A Big Old Sloppy KissDenise S

My dad was a medical doctor and made house calls. With younger generations, that is when you used to be sick and your doctor came to your house to see you. Amazing! Stories were told that he used to leave money under the pillows of his elderly patients who could not afford to pay him or he would bring home gifts in place of payment. Maybe that is why I love the barter system. I do remember one of his patients made wooden puzzles that were in shapes and near impossible for my little hands to take apart or put together. But I loved to play with the pieces. The best part of this is that my Dad loved to help people and loved being a doctor.

The most impactful payment he came home with was a puppy.

I was four and terrified of this tiny eight-week-old ball of fur. I jumped up on the couch and screamed so loud, I scared the puppy who my Dad named Sammy. Over the next six months Sammy and I became best friends, and that has led me into a life of dog rescuing since Sammy was abruptly taken from me when I was six.

This April we adopted Mia, a goofy Burmese Mountain Dog/Coonhound Mix and all of a sudden we realized she was our ninth rescued pup. They each came with their own story and if you really listened loud enough you could hear what they were telling you. All of these amazing dogs have made my heart grow in ways I am not sure I can explain. My heart also breaks into a million pieces when we lose one. Their love seemed so strong at the end of their lives, they will not leave on their own, and we have to have it done. How can something be so awful and humane at the same time? We do take home our dogs’ ashes and paw prints as a way to honor them and never forget the journey these sweet girls had to take to get into our family.

I have built a multimillion dollar business and helped hundreds of women succeed to get ahead, and nothing feels as great as a big old sloppy kiss of a rescue dog. I personally recommend you try rescuing an animal. I think you will be amazed at their gratitude.

I Am From… (After George Ella Lyon)

I am from Chicago

I am from a deep snowfall and the colorful snowsuit.

I am from watching patients coming to the house to be healed by my Dad, the doctor.

I am from a family singing around the piano as my mother played, and my father sang.

I am from celebrating Passover with our family and Richard Tucker’s family complete with amazing songs and matzo brie for breakfast.

I am the four-year-old sitting in my pajamas in my mother’s chair right after she died.

I am from the eight-year-old looking in the window as people sat on crates after my father died and I was not allowed to enter my own house for an entire week.

I am from being embarrassed as I returned to school for the first time having no Mom or Dad and feeling very different from everyone else.

I am from showing I could make it and succeed.

I am from a place of thriving and surviving.

I am from a place of love and compassion with a wonderful man who is my best friend, wonderful dogs we have rescued and amazing friends who rescued me.

I am now from a place of peace.

I used to think…

I used to think I could not do anything right. I used to think I was stupid. I used to think something was wrong with me. You see, these are words I heard every day after my Dad died and I was left with “Big Red,” the stepmother, until I became emancipated at 17.

Big Red would start and end her day name calling. Maybe it made her feel important in her own mind, twisted as it now appears to have been. Being a determined soul, I was hell-bent on showing her she was wrong. However as the words filtered in, so did the self-doubt and the damage was begun. I recently heard that before you believe in yourself you have your Mom believe in you. Sure, you can put your big girl panties on and say, “that didn’t hurt” but it does leave scars on your heart and soul. You have to work that much harder to get through all the voices in your head telling you you’re just not good enough.

There are times I still think I can’t do something, then I think about all I would miss if I let Big Red and the voices win, so I push through and go forward faking it until I am comfortable enough to make it.

I hope everyone remembers that sticks and stones can break some bones, however name calling hurts much longer and deeper.

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