As a former pet parent of a dog with severe behavioral and medical challenges, Liz Cooney, owner and operator of Rainbow Pet Concierge, understands firsthand how difficult it is to find adequate, specialized care. This void in the pet care industry motivated Liz to ultimately start Rainbow Pet Concierge.
Liz brings nearly two decades of experience caring for animals including rehabilitating dogs with serious behavioral challenges, administering both common and unique medical treatments to a variety of animals, and formal education and training in animal care.
Like many children, Liz loved animals of all shapes and sizes. Unlike most children, however, she showed a natural ability to gain the trust of most animals she came across. This ability fueled her passion for animals, leading her to a bachelor’s degree in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy from Prescott College and a life-long passion for studying the therapeutic relationship between people and animals.
Just a few weeks after graduating college Liz landed her dream job. She spent two years managing, a start-up rescue ranch in rural Arizona, which grew to house over 200 animals, including goats, sheep, horses, donkeys, cows, chickens, turkeys, dogs, and Fred, the resident peacock. Freeing a horse tangled in barbed wire and vaccinating 75 goats were some of the daily challenges Liz overcame at the ranch. During a routine pasture rotation several goats, in the newly rescued heard, suddenly seized up and fell over, causing Liz to attempt mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. This was the day she discovered the existence of fainting goats.
Liz left the rescue ranch in Arizona to run therapeutic horse programs at Hole in the Wall Camps, a nonprofit founded by Paul Newman for kids coping with terminal and chronic illnesses. These programs provided campers with fun-filled summer camp experiences with horses. This experience only reinforced her desire for a career focusing on human-animal relationships.
After several years at the Hole in the Wall camps, Liz moved to San Francisco for a brief yet important stint as general manager at a dog hotel. Witnessing the anxiety, stress, and discomfort the kennel environment causes, she learned the value of in-home pet care, inspiring Liz to gain experience in the in-home pet care industry. She spent the next five years as a professional dog walker and pet sitter, where she managed over 40 clients.
Liz's ability to understand and successfully work with behaviorally challenged dogs led her to pursue a career in Portland, Oregon, where she developed a canine rehabilitation and re-socialization program located at a small veterinary clinic. As lead canine behaviorist, her programs served dogs with aggressive tendencies and dogs struggling to overcome socialization challenges due to the physical realities of blindness, seizure disorders, or other physical limitations.
The rapid success of Liz's programs quickly outgrew the tiny vet clinic and lead to her to collaborate with dozens of local rescues and shelters. Several county shelters relied on Liz's behavior assessment skills to evaluate and rehabilitate their most aggressive dogs. Working with the county in this capacity convinced Liz to create a business model that included supporting the amazing people who rescue dogs with special needs. Over a decade after leaving the east coast Liz relocated to New York City with the intention of being closer to family and finally fulfilling her dream of operating her own animal care business, Rainbow Pet Concierge.
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