Richard Vollrath could see that the auto business was going to the dogs -- so he went first.
Vollrath, a former technical illustrator for Ford and other automakers, took a Ford buyout last year and now runs a pet-sitting business with his wife, Jean.
"They started having cutbacks and stuff, and I decided to leave before they threw me out," said Vollrath, 63, who left Ford at the end of last year.
The Rochester Hills resident's decision seems prescient in light of Ford's announcement last week that it will cut tens of thousands of jobs to slash its work force by as much as one-third.
Taking the buyout coincided with Jean Vollrath's desire to cut back in her career. A graphic designer for years, she also handled event planning for a business group, after recovering from cancer.
"I was sort of burned out and wanted to do something different," Jean says.
The couple have been animal lovers for years, caring for their own -- two dogs, three cats, five birds and two fish at last count -- and finding homes for other pets over the years.
They had discussed the idea for nearly two years, they say, and already had plenty of experience with pets.
The business didn't need much financial