By Jarissa Aquinde, Positively Woof Rescue and Adoption Story Editor
On March 3, 2011 my husband and I walked out of an overcrowded inner-city shelter with an emaciated, terrified, sick young mutt named “Snuggles.” Snuggles was quickly renamed Beau, and so began the very steep learning curve of integrating this unsocialized, confused dog into our home and daily life. Beau taught me the importance of being present, staying calm, slowing down, laughing often, and loving easily. With that, I found myself back at the shelter where we adopted him, first as a volunteer and eventually as a rescuer and foster. Since 2013, Beau has fostered 13 pit bull type dogs in our home. These dogs have ranged from easy-going puppies to medical heartbreakers to behavioral nightmares, and everything in between. No challenge is too great for Beau, whose unwavering patience and steadfast resolve helps each of these dogs prepare for adoption.
But Beau’s impact on others’ lives goes well beyond our rescue and fostering adventures.
You see, at the time we adopted him and for 5 years after that, I was on a grueling career path that I thought would bring me success. But, although I learned a lot and became a skilled young litigating attorney, over time, I began reevaluating the true meaning of “success.” Despite increases in responsibility, salary, and recognition in the office, I found myself searching for more meaningful, impactful work. And the unhappier I became at the office, the more I devoted myself to the volunteer animal advocacy and rescue work that Beau had introduced me to. I stretched myself thinner and thinner between work and volunteering, until it was hardly sustainable anymore. In September of 2016, I took a leap of faith and left my secure, well-paying job to find the mission-driven work that Beau helped me realized I am meant to do.
Just four weeks later, I landed a job with a national animal welfare organization’s legislative advocacy team. I now spend my days drafting and reviewing laws that impact companion animals (pit bull type dogs and community cats, in particular), and traveling around the country lobbying legislators and policy makers to care more about pets and the people who love them. My position is remote, so when I am not traveling I am working from my home office with Beau, our cat Zora, and our ever-changing foster dogs. I also recently rolled out a blog, thesniff.com, which is a resource “for dog people.” To say this is a dream job and dream scenario would be an understatement.
If I hadn’t walked out of an overcrowded municipal shelter 7 years ago with a sick, emaciated, terrified young dog, I might still be lost. Beau inspired me to follow my heart, and dedicate it to the dogs.
Follow handsome Beau, beautiful Zora and their foster siblings on Instagram @ourpitstop