Dignified Pet Services presents 'People in the Neighborhood'
This girl’s been mixing it up by working with animals and in the arts throughout her career. Founder of the website and blog, About Pet Rats, Jasmine has been a painter, a gallery director, a professional musician and a veterinary hospital manager.
In the ‘70s, Jasmine was a finalist in the Cincinnati Conservatory’s Van Cliburn competition. Her longest job title was Evening Orphan Baby Bird Feeder, while working in the Peninsula Humane Society’s Wildlife Care Center (in between being a professional musician and veterinary hospital manager).
Recently, About Pet Rats was a finalist in the BlogPaws 2016 Nose-to-Nose Awards in the “Other Pet” category.
Born in West Virginia, Jasmine lived in North Carolina, mostly Pennsylvania, and the Bay area from ’79-‘07. She’s been a West Linn resident for nine years, “truly at home among the trees and rivers.”
Having grown up with cats, Jasmine’s love for pet rats began while volunteering at Peninsula Humane in the SF Bay Area. “Not everyone knows how to care for these often underserved pets. Especially critical is helping those new to pet rats, as they have no experience and guidance is often needed during this time. It’s my pleasure and mission to help bring awareness to not only their health needs but also to what great pets rats are,” she smiles.
In fact, topping her bucket list is helping others learn “what amazing animals and pet rats are. Most people don’t realize rats play just like cats, groom like cats, come when called, can be litter-box trained and are incredibly intelligent.”
Rats live just 2-3 years, and Jasmine copes by thinking of them as flowers. “We don’t value flowers any less just because they don’t last very long,” she says. “It’s very rewarding to make sure their short-blooming lives are as amazing as they can be.”
While putting “countless hours and all her heart and soul” into About Pet Rats, Jasmine does find time for hobbies. She’s an avid knitter, loves to draw, and has recently begun playing music. She’d like to spend more time reading, and currently settles for audio books since she can listen while doing housework. Her favorite genre is Young Adult fiction. Jasmine also loves designing pet rat posters.
When asked what makes her different from other people, Jasmine laughs, “You mean besides the fact that I like rats? Okay, well, I grew up on a yellow brick road.” Truly.
What’s her favorite thing in the world? “Besides pet rats, it would be humor. I really wouldn’t be able to stay sane if it weren’t for humor.” She gets her fill training her pet rats to do tricks. “It’s fascinating to watch what they do naturally and then gently guide their behavior toward learning a trick. Henderson, for example, recently learned to bowl — using miniature balls and pins, of course!” He is now learning to shoot baskets. “It’s a very slow process, but I love getting in touch with each rat’s behavior patterns and helping them learn something new that’s fun for us both.” Henderson took to bowling fairly quickly, she says, adding that once he gets started, it’s hard to get him to stop!
Is there anything she misses about living on the east coast? “Just one: Fireflies.”
If Jasmine were to win the lottery, she’d continue doing what she’s doing. She says she’s doing what she loves and hopes to continue building her business so it’s self-sustaining.
What else does she aspire to? “I’m currently looking into working in social media or some sort of online work as a side business. Engaging with people on social media is so important when building trust with a business.” She currently manages seven different social media platforms for her growing enterprise.
What shoe is so Jasmine? “Bare feet!” Her home, which she shares with her partner, a locally renowned photographer, is a shoe-free zone. The family also includes cats Simone and Guy, and rats Twyla and Henderson, both Oregon Humane Society rescues. Jasmine says that while the current rats aren’t interested in a relationship with the cats, her previous rats have behaved aggressively, even going so far as to chase the cats!
Jasmine’s dream vacation would be to stay home to both beautify the home she shares with her partner, and to work and play more with her pets.
About our Sponsor
Dignified Pet Services has served the Portland-area community for 13 years. In addition to their core business of cremation and memorial services, Dignified co-sponsors the beloved annual Service of Remembrance at The Old Church in downtown Portland, as well as serving as wonderful supporters and friends of pets and those working in animal welfare. Proprietors Michael, Randy and Hunter live in Sherwood.
Christy Caballero writes from her soul about animals and their humans. She lives with three big greyhounds and one slightly neurotic foster greyhound -- who never wants to leave. Ever.