Hello, My Name Is ANNELI.
Rome wasn't built in one day and they say all roads lead there. So it is with great confidence I state that becoming an APLB Certified Pet Loss And Bereavement Counselor is my true calling, it is what I am meant to do. My eclectic path in life took me here and despite many ups and downs, it finally makes sense and all the pieces of the puzzle fit perfectly together.
So how does a world traveler with a heavy scientific background turn professional award-winning celebrity photographer, switch to a licensed massage therapist and end up counseling with an exceptional compassion for the four legged critters and their caretakers? Well here's my story...
I grew up by the Arctic Circle in north of Sweden, where most of the time was spent studying under the watchful eye of my military father. Since there was barely any free time, animals became my best friends; two birds, a hamster, a cat and a dog. I also spent my summers on a farm, where I played with cows, horses, pigs and goats. I developed a keen sense for all animals and understood the bond at a very early age.
After graduating from Natural Science with math, physics, chemistry, biology and psychology as my majors, I set my sights on the medical profession. I worked at an institution for the criminally insane to test the waters and realized I needed a break before committing to the studies.
So I set sail for London and there I was bitten by the travel bug. It was like letting a calf out on the open green field for the first time ever. The curiosity, inquisitive mind and constant search for new knowledge changed my direction. I never went back to Sweden. Instead I applied my academic knowledge to training professional athletes. And also spent a year in Tokyo submerged in their culture, pursuing another passion of mine, professional dancing.
Restless and hungry for more adventures, I decided to cross the ocean and pursue the American Dream. I landed in the Big Apple with two suitcases and an open mind. Being a creative force, it wasn't long before I worked in television as a camera operator and eventually I was handed an SLR camera and told to "spread my wings and reach for the sky"...and I did!
Over the years, I was fortunate enough to work with celebrities like Aerosmith, Prince, Extreme, Hootie & The Blowfish, Marilyn Manson, Kiss, Joan Jett, Korn and many others. I also traveled the world and worked in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Thailand, Dubai and Monaco, to mention a few. It was an exquisite whirlwind of excitement, experiences and a colorful palette of personalities, cultures and customs.
Along the way, I volunteered wherever possible and rescued whenever possible. That's how Panther first joined me on a cold New Year's Eve by digging his claws into my neck and not letting go. Master 7 grew up to become my infamous studio mascot and protective rock. Princess twirled her way into my heart and swooned me with her gentle nature. And Angel became my savior and reason for being.
Then 9/11 happened and I stood there frozen watching the second plane hit one of the towers. It was so surreal and that day, everything changed. I packed up my studio in NYC and moved to Las Vegas, where I continued my quest in the world of photography.
I temporarily relocated to Los Angeles after surviving two car accidents and a traumatic house burglary, where one of my fur babies Master 7, was shot and killed. But I decided to return to Las Vegas after being diagnosed with cancer. I desperately needed to re-evaluate my life, where I was going and what was happening. Those were some of my darkest years and it was a spinning downward spiral.
Then it dawned on me, my purpose for all this pain was to gain in-sight to help others. I pursued massage school to have yet another tool in my healing repertoire. And the final piece of the puzzle was the passing of my service dog Angel. Eureka, I had just come full circle and Angel PawPrint was born.
My life's story is fortune, fame, tragedies, trauma and ultimately, pain with a purpose. And that purpose is to humbly share my wealth of knowledge and experiences with other suffering pet parents.