Autumn is a Florida native with a unique and unusual background in animal husbandry.
She hand reared any creature in need; from orphaned baby birds, injured pelicans, small mammals, and even puppies and kittens who had been abandoned,. She never left the house without her faithful companions; Bear, a black lab/greyhound mix whom she and her mother hand-raised, and Bear’s best friend Bravo, a yellow Lab her brother had brought home after finding him as a puppy. Together they had many adventures. Bear and Bravo watched out for her always, alerting her to potential danger nearby, teaching her when it was time to turn back, and always faithfully seeing her home safely.
As Autumn grew older, she had spent so much time reading her dogs’ behavior and body language, their subtle yet so obvious communication with her, that she became a pro at reading the thousands of acres of wilderness around her, since after all, she had the best teachers.
Autumn became a Young Master Naturalist and began helping teach the classes, putting on presentations to kids and adults alike. Teaching ran in her blood along with a deep passion for animals of every shape and size. She received many accolades for her volunteer work, including a letter and pin from the President for logging over 1,000 volunteer hours.
At 28 Autumn suffered a great personal loss that sent her into a tailspin of grief and loss. feeling an insatiable need for a 4 legged companion, she took her husband and her then 8 year old daughter to the animal shelter.. Autumn walked on, she didn’t know what she was looking for but in her gut, she would know once she saw it. In the back row, in the corner, surrounded by loud, frantic cries for attention, she saw her. A scared, gray dog, crouched at the gate, ears back, tail tucked, not making any attempt for attention. In fact, everything about this dog said “please don’t see me, please don’t notice me”. Autumn stopped, that was it. She was the one. There was a great sadness in this dog’s eyes, the same kind of sadness that Autumn recognized in her own soul. She knew that whatever had happened to this sweet little girl, it would be carried with her for her lifetime. The connection was instant after removing this little “flower” from the chaos, because she felt she was safe with this family. She started to come out of her shell, blooming like a flower, her name was Flora and it stuck. She spent day and night with Autumn. They were healing each other. Without this wonderful dog, she would have never made it out of the darkness.
She started looking for jobs and stumbled on Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs. It felt like pieces falling into place. After doing research online and reading their mission statement she knew she had to apply. She experienced first hand the power of healing a dog could bring and she knew wanted to have a part in sharing that.
Much to her surprise she was hired and within a short time became the Dog Care Specialist Supervisor. She was able to combine her passion for animals with her ability to lead and it was perfect. She is currently a Lifestage trainer, using her passion for these beautiful dogs and her innate knowledge of dog behavior to mold them into the life saving Medical Service Dogs they are.