This is Carlos (left) and Buster (right).
These days I am devoting myself primarily to the care of my family, and my growing extended family. I have slowly begun to build a non-profit animal rescue called "ANIMAL HAUS." I have always been concerned about the plight and the welfare of our fellow creatures who share this lovely planet, and this has become much more of a serious endevour over the years for both myself, and for my husband, Teddy.
When we lived in Nashville, TN, we came across so many stray animals--especially dogs and cats--who had been abandoned by their owners, or were simply left to fend for themselves on the streets even though they had owners. This was, to us, completely unacceptable. We also discovered that there were so few "no kill" shelters, the state of TN is very underfunded, and that they were turning away dozens of animals on a daily basis. Many shelters were forced to close because there was simply no money to be had. We could not live with this.
Eventually we built multiple kennels in our small backyardard for the dogs, and we used our basement, as well as several other rooms upstairs, for the smaller dogs and cats. We both did the best we could with what we had, both of us working full time jobs for 7.50 an hour, and we eventually established good relationships with our neighbors, and with the local authorities.
When my Dad died in 2002, I moved to Florida to look after my Mom, as well as my Aunt who has Alzheimer's. Crammed into a station wagon with our son Gabriel, then 9 months old, 3 cats, 4 birds, and one sugar glider, I made the drive through torrential rains on Christmas Eve. My husband stayed behind to take care of everyone else. After nearly 2 years of enduring this forced separation, I was finally able to get the much needed help from my Mom and my Aunt (not an easy task, lots of tearful begging!), to purchase a property appropriate for housing so many animals, as well as a good place to manage the care of my Aunt (this is how I make my income, as Guardian), who was now confined to her bed. Finally, with the prospect of better days ahead, my husband was able to move down to Florida, along with all of the animals (via an animal transport company), and we were all reunited at the end of 2004.
In December of 2004 we acquired a group liscence for our dogs, and when I was asked the name of our kennel by Animal Control, I said the first thing that popped up into my head--"ANIMAL HAUS," as my husband's family was visiting from Germany and we were already in a kind of "German" mode.
We are now able to provide a loving sanctuary for over 150 animals--not just for the the cats and dogs, but for rabbits, ferrets, fish, sugar gliders, 2 Shetland ponies, and a variety of birds who have either been adopted from individuals, or rescued from pet stores. Because I work at home, my husband is able to stay home as well, and this works out perfectly for our human family, and for our extended animal family, who are so very close to being human.