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AnimalCity Origin Story

Updated: Jan 6, 2023

I found my purpose in life by accident. Literally.

Growing up we always had animals. Cats, dogs, even a horse for a time. At 6 years old I had big dreams of being a racehorse jockey. Those dreams fell apart when I realized that

a) I did not have the necessary bodily dimensions for it and

b) it’s not a kind sport for the horses.

As I got older, I thought of and rejected the idea of being a veterinarian - the cutting open of the animals being the deciding factor there. I moved on to my strengths in math, computer systems and organization. All the while adopting cats and dogs, with a little kitten fostering (and failing!) in there as well.

My office career spanned about 25 years. 25 years of 40+ hour weeks, endless meetings, varying bosses and meager vacation time. Through it all, love for animals kept my dreams filled with creating rescues and sanctuaries, but my time and resources were limited.

In 2015 my husband, my dog and I drove across the country from San Diego, CA to Charlotte, NC. We were drawn there by my job and found that we loved it. Directly we adopted two kittens, started raising chickens and were amazed at the bountiful gardening opportunities that rain falling from the sky afforded us.

We also began fostering (and again failing) kittens for CMPD Animal Care & Control. Failing so badly that until recently we had 5 cats. Yeah, I’m not allowed to foster for a while.

In 2019 we decided to strike out on our own and we opened Henrichsen Wood, a Mobile Sawmill and Tree Service. It was a bit of an adjustment for me from a sedentary office job to slinging chainsaws and cutting logs into lumber, but it turned out to be one of the best decisions I've ever made.

One fine morning we headed out grocery shopping and were stopped at a light, chatting about the myriad of projects we wanted to get done. There was little traffic as it was early on a Saturday so when we were slammed into by a large truck that delivers packages (you know the ones I mean), it was completely unexpected.

Fortunately no one was hurt permanently, us nor the driver. But I'll tell you it shook me up badly for a few days.

After waking up in the middle of the night a few days later, I realized that we had never thought about what would happen to our furry family if we both died unexpectedly. We didn't have any kind of plan, and we had no family on this side of the country. After doing some research, I found that they would all go to animal control.

Y'all, that just about broke my heart.

For several days my brain was abuzz with thoughts, ideas, dreams, schemes and plans. I started writing it all out visualizing ways to help pets when their people die. To encourage people to have a plan for their pets. To provide immediate and ongoing care in an emergency. To give these pets a kind and easy path to a new home. To build an unparalleled facility that would take these poor babies in and give them comfort.

AnimalCity was born.

And from that car accident, I found my purpose and the biggest dream I've ever dreamed.

I hope you decide to like us, follow us, support our cause, and most of all create a plan for your furry family in case the worst should happen to you.

Thank you!

Leah Henrichsen



A haven for orphan pets.

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