I was your typical girl, growing up in the seventies.  I bought into the myth that a handsome prince would come along, I would fall in love, get married, and be a mommy.  That was my dream…to be a mommy.  I always loved children, particularly little girls, and they always loved me.  Even with strangers, if I met a baby, the child would reach out to me in short order, and I’d carry them around, loving every minute of the cuddle.

When I was twenty-four, I ran into a high school friend at work and we started dating.  I’d known him for ten years, our families had known each other growing up, and I trusted him.  I was coming off a severely broken heart, having discovered the first, real true love of my life had betrayed me with another girl.  So, I fell in love with my old friend, thinking that it was a good thing to marry a friend.  Boy, was I wrong about him.  He became a commercial pilot, his dream, and we married a month later.  Now, I don’t know what happened to him, but he soon became someone entirely different.  He began lying to me, cheating on me with other women, and I got another broken heart.  I also lost three unborn children due to physical issues and stress so I was smashed flat at that point. So smashed that I’ve never married again.  I figure I must be a horrendous judge of character.

IMG_2630I had always loved animals, as well as children.  I’d always had dogs and cats. I continued with my animals as I built my corporate career.  Thankfully, I worked for a great company, and I had good jobs that paid well.

Loneliness had been a problem for me for years. It’s not natural for a young woman (I was only 31 when I divorced) to live her life alone.  It was one of the reasons my mother and I moved in together. She’d been widowed in 1983 and I’d divorced in 1985, so we finally sold both our houses and moved in together in 1992.  My brother was the one who pointed out that since we were together all the time anyway, it was stupid to have two houses.  We realized he was right.

My mother and I had always been close and our relationship stayed strong through the years.  In 2007, she was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and I quit work to be her full-time care-giver. I’d always promised her that we’d be together and we’d never be separated. I loved taking care of her.  She left me in January of 2009.

IMG_2627I’d found animals through the years, always bringing them home and giving then a permanent place in our hearts.  When Mom got sick we moved out to the country to be next door to my brother so he could help me with lifting her.  I stayed here after she passed.  Suddenly, I found myself finding stray animals everywhere I looked.  I ended up with seven dogs and three cats before long.

I found so many starving, pitiful animals out here.  Country people seem to have a philosophy of running off poor starving dogs and cats who show up.  At least, they do where I live. I can’t fathom this type of thinking.  That’s how I got the true riches in my life.  I laugh and say that strays tell each other about me, the lady who takes in all and sundry, so they know where to come.  People bring me animals they have found.  I love them all. I take them to the vet, get them well and keep them here, because I can’t live with myself, not knowing at all times, that they are safe and well-treated.  It’s a moral obligation to me.  As a devout Christian, I call it my ministry.

IMG_2573I have lost three of the ones I had, due to illness.  They were each with me for several years prior to that. A new dog showed up in May, in my backyard, in heat.  She’s a beautiful Weimaraner/Lab mix.

Each night, I snuggle down in a bed I can hardly fit into (because of all the animals, of course) and thank God that I have these beautiful souls to share my life with.  They are always so grateful to be loved and they give so much in return.  As I sit here, writing this, I have tears rolling down my cheeks, thinking how much my life has been enriched by these precious creatures that I love so much.

I have a life and a home filled with love at all times.  Animals love unconditionally and forever.  I’m the richest woman in the world.  God has blessed me with more love than I ever thought I might have. And by the way, animals never cheat and lie.  They just cuddle…and keep you warm in winter.

Picture3Holly Cawein Price lives in the country near Memphis, Tennessee, with four dogs and two cats.  She is retired from the corporate world, where she held a management position for many years.  Holly’s background is in Program Management and Interior Design.

Holly always wanted to be a novelist and, after her retirement in 2009, she began her journey.  Holly wrote feature articles and reviews for Suspense Magazine for several years and now she is focused on honing her skills as a writer of romantic fiction.  Holly is working on two different series, one with Trouble the Black Cat Detective, and one with Christie Costner, an interior designer.  Each series takes place in small towns in the south, since that is what is most familiar.

Holly loves to travel with her cousin (and partner in crime) and she hopes that you will enjoy each of her series, soon to be released.  Holly has many favorite people, but her most favorite are her grand-nephew and her four grand-nieces.  She collects old books, antique furniture and antique jewelry.  Holly also makes jewelry and is busy working on her family’s genealogy.  Holly sews and does art projects and writes, writes, writes.