Life

How Adopting a Dog From Companion Animal Alliance Changed My Life by Jordan Hefler

How Adopting a Dog From Companion Animal Alliance Changed My Life | Jordan Hefler

If you’ve been following along over the past month, you’ve probably seen my new little pup Ringo exploited all over my social media pages. I had always been a huge puppy lover and grew up with dogs as pets, and in recent years I had been ITCHING to adopt a pup of my own. As a solopreneur I am always thinking about the financial risks of owning a business and how my income can be inconsistent, and that mindset held me back from looking into dog adoption for so long.

Each summer I suffer from some sort of seasonal/entrepreneurial depression that comes from my severe hatred for humidity and hot weather as well as the lack of photographic opportunities I have between May-August. All spring I had been talking to everyone I knew about adopting a dog in anticipation for finally having something to DO during the summertime- albeit a financial burden during a season of predicted financial hardship. I believe that the universe throws things at us that we are ready for, and there were way too many signs pointing to the fact that it was time to finally adopt a new best friend.

How Adopting a Dog From Companion Animal Alliance Changed My Life | Jordan Hefler
How Adopting a Dog From Companion Animal Alliance Changed My Life | Jordan Hefler

One of those signs was the opportunity to be on a team of influencers for Baton Rouge’s Companion Animal Alliance. Although I am all about saving the dogs and promoting pet adoptions, I originally felt like I wouldn’t be a good fit for promoting awareness for the organization if I didn’t have any intentions of adopting a pet through them. Also, I didn’t know anything about what they did. I decided to meet with the rest of the team and do a tour of the shelter to learn more about what CAA does and how they need help spreading the word about their efforts to my community. You can probably guess what happened next….

Not even 1 minute into the tour I spotted a beagle in the second bay that we passed. I had always wanted a beagle and in my mind I had already named him Ringo after the drummer of my favorite band, The Beatles. I always imagined Ringo and I doing all types of things together (y’all I have trouble identifying my ideal client in my head but I ALWAYS was able to identify my ideal dog.) That tour we took was after hours so I couldn’t really stop and meet this dog (his shelter name was Carlton!!!) so I went home and kept him in the back of my mind. Carlton had such a different look about him and was already 2 years old, so I figured that would be perfect for me. Within two days I decided I needed to go back and spend some time with him out of the kennel, and the very next day after that I had made up my mind that I needed to adopt him. SO I DID!

I learned so much about Companion Animal Alliance through this process, like how they get upwards of 40 new animals brought to the shelter A DAY in the summertime. A DAY!!!! CAA has a policy where they don’t turn any animals away no matter what. They strive to adopt out as many as they can and have upped the save rate of animals to 70% from 20% since 2010. Carlton’s/Ringo’s story was that he was found at some truck stop 2 weeks prior. For many animals at CAA, the shelter amenities are a step up from their lives on the streets or tied up to some rope neglected. CAA relies on volunteers to come to the shelter and play with these animals, take them out for walks, take them out on “dates” as part of their “date a dog” program, and share photos of them on social media to help spread the word about who is available to be adopted.

Adopting Ringo completely changed my life. It is 1 month to the day since I adopted him, and it feels like I’ve had him for a lifetime. He still suffers from a bit of separation anxiety, so my schedule has changed drastically, and my perspective of time has also completely shifted. I legitimately feel like I’m on maternity leave and every minute I have I want to spend with him because we make each other so happy. Ringo has taught me patience, self discipline, time management, and the value of my life and time altogether.

I feel so grateful to be able to train him and give him the love and affection he must have been lacking before his time at CAA. I can’t praise CAA enough as an organization. There’s a lot of false information out there about “kill shelters” but the stats of CAA are publicly available. Yes, these animals are in a shelter and it can be sad to think about the outcomes of some situations. However, it is encouraging to know that there is an organization doing everything in their power to get these animals fed, vaccinated, played with, cared for, potentially reunited with their original owners, and vigorously marketed for adoption to people like me who didn’t know what they were missing out on this whole time.

My life is so much brighter now and I can’t even remember what it was like before!

If you have been thinking about going through the pet adoption process, I highly recommend you take a tour of the new Companion Animal Alliance shelter on LSU’s campus! Adopting through them is a huge way you can help, but there are more ways too. I just completed volunteer orientation this week and can’t wait to see how I can help CAA with pet photography, dog walking, donating blankets/newspapers, and writing blog posts like this to share my experience!

Here are some really great blog posts from others about ways you can help CAA without straight up adopting:

11 Things You Didn’t Know About Companion Animal Alliance

Five Ways You Can Help Companion Animal Alliance

If you have any questions about CAA or the adoption process, feel free to contact me and I can put you in touch with someone!

Follow Ringo on Instagram here!

How Adopting a Dog From Companion Animal Alliance Changed My Life | Jordan Hefler

Best of 2018 | Year in Review by Jordan Hefler

Best of 2018 | Year in Review | Jordan Hefler

It’s kind of a pain to write these Year in Review posts because it can be overwhelming to go over the past 12 months… BUT I do love having them to keep me accountable. It’s a dang good thing that I document my entire life on Instagram because I basically just go through 12 months of posts and link the highlights here.

I haven’t looked at the goals I wrote for 2018 literally since I wrote them 1 year ago, but they must have stuck subconsciously because I did in fact address them all throughout the year at some point!

New Years Resolutions of 2018 | Jordan Hefler

“Become more of a resource for other creative entrepreneurs and photographers. I want to write more tip guides on my blog, and offer online courses and workshops to help inspire others to Do What You Want. Did I hear someone say PODCAST????” - I launched my workshops in January of 2018, and have continued to blog consistently (almost) every week. I hope the topics I’ve written about have been helpful! The podcast didn’t happen YET but that’s literally in the works as we speak for early 2019!

“Do more blogging in general and social media influencer marketing. I love creating content for other brands, but I'd love to create more content for myself in partnership with brands.” -I did get to do a few paid promotions with Dollar Shave Club, K-Swiss, Maybelline, Ketel One, Ozarka, Clinique, and Pralines & Cream.

“Get more organized in my business. Taxes, budgeting, accounting in general... those are my weak points.” -This is something that will be a goal for every year always. I am always getting better but I still need to simmer down with my spending (I had a mid-life crisis in Vegas this past spring and bought a Gucci belt oops.)

“I'm going to need healthcare by September 2nd when I turn 26 LOL kill me.” -DID THIS and it’s robbing me blind every month yeehaw!

“Get my back right! Self care usually falls last on my list so I'm working on unapologetically putting myself first.” -I’ve spent the year getting dry needling done on a regular basis, going to yoga, and even starting Orange Theory to help build strength for my back pain!

Best of 2018 | Year in Review | Jordan Hefler

SPENDING 2 WEEKS PHOTOGRAPHING FOR SXSW IN AUSTIN

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casual #SXSW @blackpistolfire

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DABBLING IN PUBLIC SPEAKING OPPORTUNITIES

TRAVELING MORE LIKE OUT WEST, A CRUISE (TERRIBLE IDEA) AND TO ATLANTA

BEING HIRED BY LL COOL J’S TEAM FOR JAZZFEST

(sooo many more photos I’m not able to release, maybe someday!)

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Jazzfest with LL Cool J 🙌

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EXECUTING 2 ART SHOWS: “FIRST THREE, NO FLASH” AND “REMAINDER / REMINDER”

PHOTOGRAPHING LIVE MUSIC OF IMAGINE DRAGONS, UNDEROATH, THE LAST VANS WARPED TOUR, AND LIL DICKY

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THE USED @vanswarpedtour for @musicfelon

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PHOTOGRAPHING LSU FOOTBALL GAMES FOR 225 MAGAZINE

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doin tha thing

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PHOTOGRAPHING MORE LIFESTYLE MARKETING/COMMERCIAL WORK

PHOTOGRAPHING AMAZING PORTRAIT CLIENTS (YES, I STILL DO PORTRAIT WORK.. I JUST DON’T PROMOTE IT AS MUCH!)

DRASTICALLY CHANGING HAIRSTYLES…

Goals for 2019 | Jordan Hefler

-PODCAST. Do What You Want Radio. It’s coming y’all. But I am hoping to get it going enough to where it’s consistent, fun, and helpful for not only me but everyone else that listens. Stay tuned.

-Get into the wholesale game to pursue merch a little more.

-Keep blogging consistently and sending out a weekly newsletter. This is harder than it sounds, but I managed to do it all of 2018!

-Continue to post on Instagram at least once per day (been doing this since late 2014 and haven’t missed a day yet, don’t jinx me!!)

-Do more video based posts. I really wanted to make more videos this past year and it is so hard to keep up with, for real. Y’all have had good responses to my IG lives and video content, so I want to push that a little more.

-Create more passive income opportunities. Life is hard in those months when I’m not booking as much photo work. I am always looking for ways to work smarter, not harder.

Best of 2018 | Year in Review | Jordan Hefler

I never mean to make these posts so long but if you’re still reading, congratulations. All in all, I want to thank anybody who has hired me for any reason, liked any post on Instagram, read a blog post, purchased a workshop enrollment, or legitimately just smiled at me on the street. I encourage all of y’all to write your goals down and re-visit them every year, because it can be really gratifying to look back on what you’ve accomplished (this blog is literally just a public diary in my opinion.) It’s been a crazy fast year and I am always looking forward to the future!

Best of 2018 | Year in Review | Jordan Hefler