We had the good fortune of connecting with Cera Parker and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Cera, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
The thought process behind starting my own business didn’t actually begin until 2019. I was your average young adult who had no idea what they wanted to do with their life besides hang out with their dog all day. I ended up stumbling upon a job posting for a doggy daycare and while I didn’t have any professional experience, I had been around animals all my life so I decided to take a chance… and boy am I glad I did!

At the time I didn’t know it but hospitality for animals is a huge industry! I’m a die hard dog person and I guess a lot of other people are too! They want to leave their pet with someone who would treat them like their own and I felt like I could easily connect with them because I personally have a special needs Border Collie mix named Lily Bug. She has seizures from brain damage from her previous owners and I’ve never felt comfortable enough to leave her with someone I didn’t personally know!

I always tried to reassure the owners I would provide their pet with all the love and comfort I could but soon ended up becoming frustrated because other co-workers were not doing the same! They believe that it’s just fast, easy money when truly it’s hard work! The animals can’t complain so of course it’s easy to just come in and do the bare minimum but I wanted more! So with Lily in mind and every other pet I decided to take the jump and start: Lily & Friends!

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve always had a dog, I can’t think back to a moment where I didn’t. As a kid I’d go out of my way to care for the homeless animals. In 2011, I moved in with my aunt who had 2 cats, 2 ferrets, 3 horses and 6 dogs! It was my daily responsibility to care for them all. I think I can easily say I’ve spent more time with animals than I have humans. Which honestly isn’t as fun or easy as it sounds.

I was constantly nagged for my social skills, how emotional I was and just how I was in my own little world most of the time. But people can be cruel and animals aren’t. They’re kind and caring and just happy to be around you. I had to learn through out the years how to use my voice so I could speak up and use it for the animals.

I want the world to know that I wake up everyday for them, to be there for them and bond with them. I want to show them unconditional love and support. I want to look at them for who they are and their personality, not the money we can make off of them.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If my best friend was visiting and I wanted to show them the best time ever I would probably start with hitting up a few dispensaries before heading out to the mountains. We would have to check out:

Staunton State Park
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
Dinosaur National Monument
Amicalola State Park
and The Boulder Reservoir

We’d also have to check out:
Meow Wolf
The Church
and The 1UP Arcade Bar

I’d probably end the trip with The District for bottomless Mimosas, Screwdrivers, Beermosas and Bloody Marys and then we could head down to 12 Mile Stables for horseback riding!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to give a shout out to VCA Alameda East Veterinary Hospital. They have been caring for Lily since I adopted her and they have been nothing but supportive and understanding.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/belilysfriend/

Image Credits
The Logos: Mistery Miller

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