Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lauren's New Beginning =)

A quick recap to make sure everyone is on the same page; in May I collaborated with Isabella of Ella Photography to launch a contest to celebrate hitting 100 fans on my facebook page.  I was really happy with the response in terms of entries but boy was it ever hard to select a winner.  At the end of the day, with the help of Isabella, we were able to narrow it down to two winners!  So get ready to read one of the winning stories and get a sneak peak of some behind the scenes action; meet Lauren Scott and her awesome pup Vito.

Lauren and Vito  Photo by Isabella of Ella Photography

Lauren's Story

Over the course of the last year, my life has completely changed. Much like Janet's own story, I had been working for a couple of years in the field that I had studied: marketing. Although I loved the fast-paced, social whirlwind that was my career, something did not feel right. We were beginning to take on clients that were in direct conflict with many of my values. At the same time, my extra-curricular life saw me heavily involved in sustainable development, environmental, and animal welfare issues. I used to joke that I felt like my life was bipolar in nature: one side represented the linear path promised in universities, and the other, one that would require a giant leap of faith.

Countless sleepless nights and hours and hours of painstaking deliberation later, I took the plunge. For one of the first times in my life, I listed to my heart over my head and quit my job.

I was fortunate enough to be able to travel to Europe on my own for the summer, and spent a unprecedented amount of time focusing on what would make me happy in life. The result? What I knew all along. That my heart would only be content if I pursued what I believed in.

Upon my return, I came into my absolute dream job, and was hired as a campaigner for a leading animal welfare organization. I was able to keep the fast-paced ways I had loved so very much in marketing, but added to that what had been missing all along: campaigns that I believed in with every inch of my soul.

But here is where the real “new beginning” story lies...

About 6 months into my new job, I was called into a meeting at the local SPCA. Sitting around the boardroom table were some of the best and brightest in animal welfare in the city. I felt, once again, blessed to just be invited to be part of it all. However, there was one individual that I had not been expecting to be there that night, and who changed my life: a young pit bull terrier called Vito. A recent arrival at the SPCA, he had initially been abandoned in Ontario. Due to the province's ridiculous Breed-Specific-Legislation that bans even the sweetest pit bulls, he was destined for euthanasia. Lucky for Vito, a compassionate couple picked him up, and drove him all of the way to Quebec where he would at least be given a shot at adoption.

Isabella at work with Lauren and Vito
Vito was at the meeting that night as one of the directors of the SPCA regularly brings the adoptable pit bulls into the administrative offices, allowing them to exercise and socialize with the team. I knew from the moment I saw him in that boardroom that there was something special about Vito. Although I had initially only been planning on adopting a shelter dog in the late summer/early fall, I could not get his little face out of my mind. I could not forget his sweet temperament, or the way in which his eyes were pleading with everyone in the room to pretty-please love him.

A week later, I called my contact at the SPCA and announced that I was ready to enter the foster-to-adopt program with him. I was so excited! I had all of the paper work, and had called my family to let them know the news. Then, that same afternoon, I received a call from another key employee at the SPCA.There had apparently been a miscommunication, and Vito had already been foster-to-adopted out that morning. I was devastated! It was at that moment that I knew I had indeed been ready to add a canine member to the family. However, I am a big believer in fate, and thought it was perhaps just not meant to be. What was most import to me was that he had found a home.

A couple of weeks later, however, I received a phone call from that same SPCA contact. She said that the foster family was bringing Vito back for personal reasons, and wanted to know if I would still be interested. My heart skipped a beat. Of course I wanted him!

Two days and multiple excited phone calls to friends and family later, I had the boardroom pit bull in my house. It was exciting, scary, and incredibly fulfilling all at the same time. However, the one moment I will never forget came his first morning at my place. I woke up, came out of my bedroom, and witnessed one of the happiest scenes. Vito was lying on his new bed, with his whole body wiggling in excitement to see that I was still there. It was as if he understood in that instant that he had finally found his forever home, and was ready to start his new beginning.

Vito is now not only part of my own incredible, loving family with my parents, sister, aunts and uncles, but part of my office family. Every day, we walk to work, where he gets to spend his day with my coworkers, and even a flirtatious little golden doodle.

It has not even been a month since I made the decision to foster-to-adopt Vito, but already I cannot imagine life without him. Every day, I honestly learn something new from him. And it is in those very moments that I cannot help but believe that fate must have somehow been involved in allowing us to venture into this new beginning together.

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