LAURA + SCOTT
The super short version:
Our last (special needs) dog died after I was coming through an extended season of caregiving (something many people face in midlife). In 2010, my father had died and, soon after, my childhood home was cleaned and sold and I had transitioned away from my work as a therapist and coach to manage the process. But once it was complete, I found myself faced with questions of what I really wanted to devote myself to next.
Not yet ready to re-open my business, I became a shelter volunteer, despite being nervous that it would emotionally overwhelm me. Little did I know that simple act would change my life. I quickly became a respite care provider for homeless dogs, as well as a shelter photographer and social media manager, crafting adoption campaigns.
As naturally as the sun rises, all that shelter work evolved into my becoming a pet sitter as well as an animal welfare advocate (with a blog on ChicagoNow), working for a couple years as admin support for a positive dog training company and becoming a Board Member for a local animal rescue.
I think natural flow like that is a sign you are heading in the right direction. That, and feeling happy all the time. I don't think I've ever worked harder, but I can't imagine my life any other way now. It's the most fulfilled I've ever felt.
Amazingly, I still have no pets of my own! What I DO have is a growing family of canine ''nieces and nephews" who keep my days full of love, cuddles, lovely strolls, great photo ops and, okay, maybe a wee bit of mischief, too!
And when I don't have dogs here, I'm either helping someone to transform their overly packed house or working to manage our wild little acre of land.
No two days are the same, and every day I get to help someone. What could be better than that?
I'll tell you! Having a husband who has supported this lifestyle every step of the way, even when our pup guests steal all the blankets and try to push him out of bed. That is some crazy kinda love, right there!