Since my dream of living in Tuscany doesn't seem likely to come true anytime soon, I try to spend my time making where I am a better place to be.
For most of my professional life, I've been involved in social work and non-profit management including work with at-risk teens, recruiting and training foster parents and providing training for my fellow social workers.
Since 2008, I've been fortunate to work as the East Tennessee coordinator for Human-Animal Bond in Tennessee (H.A.B.I.T.), a program of the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine devoted to exploring the therapeutic use of the human-animal bond. In everyday language, we recruit people to volunteer with their pets (dogs, cats and rabbits) to visit nursing homes, hospitals, veterans homes and other facilities where the interaction of people and our animal friends would be helpful.
Much of my work revolves around expanding our programs throughout the region and in expanding our school reading program, Ruff Readers, where school children get to spend one-on-one time reading to volunteer dogs in the classroom. It is a great way for children to get excited about reading, while also building self-esteem.
My home is at capacity with rescued animals at this point (2 cats, 3 dogs and 1 husband), so I'm not adopting any more for a while. I do, however, like to spend time helping to draw attention to the causes of animal welfare and occasionally have time to volunteer in projects such as pet transports delivering shelter animals to second chances in other parts of the country.
I enjoy activities such as hiking, camping, gardening and attending live music festivals.
My husband, Shane Rhyne, is far more involved in social media than I am, but I'm looking forward to exploring the potential here to meet and connect with others here who also share an interest in making our local worlds better places to be.
Recently lost 150 pounds and working hard to continue making myself healthy