Animals and books: these are a few of my favorite things…


Yes, dogs and books. If I could have gotten one of my four cats in the picture, I would have. Peanut is the dog who comes to school with me. She brightens the day of each and every child she meets. I have spent the last 30 years rescuing dogs and cats. Currently, I have three cats who were rescued straight from the streets, one is a foster who never got adopted and is not 14 (or so). I have three dogs, one rescued at age 6 from Missouri, one who I flew to China to bring back (my daughter was living there and rescued her), and one who was not rescued but is a facility dog for my school district.

Those of us who rescue directly know that finding and saving an animal is NOT cheaper than adopting. People say, “Oooh, a free dog (or cat)!” Chloe cost my daughter almost $10,000 after paying for export fees in China, surgery to fix her leg (broken as a puppy from being hit by a car and never fixed), emergency pyometra surgery, and other vet bills. Now she needs a wheelchair because at age six, the end-stage arthritis caused by the accident has gotten so bad she can’t walk on her leg.

My small house is filled with animals. I will be fostering one of the dogs I am bringing back from Florida in three weeks. Stay tuned for updates about that. Two women, 3,000 miles round-trip, five dogs. We will be visiting the shelter in Tampa and the wonderful women who rescue animals there, and then traveling to Miami where we will meet with other rescuers, see the new shelter, and spend a day feeding the Redland dogs — dogs who have been abandoned by their owners in a rural area and who struggle to survive — with the wonderful people who go there every day to feed and water these dogs. There are over 100 dogs there at any time. We are hoping that we will be bringing back three of those dogs to foster homes near Chicago. Two of the dogs are from the Miami shelter, Miami Dade Animal Services.

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