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Brian's Story

Brian is a young man, maybe in his early 30's.  Today he shared some of his story with me during phase 1 of a cat adoption.  
    "Growing up we always had pets, like a lot of pets.  Mom wasn't savvy about spaying and neutering and all that.  If there were strays in the neighborhood, she'd feed them and the next thing you know, they'd be ours," said Brian.  
    Working with people during pet adoptions, training, pet surrenders, and (especially) pet retention cases, sometimes I act as a counselor of sorts.  It's my job to help people open up to explore what's going on under the surface.  Some people have no desire to open up; these are the few and far between that seem incapable of bonding in a meaningful way with pets, or people. However, most open up with the right questions and a listening ear to follow. And others, like Brian, are so wise they need no prompting... they 'go there' all on their own.  
    "You see, my mom wasn't my bio…
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Despite Added Quality Of Life for Seniors, Pet Ownership Decreases with Age

The advantages of pet ownership for seniors are undeniable. 
   Some studies show pet ownership lowers blood pressure.  Others reveal pet ownership relieves depression and lowers triglyceride levels.      There's even data showing post-heart-attack and/or stroke patients that are dog owners live longer than non-dog-owners. 

    We could go on and on about studies and data but the fact is, as a pet owner, none of these stats surprise me.   
    There are some things in life we just know, without even needing to 'see the numbers.' 
    Knowing that by being a long-time pet lover and owner, my physical, emotional, mental and even spiritual health are benefited, 
is plain fact to me.

And knowing these benefits are even more significant for our senior 
population isn't surprising. 
    -As we age, we often spend more time alone so the benefit of companionship a pet offers is noteworthy     -As we age, we might become complacent with exercise and activity regimens.  A pet can motivate …

Why You Need a Will

A book I'm reading, Estate Planning When You Have Pets, inspired me to write this blog.
    As the owner of The Paw and Feather Plan I help people think ahead to prevent their pets from becoming homeless.  With a little planning, this can be a surprisingly simple task! 
    For the legal aspects of planning (wills, directives and trusts) I refer clients to competent, animal-loving, estate-planning attorneys. 
    So why then am I writing about "why you need a will?" 
    I should just leave this topic to the professionals right?! -Wrong.
    While I cannot (nor do I want to) offer legal advice since I'm not an attorney, I can share my brief story with wills and how my perception of life and death planning has changed over the past couple of years. 

This is a topic people need to be comfortable contemplating and discussing; after all we're all going to die one day!
    When my son was born in 2014 I started thinking about getting life insurance.  I even reached out to a …

Is There a Puppy Shortage, or a Puppy Surplus?

The answer to that question has a lot to do with where you live.
If you're in a rural area in the southeastern part of the United States there are still far more puppies than there are homes for them. There are likely abandoned dogs in public places, and your municipal shelters are likely still euthanizing for time/space.
    In 2006, here in Louisville, Ky., I worked for Louisville Metro Animal Services (LMAS).  
    At that time our shelter, along with the grand majority of shelters nationwide, was euthanizing more than 1/2of the animals that came in... and most euthanasia was due to time/space.  
    This means "time/space" was written on the kennel cards of the dozens of animals that were put down daily as the reason for euthanasia... referring to the lack of kennel or cage space and the lack of time to wait for a kennel or cage to open up. 

This is still hard for me to even write about.  -Losing so many animals near and dear to me during my 1 yr tenure as an employee wit…

Now onto my Role as an Elementary School Teacher

A little over a year ago I attended a JCPS (Jefferson County Public Schools) job fair.
    A need for substitute teachers had been communicated via the school board and someone had tagged me about it on Facebook.
    As far back as 1994, when I was a freshman in high school, I had mentioned my interest in becoming a teacher. 
    Unfortunately I didn't receive positive feedback.   "I wouldn't want to do that,"     "Oh no, I wouldn't want to be a teacher," were the responses I got and that pretty much stifled my short-lived dream of teaching... way back then!
Of course I donot hold any grudge towards family members that offered their negative feedback at that time in my life.  I believe everyone is doing the best he or she can at any given moment, that includes parents, grandparents, etc.
And as an adult I'm far more tenacious than I was back then!       You have to be or what becomes of your life and dreams right?!     We learn this with time and maturity, bo…

Many Hats are Worn, Some Fit Better than Others

Last week I met a business coach for coffee. 
I wasn't looking to hire him nor was I seeking business advice.      Our meeting came about thanks to a BNI (Business Networking International) meeting. I had been invited to a local chapter meeting as a local business owner.
That organization seems to be highly effective for a lot of business owners however it's not for me, not for now anyway!
    As a follow up to a BNI meeting it's common for attendees to reach out to one another to discuss their businesses in greater detail.
    I sent follow up emails to all BNI chapter members and got a response from a couple people wanting to meet over coffee (again, this is typical BNI structure).
So, Bob (we'll call him) the business coach and I met at a local coffee shop. 
    We hada short time to chat per his schedule which was fine by me.
    He asked me some questions about my business, one of which was: "Are you on track to meet your first year goals?"
    My initial answer …

Examining the term 'Foster Failure'

"After 13 years of fostering, for the 1st time, I’m a “foster failure!” I’m still scratching my head as to how this happened so, I’ll just blame it on my husband since it was his idea!"
That was my facebook post a couple weeks ago and there was confusion about the term 'foster failure.' 
Let's  delve into this subject a bit!

Foster Failure (noun): a pet-foster-parent designated to temporarily keep/care for a pet that ends up permanently adopting said pet. definition provided by me
    -If you google the term you'll find other similar definitions.  
    And most of what you'll find is lighthearted.
But... my background in shelter and rescue work puts an entirely different spin on the idea of being a 'foster failure.' 
In my experience, 'foster failure' generally is not a flattering term! 
    -Whether being a foster failure isn't seen as a big deal, as in, "Looks like Scrappy's foster mom's going to be a foster failure with him...