Karen Bartoszek is a pet friendly advocate and consultant and is also the founder of Pets Living the Dream.  This organization provides business consulting for the creation of pet friendly programs that help cities and businesses stand out from their competition and win the praise of pet parents – especially the much-coveted Millennials and Gen Zs.   

Karen fell in love with pets more than 20 years ago when she got her first dog, Sabrina.  Today, she shares her heart and home with Indi, a black and tan cocker spaniel.  She began her professional career in corporate America working for both AT&T and IBM.  Today, as a consultant she is working with the City of St. Petersburg, Florida on their highly successful pet friendly initiative, St. Pete PAWS.   

Her vision is to shine a light on the unconditional love taught by our kids in fur coats.  She wants to make it easier for businesses and cities to be pet friendly so pet parents can spend more quality time with their furry babies.  Her goal is to make pet friendly so safe, easy and sustainable that it truly becomes a way of life in communities and businesses across the nation and around he world.   

Karen believes that “rising tides lift all boats.”  This philosophy helps to empower businesses across the United States to adopt pet friendly policies.  She takes a comprehensive four prong approach working with shelters, housing providers, businesses, and parks.  She helps these four constituencies creates public/private partnerships that benefit pets and their pet parents.  She advocates for affordable housing with no size or breed restrictions, education programs for parks and certification programs for cities and businesses that want to cater to the pet lovers of the world.   

Today, since more people than ever are working from home, are pets are benefitting in a multitude of ways.  One downside, however, is hyper-bonding where our pets have gotten accustomed to having us around and then suffering anxiety when pet parents return to the traditional workplace.  Businesses that can offer their employees the ability to bring their pets to work report greater job satisfaction and tend to stay longer in their jobs.  She shared with us that some businesses are also offering “pawternity” or the ability to take time off when adopting a pet as a job incentive.  Others are offering discount or financial assistance with pet health insurance.   

Karen has created a video for our work-at-home world that addresses what she calls, “petiquette,”or proper etiquette involving our pets while using video conferencing.  You can learn more about Karen and Pets Living the Dream at her website, on FaceBook and Instagram.