Meet Shangri-Laura's Neighbors...
All these photos were taken in our yard. This is just a *small* sampling of our animal friends. Who knew such a magical place could exist sandwiched in between big box stores?
How and why I became a pet sitter (the short version):
Our last (special needs) dog died after an extended season of midlife caregiving. In 2010, my father died and shortly after my childhood home needed to be sold. I left my work as a therapist and coach to assist with this process and when all was completed it was time for me to figure out what I felt the most passion for.
Soon, 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 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.
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!