It’s 5am. The skies are still filled with darkness and the cold is wavering across the pavement. The dogs in the animal shelter begin to rustle, as they hear the sound of jingling keys at the door. The dogs have lived another day to experience a chance at a loving home, or so they think. But then it hits, the euthanasia crew comes in to “do the duty.” A number of dogs get released from their cages one by one. They think they are getting a walk! Love, affection, breakfast…but no. That poor dog never had a chance. They are walking to their death. In an hour they will be laying lifeless in a black plastic bag…
It was an ordinary Monday in 2012. After a long, tiring day, I walked into my local PetSmart dressed in my banker garb. I needed to pick up a few things for my cats, so I wandered over to the food aisle. “Maybe I’ll just peek at the cats up for adoption,” I thought to myself as I mingled over to the glass windows where cats were waiting for their forever families. And then I saw him. Curled up against the glass, there he was. “Cheetoh – 2 year old neutered male. Has been in foster care for a year after a good Samaritan picked up up off the street when he was being chased by a large dog. Shy at first but once he warms up, he loves to get cuddles and he likes to show you exactly where he wants to be petted.” As I stared longingly at this gorgeous, orange tabby, I noticed something different. His paws. His paws were…deformed. He had the sweetest face but he had a disability. My heart broke. I immediately thought to myself, “No one wants him because he’s different. If he’s still here in a week, I’m going to adopt him.” Cheetoh, now Joey, turns six in June 🙂
I graduated from Arizona State University in May 2011. I was 22 years old. Needless to say, I was pretty proud of myself! A Bachelor’s degree already at the age of 22 and I now had my entire life ahead of me. But I also needed a job. That was fine with me – I was ready to start making money instead of spending it on student loans. The problem? I couldn’t get a job in my field of study, which was history and culture. I went to school to be a high school history teacher but by the time I was ready to graduate with my Bachelor’s, I still needed to get certified as a teacher. Forget it. I started applying for jobs. On August 1, 2011, I started a job as a banker. Little did I know, it was the beginning of a miserable career that would turn into a dream come true.
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