Uncertain and Exciting Times

p1030750BThree years ago I had a good, steady job. My life had settled into a predictable routine. I was doing what I was “supposed to”. I was also miserable.

I had been searching for some sign of the “right direction” for years but nothing was making sense. Little did I know that things were about to change in a big way.

One day I was browsing Petfinder on my lunch break. I was looking at Dachshunds but not particularly searching for a new dog. Then our eyes met.

Suddenly I was sure I wanted to add a new member to our family. I was in love with the little brown spotted girl with the soulful golden eyes. I immediately sent my boyfriend (we weren’t married yet) a text and contacted the rescue. After two weeks of questions back and forth this little girl came home with us.

I had a lot of concerns about Gretel. Would she like riding in the car? Would she love to hike like Chester? Could I overcome her anxiety? The day after we brought her home we took her on her first hike – a 4-mile hike. She LOVED it. That was the day I decided to start a blog about our hiking adventures.


I took our blog seriously from the beginning, even though I didn’t know where it would lead me. I became a better pet parent, made so many new online friends and fell in love with social media. I soaked up all of the technical knowledge I could and took a few classes here and there. I was still unhappy at my job but was finding happiness through blogging.

A little over a year after starting YouDidWhatWithYourWeiner.com, my Grandma died suddenly. Those of you who were around for that remember that she was like my mother – taken care of me many times and acted as a fill-in when my Mom died. I was utterly devastated and left to care for the affairs of my Grandfather who had Alzheimer’s. The grief and new responsibility was overwhelming. I needed a big change so I quit my government job.

The last year and a half have been quite an adventure for me. In a nutshell, I got married, got my Grandpa settled into his new life, attended BlogPaws twice and BarkWorld once, completed a 9-month Social Media Management Certificate at the University of Washington, launched my own social media coaching business – Pet Talk Media – and applied and was accepted into the Master of Communication in Digital Media program (also at the university of Washington).


So what will the future bring for me, Chester, Gretel and this blog? I am not sure.

It has been 10 years since I was in college. I remember what hard work it was but don’t know how this graduate program will affect my life. I will be able to include blogging and social media into some of the projects. Some will be for YouDidWhatWithYourWiener. I will be required to start a new blog and intend to start a social media blog for Pet Talk Media to offer tips and advice to pet bloggers and small, pet-related businesses (I currently only have a Twitter account for the business. Follow me @PetTalkMedia for blogging and social media tips). I also plan to talk about relevant things I am learning in my Masters program. Some of the work will be completely different and take time away from blogging.

I assure you that I will continue to share our stories and adventures here. Once I start classes, adjustments will have to be made though and I am not sure what that will look like. My goal is to blog here three times a week. I will be striving to keep a work-life balance so, sadly,Β  I don’t know how much time will be left for visiting my blog friends. My visits may go from several times a week to a couple of times a month. I think I will need to rely on social media for maintaining a good part of my connections.

I fear that this lack of involvement the blogging community will hurt this blog. I also hold hope that the things I learn about social media and digital media communications will make it even better.

I will be working hard to get my fledgling business off of the ground. Luckily, not only does this Master in Digital Communication program teach you the cutting edge in online media and connecting with your audience, it also teaches you how to be an Entrepreneur. My goal is to turn Pet Talk Media into at least a half-time business by the end of the program – a little over a year. My hope is that in another year I would be able to support myself full-time with it.

That being said, I have to idea where I will be a year from now. This Master’s program is going to open my eyes to what is out there and, as one of the highest regarded programs in this area, open doors for me that I never knew existed.

These are uncertain and exciting times. I feel like I am standing on the doorstep of the rest of my life.

For the immediate future nothing will change. I will be attending BarkWorld for the second time in a little over a week. I will be posting, commenting and visiting bloggy friends as usual until classes start at the end of September. I will continue to take Chester and Gretel on adventures any chance I get.

I am glad to have you all on this journey with me.

Have you every taken a big chance or leap in your life? How did it turn out?


About the Author

Hi, I’m Jessica. I’ve been studying the Dachshund breed since 2007, owned 3 of my own, and shared in the lives of thousands of others through their owner’s stories. When I’m not sharing what I know on this blog, you can find me hiking, camping, and traveling with my adventurous wiener dogs.


  1. Exciting times! I can only imagine all of the great things that are store for you in the future as far as your new business and social media and blogging goes – You have the talent for it!

    1. Thanks Elizabeth! I bet things are getting exciting for you now too…..not that things sucked before or anything πŸ™‚

  2. Congrats and good luck!

    I took a huge leap of faith moving to Germany for my postdoc – along with my husband, 3 cats, and chihuahua. It was an expensive move, especially with all of the extra costs for importing and traveling with pets, and it has been a challenge living mostly on one relatively small income. We had no guarantee that my husband would be able to work, but he was able to get a 1/3 time position working as a technician in my department (still it is only a couple hundred extra Euros per month). However, we are incredibly happy here – the country is beautiful, work-life balance is better, and social and medical benefits are so much better here than in the US (hello 30 days of vacation per year!!). And, we’re learning German (though the language barrier is still an issue at times)!

    So take that leap, grow and learn from it, and embrace the adventure!!!

    1. It sounds like you made the right choice. Jumping into the unknown is scary….especially in a different country….but can be so rewarding. In face, I am envious of your 30-days a year vacation!

  3. Congratulations and good luck with your new projects and jobs. My big leap was taking on my puppy and it turned out a dream.

    1. Thanks Dina. I felt like I took a big leap when I adopted Gretel too but now I can’t imagine it any other way.

  4. I just started blogging a little over 8 months ago so all of this is new to me. I recently started following your blog which is wonderful!! I am sure you will fantastic in this new venture and things will get into a new routine. I am anxious to read/watch all the new adventures this new path will bring to you all. Most of all … have fun!!!
    ~Rebecca & Teach

  5. Congratulations!!! Sounds like you are at the beginning of a really busy but interesting time in your life. You have always been busy and still managed to keep this wonderful blog going. I have little to do and still can’t keep up with the blogging world. It will be exciting to see all that unfolds for you as you begin this new adventure in your life. Wishing you all the very best! Hugs and nose kisses

    1. Thanks Mags. Yes, I guess I HAVE always been busy. I know I will have to scale back but absolutely do not want to stop blogging all together. I know I will be able to find a way to make it work.

  6. I am taking a big leap as of September 4,2013. I am packing my four dogs, 3 wieners and a German Shepherd into a camper van. Together we will be travelling around Canda and the USA for the next 10 months. We plan to visit everything dog and blog about it. I have named it the business of Dogs. http://Www.tbodogs.com coming soon..

    1. Oh, I am so jealous! What an exciting adventure you are taking on. I took a 1-month road trip by myself (didn’t have a dog then either) around the US. I wouldn’t trade the experiences and people I met for anything. It was a huge part of what shaped my life.

      I can’t wait to read about your travels!

  7. WOW! Congratulations. I have been away since we lost Cali, but I am so excited to hear your news. I took a big leap a few months ago by joining a business coaching program and it has made a huge difference in my business. I know you will do great – just keep taking action πŸ™‚ Best of luck to you!!

    Be sure to enter our Dogs of Blogville Calendar Contest either at Heart Like a Dog or the Daily Dog Blog – we’d love to see Greta and Chester’s adorable faces in the calendar!!

    1. Hi Julie. I have used a bit of business consulting myself. For me, it was for business planning…before I actually HAD one…so it did not lead to a “successful business”. However, at each turn, it has really helped me to decide the right direction to go and discover my “second life” passion. I wouldn’t be going to graduate school if I didn’t do any of that coaching. Good luck to you with yours!

  8. That sleeping bag photo is priceless! Love it! Good luck in your endeavors. Mom is in her own pickle. She has a job but it is not what she loves and it doesn’t pay well, she too is looking for a change, wants something that would involve her passions – pets and computers, but it is not easy. Us dogs just can be dogs but humans have it rough. You have a solid following, so when your schedule changes, people will adapt. We look forward to seeing how things transpire for you!

    1. Not what your Mom loves AND doesn’t pay well?? No wonder she is looking for a change. Not that I am into selling my soul but if I worked at a job I didn’t I hated it would be because it paid too well. I hope that the right path reveals itself.

      It can be hard to change career directions though – I agree. The trap is that if you have done something long enough you have to be willing and able to take a pay cut to try something new.

  9. I remember at BlogPaws learning that we had similar stories despite our age difference. You are very lucky to be finding your way at this stage in your life. I wish I could have! Good luck with your new venture! Sandra (& Dolly)

    1. “This stage” is probably later than you think but I would consider it toward the end of the reasonable time in life to switch careers. I figure I still have 20 or so years of good work left in me πŸ™‚

      I made a big career switch one other time in my life and took about a $5/hour pay cut to do it. I will definitely be talking another pay cut here. More responsible folk have said I am crazy but I don’t own a house or have children (the human kind anyway) so I can afford to follow my passions a little more.

  10. It’s amazing how dogs can lead our lives in so many new directions and we don’t have to take what life seems to give us if we don’t want to. Good for you to grab life and make it go in the direction you want. I know you’ll be successful by the measure of success you set for yourself.

    1. Thanks Jan. I am a very firm believer in the motto “If life doesn’t give you the opportunity you want, make your own!”. When I told my roommate I would watch her dog for three week I had no idea I would turn into a dog owner (Chester) and how my life would be so different now. Being a dog Mom really did change everything for me.

  11. Sounds like you have many exciting things on the horizon! I have made a few leaps, like moving to San Francisco and starting Canines & Couture! Both worked out pretty well, actually. I’m antsy for a new adventure, though. Very antsy.

    Jules of Canines & Couture

    1. I read about your “antsyness”. I know how it feels when you feel like you are in a box and you want to break out….somewhere….and make things different. I think San Francisco isn’t too shabby of a place to live though πŸ™‚

  12. Congratulations! We’re all so happy that you’ve found what seems to be your perfect fit in life and have found a way to incorporate it into a place where your heart beats strongest. We have the highest hopes that your new adventures in learning give you as much fulfillment as your low-riding hounds do every, single day!

  13. I sooo loved this post and as I told you at BlogPaws, I think you are BRILLIANT and you are going to go FAR my dear! You have NO WORRIES….I could see that you were a “star” from the second I met you.
    I am THRILLED for you and can’ t wait to read about all you will accomplish.
    Yes, I took a huge leap of faith in 2001 when I gave up my advertising job in Cleveland that I had for 21 and a half years and moved to Michigan after meeting my “now husband” online. We weren’t even a couple when I moved here. I knew NO ONE. I had a job here and we now have been married for 7 years.
    Had a total of 9 jobs in Michigan and lost the last one in 2007 due to downsizing. Began blogging late in 2009 and while I haven’t accomplished ANYTHING near the scope that you have, I wouldn’t trade any of this for the world!

    1. You are WAY too kind Caren! I feel in my soul that I am headed down the right path but even the most confident person has doubts sometimes. Thank you for your kind words.

      Good for you for taking such a chance. I love hearing stories of bravery resulting in such a happy and “perfect” ending. PS…I met my husband online too (although it turned out we knew many of the same people).

      I can’t wait to see you at BarkWorld!

  14. Congratulations. It is a major decision which will involve a lot of work and hopefully a lot of reward. Looks like you already found your passion and in my opinion, that is the hard part.

    I remember when I did my masters degree. The first exercise we were asked to do was to calculate how long would it take us to break even the tuition expenses by estimating the additional income that we thought the master will help us get. I remember that in my case, it looked like it would really take forever, but that did not discouraged me at all. I knew that I would get a lot of satisfaction out of it.

    Then the unimaginable happened and not only helped me break even before I finished the program, but my professional life took off. I am pretty sure that the degree itself had nothing to do with it, but more about keeping myself open to exploring new opportunites. When you are unhappy, there is not much to lose and try out different career paths…

    Good luck and can’t wait to see how YDWWYW and new blogs evolve.

    1. Yikes. I don’t want to think about how long it will take me to break even! I am still paying off my undergrad degree. I sure hope that I luck out like you and find great opportunities that will allow me to come out ahead instead of behind. I am definitely open to any opportunities that come my way. I am teetering in the edge of the total unknown for sure. I like being in that place too πŸ™‚

  15. Wow! Congratulations on your acceptance! πŸ˜€ I’m sure there will be exciting, challenging, and nerve wracking times in the future months, but it will definitely be worth it! Enjoy your last semblance of normalcy and look forward to what’s around the corner!

  16. I’m new to your blog (reached out to you on Twitter earlier this week), but will continue to read and follow along with your adventures. I had Boris with me at the dog park in Boulder last night and a woman mentioned you! I told her I’d already found your blog, she says she knows your husband. Such a small world.

    1. That is too crazy. Do you remember the woman’s name? My hubby has worked at REIs in Chicago, New Mexico and Seattle. He has worked for the company for 5 years. REI is quite a tight-knit family. We actually ran into an old co-worker of his while on our honeymoon in France last year!

  17. I can understand you being a bit nervous…that’s a lot of change in not much time…but your work so far has paid off and i for one will hang in there with you on this journey

  18. You have been very generous through this blog and in the life you share with us. Jump with both feet. I look forward to following Pet Talk Media which means I need to re-open my Twitter account (I don’t tweet; I barely Google + and only that because of your encouragement). Can do Facebook – still learning. A master’s in digital media – when I went to school way back when, not even a glimmer of something like that. Prayers and will cont. to follow your blog on whatever road it takes. Go get ’em!

    1. Hi Roberta. I feel very flattered that I influenced you at all. I didn’t really start tweeting until about 9 months ago and now I am totally hooked! I like the connections you can make through social media and you can make them so much faster there. This graduate program I am taking has only been around about 5 years I think and is one of only a couple of programs like this in the country. I am very fortunate that I got in so I want to share what I am learning with people, and how it can be applied to pet blogging and brands, through PetTalk Media.

  19. Jessica, congratulations on starting off on a new adventure…that is your thing! I’m confident you will do great. I picked up and moved from NYC to Los Angles many years ago. Knew no one but my husband-to-be, had no job, just a desire to be in warm weather. Best thing I ever did and could never go back. Good luck to you, can’t wait to read about how it’s going.

    1. Yes, I guess it is “my thing” isn’t it? I love to try new things and take on new challenges. I think that is how you grow in life.

      Sounds like you took quite the chance. I love your story. You can tell that someone is “your people” when you meet any maybe it is because we have taking chances in common….well, that and pet blogging πŸ™‚

  20. Good luck Jessica!
    I’m rooting for you and have no doubt you’ll find the perfect balance between school and blogging πŸ™‚

  21. Wow Jess…Go Girl!! You are going to do awesome, and everything is going to work out the way it is supposed to. Everything happens for a reason, and your journey so far has brought you to this point. No go get ’em!!

    1. I truly believe that….everything happens for a reason. I love the twists and turns of life. Ok….some have really sucked but they have all let me to where I am and who I am today. Thanks for the support πŸ™‚

  22. I’m so excited for you! I’m doing what I’m “suppose to” do right now and I’m miserable! Eck!

    Go forth and work hard and take this for all it’s worth! You will do awesome and hey, we’re all routing for you!

    1. Thanks Jen! I am sorry you feel stuck right now. I hope that you are able to work into an opportunity that is more inspiring for you. I LOVE reading your blog. You are funny. Maybe you should be a comedian πŸ™‚

    1. What state are you moving to? I sometimes wish I got a great opportunity somewhere else so I could move. I have only every lived in Western Washington. Good luck on your new adventure!

        1. OMG…Colorado is amazing! And a BIG change from Kansas…at least terrain-wise πŸ™‚ I took a long road trip once and traveled around Colorado for about a week. I hope you love your new life there.

  23. Exciting! We can surely relate on “taking a new leap …” and Wishing you Golden Congrats. Love your Pet Talk Media logo. We’ve been following you in Twitter … and so glad you kept the name. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

    1. I think of you every time I write the name πŸ™‚ Thanks for encouraging me to stick with it. I have a bit of “ooooh, shiny” syndrome and have had a hard time nailing down a business name or mission and just going forward with it.

  24. I am so happy for you, Jessica. It must be very exciting for you and I am really looking forward to your new blog about social media! Wishing you the very best – Jobi and Fisher

  25. I’m so proud, happy and excited for you! I can’t wait to tag along to share this experience with you. I’m also looking forward to your new blog, lord knows I need the help in that area!!

  26. I can’t tell you how much I admire you for going after your dreams. I’m so excited for you and can’t wait to see where you go in the future πŸ™‚

  27. Congratulations on starting your grad degree! And congratulations on navigating so many changes and challenges. We’re sending you all the best of the down low and other possibilities!

    πŸ™‚ Tootsie, Mom, and Dachshund Daddy

  28. Just catching up on the news. Exciting times! I took a huge leap when I moved out of the country long ago. Moved to Bermuda. Ended up meeting my husband there and it’s been all good ever since. Have also changed careers twice in my life. I’m sure things will work out! Best of luck!

  29. Great story and cute pic. My wife and I were in a pet store one day and seen a black and tan cute winnie pup. She wanted it and I didn’t so we left the store. My wife was sad for 2 days so I told her go see if it was still there and she went and lucky us she was still there. Now we have a red one as well and I can’t believe how attached I am to those freaking winnie dogs lol. I like big dogs but winnie dogs are so smart and just can’t live without them now.

  30. First, congratulations on the new doggie and all of your successes. I wish you all the best in everything and hope that you will join us at BlogPaws in May.

    Yes I have taken several leaps of faith in life and with the love and support of my family and pooch, I have never regretted any of it.

  31. Congratulations on your success and it is quite a long journey. I wish you all the best and success for your future. I know hard work pays and I loved that pic of Gretel

  32. Sounds like interesting times ahead for you. If you can cope with the adventures you have with your Doxie’s then I’m sure you’ll be able to cope with the highs & lows that will come from trying something new & outside of your comfort zone. Sound like you’ll have lots of support & you can rest assured we’ll be tagging along too to see how it goes πŸ™‚

  33. Wow, good luck! I want to get my Master’s in Interactive Media/Digital Communications, but I’m not sure how I feel about going back to school right now and it’s so expensive! *sigh* Let me know how it works out for you. I’ll be rooting for you! I bet it will be exciting!

  34. Good for you for taking the leap, first with quitting a job you didn’t love and then in pursuing one you did. I also took a leap after I lost my job – and became a professional pet sitter. I loved it, I did it for 3 1/2 years and never would have left it if not for the need for health insurance. I miss it every day. I have a job I do not hate, but also one I do not love as much as my pet sitting business.

    I am so happy for you in pursuing your dreams. I wish you much luck and success. Do something you love and it will pay you back in spades.

  35. Hmmm.. left my job due to injury, started blogging while waiting to heal… now I’m sort of wondering what to do with myself. I’m glad you decided a masters was the best way for you. Good luck!

    1. Sometimes it is unexpected circumstances that force a positivelife change on us. I find that I resist the change and first but can turn it into something good later. I hope your path becomes clear and you go on to have a really happy and satisfying rest of your life πŸ™‚

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