The biggest lesson we learned through that experience was that our act of kindness ended up enriching our lives more than we ever could have imagined. Louis made our house a home and I truly think that people who have dogs live longer, happier lives. And remember, you can’t make a difference in every dog’s life, but you can make all the difference in one dog’s life, like our Louie’s.

The term Blue Zones has been used to describe places where people live long and healthy lives. What exactly does it take to live a long and healthy life? What is the science and the secret behind longevity and life extension? In this series, we are talking to medical experts, wellness experts, and longevity experts to share “5 Things You Need To Live A Long, Healthy, & Happy Life”. As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Jo Dockins.

Jo Dockins is a professional home stager and background actor from Charlotte, North Carolina. The mother of two lives with her husband and rescue dog, Louis. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, playing piano and competing in tennis matches.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! It is really an honor. Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

Yes, of course. I was born in North Little Rock, Arkansas on April 5th, 1964. I was one of four girls, the third in line, and I grew up in a beautiful, middle-class neighborhood with tons of lakes and tons of friends. I was raised in a Catholic family, attended parochial schools, wore the lame uniforms but got a wonderful education.

I have had two careers. I worked as a Certified Court Reporter before I married and had my two sons, and after I raised my boys, I became a Professional Home Stager.

My sons are James Nicklaus, who is 24, and Anthony Joseph who is 22. My wonderful husband of almost five years is Scott. We also have a 200 pound (yes, you read that correctly) Bullmastiff named Louie.

Now that my boys are grown, I play a lot of tennis, travel the world and work as a background/featured actor in TV shows and movies.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

Of course! When I was working as a Certified Court Reporter in Arkansas, I worked in many different law firms- mostly in Little Rock and North Little Rock. At that time, my mother was working for the Governor, Bill Clinton. I knew the Clintons very well, and I even babysat Chelsea when she was two!

I worked for five weeks straight on a well-known class action lawsuit at the law firm where Hillary worked. I learned a whole, whole lot about franchise law during that time .

A funny takeaway is that the morning after Bill Clinton won his first presidential election, the firm placed a huge banner in the front of their big, prestigious law firm. The banner read, “Congratulations to Hillary’s Husband!” Incidentally, I was able to go to both of his inauguration events and balls.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful for who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My mom. Everything I ever accomplished or achieved was from the good education she gave me, my religious education, and all of the sage advice and pearls of wisdom she shared with me for all those years. She was an independent lady whose hard work, perseverance and persistence led her all the way to The White House.

You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Thank you for the compliment! I think having good role models, like my mom, is the most important. She brought me up to know right from wrong, to always try to make good decisions, to treat people the way that you would like to be treated and to always look for the good in people. One thing she would always say to me was, “Tell me who you’re going with and I’ll tell you who you are.”

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of our interview about health and longevity. To begin, can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fields of health, wellness, and longevity? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?

Well, growing up in the Deep South, for years and years I grew up with people who fried anything that would stand still long enough to fry it! Now, of course, people are aware of the ongoing and increasing problem with obesity, especially in the United States. Back then, people weren’t so wise about it.

Having three obese sisters, I learned very early to eat healthy, eat the proper portions, watch my weight and stay active. No couch potato issues with me! I played sports, I swam a lot, rode my bike every day and played outside with my friends until the streetlights came on. Then we all knew it was time to go home!

Seekers throughout history have traveled great distances and embarked on mythical quests in search of the “elixir of life,” a mythical potion said to cure all diseases and give eternal youth. Has your search for health, vitality, and longevity taken you on any interesting paths or journeys? We’d love to hear the story.

Yes. Many. I travel the world with my best friend and soul mate who just happens to be my husband. In fact, we are in Spain as I am writing this. We traveled to Switzerland, Poland, Italy and Spain and have been here for almost three weeks.

What I have learned by traveling to other cultures is that there are lower rates of obesity in other countries. They eat fresh, nutritious food, and in many places, people go to the market every day to make their daily meals. Think about it. No preservatives, no additives, no sulfates and no hormones. Just fresh food. And many people walk everywhere in other countries, especially in European.

There are two things that I think can bring you a long and healthy life. The first is to spend it with people you love unconditionally. Be with those who will have your back come hell or high water. That is the key.

The second thing is travel! Get out there and see this great big, beautiful world. Learn about other cultures, experience different ways of life, learn everything you can before you have to leave this glorious gift of life one day. In other words, just get out there and live!

Based on your research or experience, can you please share your “5 Things You Need To Live A Long & Healthy Life”? (Please share a story or an example for each)

Love. Love makes you smile, makes your heart happy and means so much to the people who you love and who love you. Love long and love hard and never, ever stop.

Laughter. It is the best medicine for everything. Everyone can find things to smile and laugh about. Just look around. You’ll find something to laugh about. I’m laughing right now while writing this!

Dance. Dance until you can’t dance anymore, and hopefully it will be a long, long time before I’ll be unable to dance. I hope I dance until they put me in that pine box! Dance like no one else is looking, and even if they are, keep dancing.

Generosity. Give your time to people who need it. Don’t be selfish with your time. Find time to make that meal for the couple who just brought their new baby home from the hospital. Make time to sit with a friend who is going through a rough time in their life. Volunteer to rock the babies in the NICU when the parents aren’t able to be there. Just give.

Kindness. Be kind to everyone, people and animals. If you don’t want it done to you, then don’t do it to others. Look, it’s really simple, this life. Treat people well even if they don’t reciprocate. You know the difference between right and wrong. Choose right.

As I mentioned earlier, my husband and I have a rescue Bullmastiff named Louie. I have been a member of Bullmastiff Rescuers, Inc. for years. The organization works to save, transport, foster and adopt any Bullmastiffs in need from all over the country.

Three years ago, we got a call from the rescue group saying that there was a Bullmastiff they found as a stray on the streets of Philadelphia. He was taken to a shelter where he was scheduled to be euthanized the next day. My husband and I took one look at that sweet boy’s picture and said, “Bring him to us. That’s our dog”.

The biggest lesson we learned through that experience was that our act of kindness ended up enriching our lives more than we ever could have imagined. Louis made our house a home and I truly think that people who have dogs live longer, happier lives. And remember, you can’t make a difference in every dog’s life, but you can make all the difference in one dog’s life, like our Louie’s.

Can you suggest a few things needed to live a life filled with happiness, joy, and meaning?

I think that if we’re very honest with ourselves, the things we really “need” for a happy life are fairly simple. If we are kind to others and surround ourselves with people that we love and who make us laugh, finding joy and meaning in life isn’t hard to do.

Some argue that longevity is genetic, while others say that living a long life is simply a choice. What are your thoughts on this nature vs. nurture debate? Which is more important?

I think the answer is both. You got your genes from your parents and there are many, many conditions that are familial. There’s not always a lot you can do about that.

You can, however, make good choices in what you eat and what you do. Stay active. If you think young, you’ll stay as young as you feel, if that makes any sense at all. And don’t let numbers govern your life. Your age, your weight, your size, they are all just numbers. And don’t weigh yourself every day. Stop doing that and stop driving yourself crazy! If your clothes start to get tight, cut back. That’s it.

It is also important to address health problems that keep you from being active. For example, I developed bunions on both of my feet almost 20 years ago. Almost 25% of Americans live with the condition, but many people who have them think that they develop as a result of wearing high heels or narrow shoes. The reality is that the condition runs in families,. What many think of as a simple cosmetic issue is actually a complex deformity that can disrupt any part of a patient’s daily routine. I was forced to stop playing tennis and could no longer enjoy sightseeing while traveling anymore. I also had trouble playing the piano because I could not press down on the pedals with hermy oot without experiencing excruciating pain.

I knew about traditional procedures to correct bunions, but the risk of recurrence made me hesitant to seek treatment. When the bunion on my right foot started to form a hole in my shoe, I knew it was time to act. After visiting a local podiatrist, I was referred to Dr. Bradley Lind of Foot & Ankle Specialists of the Mid-Atlantic in Harrisburg, North Carolina. Dr. Lind told me about Lapiplasty® 3D Bunion Correction®, an alternative procedure that uses a patented series of titanium plates to correct the bunion in all three dimensions,. The surgery also addresses the cosmetic bump on the side of the big toe. A few weeks after my initial consultation appointment, I underwent the Lapiplasty® Procedure on my right foot. After successfully recovering from my first procedure, I had my left foot corrected.

After recovering, I was able to return to tennis, take walking tours, and act during long television and movie shoots. My life is so different now that I don’t have to deal with daily bunion pain.

My story is just one example of how you can address some of the problems that may arise from “nature” in order to live a healthier, happier life.

Life sometimes takes us on paths that are challenging. How have you managed to bounce back from setbacks in order to cultivate physical, mental, and emotional health?

I am going to quote Fred Rogers now. It may not be verbatim, but you’ll get the gist. When he was growing up and would see terrible things on the news, like earthquakes, tornadoes, natural disasters, fires, he would ask his mother why these things happened. She would say, “We don’t know, but when you see these things, look for the helpers. There are always helpers”. In other words, try to look for the good. Always.

When things in my life get rough and I’m going through something that seems so overwhelming that it will never be resolved, I find something nice to do for someone else. Send someone flowers. Call just to say, “I love you”. Volunteer at a nursing home. I promise, you’ll feel better if you do things like that. And always remember, there are people that are so downtrodden that they would love to have your problems. Don’t forget to count your blessings.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“Wear sunscreen”. That’s it. If you take my advice, you’ll thank me one day. If I had taken my own advice years ago, I might still like my neck!

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would like to see a world with no homeless people. Everyone deserves a safe place to land that’s their own. No child should go hungry. They just should not. Also, no child should be homeless. There are too many times when we take such things for granted. If you’ve ever been homeless or wondered where your next meal would come from, then you know how important it is that we do everything in our power to make certain that we eliminate these all-too-real problems. Every human being deserves respect. As I’ve taught my boys, “Respect is learned, earned and returned”.

What is the best way for our readers to continue to follow your work online?

They can email me at [email protected] and I would be happy to give them my Facebook and Instagram information.

To learn more about Lapiplasty® 3D Bunion Correction™, visit

Only a surgeon can tell if the Lapiplasty® Procedure is right for you. This experience is unique and specific to this patient only. Individual results may vary depending on age, weight, health, and other variables. There are risks and recovery takes time. For more information about recovery from the Lapiplasty® Procedure, see the recovery information and discuss the post-surgery recovery process with your doctor. Risks include infection, pain, implant loosening and loss of correction with improper bone healing. For more information on benefits, risks and recovery, visit

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!


  • Savio P. Clemente

    TEDx Speaker, Media Journalist, Board Certified Wellness Coach, Best-Selling Author & Cancer Survivor

    Savio P. Clemente, TEDx speaker and Stage 3 cancer survivor, infuses transformative insights into every article. His journey battling cancer fuels a mission to empower survivors and industry leaders towards living a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle. As a Board-Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), Savio guides readers to embrace self-discovery and rewrite narratives by loving their inner stranger, as outlined in his acclaimed TEDx talk: "7 Minutes to Wellness: How to Love Your Inner Stranger." Through his best-selling book and impactful work as a media journalist — covering inspirational stories of resilience and exploring wellness trends — Savio has collaborated with notable celebrities and TV personalities, bringing his insights to diverse audiences and touching countless lives. His philosophy, "to know thyself is to heal thyself," resonates in every piece.