Woman’s Career Path Takes Her From Pet Sitter To Novelist

OSWEGO, NY – Most children play with toys. Margaret Streitenberger admits she had a different pastime when she was growing up.

“My grandmother was a poet and my mother a punster. Playing with words was part of my heritage,” she said. “In high school, I got a poem included in an anthology. I worked on our small school paper, also.”

She began her dream of book publishing in 2010 by becoming an independent publisher.  Currently, she’s authored and published three books available locally and was a contributing author in Driftwords: Poems, Stories and Essays from The Denim Poets Society, a literary anthology by writers of Oswego in 2012.

Currently, the 73-year-old is a full time RVer, but she is still writing.

“I still live full-time in my motor home. But, I travel less,” she told Oswego County Today. “From April to November, I am usually parked at Sunset RV Park in Oswego; and only move south, usually to Livingston, Texas, when forced by cold weather.”

Streitenberger grew up in Chillicothe, Ohio, a middle child in a family of six.

She left home in 1957 to join the convent in Cincinnati, Ohio.

“I became a music teacher and also taught young children, usually grade two, in a regular classroom setting,” she said. “I was assigned to schools in Cincinnati; Conroe, Texas; Detroit, Michigan; and Kensington, Maryland.”

She said she’s had a long and varied life.

“I found that change renews my life and keeps me ‘young,’” she noted.

In 1972, while in the Washington, DC, area, she left the Convent and started a new career in accounting.

“In 1978, I moved to Syracuse to manage and update the accounting department for Bond Schoeneck and King. While there, I moved to Fulton (1981) became involved in politics and held office for one term as the county legislator from the town of Granby.”

In 1992, she accepted the position as controller for Oswego County Opportunities and proceeded to upgrade their accounting system.

She resigned in 2001 to start her own Pet Sitting Business.

“In 2005, I bought a motor home. In the fall of that year, I became a full-time RVer traveling with two dogs and seven cats,” she said. “Occasionally, I took a friend with me who was in her 80s.”

How did she get interested in writing?

“Long before email was available, I loved to correspond and wrote letters, some of which I found recently that my mother had saved,” she explained. “I have always journaled. Writing seemed to help in sorting ideas, working through emotions, making decisions and frequently for reflection and meditation.”

But that was all for personal use – not public sharing, she added.

Her pet sitting job became a foray into her next vocation.

While pet sitting, she developed a style and format to write up report cards for the pets while the family was away.

“So many people seemed to really enjoy them and I was encouraged to think about writing a book,” she said. “Then, I started traveling in my motor home and communicated my travels (travel logs) through email to many friends. I had encouraging feedback; many suggesting that I write a book.”

She was determined to try to write a book about her pet sitting experiences.

“I had several false starts that seemed to fall apart, when I finally just went directly to the report cards and adapted them for the book. Upon a friend’s suggestion, I approached Jim Arnold to see if he would be interested in illustrating my book. It was a new challenge for him and one that he had not considered. We committed to a partnership called Tails and Tales, LLC,” she said.

For more information, she can be reached at:  [email protected]