What If?

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend a very fun ASPCA event on Capitol Hill to raise awareness about adopting and animal rescue. The event, Paws for Celebration, brought together shelters and rescue groups from around the DC area to gather in the House of Representatives’ Canon House Office Building and meet with lawmakers during the lunch hour. It was fun, it was festive and it was a feel-good event for a good cause.


I’ve done my fair share of tabling and adoption events, but this one was a bit different. As the event got started, the room was suddenly full of hundreds of good looking, well dressed and nicely groomed (no pun intended) men and women. Most of them were in business suits or nice dresses and high heels. Then there were the shelters and rescue groups, most of us in polos or t-shirts. The difference between the two groups on a superficial level was stark – it was very interesting to be blending worlds.

I briefly envied the girls who got to wear fancy clothes and nice jewelry to their jobs. I wondered what it was like to have a job like that; a government job, where you worked in the city with important people and did important things. I thought about what their salaries might be, not working for a non-profit, and how, even at our age, they can probably afford things like going to happy hour after work or taking spontaneous trips and not having to freak out about expenses. My mind started to wander to “what if I’d picked a different major in college, and worked as hard as I did in my Animal Science degree in another field, like business… then I could wear all the high heels I want and afford the fancy clothes and nice dinners and I could do animal welfare stuff as a hobby and not a full time, emotionally taxing career.”

But then I looked at the two little adoptable cuties we had brought with us, and without thinking I rewarded them both for bringing their attention to me because I knew that would help them continue their calm behavior – and that was the moment I remembered how easy this comes to me and how blessed I am to be working and getting paid doing something I absolutely love. Sure, my work outfit usually consists of flats and I have to skip the social dinner outings most of the time – but I have been given more opportunities to pursue what I love in the short two years I’ve been working than most people get in their lifetime. I am lucky beyond words – and I am happy to lead a career where I am the one wearing the polo shirt, not the business suits.


14 thoughts on “What If?

  1. I wear the heals and dresses and envy those like you. I work at rescuing in the evenings and on weekends. If only I could have chosen to work with animals 20 years ago…

    • Trish

      It isn’t too late. I just started working for an animal welfare org after 20 years I’m advertising. I took a pay cut but it is so worth it. And I found a position where I could leverage my marketing background. If you want it, keep your eyes open. :)

  2. Kelly

    I can’t think of a more important job than what you do every day for our four legged friends because they can’t do it for themselves….

  3. Lynnie

    Great blog and interesting comments. It’s all relative. I’m grateful that you had the opportunity, in that moment, and realized the blessings in what you have and what you are doing. Heels and dresses and money are all superficial and meaningless. What you are doing is what counts. And what YOU are doing matters a LOT in this world.

  4. Kirsten

    Haha, I’m with Jena – I’d gladly trade the suits, heels, and 10-hour days in front of a computer screen for more time to do Pit Crew stuff, and maybe even start fostering…maybe someday when I win the lottery :P

  5. Sure the money gives a pretty comfortable life, but the dresses and heels come with their own set of politics and angst so…. it’s really what priorities one has in life and it’s all good as long as you are happy where you are at :)

  6. There a “what if” for everything :-) I attended our Animal Advocacy Day here in Albany in June. It was great to see people from both worlds working together to create and maintain stronger laws for animal abuse! Although I wish I could do more and dream about what I could do in those government positions, I wouldn’t trade having the rescue side of it for anything.
    -Corbin’s momma Jenn

  7. Andrea Joy

    As an attorney who wears heels to work every day and rushes home as soon as I can after work to see my dog and my foster dog and cherishes the weekends, I’ve gotta say I think you’re right that you’ve got it pretty good!

  8. Trish

    After 20 years of working, I left a job in advertising where everyone dressed to kill and social events were just part of your daily requirements to go work for a large animal welfare group – and I have never been happier. In under a year I am more fulfilled than I have ever been in all my adult life. So you are smart to recognize how lucky you are to have tapped into your passion at such a young age. :)

  9. This is amazing, and definitely made me smile. We have talked before about this subject, so I think you know how much I relate to all of the things you shared here. This is a great reminder that where we are in life is usually right where we are meant to be! Thank you for sharing your journey with all of us… and don’t forget that no matter where you are, there is always at least one person out there (me! in this case haha) that would be happy to trade places, at least for a little while. I think you are a fantastic person, so don’t ever get caught in the trap of envy. Who knows, perhaps those girls who have it all together on the surface are incredibly involved in giving back to their communities… but then again, maybe they aren’t the type of people that care about doing their part to make the world a better place. I think that where you are in life is honestly much further along than most people our age!

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