#StrongBitch: Meet Andy

Hey friends! I’m actually in Napa on a much-needed vacation. I know I usually post #StrongBitch spotlights on Sunday, but with the holiday weekend, I bet tonight feels more like Sunday for everyone. So I’m going to keep this introduction short and sweet because a glass of Cabernet is calling my name and I must answer. Our first #StrongBitch workout is Sunday at Salt Fitness in Bucktown at 12!! Make sure you register here, all proceeds will be donated to our fundraiser for One Tail at a Time Isolation Center.

Before I get to Andy’s story, let me just say that she was beautifully honest in sharing her story. I cried reading her submission and I am honored to be able to share it with you all. When I wanted to launch this campaign, I knew I wanted to highlight women who embody strength of all forms. I hope you will all respect and appreciate Andy’s as much as I do.

Tell us about yourself (age, occupation, hometown, etc.)

I am 38 years old and grew up in a southwest suburb of Chicago (Oak Lawn). I work for the pharmaceutical company AbbVie as a Clinical Research Associate and I audit data for Phase I studies. Most days I work from home, but I do have to drive to a Phase I unit in Grayslake about 2 times a week. My flexible schedule accommodates volunteering and I am able to find a work-life balance. 2 years ago this was not the case which is why I made the job change.

What does strong mean to you?

When I think of strong I do first think of muscles and having muscle definition, but I also think of mental strength. Mental strength is the most important thing you need to push yourself to your limits. You need mental strength to get you through your workouts and resist that candy bar when you’ve had a stressful day. A strong mind will then lead to a strong body, strong career, and strong relationships.

Can you tell us about a time that your strength surprised you?

Honestly, my strength surprises me every day. My dad was a Vietnam Vet and an alcoholic with PTSD. My childhood was very difficult. With my past, I am very proud of where I am today with my positive attitude, strong relationships and my ability to move on from the past and learn from it.

How does strength come into your rescue work?

I have had strength to resist taking all the dogs home…and in physically getting the bigger dogs back in their kennels 😉 Since volunteering at OTAT, I have loved putting my time and effort towards a great cause. I keep a positive attitude and like working with the more challenging pups. You need mental strength for this because you see all types of dogs and hear some terrible stories of where they came from. The strength of keeping everything in perspective and knowing that they will eventually find a good home has brought a lot of joy in my life.

Anything else you’d like to share? (Inspiring stories encouraged!) 

Just to go on a bit more about my strength and what I had to endure. I had said above that my dad was a Vietnam Vet who was an alcoholic and had PTSD. He was drafted when he was 18 years old and seriously injured in the war. He was psycho throughout my childhood. My dad was physically and verbally abusive to both me and my mother. He worked the early shift so he would come home from work in the afternoons and start drinking. My mother and I had to deal with his violence and name calling every night. Then he would wake up the next morning and not remember what an asshole he was the night before.

I begged my mother to divorce him, but she would tell me that we could not leave because we would have no place to live and have no money. When I got older I told myself that I would never put myself in that situation. No matter what, I would be self-sufficient where I wouldn’t have to depend on anyone else taking care of me and I do not tolerate name calling in any of my relationships.

I had a really shitty childhood growing up, but I won’t let that define me. I have had the strength to pull myself out of that time and never put myself in a place like that again. Since then, I have been able to forgive my mother and father. My dad was just a kid when he was drafted and never got the right help after the war. My mother thought that her strength was staying with him so that I would have a better life, she knew no better. I am really proud of the person I have become and that I have been able to learn from my past instead of dwelling on it. That’s where my strength and positive attitude comes from.

Thank you, Andy, for being so vulnerable and sharing your story. I am in constant awe of the women that I get to work with in the rescue world.

I’ll be quiet this week as I soak in my vacation. Don’t worry I’ll be back at the end of the week with a post for you!


Cory – Omg is he the cutest thing ever? This little dude likes to chill and be held at all times. He was so easy to hang with and would make a good companion for almost anybody. He’s about three years old and is the best boy. For all his details, click here.




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