Lauren Coles has an eye for design—and a heart for rescue pets! Lauren, a designer at her family business Coles Fine Flooring, found a passion in rescue animals, including her current four-legged family member, Sophie. In our Animal People interview, she reflects on the profound impact our pets can have on our lives, no matter their past.
Who was the first animal to make an impact on your life?
My first dog was Sadie, the beagle. I got her when I was 5 years old, and she was with me through most of high school. As a young child, she taught me compassion towards animals, and helped me understand the bond that can be established through a pet and child. I strongly believe having a pet at such a young age has led to my absolute love and respect for animals as an adult.
Do you have pets now?
My current pet is a terrier mix named Sophie! She just turned 10, and was rescued from San Diego Humane Society eight years ago. She is my best friend, comes to work with me every day and loves going for long beach walks.
Sophie is a true family member. I do not just see her as a “pet.” I strive every day to give Sophie the best life possible. I think animals are capable of unconditional love that is unexplainable, and I want to give that back to her as much as possible. I am lucky to have a very strong bond with my dog, and love the fact she is with me all day, every day!
What do animals bring to your daily life?
Love and positivity! Aside from my dog, our company is very dog friendly and customers bring their pets in daily. I love getting to know each and every one of them and their distinct personalities. It brings me genuine happiness listening to animal parents share their stories about their pets. Each journey is unique, and it is a constant reminder of the appreciation and gratitude we have towards animals.
Has there been an experience with an animal that really impacted your life?
Our company recently experienced a situation with a kitten, which I will never forget. A kitten made his way into our warehouse, which is filled with carpet rolls up to the ceiling. We have a very large warehouse and, despite his meowing, he was almost impossible to find. By hour 48, we understood there wasn’t much time left.
After closing, myself and a few employees stayed for a rescue mission. We waited for silence to track down the meows and saw that the kitten had wedged himself deep in a carpet roll and was unable to escape. Using a forklift to remove the rolls on top and a box knife to cut away the carpet, we successfully rescued the kitten!!! One of our employees who lost her elderly cat a year prior was looking to adopt a new family member, and she ended up taking him home. After a vet checkup and settling in, he now loves his new home, is cuddly and spunky and loves his dog brother. It was an incredible experience to witness people coming together to rescue a small kitten and see him adopted into a loving home.
Why is adopting pets important to you?
I will always adopt my animals! There are SO many animals who are waiting for a loving home and are capable of being the best companions. I think people get too caught up on purchasing a purebred without recognizing the importance of rescuing. Animals brought in from unfortunate situations are the most grateful and loving animals, and adopters are saving lives! I strongly believe adopted animals understand that they are rescued. By adopting more and purchasing less, animals that deserve a chance at a great life can be placed in loving home, even if they haven’t had the best start. Like people, all animals have their own unique personalities, quirks and more. Organizations like San Diego Humane Society do a great job at understanding each animal brought in to properly pair with the right individual or family.
What would you say to someone thinking about adding an animal to their lives?
I encourage everyone to adopt a pet. My previous pets, and now Sophie, have brought so much love and happiness to my life and I cannot imagine life without an animal. My heart truly goes out to all of the animals waiting for their forever homes. Animals cannot speak for themselves, but we can!
Animal breeds and the expectations of having a pet are largely misunderstood. I think people should take the time to educate themselves about the facts and myths of specific breeds and determine what is right for each individual scenario. For example, a family dog we recently lost to old age was a rescued pit bull mix. She was the sweetest dog and our family only has the best things to say about her. The stigma behind pit bulls is absolutely false and they can be fabulous family dogs! I also think asking for professional advice about which animal to adopt before committing to an animal is very important. They are family members, and depending on a person’s living situation, etc., a professional can help establish which animal is best suited for each person!
And volunteer! Rescue animals are abundant and volunteering for dog walking, enrichment, and food and toy donations can go a long way! I also think sharing personal stories about pets and ways to volunteer in your community can inspire people towards adopting!