Although her affinity for animals was evident at an early age, growing up in Brooklyn and Queens, NY, the family pet usually just consisted of a blue parakeet named "Pretty Boy I, II, III" etc. Instead of babysitting to make money in her early years, petsitting began at a nearby neighbor's house caring for cats during the owner's absence; and then expanded to caring for the renter's dog, an apricot toy Poodle named "Mikey". Her first secretarial job led her to purchase a Shetland Sheepdog puppy ("Shep") with her very first paycheck....and countless pets have shared her home ever since.
The opportunity to work with rescue animals began during the years she spent in Deerfield Beach, FL in the early 1980s. Barbara volunteered at a full-service wildlife rehabilitation center in Ft. Lauderdale, where she started working with wildlife by syringe feeding abandoned baby birds and cleaning raccoon cages. Her volunteer work expanded to being "on call" to handle the pickup and transport of injured/abandoned wildlife---everything from seabirds tangled in fishing line, baby squirrels ejected from their nests during storms as well as opposum, armadillo and other wildlife babies needing to be handraised after being abandoned by their mothers--mostly due to human destruction of their habitat. Her responsibilities further expanded with her election to the Board of Directors of the non-profit rescue organization.
Following the oil spill in Prince William Sound in 1989, she was accepted as a volunteer at Alaska Center for the Environment and, upon her return to FL, helped to implement an Oil Spill Response Team where volunteers were trained to assess and clean oil from affected birds.
Barbara's pet-related life was about to change dramatically with the purchase of her first ferret ("Tsunami") and the mentoring she received thru volunteering at a local ferret rescue in order to learn more about the proper care of her new pet. The Miami Ferret Club was one of the most respected ferret clubs and shelters in the country and she, once again, worked her way up thru the ranks of volunteers starting with refilling water bottles and cleaning litter pans and eventually, after the Miami shelter was destroyed during Hurricane Andrew, began a branch shelter in her Deerfield Beach home and was instrumental in coordinating several large rescue operations involving hundreds of ferrets.
During this time period, Barbara also traveled to the home of internationally recognized animal expert, Linda Tellington-Jones in New Mexico to learn the T-Touch, a specialized approach to the care and
training of animal companions.
In 1995, the Ludts relocated to Penney Farms, in northern FL, along with a multitude of ferrets, two cats and a (rescued) fennec fox named "Sandy". With a larger home and more property, Barbara continued to operate as the North FL Branch of the Miami Ferret Shelter. For the next 11 years, she also worked closely with several animal rescue groups including the Jacksonville Humane Society and Animal Rescue Movement, helping with countless rescues of dogs, cats, horses and misc. abandoned pets--both domesticated and exotic---as well as with several wildlife rehabilitators.
Upon relocating to Washington State continues to provide experienced, professional animal rescue, referrals, and pet sitting/boarding services since 2004.