By Agrippina Fadel
Karine Shashoua always wanted to work with animals, and during the pandemic, she finally found the job of her dreams.
In the winter of 2020, after leaving her job of seven years as an employment specialist for people with disabilities, Shashoua saw an ad where people bid on jobs to drive dogs that need to go places. She decided to give it a try.
“It took me three months to get my first client, but once I started, many dog owners became my regular customers. I began to get referrals and word-of-mouth advertisements,” she said.
Two years later, Tender Loving Karriers, or TLK Pet Transport, is a thriving business, and Shashoua drives an average of three to four thousand miles a month, traveling across the country from Boston and New York to Miami and Naples, and helping people move their pets from the East to West Coast and back.
“I am not a business person, but I have been learning,” she laughed.
Many of her clients are “snowbirds” who travel between their homes in Florida and Northern states in the fall and spring. The busiest month so far has been this past May, when Shashoua made seven long trips in and out of Florida.
The clients often become friends and ask Shashoua to dog-sit in between her trips.
One of her furry passengers, a little chihuahua-pug mix Tinkerbell, ended up joining Shashoua’s family.
“She was a transport, but the family wasn’t able to keep her, so I took her in temporarily. After her original owner saw how connected we became, she suggested I keep her. She is my gift from the universe,” Shashoua said.
A Coral Springs resident since 1973, Shashoua graduated from J.P. Taravella and the University of Central Florida. She always wanted to work with animals and even worked as a veterinarian assistant after college.
“Unfortunately, there are not that many fields where you can work with animals outside of veterinary clinics and shelters. I saw it in my previous occupation – many of the disabled people I was helping wanted to work with animals as well, but there were not a lot of such jobs around,” she explained. “I found one, though. I used to find job matches for other people, and with this job, I made a perfect match for myself.”
Shashoua said she always worked but never felt 100% fulfilled. She was putting everything into her job and found it difficult to balance work and personal life.
“The field of social work can also be very emotionally draining. I didn’t feel that I was getting the best out of my career and my life in general,” she said, adding that when the pandemic started, her husband’s job was ok – he drives the Tri-Rail train and never stopped working.
“We were doing ok financially, and after I lost my job, I was able to take a breath. I slept better than in my whole life. I felt so good in my heart and my mind. I did not want to go back to that job, and I took the chance the lockdown gave me to pause and figure out what I wanted to do,” Shashoua said.
She added that transporting dogs truly turned out to be a dream job for her, allowing her to travel the country, spend a lot of time with pups, and have amazing experiences meeting people from all walks of life.
“I love this lifestyle. I am running my own business. I get to be myself. It checks all the boxes for me. I am so grateful,” Shashoua said, adding that she is “good with people but loves dogs.”
She said she also enjoys the social media aspect of the job. Shashoua posts her travels and adventures on her Instagram page.
Her next step is private jets and international trips. She’s open to dog transfers across borders and recently had an interested client from Canada. She also offers help to people who need someone to travel with their pets on private flights.
Send Your News to Coral Springs #1 Award-Winning News Site Here. Don’t miss reading Margate Talk, Parkland Talk, and Tamarac Talk.
- Agrippina Fadel grew up in Siberia and received her master’s in journalism from Tyumen State University. Agrippina is also a writer and editor at Draftsy.net. She has been a US resident for over ten years and speaks English and Russian.
- Events2023.01.30Former Mayor Leads Tour to Preserve Florida’s Beauty at Sandy Ridge Sanctuary on Feb. 4
- Events2023.01.29TICKET ALERT: Eagles Tribute Band ‘Hotel California’ Comes to Coral Springs
- News2023.01.15Talk Media Wins 1st Place at Florida Press Club Awards for Community News Category
- Events2023.01.11Back to Nature Program Teaches Residents about Wildlife and Plants on Jan. 14