From Someone With a Big Heart for Animals
Updated: Jun 2, 2020
I started in animal welfare and veterinary medicine in 1990. I have a degree in Political Science and Broadcasting, but had gone back to school to get a degree in Chemistry and Biology in order to go to vet school. But I got sidetracked into animal welfare while working at a veterinary clinic, and instead became the director of my hometown humane society. I wanted to dedicate my life to helping animals get basic veterinary care, and spay/neuter services.
For years, I have opened up my home and life to animals that needed care. My husband, Mike, and I wanted to be able to offer our home to animals who may, to most people, seem “un-adaptable” due to medical or behavioral reasons. The result was that we had a home of lovable misfits.
In 2008, I went on vacation in Belize, and saw the overwhelming need for veterinary care. Working with people living in Hopkins, we were able to establish the Hopkins Belize Humane Society. I spent the next several years raising funds, recruiting veterinarians, shipping supplies, and visiting Belize to establish a solid program. While my husband never accompanied me to Belize, he fully supported the program and was our biggest supporter.
Mike had been in poor health for a few months, but fell down in the Pittsburgh airport when I was in Belize doing a series of large clinics in the summer of 2016. After spending months in hospital and hospice, he passed away at the end of July 2016.
Professor X (my cat) was found in a dumpster when he was only a few days old. The person that pulled him out of the dumpster contacted friends, who contacted me. He needed to be bottle fed, and I was hiking a lot at the time, so I took him with me on hikes, He got used to it, and, once fitted with a harness, he love going on hikes. After my husband passed away, I wanted to do something to honor his memory. I looked into having Professor X trained to be a therapy animal, so we could visit people in hospital and hospice. The training was new to me, but Professor X was quick and eager to learn. In June of 2019, we became a certified Pet Therapy team through the Pet VIP program at The Humane Society of Southern Arizona. Before the pandemic, we visited hospitals and memory care homes about once a week.
Having such a close bond with Professor X makes me happy, and we bring such joy to people wherever we go. It has been a wonderful way to honor my husband’s memory.