A rescued Katrina dog inspires a career change


Bourbon being carried out of the house where he was found

A new pet supply store called Living Ruff just opened across the street from my office in Silver Spring, MD.

Owners Jessica and Ron Simon’s story reminded me  that adopting a homeless pet can very literally change your life, often in unexpected ways.

When they adopted a dog abandoned during Hurricane Katrina, they didn’t know he would change not just their lives, but their careers.

The dog, Bourbon, was a sick, emaciated Spitz mix found trapped under a couch in a house that had been marked “clear” by searchers weeks before.

Gravely ill, he was transported to Washington, D.C., where he was cared for by the Washington Animal Rescue League. Jessica and Ron learned about him and adopted him. Then they adopted another dog, Yogi. And then a cat. The “zoo” in their home helped them make some life-altering decisions.


Ron and Jessica with a friend, Bourbon and Yogi

taken us a few years to come to the realization that the hustle and
bustle of corporate life wasn’t for us,” Jessica says. “We’ve thought for some time about how we
might be able to bring our passion for pets to the community” — and thus Living Ruff was born.

The Simons support animal rescue and advocacy groups such as WARL and the Montgomery County Humane Society, and work to raise awareness of animal issues and responsible pet adoption. Way to go, Jessica and Ron!

A question for you: Have your adopted pets changed your life in unexpected ways?