I first met Diana when she was kind enough to allow us to have adoption clinics at her location. She is a strong avocate for all animals and supports her community in every way possible . And…it’s her birthday this week!!!
Tell us about yourself.
I was born in Armenia, and at 8 years old moved to the United States. By the time I reached my early teens, my family decided to move here to Montreal. It was difficult going through all these changes, but I’d like to think that it helped build my character and make me a stronger person.
I live in the Eastern Townships with my babies: 3 Dachshunds, 1 Beagle, 1 German Shepherd and 4 cats. All rescues that I brought home throughout my career as a rescuer!
Did you know at a young age this is what your future held ?
I had a passionate sense of compassion for animals since very early childhood – somehow they always managed to pull at my heartstrings and make me want to help them, feed them, protect them (and yes, bring them home). The very first experience that stands out in my mind was myself at about 6 or 7 years old, standing up to three teenage boys in an alley where they were torturing a kitten. I remember hitting one of them across his hand with the wooden handle of my jump-rope. As he moved toward me (I assume in order to kill me), my then much younger Grandmother appeared out of nowhere and scared the boys away. Thank God, otherwise I might not be sitting here today! LOL!! As an adult I ended up working in administrative offices of various companies, including a law firm. None of these jobs were gratifying, but I, like so many people, stayed for the money… until I burned out at 28 years old.
The store is wonderful and so much fun to be in… how did it come about?
Naturalanimal came into existence from the very depths of my heart and soul. My burnout was so severe, that the panic attacks that I was having sometimes prevented me from leaving my own home. I looked for natural solutions to help ease my own suffering by studying the effects of nutrition, herbology and homeopathy upon the living body. At the same time, my late German Shepherd, Kelly, came into my life and she also needed my help with her health. She constantly suffered from allergies as well as chronic vomiting and diarrhea, and no matter how much I changed her dry food from commercial, to veterinary, to “natural” it didn’t seem to help, or at least not for very long. I decided to cook for her and began applying the knowledge that I was gaining for my own health to hers. In the process I realized that there were no health food stores for pets as there are for people, there was no one to educate pet guardians about what is really healthy without any bias. I started doing my research and saw that there was a need for a place where people could go and ask the hard-core questions that would help improve their pets’ quality of life, and not just get the usual rundown of the maximums and minimums of protein written on the package, or the sales pitch that really does not leave anyone wiser about what is truly healthy for their pet. We therefore specialize in counselling our clients individually, specifically according to the condition’s needs of their dog or cat. We get referrals from veterinarians, and that touches me deeply as it demonstrates that we have earned their trust and respect. Dr. Helaine Haltrecht also works with us by providing her services in veterinary acupuncture and Chinese medicine.
How did you become so involved with Montreal rescues?
We initially got involved with the Animal Rescue Network, which led us to communicate with many other rescue groups who sought our support by providing them with exposure at adoption days, as well as holding fund raisers. This is the most gratifying part of my work – knowing that I am helping to not only improve animals’ lives, but in many cases help save them.
For Love Of Paws is a new brainchild of mine, designed to reach out as far as possible through the Internet. Currently our Facebook page provides a forum for rescues to show the available pets they have for adoption. It is also a great way to advertise for any lost or found animals – Facebook allows for a huge audience, what better place to look for your pet? For Love of Paws is also in the process of building an informative blog (www.forloveofpaws.org) and a web site (www.forloveofpaws.com). These two entities will be dedicated to education about animal welfare, as well as offer numerous pages for shelter listings. We will have an on-line store which will carry supplements, books and homeopathic remedies, as well as my own hand-made jewelry line which will help raise funds for various rescues. Currently we already have pet charms as well as key/purse charms and gemstone bracelets available at our store, and coming soon to the Eleven Eleven Rescue web site. Many new projects, that’s for sure!!
Whats in the future for Diana?
As far as I’m concerned, my life will always revolve around animals and their welfare – I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. My goals are to develop as strong and wide a network as possible through For Love Of Paws, in order to save as many animals as possible, to help raise funds for them, and to EDUCATE the public to become better pet guardians through the actions they take beginning from the moment they decide to acquire a pet, to a greater understanding of what goes on in our world in respect to animal welfare. Once one becomes aware of animal plights from factory farming, to the cruelest fur industry where animals are skinned alive, to often unnecessary animal testing, to countless torture chambers called puppy mills, one cannot turn their heads and say they never knew, or they would have done something about it. Every day choices that we all make, bare direct consequences on animals’ lives throughout our planet – we are all responsible.