GOALS IN CLEAR SIGHT
Annie’s Pet Salon on 12th street in Nampa is often noisy–it really depends on the animals’ moods. Thirty-two year-old Annie Bounds is the shop’s proud new owner. Today, she’s standing in the first station trimming an aging schnauzer. Her hands move competently, brushing and clipping his muzzle while she answers my questions. When the dog gets restless, Annie gently places her hands on his chin and guides his face back to her. “Hey, I’m your friend,” her voice is calm and firm as she looks him directly in the eyes. The schnauzer settles immediately, sitting back down and staring longingly back while she continues.
“I’ve always wanted to have my own business,” Annie says above the noise of dryers and excited yapping. “I’ve worked in the industry for more than 14 years–I love it.” She pauses briefly to answer an employee’s question, dashes out front to catch the phone and greets a client before coming back to the grooming station.
“We held the ribbon cutting ceremony on August 4th,” Annie says. Annie’s Pet Salon has been open for just a few months, yet when you watch Annie moving with ease and grace from one thing to the next it’s hard to imagine that this is her first business. It is obvious that she has both a strong work ethic and a sincere passion for what she is doing. She carries a determination to meet her goals.
Annie’s Pet Salon is one recently accomplished goal for the single mother-of-three, one attained despite being homeless just the year before.
As a foster-child since the age of eight Annie’s life has been one of constant change. She was moved frequently from one family to next, never really getting a chance to settle in. “There were just too many foster homes to count. My parents are still alive but I have little contact with them,” she says matter-of-factly, still attentive to the schnauzer. Finally, during her high school years, Annie was able to settle with a foster family in Horseshoe Bend. The couple, who she still lovingly calls “Mom and Dad”, provided the strength and nurturing of a stable home that had been lacking for so many years.
“My real name is Terry, but my foster mom started calling me Annie–as in little Orphan Annie. It just stuck.”
In 1999, through connections from a high school boyfriend, Annie was able to find a job at a pet grooming salon. She started off with washing and drying pets then later moved to learning the art of grooming and running the business. She fell in love with the work and the animals.
Shortly after high school, Annie became pregnant. She was determined to continue working and have her child, but she still needed some support and help. Annie took up an offer from an old high school boyfriend, Trinity, to stay with him through the pregnancy and birth. In 2000, she gave birth to her son, Mason. The following year, Annie married Trinity and in 2002 Annie gave birth to a daughter, named Trinity. But the couple’s marriage was short lived and Annie moved on with her children. Through all this time, Annie battled off and on with her own addiction to alcohol, yet she still she worked to support her and her children.
In 2004, Annie gave birth to her third child, Alyssa. A violent and abusive man, Alyssa’s father soon ended up in jail and out of the family’s life. Being a single mother of three didn’t deter Annie, she wanted a healthy future for her and her children and in 2008, she was able to conquer her addiction to drinking. Life was moving forward, she was working and making ends meet.
So what happens to take a determined hard working, sober, single mother of three from a comfortable home to a shelter?
Shortly after Thanksgiving in 2009, Alyssa’s father was released from prison. He moved in next door to Annie and her children. “At first, everything seemed to be fine,” Annie says, again her tone is matter of fact. After several months Annie started to notice that he was unstable. It took a little time for Annie to realize that he had malicious intent and was stalking her. In early spring, the situation escalated and he attacked Annie, leaving her with severe neck injuries before he fled.
“I don’t know what I was thinking, everything happened so fast. Even though we weren’t together, it was still considered a domestic violence situation by the police. He was still at large so they had to move us.” With painful neck injuries to heal, no real finances to allow her to move and with the assailant still at large, Annie needed a safe place for her and her family. They moved into Hope’s Door, an emergency shelter for women and children who are victims of domestic violence.
Annie and her children were safe for now. She could continue to go back work, though her injuries were severe enough to require pain medication—something Annie feared. “With my addictive tendencies, it’s not a good thing—but I had to do something to be able to work and move.” Annie continued to work the entire time she was at the shelter, waiting to hear from the police and US Marshalls for any word on the capture of her attacker.
In August of 2010, Annie applied and was accepted into the Canyon County CATCH program. Funded by a Federal Grant, CATCH(Charitable Assistance to the Communities Homeless) was able to move Annie and her children from the shelter and into an apartment. Having help for 6 months with her rent and other basic needs would Annie and her children the assistance to stand on their own again.
But Annie’s fears of addiction with the pain medicine soon cropped up. In November, Annie relapsed and she was pulled over for driving under the influence. “I had to stop it,” she says, rustling through a box of colorful bandanas. Annie wanted her life back for sake and her children. “I quit—cold turkey. I didn’t work for six weeks. Christy, [Thomas of CATCH] visited me every day, offering support and encouragement. They are like family–such incredible help.”
After six weeks, Annie was clean again, she could move on to her next goals.
Early in May 2011, Annie found a listing for a pet salon for sale on Craigslist. This was what she was hoping for–she called immediately and spoke with Paul the business’ owner.
“It was awesome! It was $2000/down and came with everything. I just needed to find $2000.” The excitement in Annie’s voice is infectious, even the dogs perk up. Annie contacted her foster parents in Horseshoe Bend that day. They were eager to help but didn’t have the money themselves. “They had this old red truck. Mom said that if I sold it, I could have the money from it. I put it on Craigslist and it sold the same day for exactly $2000. It just fell into place.” Annie was able to make the down payment and to start her new career as a business owner.
Today, things are moving forward for Annie and her children. By working with US Marshalls, Alyssa’s father is now back in jail. And for the first time, Annie has been able to buy new school clothes for her children. Her son Mason (11) attends a year-round school for gifted and talented. Trinity (9) and Alyssa (7) attend school in Nampa. All are healthy and doing well. “We are making ends meet,” she says. Annie’s neck is recovered, only causing her a little pain from time to time, “but it’s nothing that Aleve can’t fix.”
“I want to move to Eagle and I want to do competitive grooming,” Annie smiles when I ask about her goals for the future. Her demeanor leaves little room for doubt that she has the strength and grit to accomplish what she sets out to do. Browsing through Annie’s Pet Salon Facebook page will show you that she has the skills and talent to back it up. Pages of pictures display her Spirit Pups sporting the latest trends in pet grooming, including BSU fashion coloring. Comments from friends and clients fill the pages. A visit to her new website will give you all the pertinent details of her blossoming business.
Founded in August of 2009, CATCH of Canyon County has worked with the community to help more than 45 move families from shelters into their own homes. This invaluable service is a foundational part of building stronger communities by bringing available resources to those in need. More and more local businesses, communities of faith, and sponsors are helping CATCH grow, but the need is still great and many families are on the waiting list. To learn more about CATCH or to find out how you can help call (208) 455-0444 or visit us online at www.catchprogram.org.
Story lovingly contributed by freelance writer, April Crowell.