Small business owner Kelly Wallace has been on quite a journey. After being made redundant in 2008, she took destiny into her own hands and opened her own bookkeeping franchise. Not having a finance background, Kelly found the early days a struggle. However, quality training, head office support, and caring for rescue dogs made life less stressful. Today, her business is thriving. We caught up with Kelly and her canine crew to find out more.
How did you get involved in caring for rescue dogs?
A friend of mine volunteers for a rescue charity called Silver Linings Pet Rescue Inc. Back in May, I mentioned that I was interested in helping by becoming a foster carer and she pretty much signed me up on the spot. Three days after our chat, my friend called and said there was a dog called Skye in desperate need of help — and she moved into my house the 3 days later!
What was fostering Skye like?
It was a bit of an adjustment to start with because it took a little time for our family dog Rudy to get used to Skye. We also had to teach Skye some basic behavioural and social skills because she’d picked up some bad manners in the pound. However, after a couple of months of discipline, kindness, and good care, she emerged from her shell as a gentle, loving, and fun dog. This was extremely rewarding, but it made letting her go to a permanent home hard. I’m still in touch with her new family, and it’s clear from the photos they adore her so I can’t cry too much!
Can you tell us a bit more about Silver Linings Pet Rescue?
It’s a not-for-profit Australian animal rescue charity that’s run by a core team of dedicated volunteers who work hard to give animals that can’t remain in shelters or are on the kill lists in pet pounds, a second chance. Many of the animals rescued are just hours away from being put down, they are frightened and often in poor condition. Some of them come into Silver Linings pregnant and we have to be place them with people who are happy to look after them and their litters. They rely solely on donations which makes finding foster carers like me and new ‘furever’ homes a constant challenge.
What’s the most inspiring part of being a foster carer?
These rescue animals often find themselves in dire straits through no fault of their own. They don’t deserve to die just because their previous owners can’t care for them anymore. I’ve fostered three dogs so far, and it feels very rewarding to be able to be able to offer them a safe-haven in a loving home. It’s also very inspiring to work with people who’ve such big hearts and who give up so much of their free time to save animals.
Has fostering dogs benefitted your business?
Yes, because my dogs help keep me calm when I feel a bit overwhelmed with work. Taking them for a walk gives me the fresh air I need to clear my head, and cuddling them relieves my tensions and helps puts things back into perspective. Dogs offer unconditional love, and that’s very comforting, especially when I’m having a hard day. I’ve got a couple of clients with office dogs, and I love visiting them because their dogs create such a welcoming atmosphere and help us connect on a personal as well as a business level.
Do you think more offices should be dog-friendly?
Definitely. I think friendly, and well-socialised dogs help create a harmonious work environment and give people time-out from stressful situations. And if staff feel relaxed and happy, then they usually do better in their job — a win-win for everyone.
Have you experienced any challenges as a foster carer?
If the dog has behavioural issues fostering isn’t always easy. My family fostered a dog called Buddy, and he was a bit of a handful who ended up attacking our neighbour’s dog. It was really upsetting for everyone and we had to find Buddy a new home.
Are you looking after anyone cute and fluffy now?
Yes, we’re fostering a sweet little American Staffordshire Terrier cross puppy called Whiskey and have applied to adopt him permanently because my daughter has fallen in love with him. He has similar markings and the same gentle nature as our other dog Rudy, so we think he’s going to fit into our family well.
Do you think it’s important for bookkeepers to have outside interests?
Absolutely! Whether it’s caring for rescue dogs or playing golf, I think everyone needs an outlet away from work to keep them happy. If you don’t, then you run the risk of driving yourself into the ground and long-term that’s not good for business.