Rachel graduated from The University of Iowa with her master’s degree in social work in 2008. “It was my goal to help individuals who believed they had lost their voice to assist them in finding that voice again.” Upon graduation, Rachel worked in the end-of-life care field advocating for and navigating patients and their loved ones through the dying and grief process. Rachel studied under Alan Wolfelt at The Center for Loss and Life Transition and earned a certificate in grief and loss through the center and Colorado State University in 2013. During her time working in the end-of-life care field, Rachel and her dog Wilson became certified together, through Therapy Dogs International, to provide grief support to hospice patients and their loved ones.
Rachel has always had a love for animals, and in 2018 she decided to hang up her social work hat and pursue business ownership with her husband John. Southside Sitter was born out of the idea that animal lovers in our community needed an alternative to boarding and doggie daycare. Rachel has since enjoyed spending time with a variety of animals in their homes including furry dog and cat friends to not-so-furry snake, rat, and bird friends. She has found that for animals, just as with people, there is no place like home. Rachel’s passion for animals does not stop with her career. Every trip she takes for leisure is one where she plans to see and or spend time with wildlife. From staying on an elephant sanctuary in Thailand to planning the best US national park trips to see the most bears and moose, animals are consistently on her mind.
Rachel decided she wanted to do more, especially in her home state of Iowa. Farm animals are treated as commodities, domestic animals have very little rights, and puppy mills run rampant without much oversight in her state that boasts, “we are Iowa nice.” “It is now my goal to help those without a voice in Iowa and around the world to speak loudly for them and help humans understand their worth. This is why I joined the MSL program at Lewis & Clark.”