My childhood is full of painful memories of being picked on by bullies because I was skinny, had terrible acne and wore hand-made clothes that my mother “designed”. I had very few friends and cried every day at the thought of going to school. The only bright spot in my life was my English Springer Spaniel Lady. We got her as a puppy and she was beautiful. She loved me unconditionally and would wait for me every day when I got off the bus. She made me laugh as we played ball in the yard for hours which helped me get through those “awkward” years.

As I got older, even though my acne cleared, I still felt insecure and found it difficult to connect with “two-legged” friends. One day, while picking up dog food for Lady at the pet store, my parents saw how enamored I was with a cat they had up for adoption and asked me if I wanted to take him home. I was so excited. He was a beautiful long hair orange and white cat that was 4 years old. I named him Autumn because of the deep fall colors in his coat. The poor guy was terrified but it was love at first sight for the both of us! I couldn’t stay away from him and he and Lady slept with me every night. We were like the three musketeers.

I can honestly say that I would not be here today if it were not for the unconditional love of my beloved Lady and Autumn. Lady lived to be 17 and Autumn lived to be 18. Both of them fought hard in the end to stay with me until I was strong enough to face the world by myself. They gave me the courage to start each day with a smile and showed me that I could make the world a better place if I taught people to be kind and compassionate to animals.

It was very sad losing the loves of my life but I promised them both that in their memory I would make sure that other animals could get the same chance at being loved as they did. Consequently, HEART AND SOUL ANIMAL RESCUE OF LONG ISLAND was established in 1999.