Before I was a writer, I was a clinical therapist. I landed there through life experiences that made me want to understand relationships and myself better, but I struggled to feel authentically connected to being a therapist. I was easily overwhelmed, anxious, & sensitive; my heart broke into a million pieces every day.
I adopted my "soul dog," Tovi, while in graduate school; his companionship for 12 years enriched my life in ways I could have never imagined. He was TRULY the love of my life, my once-in-a-lifetime dog. He gave me the best days of my life, and when he died: the worst. EVERYTHING changed. After months of debilitating grief, I found myself on a journey to understand what I was going through and how I could move forward.
My curiosity led me to leave my career and become a Pet Bereavement Researcher & Writer. Not familiar with it? I pretty much made it up, and I have fun with it. I found that I could still use my clinical skills, just in a different capacity - to WRITE about our relationships with our pets, which are not different from any other relationship. My writing expanded beyond grief and I now call myself a Pet Relationship Research & Writer.
I refer to my writing as “Pet Therapy Notes,” a name born from my habit of scribbling thoughts and insights in journals throughout the years. Tovi spent the last few weeks of his life in a hospital where I wrote him notes about our life together, placing them in a Ziplock bag that hung on his cage. The bag also contained tiny rocks that we collected on our hikes throughout the years to remind him of the good days and hope for the adventures to come once he recovered – sadly, that never happened.
My final gift to Tovi was the courage to be seen. His presence felt like a warm blanket that kept me safe, and I felt lost without him. I had to move forward without him, and it forced me to grow into a more authentic person. In the process, I found my voice...AND the courage to share it with the world. Every time I publish something, I bear my soul and instinctively want to hide - I hope it gets easier in time, but I'm staying the course.