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My name is Andrea Smith and I am the Owner of Take the Lead LLC.

After graduating from James Madison University with a BBA in Hospitality and Tourism Management in 2011, I worked in Human Resources on behalf of the American Red Cross for several years. Although I enjoyed the work, I knew something was missing. One day I was flipping through childhood pictures – and it hit me. Every picture was of me playing vet, crawling around with my sister pretending to be a dog, riding horses or snuggling pets. What was missing in my work was the animals I’ve always cared so much about.

I began working at an orthopedic specialty veterinary hospital as a rehabilitation technician. Slowly over five years I worked my way up through various positions within the veterinary hospital and gained tremendous experience working with animals. I worked my way to the top level of management and directed the R&D and Educational department. I was the Executive Director of a non-profit committed to providing funding to animals in need of orthopedic care for several years.

It’s always been a dream of mine to be a business owner and Take the Lead has been by far my biggest accomplishment. I love getting to know every pet and I take pride in caring for them like they are my own. I understand every pet is different and personalize each service in order to keep your pet comfortable and happy. Our fur babies make such a lasting impact on our hearts and lives – they deserve nothing but the best!

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Meet Joann! Joann works full time as a Pet Caretaker with Take the Lead.

Hi, my name is Joann Welsh and I live in Westminster, MD. I am 62 years old, mother of three boys with a 5-year-old grandson and 2-year-old granddaughter. I enjoy spending time in my garden and going to flea markets and yard sales.

Growing up I had a Beagle named Sam. When my kids were younger we had a Cocker Spaniel named Sophie. I currently have a rescue named Deacon. We are not sure what he is, the vet said he is Heinz 57 lol. He is a really good dog and my best buddy.

I'm excited to meet your four-legged family members!

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Meet Shelby! Shelby works full time as a Pet Caretaker with Take the Lead.

Hi, my name is Shelby Smith and I live in Manchester, MD. I am 29 years old and a mom of a 5-year-old son named Logan. I love being a mom and spending time with family and pets. I am aspiring to go into pet care as a career and hope to become a veterinary technician.

Throughout my life I have taken care of many pets including dogs, cats and rats. I've taken in many stray pets and helped them find forever homes (I also nursed a litter of kittens I found abandoned). I love all animals and like to help as much as possible. I have my a dog named Copper. He is a Blue Heeler and my baby. I also have a black cat named T'challa and a hedgehog named Pokemon.

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Meet Maddie! Maddie works part time as a Pet Caretaker with Take the Lead.

Hi, my name is Maddie Sluder and I live in Union Bridge, MD. I am 20 years old and live with my two dogs Charlie and Oni, my two kittens Saku and Kami, and my two rabbits Ellie and Mafalfa! I am aspiring to go into an animal related career. I love animals of all ages and sizes and enjoy spending time with them to get to know their personality. I have been working professionally with animals for the last three years at a local kennel. I am so excited to meet your furry friends!

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Meet Kyah! Kyah works full time as a Pet Caretaker with Take the Lead.

Hi, my name is Kyah Martin, I am 20 years old and live in Westminster, MD. I absolutely adore my tuxedo cat, Scraps, and my 3-legged black lab mix, Carly. My family fostered many Pitbull rescues as I was growing up until we fell in love with one named Bodie, who we got to spend 10 great years with. I have been working part-time as a vet receptionist for over a year now, and have a lot of experience caring for animals.

When I'm not working, I enjoy taking little trips to NYC or going to concerts. If there's one thing you should know about me, it's that I LOVE Harry Styles. Your pets may not know any of his songs yet, but after we spend some time together, they'll know every word.

I can't wait to meet everyone and treat your pets like my own!!

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