Dogs are more than just furry friends; they are the smiles greeting you in the morning, the medicine that can cure a bad day, and the pieces that help your heart feel whole. So, when you are forced to face the decision between your health and your heart – knowing what to do can seem impossible. Yet, after life opened her eyes to the beauty of rescuing dogs and serving senior citizens, Woodlands, Texas, real estate agent Priyanka Johri saw her life’s calling extend beyond the walls of her company, The Woodland Eco Realty.

Johri remarked “I got into real estate to pay vet bills for my dogs,” an experience that eventually led to the launch of The Woodlands Eco Realty. The real estate business was founded to generate income to fund her nonprofit, Pure Mutts Animal Sanctuary, which is committed to helping care for dogs that are elderly and have special needs. “I believed it to be my calling to help dogs,” stated Johri, but this calling propelled Johri down new pathways that included helping others.

Throughout Johri’s time with her nonprofit, she realized that helping elderly dogs often included helping their senior owners. She expressed, “Every year, I’d get dogs from people who had to go to assisted living… In 2017, I got eight calls in one month. I realized the universe wanted me to do something.”

After a Google search revealed 25 assisted living facilities in the area advertised as pet-friendly, Johri started making phone calls to try and answer the universe’s calling. “When I called, every one of them had the same story: The senior could bring their pets so long as they could take care of the pets themselves,” Johri recalls. “How was that going to work? They were going to assisted living because they couldn’t take care of themselves, let alone their pets.” It was here that Johri decided to open her own assisted living facility.

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Learning that assisted living services could be offered within a home setting was a game changer for the real estate agent. When a home near Johri’s real estate office became available and met the requirements for an assisted living facility license, she bought the property and began her new journey. Yet, while her plans hit a bump in the road after Hurricane Harvey, Johri reopened her doors in November 2019.

Johri’s staging experience helped bring the facility to full capacity in just 40 days, leading to a phone call from a local doctor who also sought a home for his mother at Johri’s. The welcome Johri’s services have received has helped create Acorn Manor Assisted Living, which now includes five properties that help care for senior citizens and their furry companions. 

Another challenge loomed early in Johri’s journey – the global pandemic. After getting an early warning from the doctor, Johri went home and immediately packed her bags, moving into the facility where she lived for two years.  

“Until then, I never had a senior person in my life—no grandparents, etc.—and I didn’t know what it was like until I started living in the facility. It was the best thing that happened to me. I fell in love with taking care of seniors like I fell in love with rescuing dogs.”

While Johri’s path may have started with a high veterinarian bill, the real estate agent is more of a senior expert now and remains dedicated to helping senior citizens and dogs live happy lives in their final years.