Growing up in our house was always an adventure when you are surrounded by animal lovers. The only way to get a “yes” for a new furry friend to enter the family was to bring it home and give it a name. Over the years, we had everything from birds, dogs and cats, to pocket pets and farm animals. People from all over the neighborhood knew where to come to get their pet fix.

I grew up riding horses and followed in my sisters’ footsteps and became a veterinary technician at what’s now Northstar Vets to help pay for college. It was the summer going into my junior year when Bob Thomas (a.k.a. Stink) came into my life. I came in to do morning rounds and there he was, batting around some Yesterdays News kitty litter with his mom in a cage in the treatment room.

They’d been abandoned overnight. As soon as I saw his stunning eyes and bobtail, I blurted out, “I’ll take him!” At the time, he fit in the palm of my hand and fifteen years later, we are still the best friends we became that day.

Stink was my first pet of my own in my adult life, the comfort I needed after a recent, painful event. Over the next two years, he made several trips back and forth to college with me; to this day, he still loves the car. Stink was even my co-pilot when I was a field representative at a former employer.

He moved out of my college apartment and into my parent’s house in the summers, and he moved out with me officially when I was 24. He has since decided my husband can stay with us too! We lived in three different houses, two states, acquired two fur sisters, a fur brother, and three little humans. Stink has bonded with my oldest son and cuddles him to bed every night. He will cry outside his door if he can’t get in, and it melts my heart every time.

Stink has been there for every major event in my life; good and bad. He’s the first one to jump in my lap when he knows I need comforting, and always requires me to call him to bed after he meows from the kitchen at night. If I’m traveling for a few days, he greets me almost instantly when I get home.

I will forever cherish the bond we have and the love he’s shown me. Stink, in part, renews my commitment to my career and to the Animal Health Industry. I wake up every day hoping to make a positive impact on pets and their people because of the bonds that exist between the two. I’m thankful for the time Stink and I have had and hope for many more happy, healthy years.

Katie is a Veterinarian Recruiter with THRIVE and loves THRIVE’s mission and culture. She has had several roles in the Animal Health industry from veterinary technician to sales. She is married and has three boys; Grady, Finn & Ty and four fur-children.

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