Hello, it's me

Woah, that was a long stretch.

So why no blogging? There are a few reasons, but what it comes down to is that right now getting my thoughts out there takes a lot of energy, and I am really trying to use that energy to make some sort of impact with street dogs.

Since May I’ve been channeling everything I’ve got into launching my new nonprofit, For the Love of Dogs. It's a registered 501c3 in the US and the current focus is unloved dogs in Argentina and Portugal! 

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/274831

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/274831

I am sure it would be interesting to have been along for that ride with me (the highs, the lows, the I DON’T EFFING KNOWS!), but here is a brief summary of what my journey looks like, so far. I think it is similar to one of those entrepreneur graphs > 

What can I do to help?
Why can’t I find somewhere to volunteer?
Get. Me. Out. Of. Here.
But I love this guy.
Sweet! I can volunteer at a government sterilization center.
No one speaks English.
YAY! Day 1. OOPS, 2 cats escape (my fault), PHEW, caught them! Well that’s an infected hand, 20 punctures is definitely sexy.
I need to learn better Spanish.
Oh I can help write surgery notes.
And suture up ball sacks.
Ok sterilizations are key in helping dogs.
This place needs to be more efficient. Great idea! Make sterilizations more efficient!
Spanish, right, study.
How do I even start a nonprofit.
Ah that’s how.
Nope, this is.
I need to get my vet tech certification.
No, I am a marketer, I can find vets.
Paperwork. Legal Fees. 1 month waiting.
Dogs are so miserable in the streets here. And the world.
I cannot even understand anyone, how could I think I could run a nonprofit. I am lonely.
Who am I to even try?
I have my whole life to get this right. Relax.
Well at least Pato loves me regardless of how many dogs I save.
STUDY SPANISH YOU GODDAMN SLACKER. Ok, un poquito.
Wow I like what this brand is becoming.
Website. Logo. Content. Photos. I got this.
No. Logo. Is. Not. Right.
What even is a nonprofit? Haha, typical me, thinking I can do anything… Sigh.
I haven’t even helped one dog.
OMG we have a rescue dog. And I love her.
OMG more dogs, starving near our home.
I can speak with locals! I convinced them to sterilize the mamas!
This nonprofit is going to earn so much grant and fundraising dollars.
Still no final logo.
I am lonely AF. Why does the world have so many languages?
I hate to do this, but I need another version of that logo.
Ok, more sterilized dogs.
OMG no one will adopt this puppy. I will take care of him till he is better…
Amazing, a group I can volunteer in the streets with and find more in-need dogs.
My Spanish is better, a little.
I can’t put this puppy back on the street.
Headed to the US! Launching the nonprofit! I will be a great success!
And I will bring this puppy!
No one wants this puppy in the US.
OMG MOM WANTS THIS PUPPY.
How the hell does a puppy get into the US?
Get this website just right… And this fundraising campaign. It will be a wild success.
I don’t have the right paperwork.
HOORAH! The US with my little immigrant street dog!
Nonprofits are lots of work.
Ok LAUNCH!
Holy shit, fundraising is a lot of work. This is not EZ money.
Wow, so many people trusted me with their money. Now I have to do things.
22 dogs sterilized!
What do you mean the costs have increased?
I love my mission.
I will effect no change on this godforsaken earth and we will all die due to climate change.
Look what I can do. Save the dogs. Save the world.

it's all worth it to help these guys! thank you Mike Gelen!

it's all worth it to help these guys! thank you Mike Gelen!

You get it. Or maybe you don’t and you think I should be admitted into the psych ward. There are highs and there are lows, but I think that I’m living life with open arms. I’m building a new life with a really amazing guy (today is our 1 YEAR ANNIVERSARY!) - 2 months of backpacker romance, to 2 months of separation (while I taught English in Colombia), to intensive, grown-up-style, living together. We’re being creative about what our dreams look like and how we can turn them into a reality. How lucky am I?!

Also, I am so very excited to be able to present the website that I designed for my new brand, For the Love of Dogs here and the first fundraising campaign I have ever launched, 101 Sterilizations. My goal is to make sterilization (spay / neuter) sexy! Yaaaaa! Let's get it!

Also, I definitely couldn't do any of this alone. I am so very thankful to my sweet and sexy boytoy, Pato. To both of my parents and both of their partners. To all of my friends who have been supporting me in my ups and downs and freak out phone calls. To Michael Gelen, for the wonderful logo. To Nikki, for the wise & fun counsel. And to all the dogs, just because. 

Needs

beach yoga = free

beach yoga = free

Anyone who knows me has heard my rants, a skill I credit to Mr. John Anderson aka Dad. A recurring rant of mine has been Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and how they play into happiness. Low and behold Mr. Money Mustache covered these Needs this week (please note: required reading) and their relation to spending. In typical MMM fashion, he goes on about flexing your frugal muscles and cutting down on non-essential spending as a source of happiness.

In the last 2 years I've made drastic changes - I'm obnoxiously frugal, debt-free, a digital nomad, a vegetarian. When looking at the Needs, I've always met the basics (food, water, sleep). After the basics I've done ok too, I've maintained friendships, stayed in touch with my family, feel like I'm part of quite a few communities, fought off bed bugs successfully, am always doing something creative and artsy, and feel pretty secure in who I'm shaping up to be as a human.

walking everywhere = free

walking everywhere = free

I'm even doing alright financially, if you follow along on my tracker you'd notice that from January thru May I spent $5,354 on necessities and $1,633 on toys (camera, bike, tattoo, cancelled flights). What isn't in there is what I've made! Since I started working part time in mid-February, I've earned $7,476, plus a nice tax return of $2,794. My motto of "I'll travel til the money runs out" hasn't caught me... yet! 

Once the basic Needs have been sorted, us humans have the chance for Self Actualization. It comes as a result of creative pursuits, service and giving back. Now, by no means am I a saintly person - perhaps not eternal damnation bound, but growing up I spent countless hours on the Bad Chair in the corner, in detention, and banished to my room. If there were equivalents to these as an adult, I would still be putting in hard time. Yet I have an infinite soft spot for dogs. 4 days each week I've been volunteering at two bike-able sanctuaries here in the Algarve.

The first is ADAPO, where there is a run of 6 dogs plus 4 wild dogs who I feed, water, love and hangout with. The second is Goldra where there are on average 120 dogs. I do the same things with these guys in addition to cleaning cages, bathing, grooming, and photographing so that perhaps they might be adopted (or sponsored, here's a link to sponsor one if you want to help out!). Some of these pups have big issues - behavioral, blindness, hit by a car, or as many puppies in Portugal are, left in a dumpster. Troubles and all, I love them. Each and every one. As I spend time with each one, I start daydreaming about adopting him or her and how happy we could be and the mischief we could get into. Perhaps we could explore the U.S. in a cross-country road trip to see everyone I love and miss... Just like John Steinbeck & Charley.

Reality check: I can't provide a stable dog-home right now because I'm not sure what's next, but for the next few months I've found a home here in Portugal and I can spread my time amongst an entire dog family. And guess what? Although NEXT is completely up in the air, I think I'm on the right track. 

BONUS: I've updated my goals. The exercise around this is one I learned when I worked at lululemon, it's shaped me and my decisions since 2010. I've still got to drill down on the next 2 years but I am in LOVE with where I'm headed. Let me know if you would like to do the same and I can coach you!