Who We Are


Shelby's Eden is owned and operated by me, Nancy Smith,  and my husband Joe Barrett.  We had a vision, and along with some inspiration from our beloved cat Shelby, we were fortunate enough to be able to turn that vision into a reality.

After years of working the 8:00 to 5:00 shift in an often stressful office environment, I was desperate for something more rewarding.  It's been nearly twenty years since I left the security of my cubicle and took a job caring for the cats at a private sanctuary in the Los Angeles area.  I had no professional experience in the pet industry at the time, but the owner, instinctively knowing that I possessed a real kinship with the animals, took a chance in hiring me. I took a big cut in salary, and did without a lot of the things I was accustomed to, but I was finally doing something that I enjoyed.  I learned a lot at the sanctuary over the years, and eventually I moved on to manage a large no-kill cat shelter in the San Fernando Valley. There I worked hands-on with the animals and directly under our shelter vet. For the next five years I tended to the medical needs of the cats, often under emergency situations.  When the shelter was eventually forced to close, I moved on to manage a boarding facility in West Los Angeles where I worked happily for another five years, and I also developed my own pet sitting business on the side. Although my business was becoming quite lucrative, the pace was hectic.  When our beloved cat Shelby became terminally ill, my husband and I decided we'd had enough of Los Angeles and decided to move to Yucaipa in early 2007.  We wanted Shelby to enjoy what time he had left in a country setting, where he could watch birds, and other wildlife.  It wasn't long before I noticed that the Yucaipa Animal Placement Society, a no-kill shelter, was close by.  I became a volunteer at the shelter while I looked for permanent work in the area.  Within weeks, I was hired on as staff and I went on to become their cattery manager, and later the office manager.  It was a job I loved, but as dreams of my own boarding facility actually began to develop, I found that I wanted to spend more time nurturing it.

My husband Joe has enjoyed a lifetime of pet ownership, and the joy they bring into our lives.  He has played an intricate part in the development of Shelby's Eden.  Selflessly and uncomplaining he was kind enough to work overtime hours allowing me to cut back my own working hours in order to develop our business. Joe continues to work outside the home as a law enforcement officer for the City of Los Angeles.

As a home occupation, we are limited as to the number of animals we can board.  We don't see it as a detriment, but more as an opportunity for a more intimate relationship with our furry friends and their owners, and a source of enjoyment in our retirement.  I feel blessed to spend my day alongside adoring creatures who give us so much unconditional love.



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