We are here to save lives. Even to myself it sounds absurd sometimes, or at least a little grandiose. Like many I want to do good, make an impact, and the choice I made is to save the lives of those who can’t save their own.
I haven’t always been crazy enough to just quit and start a company to help those who help animals, I started out selling hot dogs when I was 17. I decided I wanted a life with a purpose, the hard part is choosing one, picking something to dedicate a life to and follow it through. I decided I wanted to help people, so I chose nursing, and was promptly convinced against it, so I chose computer science instead. I decided that I would choose a skill that could help people, and figure out the how later. I got an internship, and the internship turned into a full time position before I even finished school. I finished my bachelor’s at ASU and quickly realized a horrifying truth. I had learned the skill, but missed the purpose behind why I learned it in the first place. I had strayed from why I had set out. I learned to build technology, but was not using it to help others, instead it only helped the owners of the company make more money. When realization set in I became miserable, but I resolved to turn it around, to bring myself back to why I had decided to become a software engineer in the first place.
I thought about my past, growing up I would find lost dogs and bring them back to their owners. I thought about my dogs I had growing up, Pumpkin, Peachy, Maggie, Sydney, Luna, and Cooper, and the impact they had on my life, and the unconditional love only a dog can give. There had to be a way to help those who helped animals. Technology to help veterinarians? Technology to help make finding lost pets easier? Technology to help rescues? It felt right, I didn’t know how I would do it, but I had to try.
I made sure my next job was more in line with the mission. At minimum I had to help people, and I got lucky enough to get a job at Infusionsoft, a company whose mission is “We Help Small Businesses Succeed”. I learned about business, and about what it is like to be part of a community with a mission to do good. Then finally it happened, my old boss contacted me and asked my if I still wanted to help animals. I was put in touch with a rescue who needed help with technology and that was it. Every day I worked on the project my heart raced and I knew I was where I needed to be. However, things do not always go according to the plan. My partner in the rescue quit the rescue out of the blue, and the project was left to a board of directors that met no more than once a month. It was over. I couldn’t build the project, and the rescue didn’t even use it to do what it was built to do. You don’t forget that feeling though, knowing you are building something that could make a difference. If it wasn’t for my friends and family I may never have come to the conclusion.
Build something new. I couldn’t use the project I made before, it was owned by the rescue, but I could build something else, build something better. I decided to build something that doesn’t just help one rescue, but helps them all, and saves lives by getting more animals into temporary homes. I set a date and made a commitment to myself. I loved my coworkers but I had to try, and that’s where we are today. Trying, learning, growing, starting over. We aren’t there yet, but we are on our way, and we are going to get there.