If you found Celebrating AnimaLove either intentionally or by accident...then you must love animals! And it is a good chance that at some time in your life you have opened your heart and/or your home to a furry, feathery or scaly faced friend. Whether rescued from a shelter, or found wandering on the street, a critter brought home in a bucket by your kids, a deer you feed in your yard, or a wandering coyote, or even a nest of baby birds you watched hatch and eventually fly away, even one sought out from a breeder...these creatures come to us. And when we open to their presence, they share love with us, for animals love in the moment, fully present, expressing whatever is their unique self; for they come in so many different body types, colors, shapes and sizes. They have a variety of songs and sounds and voices and their fur, feather and scales can be soooo many colors and hues, each having a distinct personality and movement. This morning I was walking my current canine family member, Eileen, and we saw a little lizard on the walk, who stopped, took a few breathes and then winked at me. Oh yes! I saw that little eye look right in my face and give me a wink. Boy did I laugh as I winked back and I continued my walk with a whole lot more joy in my step, as I had been feeling a little down when we went out this morning.

It is a blessing when they come to us. Each moment we share, no matter how fleeting or permanent, even looking at a picture of one we know and love or who is just a stranger, can bring a smile to our hearts. They love and share their love without judgment, no matter who we are, how we look, our social or economic status, education, religious beliefs, social standing...it does not matter. They love us. They teach us how to love by touching that soft side of our hearts, that place where we are vulnerable, the place that smiles and makes even the seemingly toughest human go silly cooing baby sounds when seeing a newborn human. And animal antics are the best! How many of you have watched that cat jumping in and out of a box that went around the internet some time ago, or the dog huddled with their homeless human on the street? We are fascinated by and drawn to animals, we cannot help it and my interactions have taught me that they speak to us in so many ways, sometimes without our even being aware of the gift they present to us with their presence.

I grew up with a German Shepherd mix, "Tyke", that came to our family as a puppy when I was an infant. He was my play companion, confidante and best friend for 16 years along with a couple fun parakeets and lots of fish! My mom did put her foot down at bringing home a gerbil when I was a little girl, as there wasn't all the cool gear for critters back then as is available today. She did however allow me to keep one of the box turtles I brought home in the back yard. I built a pen with water and fresh lettuce and that turtle hung around for awhile and then one day made his way back into the field next door. I grew up in a small town in central NJ before the area was paved with developments and expansion. There were horses and small farms, lots of little streets to ride our bikes, play kick ball and run from house to house seeking friends to play with and woods with streams to play and build forts in, catch critters and we never had to be home until "the street lights came on". All the creatures were friends, even the lightening bugs so prevalent in our yard on hot summer nights.

Shortly after Tyke was gone, I flew the nest to go to college in CT, where I made my home until June, 2010. Early in my Sophomore year at college, a friend who lived off campus had to leave for awhile and left his pure bred GS puppy, "Yael", behind. Yes, I moved out to that apartment to save Yael, where rents were really cheap and Yael and I were together, always and everywhere. We body surfed at the Jersey shore, climbed mountains in NH, traveled across country when I graduated and tubed in Arizona rivers and washed in water falls in Colorado to come back and settle in CT where we lived in several interesting and living off the land experiences before finding permanent residence in Ridgefield, CT. Yael began a journey with me and GS dogs that was deep and profound. Each one, homeless in their own way, coming to me in a unique act of providence with so many coincidences and signposts guiding me that is impossible for me not to believe in destiny.
All total during my life in CT, there were 6 German Shepherds, 7 cats, many birds and bunnies that blessed my life, each one having a profound influence on me and who I am today. Just like the GS dogs, I met each one in an act of providence, reinforcing my deep belief that all animals find their "Special Human". My beloved Clyde was one of and for now, the final GS dog in my life. I was Clyde's Special Human for over 8 years.

There is so much I could say about each one of them as they were not just constant companions, playmates, friends, partners, sleeping buddies, etc. but each one came during a chapter of my life that presented many challenges. With time and a deepening bond, each one was a teacher, helping me, guiding me, loving and supporting me when I needed it and showing me things about myself that helped me to be a better human. There is much we can gain from contact with animals, and for me, a necessary part of my life; for it would be an empty existence without some critter there making me smile and sharing love. The many stories and transitions from earthy life I shared with my beloved animal companions contributed to my desire and vision for building Clyde's Sanctuary.
These earthly heroes, became my 'Heavenly Heroes' when their time on earth was over. Of all of them, Clyde made the most profound transformation during our time together. He began our life together as a fun, silly, quiet and shy guy that one day opened up and pranced and sang and loved to play with children. In his last years, faced with many medical challenges, he exhibited such courage, determination and strength of spirit to remain with me and complete a journey we began with one intention and that became something so completely different, it is only now that I am able more fully understand the bigger picture of all that was transpiring.

Clyde came to live with me, Shana, a 110 pound highly intuitive and evolved canine goddess GS of a girl, 2 cats and lots of birds and a bunny in the summer of 2002. He did not make a sound the first months he was with us; accepting Shana as the boss and quietly remaining in her shadow. At first she would not allow him to sleep in the bedroom with us. So he slept under my grand piano, my one great loved material possession, until one night I said to her, we have to let him come in here and sleep with us! She raised a lip and gave him a silent growl as she lay in the middle of the bed, indicating he was allowed just a corner to sleep on. But Clyde was so sweet, and gentle, and non intimidating, he turned the other cheek to anyone that was not on a total love plane, never reacting to aggression, Shana just let go and let love and in a few weeks, they were cuddling bed, car and everything buddies. Then, something else wonderful happened. He began singing! The guy who never said anything, not a sound, woof, growl, nothing; one day, as I was playing Bach on the piano, he threw back his head, pranced backwards and there was this great big crazy Clyde Howl! Unlike Shana, who howled like a wolf when in the car sitting on the front seat. If a siren went off, she would put her head back and let out the longest, lowest, wild and gentle howl one could ever imagine. If we were in traffic, people would stop, look and listen, mesmerized by her very long haunting sound. She truly was like a wolf, but Clyde's howl was funny and fun and he did it to music, especially certain Bach 2 Part Inventions and blues scales.

This inspired us to write songs and design clothing and build a brand called ClydeMania! where "It's About Love" for animals, humans and nature. The proceeds from the sale of these fun clothes and music for dogs and their "Special Humans" were to go to benefit animal rescue. Unexpectedly, Clyde became very ill with tick related diseases and not only loss use of his back end, but lost his beautiful voice as well before we got into the studio to record him. This was quickly followed by cancer. My life became lots of holistic care for him as we honed our vision for The Clyde Fund, created to help other homeless senior animals in their 'twilight years',

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as we realized there are so many older homeless animals that have no one to care for them. In addition, those homeless senior animals in shelters are not as easily adoptable as the younger ones. We knew that providing them homes would open up much needed shelter space for younger, more adoptable animals

We founded The Clyde Fund, together, in June 2009. The vision is to build Clyde's Sanctuary on the principles of community and compassionate service to others by building from the earth up, all green, sustainable buildings, organic grown food and providing sanctuary for all kinds of homeless senior animals. Within the community will be The Clyde House, a prototype hospice for terminally ill animals and children. See details and more at www.TheClydeFund.org

I fell in love with BC, Canada on vacation years ago. I learned about an area of BC, Canada that I had never been to, Kelowna, from a lady a met bicycling shortly after Clyde became ill. I searched and looked at land there and felt a deep connection to a valley in Lumby, BC thinking what a perfect plact to build the sanctuary! It was briefly on the market for sale, then disappeared. In February, 2010, I decided to go for our dream and close the door on the life as a musician I had built for myself and go to BC. A few weeks later, that land reappeared on the market. To me it was a sign. I put all my resources into a project that would provide some income while raising money for The Clyde Fund. In May, it all fell apart, leaving me with no funds and only my dream. I sold my piano for cash, saved a few precious belongings, now with a friend, found homes for my plants and birds, and the rest of my life went to the dump. It was not easy, for I truly did believe that it would work out. And it did, but not in any way that I expected, that is building Clyde's Sanctuary in Lumby with Clyde by my side.

June 2010, I went on the road with Clyde and our newest family member, The Prince, a fabulous feline friend, my car packed to the roof with whatever I could bring to begin a new life, and to pursue our vision of building Clyde's Sanctuary in Lumby, BC.

Our trip became a personal journey through which we experienced many challenging and miraculous times. We left BC in October and traveled around the western states setting up a table outside of natural food markets to tell people about The Clyde Fund. In the Las Vegas suburbs we met so many interesting people and a special lady who invited us to stay with her, however my intuition kept telling me to go to Prescott, Arizona. I didn't know why, but I had to go. We left in the morning with good intentions to return in a few days to live. The last day we were in Prescott, 2 different strangers approached us. A lady who was an "empath" and requested wanting to "read" me and an energy healer who sat on the ground and did hands on healing for Clyde. Both of them said the exact same thing, "you need to go home to your mother". These people knew nothing about me or my family. My mother was retired in HHI, SC on the east coast. It was the last place I had any intention of going, as I was still determined to build Clyde's Sanctuary in BC. I was told that it was Clyde's mission to bring my mom and I together as I had not spent any real time with her since I went to college. I called my mom, and she said...come on home! I did not know at that time, my "visit" would become a permanent home to stay with my mom and help out, exactly what I was told by these 2 loving strangers in Prescott, Arizona.
Clyde held on through our trip, not allowing me to see how sick he was until we arrived. He left our world 3 days later. I was devastated when it was his time to make that final journey Somewhere Over Rainbow Bridge. I knew it was his time to leave earth, and I had 2 days to say "goodbye old friend, we will meet again someday", but it was so difficult. He endured tremendous physical adversity to remain on earth with me and fulfill his mission to bring me to be with my mother.

Prince is here with us and a terrier, lab, chow mix, Eileen, from a local shelter where she would have been euthanized for acting out on some of the other dogs. I failed to mention earlier, that all the GS dogs that came to me had "issues". Eileen is my first companion with issues that present a new type of challenge for me. So here we are, learning and growing together in HHI,SC with The Prince and my mom, while building Celebrating AnimaLove to raise funds to help others through our charity partners program and The Clyde Fund. Although I sometimes still feel sad that Clyde is no longer with me in his physical body, I continue to honor him and our vision by doing everything possible to build Clyde's Sanctuary and fulfill the mission of The Clyde Fund. It begins again here, with Celebrating AnimaLove.

I know my "Heavenly Heroes" are all expanded into great joy, Somewhere Over Rainbow Bridge, waiting for me as your beloved is waiting for you. Our Tribute Pictures and Messages from Somewhere Over Rainbow Bridge to You are our gift to you. We hope to assist you in not only remembering your lives together but help you to feel the love, even though your beloved is no longer next to you in a physical body.

We are living in extraordinary times that encourage us to follow our dreams, whatever they may be. It is our dream to build Clyde's Sanctuary and help others realize the deep, divine connection we have to all life and that we can build communities that honor this connection in all ways. Through our pictures and messages it is our hope it will help you remember that there is more to us than our physical bodies. That Love Never Dies, is only transformed and expanded into the unseen. When you open your heart to that which is unseen, love hears you and fills you with joy and the knowing that one day, Somewhere Over Rainbow Bridge, you will be reunited in great joy and expansion with your beloved companion(s).

Thank you for being a part of our journey from Somewhere Over Rainbow Bridge to you.


August 2014