Jeff and Kodi by Sinton Pond with Pikes Peak in the background
HI, I’m Jeff Shapiro and I’m currently living in Monument, CO. Monument is about 15 minutes north of Colorado Springs and 35 minutes south of Denver which makes it a nice area where it’s easy to get away from the crowds of the large cities.
For the last several years my main activities are volunteering with the United States Forest Service (USFS) in the Pike Ranger District of the Pike National Forest, and co-raising service puppies while I figure out what I want to be when I grow up.
Volunteering with the USFS provides many interesting and challenging opportunities. I notify the USFS about hazardous road conditions, people living in the forest (you can camp, but not live in the forest), large amounts of trash, people target shooting unsafely. I also talk to the public about safety in the forest and recreating responsibly. Some of my challenges come from picking up large TV's, and other trash left in the forest as well as putting out abandoned campfires. (You'd be surprised at the numbers.) I try to spend as much time as I can in our local national forest. There are so many areas to explore and so many new things to see, even after volunteering for 5 years.
Co-raising service dog puppies is very rewarding and challenging. The “challenging” comes from getting a new 8-week old puppy every 16-18 months. Young puppies are fun, but bring along a large set of challenges to get them started off in the right direction. "Rewarding" comes from seeing the puppy you spent 16-18 months raising and training meet their life-long partner. These dogs do so much for their partners that they do truly become "one." Beside the physical support (sometimes literally) the dogs provide an enormous emotional support for their partners. While we are raising the puppies we get the chance to educate the public and store owners about service dogs, their rolls, how to greet them (or not) and access rights for the disabled with service dogs.
Professionally, I spent way more years doing computer system development than I care to remember. Anytime I wanted to change careers, I got pulled back into the computer field. I guess because it was easier and the pay is good. This last time, I decided that going back into computers is not an option. At least not as a paying gig. I might be willing to do something for a non-profit organization that I found very interesting. So now I’m looking for something that keeps me out of the office and outside in nature.