About Us

What is The Nature Objective?

It was the best of times and the worst of times; it was 2020. Fall of 2020, to be exact. And like that very long year, this is a very long story. (Prepare yourself for a 15 minute read.)

It began in the Fall of 2019, actually. We had finally settled in to some much needed normalcy from rebuilding Pet World Lawrence after the tragic 2015 fire and we were preparing to launch our online store the following Spring, Pet World Lawrence Online, and making plans to expand our company even more to promote nature based products and experiences, with a focus on Eco Tourism. Lots of plans with what we thought would be lots of time. But as we were planning to begin these new business ventures fairly leisurely, during our semi-retirement, Covid decided we had work to do right away.

Lockdown?! Just when we thought we'd seen everything.

Like the rest of the world, lockdown threw us for a loop. Feverishly we reinvented and redefined our company, again, and again, making changes by the day -- sometimes by the hour -- fixing things that hadn't previously been broken until we could finally exhale and function in a weird, new world. As if the fire destroying everything hadn't been hard enough, the pandemic presented a whole new set of challenges but we were surrounded by amazing people and quitting was not an option. Our community was nervous, counting on us, and no way would we disappoint them. When the lockdown dust began to settle about eight months later our primary company appeared to be spared the pandemic demise that destroyed so many other small businesses. It was once again time to exhale and remember where we left off before Covid. We shook our heads like exhausted, post bath time dogs and finally resumed the conversation. Oh, hi there. I remember you. So. Where were we? It was January on Monday, September on Tuesday, and now it was Wednesday, October, and there we were, right back in the same pre-Covid place we had been a year earlier, but we were definitely not the same people and this was never going to be the same world. So we asked ourselves what we had asked ourselves before the beginning of the end. Where do we go from here?

The Climb, The Ride, and The Final Frontier

Adult Life Phase 1 was definitely The Climb. A decade of building and creating and figuring out who we were, who we were not, and what we were doing. Phase 2 was The Ride. Two decades of ups, down, ins, outs, expanding and contracting, correcting and redirecting, flopping and failing, growing and sharing, sucking every possible drop out of the entrepreneurial lifestyle that we loved living. But now we were entering Phase 3, The Final Frontier. What was our exit plan? For some it means a retirement that does not involve employment. For us it means something very different because we don't want to stop working altogether. Reflecting on three decades of struggle, survival, failure, and success while experiencing an empty nest leaves a person feeling some type of way. We had a lot to think about and it was time to make some decisions.

With the help of countless people, our Pet World Lawrence rehoming center has become a local icon, setting a standard few places could even hope to achieve. It was a team effort and now a well oiled machine, run by a staff of competent, passionate employees. We even have long time managers in place who could take over when it gets to that point. We've got experience. We've got the team. We've got the time. So now what? Now we take the next step toward the ventures we always wanted to do someday because, well, it's Someday.

Wow. Yesterday was Sunday and now it's Someday. Just like that.

Two Different Yet Complementary Paths

For Tim it is simple. He is a minimalist whose passions have always been conservation, travel, and the cold blooded world of all things scaled. This includes aquariums, terrariums, wood, rock, plants, fish, reptiles, and every possible thing he can responsibly do or source having to do with those passions. Having only known a life full of pets and rescue work, his import/export business, global connections, and warehouse acquisitions all culminated with the launch of Pet World Lawrence Online, which we somehow managed to do on schedule, even during the onset of the Covid pandemic. All he has left to accomplish is the Eco Tourism he believes the world needs and I definitely want to be a part of that.    

Me? Nothing is ever simple with me. Tim and our children are experienced world travelers but I didn't even have a passport until I was 40. My passions have tended to stay closer to home and, quite frankly, I absolutely love NE Kansas, all year long. A fourth grade field trip to hike around Lake Perry changed my life forever. That combined with the very first Pet World birthday party where kids brought animal shelter donations instead of gifts was all it took to chart my course. I didn't grow up with pets but I did have a special, secret place outdoors where I used to escape my troubled, city life. I realized at any early age the spiritual, restorative power of trees, dirt, quiet, faith, fresh air, and sunshine. When I began to comprehend that the connection between a child's natural affinity toward nature and animals can lead a child to grow up caring about their environment and understanding how all living things are connected, I recognized my calling to get kids outside and keep them in touch with nature. Along with that came classroom pets, tours, on site classes about animals, community events, nature camps, and the investment purchase of a large, old farm property (in Jefferson County, not far from Lake Perry, as fate would have it), to provide a summer home to our giant rescue tortoises and a safe outdoor space for us and other folks to unplug. I always dreamed about such a place with trails and trees and secret cabins in the woods and Tim wants to be a part of that.

Together, somehow, we make a good team. Tim's passion for life and outdoor adventure has always been contagious and my love of retail combined with a desire to cherish women, children, and dogs is a perpetual driving force. We certainly are not a perfect couple and we've had plenty of challenges, but we usually work really well together and make great partners. For example, my affection for dogs and concern for frustrated dog owners who live in the city fostered his idea of an in-house dog wash system that uses our compassionate, pet friendly, trademarked technique called the Buddy Bath. From there we've decided to build a private dog park, and develop a dog walking service like none other. When we put our heads together, interesting things happen. As our passions and interests have grown our business has grown in many directions, right along with us, and continues to grow. We can't hardly help ourselves from trying new things. Since 1985, I have supported him and his dreams while making them my own. Now he is supporting my dreams and making them his own. We've even decided to build a small, age-in-place home on our nature preserve. Who knows, maybe we'll survive another 35 or 40 years together.

An Unexpected Catalyst

One day, a few years ago, during a routine insurance meeting I brought up off site aquarium maintenance, dog walking, in home consultations, overnight nature camps, eco tourism, and a few other ideas. Our wise and extremely successful agent of 30 years listened patiently, as always, and shared my enthusiasm along with his own plans for retirement. There was discussion about separating our nature programs and all off site services from our pet rehoming center and insuring them with a specific policy designed for them instead of this continuous struggle for underwriters to expand and reclassify our company. What was once a little pet store had grown into a large rehoming center that nearly defies definition at this point. There are only so many riders you can add to a policy, after all, and we were already dual licensed as a rescue shelter and a pet store. Plus, how could we ever turn Pet World Lawrence over to someone else if so many of our other business ventures were too intertwined? It was time for a change.

Our Primary Objective

When I left that insurance meeting, I carefully considered Tim's goals and thought long and hard about my goals. After all of my life experiences, what mattered most to me? What was our primary objective? Foster. Educate. Inspire. Conserve. That was our motto and our mission since 1988. Pets keep people in touch with animals which fosters an interest in learning about habitats which inspires humans to stay connected to nature. The objective of maintaining our connections with nature is to inspire the preservation of nature and encourage the mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional grounding that comes from staying connected with nature. We can't love things we don't know or understand, right? The more you experience the world the more you understand it and respect it. The more time you spend in nature the more you care about nature. Nature. That was our objective. I realized what was seemingly a mere practical suggestion regarding insurance coverage was actually our next step. Thank you, Ron King, for the inspiration and direction.

After our decision I met with leaders of Jefferson County to discuss our thoughts about quietly using some of our acreage as a "by appointment only" private nature preserve, only for limited, tiny groups, never open to the public, to promote outdoor experiences. They all liked the idea and granted us the necessary permitting. And from there The Nature Objective was born. A new company built from part of our existing company during a time of pandemic initially for insurance purposes. Go figure. Two complementary entities that are better together apart. Ironic, indeed, considering the timing of it all.

Our intention is to use every skill we've developed, every network, every resource, and every breath in our bodies to reconnect humans to nature any way we can. Big ways, little ways, easy ways, hard ways, near, far, whatever it takes, we're willing to try. For the final phase of our working lives, we can't think of a better objective than helping humans stay connected to nature.

Welcome to The Nature Objective. We hope you'll join our adventure.