Sandra Estrada grew up with animal companions, living in the country, they were her most frequent playmates. She could ride, as soon as she could walk. Her love for animal continues throughout her life. She founded and ran a non-profit dedicated to helping zoo bound animals for over a decade. She worked with the USDA to create new and improved requirements for maintenance of primates in Zoo. She even helped teach orphaned baby orangutans how to climb trees. She opened and ran the first Holistic pet store in San Francisco for another decade, and now dedicates her time to baking organic dog treats via www.canineconfections.com.
Sandra also works to raise public awareness about the needs of Military Working Dogs (MWDs), and she loves every minutes of it all. Her goal for the future is a statue of a Military Working Dog in Arlington Cemetery, (can you believe our country does not have a National Monument for these courageous dogs?) and a retirement home for the MWDs. She would love to raise public awareness so that everyone knows about the plight of these dogs and help them to get bullet proof vests, and cooling vests.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A world awake, aware, and grateful for all the great and daily wonderful help we get from the animals who share the planet with us. I always have wondered why we spent for much time and money on exploring space and other planets when we have so much to explore and learn right here.
If you could come back as a dog or a cat, which one would it be and why?
I love cats, but surely I would come back as a dog. I would love to be one, even for a few moments, just to learn a bit of all they know, would be awesome.
What is your pets most treasured possession?
I like to think it is me....but in fact, what they love the most is the backyard. They run out and explore it each morning like they had never been there before. They love to bark at each new sound, they have beds they can stretch out on in the sun,and they play tag with the cat, they even love to watch the birds at the bird feeders.
Your proudest achievement so far?
We had to opportunity to donate treats to the Military Working Dogs (MWD) in Afghanistan and Iraq. The military is very strict about what the MWD are allowed to eat, so we were very happy they accepted our treats. But that was just the beginning, We got many emails from soldiers, so kind and grateful, and many pictures. In fact it completely changed my feelings about the military. I grew up in the 1960's, anti-war in every way and still am. I never spoke with soldiers, but though this donation I learned how wrong I was. From their letters I learn so much. The soldiers sacrifice so much for us, and get so little in return. Their lives are changed forever, and they do not start or create the war, yet they are required to put their lives on the line. I am very anti-war, but I am in complete support of the soldiers and all they do for us, and I think we should do much more for them. So, I am very proud that I learned so much from them.
Who are your heroes in real life?
My husband, he saved my life, and the dogs lives twice. Once from a car that raced through an intersection, ignoring the stop sign, and heading straight for me and our dogs. He yelled and threw his batch of keys at the windshield of the car and the woman swerved and missed us by inches. And on Martin Luther Kind Day, 2008 there was a break-in at our store. A 26 year old, on drugs and parole, threatening to kill us and our dogs. He got into a fight with my husband, who was 55 at the time. And they were fighting over a machete. Somehow my husband was able to get him out of the store, though it did cost him a permanent injury. I was safe, and the dogs were safe, only one was injured. The burglar was caught, up the block and arrested. My husband will always and forever be my number 1 Hero.