Archive for April, 2021

A Furry Friendly Family

A beautiful Newfoundland

As you may know, I have always been a lover of animals.  From the time I was a small child I had a connection to all animals so it is logical that in my retirement I would end up being a Pet Nanny, loving and caring for these precious furry companions. 

What you may not know is when I was a young girl living in the small town of Wenatchee WA, some neighbors of mine had several Newfoundland’s who needed to be exercised several times a week, so my sisters and I took on the job.  We were to take the big dogs out to the large orchard behind their house, walk them around and bring them back home. Now I have to admit I did more cuddling on these big gentle giants than walking around, but I loved the time I spent with them.  Gwyneth and Bruce Mitchell were the neighbors, and in 1967 they donated their home and land and founded the Wenatchee Valley Humane Society, fulfilling their dream of giving hope and homes to homeless animals in the Wenatchee Valley.

The story and connection continue with my family and this Humane Society.  I love the fact that my family shares my love of animals and have committed their lives to them.

The Mitchell home was converted into a thrift shop and my Aunt Fern volunteered there for many years, supporting and helping to fund the Humane Society.

My son Ben Baker became involved in working at the Wenatchee Valley Humane Society when he was in high school. Always an animal lover, this was the perfect fit to further his love and understanding of them. Over the years he has rescued several dogs in need, giving each of them a loving home.

One of the many poems my son Ben Baker has written

Ben Baker with his constant sidekick Angus

Little did Ben know that his son Christian would find his way to the same Humane Society many years later to achieve his passion as an Animal Control Officer.

Christian Baker heading out on a call

My grandson Christian Baker is a Wenatchee Valley Animal Control Officer serving the animals and residents of Chelan and Douglas counties.  Its mission is to help protect the safety and well-being of the citizens and animals of its jurisdictions through compassion, education and law enforcement.  There is no one better qualified for the job than Christian.  He has always been a sensitive, compassionate person towards people as well as animals which has made this occupation perfect for him.

Christian has shared a few stories with me.  Some heartwarming, some sad.  But all showing his compassion for this very important journey he has undertaken in his life.

Jordyn Baker with her horse Ahsoka

Christians wife Jordyn is also an animal lover who enjoys her horse Ahsoka whom she has broken herself! 

Jordyn also finds time to do some pet sitting in her spare time and of course Hilly, her close companion and sweet little partner in crime is always by her side.

Jordyn Baker and Hilly

My daughter Heather Kalinowski has always loved animals since she was a little girl. She wanted to be a veterinarian but when she shadowed a veterinarian in high school she almost fainted from the blood and realized, to her great disappointment, that veterinary medicine was not in her future.

Ava welcoming Heathers son LJ into the family
Little Ava with my daughter Heather

Over the following 15 years, while focusing on a career in journalism, she volunteered her time fostering and caring for dogs. She fell in love with the Italian Greyhound and spent years dedicated to fostering and finding forever homes for this very special breed.

In 2010 she joined a pet insurance company as a blog writer and found that the company was not just focused on ensuring pet owners could afford the very best care for their pets, but it was also a company dedicated to pet health and veterinary wellness. She stayed with the company for over ten years, even managing the non-profit organization the company’s Chief Veterinary Officer founded, MightyVet.

MightyVet is dedicated to supporting veterinarians and veterinary staff members in their career and personal well-being. Did you know that veterinarians are among the most likely professionals to commit suicide? You would be surprised at how stressful their job is, dealing with pet owners who may not have the money to afford the very best treatment for their pets. They get yelled at daily, are under tremendous financial strain with school loans, work around the clock, and don’t make much money (relative to other professions). MightyVet aims to help reduce the suicide rate among veterinary professionals by ensuring they are aware of and prepared for the challenges they face in practice.

My daughter Heather Kalinowski with her family and two latest rescues Molly and Lucy

Recently, Heather left her job and is pursuing other opportunities. I just found out she is planning to go back to school to pursue a zoology degree and will be celebrating her upcoming 40th birthday with a trip to South Africa to volunteer with an organization that supports the conservation of African wildlife, including elephants, giraffes, rhinos, and zebras.

Me with my newest little fella I’ve been looking after, 7 month old Louis.

And me? Well after 14 years, I’m still pet sitting and loving every minute of it!

April 17, 2021 at 5:07 pm Leave a comment