her practice of Reiki healing. Reiki is all about energy -- and Emilia had spent most of her life reading and responding to the energy of dogs and cats to make them healthier, happier, calmer and more at peace. Animal energies are pure. That doesn't mean they're simple creatures. They just don't clutter their souls and minds with worry, judgment and other joy-blockers. Humans, well, we can be our own worst enemy. Animals live their lives in search of ultimate comfort -- physical, mental and emotional. And that's why they're big fans of Reiki. They don't worry about science behind it, they don't overthink "Does it even work?" They know what feels good, and they ask for more.
Your pets will tell you as soon as they meet Emilia: She's the one for us -- because that's where she's always been: on the side of animals.
-Amanda Long, mom of Bailey the Beagle