I began my career in healthcare wanting to help people adjust, cope, and find their strengths to thrive through the changes life brings. This naturally led me into becoming a psychotherapist, and I started my own practice. In addition to individual clinical work, I have led support groups for people living with HIV; caregivers of chronically or terminally ill loved ones; bereavement groups; and support groups for Hospice workers.
I have developed and led trainings on a variety of psychosocial issues for healthcare professionals including cultural competence, client centered counseling techniques, boundaries and self care, and mental health issues in the healthcare setting. I have also provided consultation for program development and implementation for several community education programs in the Chicago area.
I am looking forward to taking my experience into the world of animal assisted learning and therapy. Just as I left healthcare for a deeper connection, I now feel called to the pure connection and communication of animals to people’s experiences to allow strengthening and healing in a more organic holistic way.
The dream of starting a facility like Paws for Humanity really started for me as a child. Even though I had a relatively happy childhood, my road through life had plenty of potholes. It was my constant love of working with and showing animals that helped me find my true calling of rescuing animals to help people through their transitional times in life. My passion for animals lead me to get my degree from Bethel College, graduating cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Management. Also I recently attended a week-long immersive workshop through the course work of “PATH” (programs to develop equine therapy and programming), working toward earning a facilitator certification for our programming here at the ranch.
The majority of my life I have found myself in some form of church ministry, and currently I am working as a Spiritual Life Coordinator (or chaplain) for a Hospice agency in Northern Indiana supporting people through their transition in life, in order to help them find peace and acceptance within their life.
When you visit, you will find me as a facilitator and working with the trainers, counselors, and animals in order to help support and create programs. It is my hope that our many friends (new and old) will find a program at the ranch to fulfill their dreams and goals.
I have two dogs; both are rescue dogs. Seth, my Pitbull terrier mix, is a sweet boy that is now 11 years old. I rescued him from the humane society when he was about 3. He was found on the streets of Benton Harbor. I feel like he was abused and perhaps was going to be a bait dog due to his sweet personality. He has had some obstacles to overcome, but he is doing great, just getting old. Bugsy is my other rescued dog; he is a 3 year old chihuahua. He is a bundle of energy and a spitfire. He too has some background with him, but I am always working with him and his manners.