PetAid Interviews Michelle Wildman of PetSmart Charities

Michelle is a district manager for PetSmart in Colorado and oversees 13 locations; she has been with the company for over 20 years. She currently serves on the PetAid board of directors and several committees. She attended West Texas A&M University and has resided in Colorado with her family since 2012.

About her pets:

My pets are Haylee (Australian Shepherd, just turned 14 in March), Taylor (Havanese mix,1 years old) and IceCream the Bearded Dragon (3 years old and gets a new name every few months).

About the owners:

Our human family consists of myself, my husband Kevin, Seth (18), and Caitlin (8). Kevin and I actually met when we were both working at a PetSmart in Amarillo, Texas.

What’s the inspiration behind your pets’ names?

Haylee came to us as a rescue when she was three, so she was already named. Taylor was named after Taylor Swift, my daughter’s favorite singer. Since the Bearded Dragon doesn’t come when we call her, she has had many names since we got her. She doesn’t seem to mind.

How long have you been pet owners?

I have always had a pet my entire life. I couldn’t imagine my life without one. I always wanted to be a veterinarian or a marine biologist while growing up.

What are your pets’ most annoying habits?

Although both of the dogs will lick you to death, they need to tell you repeatedly that there is an unidentified human, sound, or leaf blowing within 100 feet of the house at all times.

Most endearing habit?

Taylor will not let Haylee wear any accessories (bows, feathers, etc). She is the only one allowed to be a diva in the house. Haylee gets Taylor back though by eating all of her food when she isn’t looking. She just doesn’t understand that all of the extra food is making her lose her girlish figure.

What are your pets’ favorite treats?

My girls are not picky and they get treats often, but I feel like they are most excited when the jerky bag comes out of the treat closet.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your pets?

Although Haylee is 98 in human years, has arthritis and tumors all over her body, she never complains and always greets me with a wagging tail every time I come home. She has taught me that no matter how I feel or if I had a bad day, I could still make someone else’s day better by just being friendly.

Name one way that you think pets are superior to humans:

Pets seem to stay forever young. No matter how old and wise they get, they still enjoy the simple things in life such as rolling in the dirt or chasing a toy.

How long have you been supporting PetAid Colorado and why?

I started supporting PetAid in 2012 right after the multiple fires that plagued Colorado. Every district manager at PetSmart was given funds to support a local community group and I did some research on the internet and found PetAid. It was very timely, as one of our store managers had their home burned in the Black Forest Fire and had to have their pets evacuated. We also wanted to give back in more than just a monetary way, so we did a PetAid Disaster Services volunteer day with over 30 of our local store managers, helping PetAid reorganize the local rescue trailers that had been overused during the rescue missions.

From there, I began to personally volunteer my own time to help PetAid. I believe that their programs fulfill their vision of providing the needed services to underprivileged pets to keep them bonded with their human companions. I had the pleasure to serve on a subcommittee for the inaugural Woof Fest! The Benefit Concert for Underprivileged Pets in 2014. I get to continue to work with the team to put on another Woof Fest! event this fall.  However, I was truly surprised and honored when I was asked if I would consider joining the PetAid board this year. I attended my first meeting earlier this year and was immediately impressed by not only all of the talented professionals in the room, but their passion to help underserved and deserving pets in our community. I am forever grateful for this opportunity to be a part of something so special and impactful in our community.