Growing up on a remote ranch in Northern Nevada, human playmates were almost non-existent. I developed intrinsic relationships with every type of animal. These child-animal relationships were essential to my well-being, an intricate part of my soul.
I realize now I was afforded the ultimate luxury of growing up unhindered in a world much different from the hectic lifestyle children know today. The barnyard was my school and playground. Dogs, cats, horses, calves, and even the chickens were my playmates. These animals became my friends, my studies, and many of them touched my soul. I became versed in animal behavior early on.
My fairytale beginnings were dashed when I had to board with friends away from the ranch to attend high school. I soon became depressed, over-whelmed, and withdrawn. Simply stated, I missed the animals. Thanks to my enlightened parents, I was allowed to return to town with my horse and dog. This was one of the many times throughout my life that animals saved me.
Upon graduating in 1975, I developed a dog program for local youth, and was a founding memeber of several rescue groups. After many years of helping young people develop relationships with their animals, I built a large boarding, grooming, and training facility in 1987. I hired, coached and mentored many young people from drug court, 4-H, JOIN, or out of the DCFS program. Many of these young people were from broken homes, addicted, and abused. I did rescue work on a large scale and working with animals gave the young people I worked with a reason to get up in the morning. I watched them flourish. Their attitudes and over all mental health improved thanks to animals. I rescued thousands of animals on death row. I placed them with people who desperately needed them, many were lonely or elderly or both. For the last 40 years I have watched animals enrich the lives of the humans.