A lifelong learner, Jen is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC), Associate Certified Coach (ACC) and member of the International Coach Federation. She also holds her Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) designation and has over 10 years' experience in the field. She graduated with a Certificate in Human Resources Management and Diploma in Marketing Management (Communications) from BCIT.
Jen is a cat enthusiast, pet parent to Pen, Ink and Paper, and Volunteer Committee Member for the Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association (VOKRA).
When I moved into my first place, I decided to adopt a feline companion and welcomed Baxter into my life. He was a quirky little cat and we developed a special bond. After a few months, I adopted a buddy for him and Scooter became a part of my furry family.
After 17 years, Baxter was diagnosed with cancer and I was told he only had a few months to live. He exceeded expectations and lived comfortably for another year. But then he slowly started to fade and I knew our time together was coming to an end. That was my first experience with euthanasia and it was a heart-wrenching decision to make. Of course, I knew it was the compassionate thing to do but the logic of it didn’t ease the emotional pain. It was a crisp fall morning when we said goodbye. I was devastated. I can’t explain that instant connection when I first met Baxter but I still feel it years after his passing.
A few weeks later Scooter stopped eating. We took him to the vet expecting that we would be given some medication and be sent back home. My heart sunk as our vet told us that Scooter had a cancerous mass in his abdomen, and likely wouldn’t live to the end of the week. My mind was reeling and I felt overwhelmed. How could this be happening only 6 weeks after Baxter’s passing? I was still grieving his loss; how could I possibly handle another? We took Scooter home, two more days to spend together before making the final trip back to the vet. It felt like my heart broke into a million pieces as we let him go.
I remember the range of emotions I went through. The saddness, worry, anger, guilt, relief, and the feeling that I wasn't doing enough. Second guessing the decisions I was making around treatment and end-of life. Trying to juggle work and an endless number of vet trips. The stress of trying to balance commitments while giving myself time to grieve. Feeling judged by others, alone, and that no one else really understood. I was physically and mentally drained.
I knew I wanted to make a difference and help others on their journey of pet illness and loss, so that they didn’t have to feel alone or judged. To give them a safe space to be present with their emotions and honour their relationship with their pet. To let them know they will make it through this.
I’ve since opened my heart and home to three rescue cats who bring me so much happiness. Baxter and Scooter will always hold a special place in my heart and I do this work to honour their memory.