Laura + Scott

Evolution of a Pet Sitter

As many mid-lifers will no doubt relate to, I had hit "that season" in life everything around me started to tall apart. The very short version is that I was caring for my father at the end of his life, selling my childhood home in another state, and finding myself caring for a dog gradually blinded by glaucoma. To meet those, and other, demands, I had left my work as a therapist and coach and when all the caregiveing demands reached their conclusion and our special dog died, I was left with a very blank slate and a huge exisential question:

 

What did I REALLY want to do with my life?

I had no idea but I did know I had a passion for animals. 

I decided to do something useful while I mulled over my life and 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.

No pup of my own meant I could bring any dog home any time. That was worth everything for dogs that did best with no other animals around.

As naturally as the sun rises, once word got out that I could provide exclusive care, foster and pet sitting requests started to come in. My shelter work had also evolved into my becoming 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.

And that is how my passion pulled me into my new life.  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!

When I don't have dogs here, I'm busily working to manage our wild little acre of land. I am an advocate for the use of native plantings and wise environmental practices. We have a Conservation@home certification through The Conservation Federation.

As for the wind beneath my wings...

"Uncle Scotty", my husband of nearly 30 years, 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! 

laura@shangri-laura.com  (630) 750-2365 West Chicago, IL

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