My journey started, like too many others, doing my best to ride out a very dysfunctional, abusive childhood. How I survived it, how I coped, was to escape into the natural world. I spent every moment I could, observing and caring for my much-loved pets. My family and friends would later remark they rarely saw me without, a cat, dog, guinea pig, horse, goat or rat! In my teens, I became obsessed with researching and planning how I could make things better for animals and protect them from abuse.
Adulthood brought a career in real estate and construction and then the gift of two fantastic sons. My focus was on raising my boys to be kind, resilient, happy young men. Through the years, though, I was rehabilitating rescue dogs one or two at a time…the more difficult the case, the more I learned. The dogs were teaching me. I was honing my techniques until I was consistently able to cure dogs and bring back a happy dog mind. Like most moms, I did push myself too hard on all fronts and stress was my constant companion – eventually leading to a decade of various health challenges. I was very busy, and out of necessity, I developed a high tolerance for pain and kept pushing myself forward. Eventually, the universe dealt me a hand that would break me and demand I sit up and take notice.
The short version is I was finally diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia, a rare condition that delivers excruciating nerve pain in the form of “lightening strikes” in the face. I typical had around 30 strikes a day, which varied based on the number and types of incapacitating, medications prescribed to help me endure…to help me stay alive. Trigeminal neuralgia causes what is generally described as the “worst pain known to man ” and “the suicide disease.” If I tried to eat or speak, I got a strike. If I tried to brush my teeth, I got a strike. If I tried to go outside in the wind, I got a strike. I think one of the most devastating parts was not being able to cry…even crying brought a lighting bolt through my mouth. TN steals your life through extreme physical pain and starvation; and terrorizes you emotionally. After enduring it for 5 years, bedridden for the last six months, it was clear I wasn’t going to survive.
The details of what happen next are extremely personal, but I was utterly aware I was living my final few days in this world. I had fought, furiously, to stay alive for my boys, but I felt the last energy from my cells slip away. I had lost my last battle. At that moment, I left most of my physical body and pierced the veil between our world and another world. I was instantaneously pain free and completely at peace; but it was not to be. How I was saved, though, is a whole other story. I will just tell you that I was not allowed to fully leave this world; while simultaneously and without my knowledge, a completely random set of circumstances and people were coming perfectly together to my rescue. By the next day, I was rushed to Pittsburgh for emergency brain surgery, preformed by gifted surgeons I had never met. I awoke from the ordeal completely cured…and with a clear directive.
I was the recipient of a miracle; and I was to use this second chance to make the world a much better place for dogs. I realized I had to figure out, no matter how difficult, a way to spread this desperately needed information about the dog mind and heart everywhere! No longer was it just ok to save one dog at a time or help one family at a time. I had to make videos with clear, concise, common sense techniques and information; and get them into the hands of every dog parent. I will never stop working and advocating for dogs until my second chance time here is over.
Please join me on this journey and help me spread the word!