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Inspiring Conversations with Lauren Botticelli of The Animal Pad

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lauren Botticelli.

Hi Lauren, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I came to join The Animal Pad at a time in my life when I needed it most, even though I didn’t even know it at the time. I was desperate to find my purpose and was looking to make tangible change in what felt like a pretty bleak and sometimes depressing world. Maybe my answer was dogs, I thought, and maybe I could help out temporarily and save a life or two. I applied to foster at 5 or so organizations in San Diego and TAP (The Animal Pad) was the only rescue that responded to me.

Less than 1 hour after applying, I was sent a photo of an Australian Shepherd who had been shot in the face by a BB gun while living as a stray in the desert, and less than an hour later I was at the shelter picking him up. We named him Rusty and I didn’t know it then but he would be the dog that sucked me in. Caring for him changed me and showed me my true passion. 4 years later, I am the Director of Operations with The Animal Pad and this rescue is my entire heart.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
It hasn’t been smooth all the time, but it hasn’t been overly rocky, either. I think when you find what you are meant to do, it does come somewhat naturally. The struggles I face are the overwhelming number of dogs that need our help, especially those on the streets of Mexico, where our organization primarily rescues from. We really don’t say no to a dog in need, but it can still feel like you are making such a small difference in the grand scheme of things, and trying to empty the ocean with a spoon.

In rescuing some of the sickest and most medically critical dogs, it is hard sometimes to find the good and remember why we do this work. It is hard to not lose faith in people when so much of what we see is ultimately caused by humans. It’s also hard when you come across a dog that you try like hell to save but aren’t able to. But then I’m sent a photo from a foster of their new foster dog in a cozy bed for the first time ever, or an adopter sends a text saying how much their new family member has changed their life, and I remember. We do it for them and it’s not easy, but it’s worth it. We rescue them, but they rescue us, too.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
The Animal Pad is a 501c3 nonprofit all-breed dog rescue in San Diego. We are 100% volunteer based and completely donation based, meaning every penny we run off of is donated by people like you and me, and it all goes directly to the dogs. The Animal Pad rescues dogs from Baja and beyond, as well as high-risk dogs here in SD. We weren’t always a medical-focused rescue, but have very much become one because we will take in the hard and seemingly hopeless cases that no one else will.

This is what I’m most proud of- A lot of dogs who would otherwise never have been given a shot get their chance, because of our rescue, and go on to live the amazing lives they deserve. We think it’s important for people to know that they can find any type of dog in rescue, and with so many dying each day at no fault of their own, rescuing is the only responsible option. A rescue dog will love you harder than you can imagine, and you will never regret welcoming a rescue dog home. We are always looking to add to our volunteer, foster, and adoption network, and anyone interested in being a part of our tribe is welcome!

How do you think about luck?
I don’t really believe in luck bringing me to where I am today, but more so fate. This is exactly where I am meant to be, and I am extremely grateful.

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

Madeline Barr
Nadia Leight

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