I am so excited to share this story. It is a blog everyone facing adversity MUST read. One day you are a young vivacious woman pursuing your dream career and the next you are near death and told everything about your life as you love it must change. What would you do?
This is a very special interview with Jan Fowler and her journey back to the top after having to redesign her life, and how she is doing it through Living by Giving.
Kate: Hi Jan! Thank you so much for your time and for sharing your Living by Giving story with us.
Jan: Thanks Kate. I'm excited for this opportunity to share my life story and my giving story. I consider myself one of the luckiest survivors ever put on this planet. I have been in Atlanta for over ten years and was blessed with an amazing hairstyling career at a great Atlanta salon. Two years ago, I developed a severe food allergy to citrus. My allergy attacks were hard but when it began affecting my career, my life got thrown for a crazy loop. Come to find out there are citrus based chemicals in everything. Including the majority of hair products. Eventually, after trying many different alternatives, I became allergic to hair color. I passed out in the middle of doing highlights, was rushed to the ER, stabbed with an EPI pen and was told that my job was going to kill me.
I was at a very low point in my life. I loved doing hair, it was all I knew and everything I was, but I had to stop. I fell into a very sad place, but always found joy when I was with my dogs. I began helping neighbors out with their dogs and cats when they were away. Then one day it hit me…..Pets and the Sity. I started small and was still struggling with the loss of my career. I didn’t know what I was doing, what my plan was or where this would take me, but it felt good and being with the animals made me happier then I could have ever imagined. I worked hard, hit the streets, tried to spread the word and a year later, I have been full time, I have 5 staff members, tons of amazing clients and more purpose then I have ever had in my life. Pets and the Sity came to me and I was lucky enough to have faith and believe that I could make lemonade out of lemons….allergy or not!
Kate: Wow! You had to package up your passion for hair, put it aside, because it literally would have killed you. But you picked yourself up and started this fantastic company. Tell us some of the services you offer at Pet and the Sity?
Jan: Pets and the Sityoffers a variety of in home pet care services. Our goal is to make sure when the pet parent is away, the pet is safe, comfortable and happy in their own home. Whether it is a long day at work or a week long vacation, we are here to care for all of your pets needs. Dog walks, cat visits, play time, feedings, grooming, training, overnights and most importantly…LOVE! We believe pets were put on this planet to enrich our lives. Our mission at Pets and the Sity is to enrich the lives of your pets!
Kate: And with all this, the coolest thing is you've also become a spokesperson for a non-profit organization called Safe Haven 4 Pets. Tell us about that.
Jan: I came across Safe Haven 4 Pets doing a search for places that needed pet sitter volunteers. Once I saw the website and did some research I was immediately drawn to this organization. What they are doing is incredibly close to my heart and I feel very strongly about their vision. They help pets and pet parents stay together and remain safe during times of hardships. Whether it is a medical issue or deployment, whatever the case may be, Safe Haven comes in and helps people out with their animal so owners can keep pets and not have to let go of them when they are struggling. I was in that situation when my allergy began. I had a few months when I was dealing with third degree burns on both of my hands because I came into contact with lime juice. I couldn’t feed myself let alone take care of my dogs. I knew that the smart thing would have been to have my pugs go to someone’s house, but they were my sunshine and I needed them with me.
Once I was healed and began Pets and the Sity, I knew this was the outlet for me to give back to next. Some people don’t have the support system that I do. Some people just moved here and don’t have family or friends to step up to the plate. So I figured this was my next step in giving. Giving back to people who need help with their animal but can’t lose them.
Kate: Love it! I love how you found something close to the vest to start Living by Giving. Why is Giving so important to you in your life? And what advice would you give to someone looking for a special cause to connect to and start Living by Giving.
Jan: I think GIVING is the most important thing we as individuals can do. Giving back to the community and too each other is what I believe we were put on this planet to do. We all need help. Whether it is something major or very small….we all will need help at some point in our lives. By giving your help, when you need it, not only will it be easier to accept, it will also unite people and give you support to go through whatever it is you are experiencing. I feel blessed every single day that I wake up. Blessed to have my pugs next to me, blessed to have my family and friends, blessed to have the sun to shine in and air to breathe. I like to give back as much as I have received and for 31 years I have received the gift of this amazing, fun, trying yet beautiful life I live. So for me giving just seems appropriate and feels really good. I think when you find something that you love, giving is easy. And everyone has that one thing they connect too. When I was a hair stylist I cut hair at women’s and homeless shelters. I became certified in Pilates and went to a teen center to teach Pilates to the girls. Now with Pets and the Sity, I have a plethora of animal organizations who need help and awareness. When you have a talent, a passion…even a hobby, sharing it with someone in need is just fun. So, whatever you like to do, giving that fun and love back to someone just makes things come full circle and that is why we are here!
Kate: One of my favorite questions to ask is, ‘What is your Giving Dream?’ If money, time, and resources are no obstacle, what’s your dream for making the world a better place?
Jan: WOW….There are so many people, creatures and resources that need help. I would love this world to be filled with zero frowns, zero hatred and zero worry, but I will stick to my animal giving dream on this one. I think there is nothing more special then the animal human connection. I have experienced the lowest of the low and know for sure that my furry friends helped me out of it. I would want to give that to everyone. Everyone who is sad, sick, worried, scared, lost or just lonely. There is a homeless animal out there who can help that person survive and that person can give that animal the only thing it really craves….devotion. My giving dream would be connecting these amazing animals with us so everyone could feel the truest form of loyalty. We as human can give them a home, food, water and safety and they could give us all we really need which is comfort and more importantly love.
Thanks Jan!! Good luck with Pets and the Sity and your Giving Dream.
You can support Jan and Safe Haven 4 pets coming up next week. Pets and the Sity is hosting a pet-friendly pub crawl in Buckhead on Wednesday, the 27th. Furry friends can tag along as the group crawls through East Andrews, Genki and ends at Pool Hall. There is a Halloween theme so costumes are encouraged for all pets and pet parents involved! There will be drink specials and light appetizers at each venue and we are asking for a $5.00 donation with 100% of the proceeds going to Safe Haven 4 Pets. For more information visit: Pets and the Sity