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Disabled Former Semi Driving Mom Seeks Grant To Start Animal Shelter

by Cathy Smith
(Coal City, Illinois, USA)

I am a 55-year-old woman living on my own with four cats that are my constant. I have one adult daughter who lives close by and is also my constant.

I've been married to the same man from 1997 to 2013. It was an off and on relationship that I've finally decided is best to stay away from for my own sanity.

Animals will love you always, if you give them that love first. I would love to be able to help animals that are displaced and unwanted as I have felt for the past 11 years.

Disability Issues

I became disabled during the marriage. I have always had horribly painful menstrual cycles. I lost five babies to miscarriages so I finally decided to have a hysterectomy to hopefully alleviate the years of pain.

I had the hysterectomy in 2003, five weeks later I returned to work as a semi driver teaming with the husband.

I had only been back to work for a couple of weeks when I started having a leakage problem that for three months the doctor did not diagnose. And it kept getting worse.

I finally found another doctor who diagnosed a vesicovaginal fistula. I was sent to Loyola University where a team of doctors did a repair.

Of course I was devastated that this was happening to me and wanted to know why the doctor that did the surgery didn't find her "mistake."

Five weeks later the hole in my bladder broke loose again. I had to have an abdominal repair. The devastation of all this has had a great impact on my mental issues.

Once they finished the second repair, they told the husband that I should apply for Disability due to PTSD and the constant all over body pain and muscle spasms. Add to that my inability to no longer drive a semi (another reason for him to kick me out again)!

I applied for SSDI and was awarded benefits after just 18 months and with no attorney. My disabilities are as follows: PTSD, major depressive disorder, fibromyalgia, female genital disorder, pelvic floor dysfunction, chronic pain and fatigue.

I'm now going through spinal issues that are keeping me from working or looking for work. I've looked for work in the past because I have the "Ticket to work" program, but as soon as someone sees that I've been on SSDI for 11 years, I don't get an answer back or am told they don't need help.

So it looks like working is out of the question unless I work for myself by opening my own kennel/shelter for animals in need!!!

Financial Hardship

I have my own apartment under Section 8 housing but still cannot afford all the bills.

I bought a small truck about two years ago, but had no one to help me check it out before I bought it. So I got screwed because the transmission went out five days after I bought it.

Of course I was in the process of moving back in with the husband AGAIN who said he could have it fixed in no time.

A year later he put me out again. (I'm not to expect his adult son to help with keeping his room and himself clean and helping with their three dogs as far as cleaning the yard or feeding and watering them.)

It causes panic attacks that I have to rob from Peter to pay Paul all the time!! I'm always behind and have had to pay reinstatement fees on things that have been late and shut off (like Internet and TV, my only way to the outside world as I'm very isolated where I am).

I would like to become a part of society again by moving to a warmer state for my health and opening a business to help animals in need.

Income Efforts

I've tried job hunting but when managers see SSDI for 11 years, they say that they do not need help at the moment and I'm sure the applications go straight to the trash.

I've tried to find house cleaning jobs as I have done that in the past to help raise my daughter.

I have my SSDI but $782 a month does not make it easy making ends meet.

I've tried getting loans, but then can't afford to pay them back. I'm at my wit's end as far as what to do to get me back into society.

It's very frustrating having to find rides to my doctor appointments and I am running out of resources for that too!

I've even had suicidal thoughts, but I love my daughter and would NOT cause her all that pain.

So I pray and pray and pray that someday, someway, I will find the help I need.

Specific Needs

I'm not looking for sympathy. I have my SSDI but it's not enough to survive on.

I need to move to a different state, warmer, due to my health. I would take my daughter with me because she is my caregiver and my only support.

And we would like to open our own business to help animals!

Business Idea

My daughter managed a kennel for 13 years and I would always go help her with cleaning the kennels and keeping the yards manicured and looking nice. Clients appreciate it.

We are looking into schooling to learn how to run a kennel business, how much land would be needed and can our home be on the same property so we are close for an type of emergency.

This has been a dream for us and would greatly appreciate any help on learning how to start this business.

I believe we've decided to look into the California area to start this business.

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