How Diana Got Her Groove Back (And Found Her Passion)

Way back in May, I put a call out on Facebook offering free advertising on this site to readers. I was tickled to be able to help a few people promote their new businesses, websites and projects. What I didn’t expect was to have an old friend of mine reach out and ask me to help promote a non-profit organization – or to hear the story of how she found her passion.

My friendship with Diana goes way back to the beginning of my blogging days. She was writing about living in Singapore and I was writing about life in Parkersburg, Iowa. She and her husband moved back to the United States in 2008 and she pretty much stopped blogging.

Diana came home to an empty house – her two sons are grown – and was surprised at how empty it felt. “I felt alone and aimless,” Diana told me.

What’s an empty nester no longer enjoying an exotic ex-pat life to do? Get a pet, of course!

Diana and her family had always had pets until their move to Singapore, when they had to euthanize their beloved family friend due to congestive heart failure. “All the while we were living in Singapore I missed my Woofie,” said Diana. “During our time overseas, I kept reminding Michael that I needed a dog once we repatriated. Both of us missed her love and company.”

So they come home, the house is empty, and she naturally starts looking for a new pet.

“It wasn’t long after we unpacked our belongings, that I discovered my friend’s posts on Facebook about her newest pup, Chile, a Havanese. Once I saw Chile and the rest of Mary’s pack, I knew I had to have a Havanese dog myself.”

But there was a catch…

“After researching and discussing the breed with (my friend), I realized that there was no way we could afford such an expense for a pure-bred Havanese dog. Especially, since so many need to be rescued.”

As it turns out, Havanese dogs are adorable, but very high maintenance. They are difficult to house train, they need tons of grooming, they require lots of attention, and they have a tendency to develop medical issues. In other words, they aren’t a pet it and forget it animal – which means a lot of people end up getting in over their heads and then not being able to take care of the dogs.

Diana’s friend told her about Havanese Rescue Inc. and she immediately applied to adopt and to volunteer. A week later, she was driving from her home in Georgia to Cocoa, Florida to pick up not one, but two little Havanese: Clyde and Hunter.

Diana began fostering Havanese through the rescue organization.

“My very first, was a boy named Sam whose mom was undergoing chemo for breast cancer. She knew she couldn’t care for him properly in her home, but she had him tied to a post outside. He was a matted-up mess and unsocialized. Lord, he was a handful, especially for my first foster.”

Since Sam, Diana and her husband have fostered several dogs, and even taken a couple into their home permanently. Buddy was picked up from the median of a highway in Chattanooga and found a permanent home when he taught Clyde and Hunter how to play. Ernie, their next foster “failure”, was spotted in a New Orleans shelter.

“He had a lame hind leg that the shelter vet thought should be amputated. Our volunteer took him to her own vet who performed surgery to repair his leg. I still have visions of Ernie’s X-rays with pins all over the place. No volunteers offered to foster him because they all knew that he would be a long-term fella. That tore me apart.”

A few days after Diana picked up Ernie, he had to have his right hind leg amputated.

“We couldn’t let him go after all we’d been through.”

With four of her own Havanese in her home, Diana now can only do short-term fostering. She hasn’t let that stop her from getting more involved with Havanese Rescue, however, and has been volunteering in other areas. “I’ve served as a State Contact, Intake, Assistance, and now serve on the Board of Directors, as well as editor of the monthly Newsletter, Geek Squad Chair, member of the Public Awareness Committee and Technology co-chair.”

What I love about this story is that it wasn’t at all a part of Diana’s life when I first met her several years ago. And now, because she decided to go ahead and fill out an application online one day, she has a brand new passion.

“Havanese Rescue means the world to me, and has helped me to find a new side of myself at this late-stage in my life. I may not be paid actual dollars for my work, but the last four years have been some of the most rewarding in my life.”

Diana’s new-found purpose reminds of the importance of saying yes. It encourages me to follow up on my whims, to fall down the rabbit hole, and to find out more about those ideas that sound kind of crazy at first.

You never know around which corner (or application) your passion is waiting.

“Britt, I love the work I do.”

Isn’t that what we’re all hoping to find?

If you enjoyed this post, consider sharing it with someone who loves animals more than people.

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  1. Nyt says:

    Animals have always been my passion as well. Fostering is off the table for me (I have three dogs of my own and a heart that just cannot let anyone go once they enter..)but I wanted to let your readers know that there are other ways to help. I work with NBRAN doing transport. Most rescue organizations participate in what’s known as the “canine railroad”. The railroad moves dogs throughout the country to their foster or “forever” home, and volunteers are asked to drive a leg of the journey. If you have a favorite breed, group, or size check out those rescues, there just may be something you can do….

  2. Megan says:

    I love Diana and remember her telling me about her drive to Cocoa to pick up the boys. She was glowing. I can’t think of a better person to do what she’s doing. She’s a hero.
    Megan’s most recent post: Fifty Two, Week 5: This Old House

  3. A painting friend used to raise havanese dogs and still has one. She loves them tremendously. What cuties they are. I love this story of passion!
    Jill of All Trades’s most recent post: Maternity Photo

  4. Liz says:

    I love hearing others’ stories about doing what they love. I think fostering pets is an awesome idea!
    Liz’s most recent post: Letting Help In

  5. Diana Brooks says:

    Britt, I can’t thank you enough for sharing my story so eloquently. Your timing is perfect.

    HRI is at a cross-roads because we just don’t have enough volunteers to foster the dogs that need us. We’re presented with a multitude of dogs weekly, but we don’t have foster homes for them.

    It is my hope that all of you can spread the word. Puppy-mills and back-yard breeders are the demise of all breeds.

    Don’t shop, ADOPT!

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