While I specialize in writing about animal welfare and substance abuse, I’ve covered everything from education and real estate to business and sports. Here you’ll find a selection of writing, including lighthearted features brimming with imagery, reported pieces about shelter animals and inspiring journeys of recovery.
Profiles and features
Nearly every night around 9, Nina Miller turns off the TV in her Darien home and says good night to her husband. As he retires to their bedroom, she throws on a pair of snow boots and trudges up the hill in their backyard to the two-person tent she’s been sleeping in for the better part of the year.
With its elegant Christmas decorations accented in cream and gold, walking into Ed and Cathy Kangas’ New Canaan home was like walking into a fairy tale. You could say the house was fit for royalty. And indeed it was, as 15 guests awaited the arrival of Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, Sunday afternoon.
Snow fell in sheets outside the Long Neck Point Road home as the wind blew fiercely off Long Island Sound. While most locals took cover — enjoying a glass of wine near the fireplace or curled up with a good book — Jan Dilenschneider threw open the French doors in her painting studio and welcomed the ice-cold weather.
When her brother and sister-in-law started a new life in the rain forest of Costa Rica, Zene Randall Morales was ready for a break. A Darien native, she graduated from college in Boston and was teaching at a special education charter school in Chelmsford, Mass. The job was draining, and when you added the commute, it left no time for a social life. So when she planned her trip to Costa Rica, she pulled out all the stops.
Cannula. The word is foreign to most, save those in the medical field. But for professional photographer Carolyn Taylor, the small tube used to administer chemotherapy is all too familiar. So when she and her husband learned the cancer hospital they were visiting in Tanzania was out of cannulas, they rushed out and purchased as many as possible.
When Dr. Natalie Dyson first laid eyes on Ava, she thought the white Labrador was an elderly dog ready to be euthanized. Unfortunately, she was wrong. Ava was just 2 ½ years old. The once spunky pup who loved accompanying her mom on runs weighed only 18 pounds.
Gulf Breeze resident Eric Kline, an airline transport pilot, volunteers with Pilots N Paws, a nonprofit that connects pilots with animal rescue groups to remove dogs from kill shelters.
For the most part, feral cats are at home outdoors. They keep their distance from humans, and help with rodent control. But since they aren’t spayed or neutered, their population continues to increase, leaving more and more animals vulnerable to life-threatening situations
Bacio Martin is a 30-pound ball of energy. At 2-and-a-half years old, the beagle mix refuses to slow down, even after undergoing spinal cord surgery.
Substance abuse and recovery
Dr. Timothy Huckaby never considered himself an alcoholic. A successful medical student on his way to a promising career, he lived by the motto “work hard, play hard.” It wasn’t unusual for him to have a few drinks on the weekends.
While he admits his drinking was out of control, it never led to trouble at work or with the law. But all of that changed in the ’90s when he had foot surgery and was introduced to opiates.
No one wakes up one morning and says, “Hey, I think I want to be a drug addict.”
That’s what Joanne “Jojo” Krause, a recovering alcoholic who serves as the community resource liaison at Twelve Oaks Alcohol and drug rehab center in Navarre, said. “Addicts are not bad people. They’re just sick people,” she said.
Chris Blankenship doesn’t remember how he got home, but when he woke up the following morning, the house was empty.
“My wife packed up everything and took my daughter,” he said.
That’s when he called his doctor and asked for help with his drug addiction.