#StrongBitch: Meet Jill

Happy National Dog Day! I had an entire intro written up about how I emceed an event today and then was going to attend One Tail at a Time’s Tiny Dog 500. It pains me that National Dog Day and the joy it brings has been overshadowed by losing one of my foster kittens. I’m a bit too emotional to go far into details, so I’ll keep this short. Strong has meant something totally different to me today. I’m mourning the loss of the kitten but keeping my spirits high by celebrating her life and the strength she demonstrated.

I’m so honored to present #StrongBitch stories to you every week. Each one is so inspiring and empowering. Today’s spotlight is Jill and when I met her, I had an instant affinity for her. She was kind and friendly, open and real. Jill and I have so much in common and I’m honored to share her journey with you all. So, meet Jill, this week’s #StrongBitch.

Psst: Be sure to sign up for our first #StrongBitch workout at Salt!

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

Hi! I’m Jill. I’m 27 years old and I’m a consultant for a software company specializing in technology for recruiters and Talent Acquisition professionals. I grew up in Woodridge, IL with my parents and 3 older brothers. I followed one of my brothers to The University of Illinois in Champaign where I studied advertising and public relations – despite spending very little time in class – and played club water polo.

What does strong mean to you?

Strong takes on a lot of different meanings in my life. Some days strong means achieving a personal record at the gym or controlling my crazy dog when another dog comes around the corner. Sometimes it’s being there for a friend or family member in need or dealing with an illness or injury. Other times it’s simply making it through the day. I think a lot of us, especially women, forget that we demonstrate strength every day and in a million different ways – whether it be mental or physical – and these days I’m making more of an effort to recognize the strength in myself and those around me.

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

My first day at Bluprint. Shortly before I joined I was at my heaviest physically and lowest mentally. I was ashamed for letting my health/body go and consistently feeling like a failure when my latest health/fitness endeavor went south. I was terrified to set foot in Bluprint thinking I was going to look like such a loser in front of all these super fit, athletic people. Not only were the people the opposite of what I expected, but I was WAY stronger than I thought. The fact that I could lift more than just the bar blew me away and made me realize that if I’m doing this now, in the worst shape of my life, what would I be able to do with a little drive and determination?

How has rescue and fitness affected your life? 

Both have completely changed my life. I volunteered with animals here and there throughout my life, but it wasn’t until I moved to Chicago and found One Tail at a Time that I really got involved in the community. The group of strong women running OTAT is so inspiring that I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to get involved with the group. I started by fostering and hosted a parade of dogs in and out of my home for a year or two before OTAT brought me one that I couldn’t give back. Cue Jack, the chickpea loving, hug giving, horse-like, great Dane/Chihuahua mix and Jack to my Jill. I can’t imagine my life without him or what else I would do with my free time if I wasn’t helping animals.

It was actually a super cool fellow OTAT volunteer that pushed me to try CrossFit. I swam my whole life and played water polo in college. but never found a type of fitness that kept me motivated. I could not be more grateful to her for pushing me to try her gym. I’m more committed than ever, more excited about the future than ever and so proud of my results so far. It’s really been a complete change to my lifestyle, but in the best possible way. For the first time I feel really optimistic about what I accomplish in all aspects of my life. So basically now my whole life is dogs and CrossFit and I’m pretty comfortable with it.

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

Yes. I’d like to share that if I had been asked to participate in this a year ago, or really any time prior to now, I would have 100% said no. As someone who has been overweight my entire life and suffered from anxiety and depression since I can remember, putting myself in any sort of spotlight, especially related to fitness, would never have been something I would have considered for a second. I always considered myself the funny fat girl and assumed that’s how everyone else saw me too.

Since finding my passion for animal rights/rescue and finding a gym full of encouraging and inspiring people, I have started to see that that doesn’t have to be my identity. I’ll keep the funny, but I’m swapping the fat for fit. I may not be at my ideal size, but I am getting there and I’m proud of my accomplishments. I am able to focus less on where I was and more on where I’m going. The fact that I’m even acknowledging this for all to see is more than I ever could have imagined.

I’d like to thank Jill for being so vulnerable and open with her story. It’s refreshing and inspiring to hear stories from women doing incredible things and being themselves.


Laelaps – Meet the squishiest boy ready for you to take him home. This pup is a goofy, happy, snuggly boy that is highly treat-motivated. Laelaps is just a puppy so he’ll need some training, but his affinity for food should be an easy way to keep him interested. Find all the details about him here!


Spread the love

2 thoughts on “#StrongBitch: Meet Jill”

  1. Christine, I’m so sorry for your loss 🙁 I lost my dog a few years ago and literally not a day goes by that I don’t think of her! Sending love to you and the other kitties. <3

    This post is great! Jill sounds like an amazing person and it goes without saying, but Lealaps is adorbs!

    1. Thanks Kimber. It’s the worst thing about pets, they never live as long as we’d like them to. Thank you for your kind words and constant support. Jill is an outstanding woman doing amazing things in the rescue world!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *