Michelle Ingram had long been passionate about helping animals when she decided to open Zeus’ Place, a pet grooming and boarding business on Freret Street. The former network administrator had just been through Hurricane Katrina, and she decided that life is too short to be doing something you don’t love.
 
Though the Cut Off native had been rescuing animals for most of her life, she wanted to do more. Now Ingram hosts rescues in her store, allowing her to help more pets than she ever imagined. The business has been a great success – Ingram opened a second store in May on Napoleon Avenue, and she plans to open a third later this year in the South Market District.
 
What inspired you to launch your own business? 
My husband and I lost everything in Katrina. My daughter, Camille, had just turned two. I decided I needed to do what I loved for a living. I bought the building that now houses Zeus’ Place in March 2006 and haven’t looked back.
 
What’s been the most challenging part about growing your business?
The most challenging part is finding a balance between my home and work life. Working with animals is a 24/7 job. I have to manage my time wisely, so that I don’t burn out, and am still a great mom and wife.
  
Do you find owning your own business gives you more or less flexibility to do things with your kids?
I definitely have more flexibility to do things with Camille, now 13. I can take her to piano and swimming, be there when she is sick, or to go to her school events during the day. I cherish the fact that I could be there with her while she was growing up.
 
What is your favorite breed of dog and why?
I have two rescued Great Pyrenees at home, but I have to say that my favorite breed of dog is a rescued dog! There is no better feeling than taking a dog from a bad situation and giving it a great home with a loving family.
 
Zeus’ Place, 4601 Freret St., New Orleans. 504.304.4718. zeusplace.com.

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