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100 Muddy Paws

Once Upon a Time I had a Blog called 100 Muddy Paws & Sjogren's

I have recreated 100 Muddy Paws here and hopefully will have a book version available soon

100 Muddy Paws

Chapter 1

In the Beginning

The COVID-19 Pandemic made writing this book a healing journey for me. For over 50 years I have suffered with progressing and increasing Autoimmune Diseases. When I retired due to my office in Chicago closing, I was 57 years old. I had always wanted to do something in the service category and I originally thought I would like to work in hospice. Unfortunately as my health issues increased I was eventually forced to come to the realization that I needed to do something from my home because I was not only unable to see well enough to drive at night but, additionally my various diagnosed illnesses prevented me from functionally living a normal existence. I’ve always loved dogs. I never met one I did not like, which is great, considering there have been a number of individuals I’ve met I cannot say the same about. My dear friends Maryhelen and Jim had sent me a picture of the most adorable puppy they found at an adopt event when they were picking up supplies for their own pets at a store. My husband and I were actually on our way to that same shopping plaza and I asked him if we could stop and see the puppy. Naturally, it was love at first sight. Not only did we take the puppy, but I also asked the rescue group if I could join them. Rescues are always needing volunteers and fosters and so this is where I have decided to begin my story. Pretty innocent needless to say, however nothing could have prepared us for everything that happened since.

Chapter 2

Starting a 501c3 Nonprofit

As part of the rescue group we had agreed to foster dogs as they were brought in and as time went on and we accepted dogs to foster, we turned into foster failures. My husband took one look at the very first dog that came to us to foster and declared, she was not going anywhere, she would stay with us. We had her with us until she passed away 7 years later. The next dog, I was the foster failure. The dog followed me around everywhere in the house and yard, how could I possibly give him away. I’m sure by now you know where this is going, very soon we were in need of more land and a larger living area. After the first few little fur angels found their way to our door, we became rather well known in the Rescue Community. It was the dogs that people could no longer care for, that had disabilities, or had been surrendered because they were too old, or had behavioral issues because they were abused, and some that were adopted out but were returned multiple times, that stole my heart.

Ever since having my first Yorkie about 40 years ago this breed of dog has held a very special place in my heart. When the original rescue group that I belonged to, before creating my own, put out the word that an eight-year-old male Yorkie was available to find a forever home, I immediately wanted him. However, at that time of course, we did not know that two more would be joining our family, all around the same age, all males and all with horrific dental issues. The thing about Yorkies is they have absolutely no idea of their size. In their wee little minds, they are sure that they are at least the size of a Rottweiler. I found this out with my first Yorkie, Merlin, when two very large boxers came bounding into our yard and our little guy went flying off the deck aiming straight for the jugular. It’s so sad when dogs are given up at this age after being with the same family their entire lives. You never really get the full story why someone, anyone, would be giving up their dog after this long. Sadly, in this breed it often turns out that they display acute signs of separation anxiety. I swear, one little guy looked for his mommy for at least a year. In most cases these dogs have not been well taken care of nor had sufficient medical care. We’ve heard all types of excuses from the previous owners such as, they were having a baby and no longer felt they wanted a dog in the house or were moving and couldn’t take the dog with them. We almost always never know the real true story; however, we expect the exorbitant cost of medical care this breed usually requires makes it impossible for them to keep the dog. Yes, there is always a multitude of excuses and we’ve heard them all. Two of the Yorkies we received also needed to be altered which just adds to the cost of caring for these precious little beings. The lame excuse given for the last one is they decided they preferred larger dogs. We rarely get any paperwork about the dog’s history. Our vet examines them for any issues, if needed they are neutered, given dental, all vaccines and along with all of this is blood work and x-rays. After doing this for a few years and having had a history with specific breeds, we’ve managed to learn enough so that when the dog has an issue, we pretty much know what to do. We now expect almost all small dogs to have teeth removed during their dental visit. Most of the dogs have horrendous breath and once they have appropriate dental care, the breath issue completely clears up. I say appropriate dental care because after the first few sweet angels came to us, we needed to change vets. The previous practice was too small to be able to get us in as fast as we needed. We absolutely need all the issues addressed from a medical point of view because we cannot risk bringing a dog home that might bring a parasite or anything else to the shelter. We went to the next town that had a very large practice and stayed with them until we had to bring 3 dogs back for additional dental 3 times in 1 year because they never completely cleared up the issues and still charged us the full exorbitant fee. Eventually we found the very best practice. McAfee Animal Hospital and Dr. Steve in Valparaiso, Indiana. Not only did we receive a 25% discount, but Dr. Steve came to us once a year for checkups and required shots. This was an amazing gift, and we would then only have to bring in a Rescue as needed.

Chapter 3

We Bought The Farm

As we were growing out of our space, and in need of property that was far enough away from neighbors so that no one would be bothered by the dogs barking, we found an old farm that had been on the market for three years. This property included a pond, a house and several outbuildings including a barn and 10 acres of land. We went to see it Easter Sunday morning. To say it was unusual, to some, may be an understatement. The original part of the house was built in 1860, and over the many years, additions had been added. Since I was incurring a number of progressing physical issues, I could envision just using the entire first floor of the living space with a number of modifications. I realize there are numerous aspects of this story that all took place over the past six years that I am writing about, and one of the aspects is that I had anticipated my husband losing his position as a Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of an insurance corporation in Chicago.

My intention was to hold farm weddings to fund the shelter. The people that were selling the property had owned it for 50 some years and assured us that we could have a shelter here as well as the weddings.

We closed on the property July 1, 2014. My husband was adamant that the renovations should be completed by October of that year. I was adamant that we would not move to the farm until all the renovations were completed. Most of the dogs we had in our sanctuary had major issues. I did not want to stress them further by moving to a new location where people were coming and going daily. In the meantime, I was having several minor cosmetic changes to the current home that we were living in, so that we could put it up for sale by owner, and this way, I felt I could keep the dogs as stress free as possible. I had several phone inquiries immediately upon having the sign put up, and I was not returning those calls because I was needed on site at the farm and my husband was still employed in Chicago.

However, one of the callers was beyond insistent and eventually I returned his call. I explained to him the issues and my concerns about letting anyone into our home with the dogs as well as my intention of not moving out of our home until the renovations at the farm were complete. He was not the slightest deterred. He had transferred here for his job and had been living in a camper since June. He needed to get his family here before school started so that he could register his sons even if they let us continue to occupy the property as long as necessary. I finally caved in and the entire family had about half an hour in our home with the majority of the dogs outside.

We closed on the sale of the property the beginning of November, and then rented it back once the school year started. His entire family as well as their pets we’re all living in a trailer. Both families agreed that we wanted to be in our new homes for the holidays.

Unfortunately, the farm was not ready. We went ahead and moved in November 8th without the farm being finished. The counters in the kitchen and baths, great room and wine cellar, had not been installed. Therefore, no sinks were available in those rooms as well. The only sink we had was in the laundry room.

We were only in the house 24 hours before the first issue came up. As I was trying to use the washer and sink in the laundry room, there was no water coming out. Apparently, in the inspection, my husband, noting the high iron count in the well water, had requested a filter be installed. It was totally clogged in one day.

This was just the beginning of what I have come to refer to as my hell on earth.

Chapter 4

What it means to be an Empath

At this point, I feel it’s necessary to explain what an Empath is. The best explanation I have heard was by Christina Lopes. Christina states that most people have an energy field like a glass door. Rain, wind, hot and cold do not get through. Empaths have energy fields like a screen door. Rain, wind, hot and cold come in.

I have always known I was an Empath, however, I did not know all of the traits that are associated with Empaths, nor when I was very young, did I have a word for what made me different. Empaths are people who are affected by energies from people, places or things. Empaths can have one element or several that make up the type of Empath that they are. Empaths have a special bond with animals. It is my belief that animals can feel energy fields or see auras. This is why some animals who are friendly to everyone will suddenly want to attack a particular person. This was the case with Buddy, a rescue who was brought to us while the farm was still under construction. Buddy is a gentle giant. Part Newfoundland and Border Collie, he weighs about 85 lbs. Buddy loves everyone. One day I had him with me when I was stopping at the farm to check on the progress of the work. Buddy was fine until he saw the person hired for the tile work. Buddy wanted to kill him. Of course, he was on a leash and he did not get near the man, however, Buddy’s assessment of this person’s character was spot on. I have learned never to trust anyone who does not like dogs. Dogs are great interpreters of a person’s true makeup. Empaths who possess many traits are very susceptible to anxiety and depression because they absorb so much negative energies of others. In my research about Empaths I realized that a lot of things I didn’t understand about myself made so much more sense after learning how my mind and body worked and the affect that so much stimulation from so many sources was physically, emotionally and spiritually affecting me. My research told me that there are only 1 to 3% of Empaths worldwide. Empaths want to fix everyone. Intuitively, some Empaths are pre-cognizant, and they know things are going to happen before they happen. I am one of these Empaths. Empaths often find water very healing and therefore want to live close to an ocean or beach. It has been my custom for years to take a very long bath each night with Epsom salts and baking soda. Strangers will often come up to them and just seem to want to be in their presence without even speaking. My family has witnessed this on several occasions. Some Empaths can use their hands to manipulate energy and heal people. Many years ago, I had a practice with a partner in energy work. Most Empaths prefer the company of animals over people. They also are quite comfortable in solitude and nature. I can be very happy not leaving my home for days or weeks at a time. From early spring to late fall my husband has to drag me away from my flowerbeds which I create more of each year. Another trait is that many instinctively know immediately with one look at someone that we should avoid them because we instantly know they will harm us. One of the traits that many Empaths have is a strong aversion to loud noise. I can no longer go to a movie theater and we used to play poker in a group weekly at a bar that would crank up the music so loud I needed to immediately leave because it felt as if every nerve in my body was being electrocuted. Empaths are often extremely fatigued. For years after being diagnosed with chronic fatigue as well as fibromyalgia, I had attributed my fatigue and exhaustion to those diagnosis. Now, it is clear that many times when I was out with friends in a crowded bar or casino, and I would have to leave to go home to bed because I was exhausted. It was actually the energy my body was absorbing from others that caused the exhaustion. The assault an Empath feels from so much sensory absorption from being in a crowd can be more than overwhelming. The energy can also make us want to flee as fast as possible. Years ago, I was in a car being driven by the daughter of a friend. Throughout the entire trip, the poor girl driving, and not a teenager but a working adult, I might add, was being verbally assaulted by her mother for her driving. There was absolutely no reason I could see for this, to me the driving was fine. However, it literally took such a toll on me that the minute we returned back to where we started, I jumped and ran for my car before the car I had been in was even turned off. I knew how horrifically I was affected by the experience but didn’t know how to keep myself from having it overwhelm me. Another trait I share with many Empaths is negativity and harassment are way too much to handle. An example of this is reality tv. My husband could only watch something like The Apprentice or the programs about wives in California or New Jersey and everywhere in-between, while I was taking my bath. The effect of the bickering and backstabbing would literally physically affect me. Empaths can be the life of the party when they feel comfortable around people they trust. When they are with a group and sense they are being judged or instinctively know they are in the presence of narcissistic company, they rarely say a word. One of the most relevant traits are that their generosity knows no bounds and once you are trusted and they let you into their world, they’re loyalty goes on forever and they will overlook any slight or hurt inflicted upon them by someone they love almost forever. But, once they are repeatedly treated unfairly and wronged by someone they love, they will eventually cut those people out of their lives to protect themselves from further stress and grief which eventually affects their physical bodies. Empaths kryptonite is family. No one can hurt an Empath like family can. Empaths have huge hearts and family is everything to them. The normal barriers an Empath will put up when in the presence of others does not apply to family. The Empath is powerless to shield themselves because they are totally trustful and completely open with family. When one of my children was in pain, I would do the deepest energy work I could, to take their pain away. Unfortunately, instead of letting the pain pass through me, I would draw pain from their physical bodies, and it would fill me. Absorbing this resulted in either immediately throwing-up or passing out from exhaustion when finished. Of course, for all the reasons listed above, constant chronic stress affects me so deeply that it took a tremendous toll on my body. But this is not the only reason I continued to be diagnosed with more and more chronic illness.

Chapter 5

Contractors Mean Calamity

As I am going through this part of the story, I find it as painful as living through it back in 2014 and 2015. We had a licensed contractor for years to do several upgrades to the home we were residing in and when we told him we were considering buying the farm he expressed his great interest in seeing what we would need to change and wanted to be able to bid on the job. We had at least four contractors give quotes immediately. Two dropped out because the job was too large, and they had other commitments that would not allow the amount of time required to finish by October. Between the last two contractors, the one that we knew begged for us to hire him. Since we had worked with him in the past, we decided we would give him the job. There was a lot of demolition and he only had one person to help. We knew some friends that were looking to make money so they could go on a cross country trip and needless to say it worked out great for everyone to have them help for a couple of weeks. Although you would’ve thought that with so many people needing jobs, it would be easy to find people who wanted to work, that was not the case, not even close. It was a total nightmare. Our contractor had assured us he had a crew of people working for him, yet somehow was unable to have anyone to do anything. I ended up hiring a painter, however, he would get halfway through a room then ask for his pay for that day, promising to finish. Instead, he would disappear and go on a bender and would show up a week later with some story, and then, do it all over again. One day when the contractor showed up, he saw that the painter’s truck was already there with an actual human female hood ornament. When he went into the house, he was calling for the painter and getting no response he fired up his compressor and went to work with his nail gun. I bet you can imagine his surprise when who should come tripping down the stairs pulling on jeans, shirtless, and yelling who the (feel free to insert whatever normal expletive you like to use) was making all the racket. The contractor responded that the noise was him working, which is what he (the painter) was supposed to be doing. The painter glanced outside and seeing his human hood ornament on his truck, stated that he would be right back. He showed up a few days later. After two months of this it was clear he needed to be let go. The next contractor for painting and additional work we interviewed assured us that the job would be finished within three weeks which would bring us into November already a month behind schedule. The scope of this job included painting the entire interior of the house in a semi-gloss, purchasing trim to match the trim for the 1860 part of the house, painting all doors which were custom ordered and already delivered on site, repairing plaster, redoing one bedroom with sheetrock since the plaster in that room was in too much disrepair to fix, cutting, painting and installing the trim and redoing the stairs.

They had a written contract which we signed, and the company had three partners who owned it. We met all three and we were assured that one of them would be on site at all times and gave them a check for half the quote they provided for the work they were doing on a Thursday night. We were told the trim was being delivered that coming Monday. I was expecting to find a bevy of workers doing their respective jobs. Nope. When I called, I was told they were having a meeting to make sure that everything was clear to everyone. By the way, when this company was hired, and in the contract, it was stated that everyone on site working was a professional. Nope. Rarely was any supervisor on site. The workers were a variety of people including one of the contractor’s mother. None of these individuals looked to be in the profession that they were working. Since the trim had never materialized, I asked when it was arriving. Now I was told Wednesday. When again it did not show up, I was told Friday. Again, when it did not appear, I was told Monday. This went on until the contractor called and asked for the remainder of the payment. When I told him, the job wasn’t anywhere near finished he told me it was. Then when I asked him where the trim was, he acted like he didn’t know what I was referring to. At this point I told him to call my husband. He reached my husband at his office in Chicago and told my husband he needed the money to buy the trim. My husband responded that he did not have the contract in front of him, but he was pretty sure it was included, and the contractor told him he didn’t remember.

We were going out of town the next week and we were expecting to move in the week after. Upon calling the other partners they said they would look into it. To say it was very alarming when we did not hear back from either partner, is an understatement. When we returned, the partners stated they wanted a meeting. At the meeting, the 2 remaining partners informed us that the partner that was negligent following through on almost every aspect of the contract, “had a bit of a breakdown”, and was taking “a much-needed rest”. During the time that the contractor who was now “resting” was on site, a number of very disturbing things took place. On 1 occasion, when my husband and I arrived at the farm to see what progress was being made, we found 2 small children, playing with equipment totally unsupervised and when the tile contractor (another worker we hired that caused enormous problems)left for lunch, they ran into the room he was working in, stepping on the fresh tile which had just been placed to set, and disappeared down the stairs to another part of the house. We inquired why were there children on site at all, not to mention unsupervised and were told they were the contractors’ son and friend. Just a few days later, the same contractor told me he had chased a couple of kids away from a log cabin that sits in front of the pond. He stated that they had broken into the cabin and he offered to go to the store to purchase a new lock. Then he went on to say how dangerous it was that they were there and how they easily could have gone in the pond, almost exactly verbatim the words I had imparted to him a couple days before. In addition, I was saving and preserving all the doors and windows to build a Greenhouse and he had one of the windows leaning against his vehicle, when I inquired why, he responded he was taking it home to make an art project as a gift for our house. I declined and retrieved the window.

Throughout the time that these people were on our premises, there were things that just didn’t look right. When I asked one of them, why the paint did not look right, he told me it was because it was still wet. That was not the case at all. They painted everything in flat instead of the semigloss requested in the contract. By now I was painting all the doors myself. I was getting to the farm at the crack of dawn and leaving when it was too dark to see.

Chapter 6

"You Can’t Make This Shit Up” Becomes My Mantra.

So, we moved November 8th, 2014. I previously mentioned at the end of Chapter 3 that the filter for the water was clogged to the point that not a drop of water could get through in the first 24 hours of moving into the farmhouse. That was only the beginning. The next weekend, water was bubbling up in the shower drain and the toilet and sink when I let the water out of the tub. Of course, this was a Sunday, however we managed to find people to come out and access the problem. After some extensive work to find the cause, we were informed the footings that were put in to hold the deck by the previous owners, were sitting directly over the sewer tiles and as a result the sewer tiles were crushed. So, the following week, which was now the week before Thanksgiving, 40 feet of sewer tiles were re-routed. We now had 25 dogs, running through the mud that was now their yard, coming in and out the doggy door to the house. This is why I began to write 100 Muddy Paws. So so much much more to be done. I haven’t even got to the copious amount of other issues simultaneously happening. The plumber, electrician, tile installer, bricklayer, and now I have to start over for the third time with another painter.

About this time a very very dear friend came to visit. Our friend was part of a group of people we were playing poker with on a weekly basis. To say I was not myself doesn’t even begin to address the state he found me in. In his desire to do whatever he could to alleviate the state of trauma that now occupied my psyche on a daily basis he suggested, although very hesitantly, someone he knew who might be able to help. Since we were desperate, we were grateful for any help at all.

The thing is, as an Empath, and one who has pre-cognition, I always know not only when something is going to happen, but also the make-up of individuals hearts and souls. I know who is going to hurt me, who is telling a lie, who is taking advantage and more. This has always been a significant problem for me, and I am sure it is for other Empaths as well. As we explained what had happened up to that point, the person my friend brought over made all the appropriate comments, with the exception of one. They stated that they would not take advantage of us as the others had. Although, I instinctively sensed a problem, I also knew my husband wanted the people working in the house out ASAP. Therefore, I said sure, lets do this.

One of the things I had stated is that we were running out of funds. It was imperative to finish as soon as humanly possible. So, when this person began working, they suggested adding a friend of theirs to make it possible to finish sooner. We said fine. The first day, they were late. Then upon arrival, they stated they first needed a smoking break. Soon it was requested their daughter join the party. It was mainly painting at this point and they were adamant that the more people working the faster it would go. Another daughter came to visit. I was then asked if the son could be added, to which I stated no. I needed to go to Chicago for a Doctor’s appointment and my husband worked from home that day. Knowing I would be gone, the painter immediately brought her son, and immediately he broke something. The daughter wanted an outfit, go ahead and take it was my response. The other daughter wanted to bathe in the jet tub. Okay. As time went on more and more, we were taken advantage of.

Going back to when the previous painters were there, the tile person refused to come to work because he was tired of the “professional” painters carelessly walking on his work and dripping paint all over. He refused to give us any quotes before starting and the price was always a surprise. In addition, he was supplying the granite and quartz counters and refused to do anything as far as measuring or having people come in until all of the other work was completed. This is one of the reasons we were so far behind and were forced to move in without counters and sinks. In addition, he had sealed the kitchen floor without filling in holes and cracks and promised to bring a crew back to finish that work. He never came back other than to come when we were not home and pick up all his materials. Another issue was the person we hired to do the outside patios, walkways and porch. Another friend had brought him over and he had given us a quote stating that this is what the job would cost and that was in writing and would not change. Before even starting the price went up because he said the materials were higher priced than he had anticipated. He then began asking for thousands more than we had signed on for. He even came to collect money and additionally charged my husband for sealing some of the work he hadn’t finished and then never returned since he was already paid.

We still had the original contractor who had previously worked for us at our other home and had begged us to give him this job. He had a propensity for leaving to get things and being gone for hours which we were paying for. Finally, I stated there would be no more going out to hunt down for whatever, I would run for things.

By now we had the painter, her friend, her daughter and the contractor still all working as Christmas approached. One of the major problems was that I wanted rooms finished. The work was being done all over the house, but nothing was being finished in any particular room. My husband would leave the contractor a list of things he wanted him to do in the order he wanted them finished. When my husband would call to check on the progress and ask if the list was being followed, I would state no. When he asked why, I would be forced to say the contractor was doing whatever project he wanted to do. Eventually, my husband began working from home much more often and saw firsthand how things were being operated. He finally realized the frustration I was dealing with when the last job he gave the contractor was to finish the hall floor and stairs which took a month and we had to tell him to tile the closets in the hall when doing the floor which he had no intention of doing.

Another issue is I wanted a saferoom installed. The painter had someone she suggested that gave us an exorbitant quote, which I wanted to refuse. However, my husband was so focused on getting everything finished, he accepted it. It also included the stairs. Before the stairs were even started this person backed out. We had already given this carpenter half down. This carpenter then told our contractor he would give him the money and our contractor could do the work. We were paying our contractor by the hour plus expenses. Our contractor thought he was entitled to be paid by us by the hour in addition to the funds we had paid the carpenter. My husband tried to explain he was not doubly paying him but for some reason the contractor just couldn’t seem to grasp the concept.

Just out of curiosity how many funerals would you expect a crew of 4 people to need to take off for in a timeframe of a couple months? I bet you would guess wrong. The painter, who had a guy living with her, started sleeping with the contractor, then told the guy she was sleeping with to move out. He did, however, he died shortly after from not wearing his sleep apnea device. This put the painter in a tailspin of excuses of why she couldn’t work. Of course, the friend and daughter had to take off also, for support. The friend had a boyfriend apparently, she claimed to be involved with who no one knew about, because he was married. He died within a week or two of the other guy. She needed off for that funeral as well as the others again for support. The contractor who lived with someone else and was shagging the painter had a niece and a sister die on two separate occasions, which of course he needed time off for.

Hopefully you can understand my mantra “you can’t make this shit up”.

Chapter 7

Christmas/New Year Gift

For Christmas I had given the women Coach purses. The painter’s response was, “what am I supposed to do with that”? The contractor was given a cash bonus, which resulted in his statement that we took better care of him then his parents. We also gave them paid leave for the holidays.

New Year’s Day we arose to find someone had driven through our wrought iron fencing. There were so many parts left over from the car they had managed to tow away in the middle of the night without us being aware, that we knew the make, model and color of the vehicle. We saw this vehicle driving in and out of the street directly across from the broken fence. We notified the police, but nothing was ever done.

In honor of our first holiday in our new home I decided to immortalize it with a variation of the Night Before Christmas printed below for your enjoyment.

T’was the night before New Year's, and all over the farm,

Not a creature was stirring, and no one could keep warm.

Not a stocking was hung, and the chimney was bare,

There were no more sticks or logs, for lighting in there.

The children were all nestled, from cold in their beds,

While visions of bone soup, swam in their heads.

And mom in her kerchief, and I in my coat,

Could not forget mail, the bill collectors wrote.

When out on the lawn, there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the bed, to see what was the matter.

Away to the window, I flew like a flash,

The torn shutters long fallen, and painted shut, was the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,

Was the only light given, to objects below.

When what to my wondering eyes should see,

But someone’s old car sticking out of my tree.

With a driver so drunk, that I knew for sure,

The same car had run through, our fence before.

More rapid than raindrops, his curses came.

As he shook his fist, at our house in the rain.

You blockhead, you fish head, you nut job, you drone,

Why in the middle of the road, did you build your home?

As dry leaves before, the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.

I saw his intention, before his insults were through,

Was to come bang on the door, and start insults anew.

As I headed from my room, down the hall to the door,

I felt I had suffered enough, and refused to suffer more.

But away he banged, and would not stop,

I feared the door would cave in, from years of dry rot.

He stood there and pointed, at me with a digit

And in spite of being drunk, he seemed to stand ridged.

He was dressed all in white, and quite a sopping mess,

And I smelled a foul odor, and suspected he’d pissed.

By now all the rescued dogs, in our nest,

Were ready to bite him, but I made them resist.

When out of the corner, of my eye I saw,

My wife on the phone, making a call.

Of course I knew, and did not bother to ask,

She had called 911, to come get this ass.

But wanting to see, this glass as half full,

I thought this confrontation, was quite a jewel.

Soon the siren and lights, came and parked.

I told the dogs; they’re was no need to bark.

And quickly they dragged, the drunk sod away,

I viewed this a gift, of entertainment, for our New Year's Day.

Chapter 8

No Money No Job

As the New Year started, we informed all the workers that we needed them finished up and out by February.

For some reason this caused the painter to state that she was no longer satisfied with her friends work and she told her friend not to come back. This caused me a great deal of distress because all through this process and time, I had been pointing out a number of issues that I asked them to take care. Their response had been that they would get it on the punch list when they had finished. Of course, it never was finished. The painter and her friend were gone and not returning weeks of phone calls.

The contractor was told to finish the stairs and foyer and that was the end. Seven years later there are still things that were never finished.

I would like to say this story has a happily ever after ending, but alas, that is not the case.

As time went on, we encountered more and more horrific issues. The sewer tile issue repeated itself two more times with other sewers that were on our property and tied into the main sewer which caused thousands of dollars in repair.

Almost a year to the date of purchasing the farm to create our nonprofit, my husband lost his job. He had been in the insurance business for 40 some years, the last 20 some with the same company. In his position of CFO and Senior Vice President, he did an enormous amount of work. The sad part is that he truly believed his boss had his back as he had stated many times, that he would take care of him. This narcissistic person only looked out for himself. Making empty promises over and over that he never intended to manifest. When the company was sold in order to pay this evil entity millions by selling off the company, none of his promises came true and my husband was left unemployed in his 60’s.

But I had always known the makeup of his boss and knew that we could create our own business with farm weddings to fund the shelter and pay the bills.

By the time we were ready to start the event business, we were totally out of funds. However, we had a partner who offered to pay for everything necessary up front and take over the entire part of that aspect of the business and pay us a commission on a per person basis. We partnered with him and he immediately booked three weddings. However, both our partner and my husband were responsible for doing any due diligence needed to be sure we were in compliance with any rules and regulations to proceed. They both dropped the ball. The county told us we needed a variance and we had to spend over $400 in nonrefundable application fees as well as send registered mail to everyone within so many feet of our property. Everyone who showed up at the meeting voted it down. Already instinctively knowing what was about to take place, I declined to attend the meeting. I found out much later, there was a woman who was working at a local Catholic School who had started a Facebook page to rally the forces against us. I have found throughout my life that some of the worse people are boastful of their religious standing, and this one proved me right once more.

We then put the farm up for sale.

Chapter 9

The Worst Neighbors In the World

The most egregious of all issues involved the people who bought the property next door.

In the meantime, the previous owners had sectioned off the remaining acres and sold them in 2016. In 2017 Rick and Eileen King purchased the property directly adjacent to our property on the south side. They needed to build on the back of their property due to underground utilities running across the front of their property. They also had a pond, similar to ours.

As they began their project, they manipulated the ground to create a hill in front of their pond. As construction went on, the water from their hill would run off and fill their pond, until it eventually overflowed and connected to our pond. In June or July, they rang our bell and stated they planned to move into their new home in August and wanted to dredge their pond first. They asked permission to be on our property since the boundaries were now under water and not visible. Thinking that they realized they had caused a problem and were now rectifying it, I said of course. They proceeded, moved in and then apparently left for the winter. As their pond began to refill, it not only continued to expand and again to join with our pond but in addition came even further and drowned our bees and ruined our hives we had put in the year before.

In the spring when we saw they had returned we approached Rick King and explained our dilemma, He stated he had noticed the water was getting close to his back entrance and had put a stick in the ground to see if the water was going to pass it. He then asked to see where the bees had been. By now we had pulled the hives and the only remaining part left was the tarp they had sat on, however he clearly saw the place where they had been. He then went on to say how he had spent $70,000 on a landscape company to do the work on the pond and would call them to see the issue. We stated we expected to be reimbursed for the thousands of dollars we had spent in creating our apiary which was now ruined. A few days later he texted that the landscaper had been instructed to divert the pond west but mistakenly diverted it east and they were immediately going to be working to correct the problem.

Again, we requested compensation and received absolutely no response.

Once more, as they dredged some of the pond and worked, as the pond refilled over the fall, winter and spring, it not only connected to our pond but additionally came further onto our property taking out our orchard which we put in the first year we lived there.

This time we called the building commissioner who informed us that they had received all their permits for the work they had done and there were before and after pictures.

The penny dropped. The Kings had dredged their pond before moving in to conceal the fact that they had caused problems on our property and we only recently were informed by a neighbor that they had also broke our drainage tiles.

The building department now told us it was a wastewater management problem. So, we asked Wastewater Management to pay us a visit. The lovely man who visited us told us it was a Building Department issue, but good luck, they would never admit it and when I called the Building Department they informed me that if I did not cease in harassing them, they would have their lawyers on us.

My research into Empaths tells me that we are burdened with very hard lives because we have so much to learn to help others. I had so many health issues by this time I had made myself DNR status because the only way I could see to get away from all of the egregious circumstances that continued to plague me was to die.

Chapter 10

Stress Causes Illness

I don’t really want to get into all of the health issues that were created during this time, I’ll save that for another book. However, the reason for me bringing it up is because I realize what a profound part being an Empath has played in all of this. Had I not been born with an energy field that allowed everything the Universe had to throw at me being so porous that I became physically ill from the stress, I would never have started my journey into research that has led me to make vlogs and write books so that others might gain some insight into why they are constantly sick, fatigued and none of their doctors have been able to diagnosis them with anything.

Autoimmune disorders often are unseeable to others. We look fine on the outside. No one can understand that we have extremely compromised immune systems, are chronically exhausted and clinically depressed and ridden with extreme anxiety.

I now believe there are many more Empaths in the world than previously thought. The majority of people who are chronically ill and diagnosed with a plethora of autoimmune issues, I now believe are Highly Sensitive People or Empaths.

Chapter 11

In Spite of it All

We are still here,

Our home is up for sale still.

I have begun a new career writing.


In The Beginning


I had always wanted to do something in a service category and originally thought I would like to work in hospice when I retired. Unfortunately, I had started experiencing a number of health issues starting 50 years ago and eventually came to the realization that I would need to do something from my home due to the progression and increasing severity of autoimmune issues I was being diagnosed with.

Mary and Rich August 10, 2013 Mary's 60th Birthday


I have always loved dogs, never met a dog I didn't like, however, sadly there have been many humans in my life that I can't say the same about.

My dear friend Mary Helen, sent me a picture of the most adorable puppy she met at an adopt event. Since my husband, Richard and I were already driving to the same shopping plaza we decided to stop and see the puppy. Love at first sight. Since I was no longer working at the time, I volunteered to join the rescue group that was holding the event.

Foster Failures

The first dog I brought home to foster was Daphne. Rich took one look at her and firmly declared she wasn't going anywhere, she was staying with us.


The next dog we took in was a dog we named Niles, you know, Niles and Daphne, he followed me everywhere in the house, in the yard, how could I possibly give him away? In addition, he was already 6 years old and "a runner", which means the pound in the next county had picked him up half a dozen times. Each time his owner bailed him out, they raised his "get out of jail" costs until his owner told them to keep him. How he made it out 6 times without getting hit by a car, picked up by a bird of prey or caught by a coyote is a miracle. So at the farm we had an 8 1/2 foot privacy fence put around the yard to keep coyote out and had a trench dug under each section between post filled with chicken wire and stones then dirt and mulch to keep Niles in. He dug a tunnel. We had Niles with us from 2013 to 2020 when he passed from old age.

We Need More Room

I'm sure you know by now where this is going. Very soon we were in need of more land and a larger living area. After the first few little fur angels found their way to our front door, we became known in the rescue community. Since I really wanted the dogs that some people could no longer care for or had disabilities, or had been surrendered because they got old, the rescuers were now bringing their dogs that they could not adopt out. Maybe the dog had been adopted and returned multiple times, behavior issues such as, barking incessantly, biting, running away, their owners had a baby, the owners were too busy, dogs not housebroken, the dogs dental issues were too much to deal with, and they just didn't want them anymore. When it comes to excuses of why a dog doesn't have a home, believe me when I say that we have heard them all.

The amount of money that goes into taking proper care of a dog can be exorbitant. It is not simply the cost of food but in addition, he mandatory shots, vaccines, dental issues, emergency surgeries, pet sitting if traveling and finding someone to watch the dog, all of these can and sometimes do run into thousands a year. With today's economy, it is common for families to no longer be able to pay for the necessities and sometimes people are forced to move and are not allowed to have their dog with them.

We were looking for a property that was far enough away from neighbors that no one would be bothered by what we wanted to do. We found online an old farm that had been on the market for 3 years with a pond and 10 acres of land. 

We purchased it July 1, 2014 and named it Le Château de Chien,

The Dog House

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