There is the article you write and then the article you want to write.
The story of how Gretel changed my life and allowed me to help needy animals recently appeared in Pet Connection Magazine, a local pet-focused publication. I waited excitedly for the issue with my story to come out. I’m very critical of myself though and mostly saw the several glaring things I would change when I read it.
Below is the article with the few changes I wanted to make. If you read the story in the magazine, it’s the same one. However, I took the liberty of tweaking a few small things here so I loved the story even more. I tried not to change it too much though since my friend found the original version so touching that it made her friend cry when I read it to her 🙂
I hope you like it.
“I gave $2,000 to Motley Zoo Animal Rescue to help save animals.”
I never thought I would be saying that. I never had that much money at my disposal and, honestly, would have been more likely to give to environmental or humanitarian groups if I had.
In 2012, I was a frustrated woman disillusioned with her job. I had fiercely pursued a job managing and protecting the environment, but my dream didn’t turn out the way I planned. I found myself “escaping” at lunch by searching Petfinder for a second dog.
When I saw Gretel, it was love at first sight. Her sad, bright eyes and precious dappled face compelled me to contact the rescue that had her – Motley Zoo Animal Rescue in Redmond, WA – and fill out an application instantly.
Our story is one of fate.
After sorting through over 100 adoption applications, Motley Zoo Animal Rescue chose me as the perfect new “Mom” for Gretel. But, I got cold feet due to my self-doubt about being able to care properly for a second dog. However, despite there being a lengthy waiting list for Gretel, Motley Zoo rescue did something they almost never do: they waited almost 4 days for me to come around. Thankfully, I did.
I learned later that Gretel’s path to me was even more twisted than I had imagined, both literally and figuratively. She was surrendered to Motley Zoo Animal Rescue, in large part because she was the victim of a dog flipper. Her life before the dog flipper is unknown, but it’s safe to say that she had at least three “homes” before she came to live with me. The dog flipper got her from another home and then sold her to an unwitting couple. The couple eventually learned they had bought a dog under false pretenses and found that their beautiful little pup was anxious, aggressive, and possibly sick. Eventually, they had no choice but to surrender her to a rescue.
My life completely changed after adopting Gretel. During her first hike, the day after we brought her home, I decided to start a blog about hiking with my dogs. You Did What With Your Wiener? – an outdoor and travel lifestyle blog that focuses on being active with your small dog – was born.
Through my blog, I became connected with the animal community. I realized that, although I have a very inquisitive mind, my science job was not where I was meant to be. My true gift is being able to communicate and make personal connections with people – both in person and online. I also longed to spend more time at home with my dogs and help other people improve their relationship with their pets. Two years later, when the Grandma who helped raise me died unexpectedly, I took the leap to start my own business.
Today, I own a pet-focused social media consulting business – PetTalk Media. My blog has continued to grow and has won several awards. In 2014 and 2015, I won three prestigious awards. My blog won “Best Active Living Blog” in the 2014 DogTime Media Petties Awards and, in 2015, I won “Best Pet Blog Design” and “Best Dog Blog” in the 2015 BlogPaws Nose-to-Nose Awards. Prizes for these three awards totaled $2,000 that I could donate to my favorite pet rescue. I donated the entire amount to Motley Zoo Animal Rescue because none of this would have been possible without them.
Five years ago, I didn’t understand what a “heart dog” was. I loved every pet I had owned completely and equally. Gretel is different than the rest. Perhaps it’s the fateful circumstances that brought us together; maybe it is the way we had to learn to trust each other to work through her severe anxiety; or, maybe, it’s the way she gazes lovingly into my eyes but there has been no other dog in my life like her.
Today, I am living my dream working for myself and I am so glad I took the leap to self-employment. I am able to spend more precious moments with Gretel and focus on the things that matter most to me in life. Last month, I was able to be there when my step-Dad unexpectedly found himself in the hospital needing heart surgery. I can head out into the woods with Gretel to clear my mind and heal my soul when I need to instead of continuing to feel trapped and stressed. I’m a much happier person today than I was 5 years ago when I adopted Gretel.
I am not sure whether I am Gretel’s hero or she is mine, but my life wouldn’t be so overwhelmingly perfect if we hadn’t found each other. I certainly wouldn’t have been giving $2,000 to an animal rescue. If all goes as planned, Gretel and I will be completing a 72-mile Hike-A-Thon this summer in hopes of raising another $5,000 for animals in need.