Camp Stacy – Part I

How does someone who’s allergic to dogs, and allergic to most of the allergens outdoors, end up in a dog sitting and dog walking business?

That’s a good question. But to uncover the answer, you’d have to first go back many years to learn more about the type of person who would do just that. You would need to know who is Stacy Hostetler?

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Born and raised in Shipshewana, IN, Stacy started dreaming about living in Nashville before she was in high school. “I got into country music as a teenager, and followed several artists and their music,” said Stacy. “I always wanted to go to Fan Fare and to see some of the artists I was listening to.” Unlike most people who dream of moving to Nashville for the country music scene, Stacy wasn’t interested in becoming a singer or a songwriter. She just wanted to be closer to the people who were.

After graduating from high school, Stacy went to a small college in Kansas, but then left before finishing to move to New Jersey where she became a nanny for a year. After making friends with another nanny in the area, Stacy followed her then roommate to Nebraska where she lived for another year before returning to Kansas for four months. “I was just unsettled. There were things I was trying to run away from but the Lord kept following me.”

Although Stacy still felt drawn to Nashville, she returned home to Wisconsin instead where she lived with her parents (who had moved there several years earlier) for over four years, before moving on to Madison for another five years.  It was during that time when Stacy’s restlessness forced her to stop running, and to start listening. “I started praying and seeking God for clear direction. I didn’t want to have any regrets; I didn’t want to look back years later and have regrets about never going to Nashville.”

So in May 2006, Stacy packed her bags and headed for Tennessee, without a job, without a real plan for what she was going to do, and with knowing only one person. It only took Stacy a month to find a job; start attending a new church; and meeting new friends.  And it was through these new friends that her business idea began to develop. But not before, and perhaps even because of, some financial struggles along the way.

Shortly after Stacy met her new friend Stephanie, she was introduced to Stephanie’s best friend, Judge, a black lab. Before long, Stacy found herself dog sitting Judge on a pretty regular basis. “It’s strange, because it’s not something I really set out to do; it just happened, and I found that despite my allergies, I loved doing it.”

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Word spread quickly about Stacy’s service and availability to not just sit with people’s dogs in their absence, but to take care of them as she would her own. Before long, she had several regular clients and through word of mouth, was being introduced to new ones.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”  Psalm 46:10

Being paid to dog sit wasn’t just a hobby for Stacy. It was an answered prayer. “I’ve had a few rough years financially; just not making good choice with my expenses, and being really bad at budgeting,” said Stacy. “But last year (2012) I really struggled trying to get back on my feet back; get them steady.” Realizing she was barely making ends meet at her job, Stacy prayed about getting a second job. She asked God to provide her with something that she would enjoy doing.

“I’d spent plenty of time in my 20s working two jobs to pay bills, so I didn’t want to get another job just for the sake of having that second income,” Stacy shared. “Back then, I was always tired, and I grew to be mean, and maybe even mad at everyone and everything. I was always working, sleeping, or going between the two jobs. I didn’t want that again.”

While in the middle of praying to see where God would lead her, Stacy had not yet realized that God was answering her prayer faster than she could speak them. Right there in front of her was everything she’d asked for – a job that she loved, with great flexibility, and the extra money to help make her budget each month.

Without realizing it, Camp Stacy: A Dog Sitting, Dog Walking Business was born! But that was just the beginning of Stacy’s answered prayer, and just the start of her new journey. God had so much more in store for her.

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Come back here next week for part 2 of Camp Stacy with Stacy Hostetler!

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