“Every dog… means love.” -Stenetta Anthony
Are you looking for someone to give you unconditional love? It might not look like the one in your dreams but a wet nose, a wagging tail, and a furry coat will definitely get you spell-bound. But what if this furry friend is more than what you asked for? In this episode, we will dive into the story of Sally, a dog with special needs. It’s author, Stenetta Anthony talks about an urgent social call: dog adoption. Art and Stenetta talk more about this noble cause and how helping them means helping ourselves heal in many ways and the list is long for all the benefits that come with it. More importantly, we learn about how animals can help us see ourselves, even our deficiencies, on the brighter side. Don’t miss out on this week’s show. Your idea of love is about to change!
Listen to the podcast here:
01:58 A Classroom Journey
06:40 A Cause For Dogs
09:05 How Dogs Help Us Heal
16:06 Benefits of Having An Animal
19:56 Sally- You’re New Best Friend
21:33 Sally’s Message
24:10 How Do You See Yourself?
Can you provide a home for one special friend? Join in as @myexpectation and @StenettaA shares a heart-warming exchange about dogs with special needs and what their story can teach us about ourselves and about being a human. #expectationtherapy… Click To Tweet
“Fear is what stops us all from doing the things that we’re really, truly meant to do in our life.” -Art Costello
“Animals are so in-touch. Sometimes, they’re more in touch with how we feel emotionally than we are with ourselves. It’s just so phenomenal.” -Stenetta Anthony
“Social dogs make you be social.”-Stenetta Anthony
“Every dog… means love.” -Stenetta Anthony
“We all should look beyond the exterior and look deeper into the things that that we care about and the things that socially matter to us. -Art Costello
Stenetta Anthony has been an elementary school teacher for 20+ years, graduating from Grand Canyon University with a degree in Educational Leadership. After reading hundreds of books to her students, she went from, not only reading books but to writing them. Stenetta’s has published several books, one of which includes her as a co-contributor (Michelle Obama’s Impact on African American Women and Girls), which is a collection of writings/artistry reflection on the life of Former First Lady Michelle Obama and her recently released, A Home For Sally. Stenetta’s lifework is to educate, advance, and create awareness of moral, social, and religious ideas to her writings. One of her favorite phrases derives from P.L Travers, Mary Poppins: “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.”, with her writing being her most enjoyable elements in life. When Stenetta is not writing, she enjoys time with her husband, children, and grandchildren.
Art Costello: Welcome to the Shower Epiphanies Podcast. Today, I am honored and thrilled to have Stenetta Anthony as our guests. Stenetta has been an elementary school teacher for more than 20 years and a published author of several children’s books including the heartwarming new release, A Home for Sally. Stenetta’s life work is to educate, advance and create awareness of moral, social, and religious ideas in her writings. She is a member of the Nonfiction Authors Association and has been featured on multiple media outlets throughout the country. Her life belief comes from P.L Travers, in every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. Stenetta currently resides in the greater Chicago area with her husband, children, and grandchildren.
Welcome to the show. Stenetta, it’s a pleasure to have you.
Stenetta Anthony: Hi, Art, it’s a pleasure to be here. How are you today?
Art Costello: I am great. We’ll get right into this book because I am an animal lover and particularly a dog lover. My audience that has read my blog knows that about three years ago, I had a Giant Schnauzer by the name of Chloe. Chloe was 155 pounds of pure energy.
Stenetta Anthony: Wow.
Art Costello: Just a huge animal, but one of the most loving hearts. I wrote a blog when she passed away about five years ago, that was called my 10 year love affair and get the chance to go read it co’z it’s a tear jerker. I tell you, I’ll start crying, but animals are my passion. I love them, particularly dogs. So you and I have a lot, lot in common. So can you tell us how this journey started for you?“Animals are so in-touch. Sometimes, they're more in touch with how we feel emotionally than we are with ourselves. It's just so phenomenal.” -Stenetta Anthony Click To Tweet
Stenetta Anthony: Well, it’s actually started in the classroom. I was always, always figured myself as a storyteller because I like to convert stories and make them my own. The three bears, they were never told the chicken dish, there’s something a little different with them. I always did that with my children in the classroom. And so we were always creating stories and happy by my back. And one day, I was actually asked by my church to create a curriculum for a Bible character, and I did that but I never submitted the official story. And after I did that, I let that story kind of sit on the shelf because I’ve never considered myself as a writer. I’m an educator, I’m going to retire as an educator and that’s going to be it. And I love my children. So about a year later, I was in that particular story to a friend and she asked me where did I get that book? And I said: “Oh, I wrote it. That was my first book.” And so she encouraged me with a little hesitancy from me. She encouraged me to publish that particular book, and I did. I was so happy because after that, it was just, I can say, like a door kind of opened up. It was just an opening up for writing for me and I just started writing everything. I could find stories about everything. So that’s my journey. So it’s not a traditional one where I always wanted to be a writer and everything like that. No, it was a push.
Art Costello: Isn’t it funny when we make that initial breakthrough on something like writing a book, the same thing with me. I went through some emotional events and through that process, I started writing. It was rather easy for me to take it and publish it because it just kind of all fit together. But I’ve talked to enough people and authors that it seems like once they make that breakthrough, they feel like their work, they get reinforcement from other people that their work is credible, that it’s beneficial to other people, that it just really takes off and you shed that fear because fear is what stops us all from doing the things that we’re really, truly meant to do in our life.“Fear is what stops us all from doing the things that we're really, truly meant to do in our life.” -Art Costello Click To Tweet
Stenetta Anthony: And that is true.
Art Costello: I’m glad you broke through it.
Stenetta Anthony: I’m glad I did. I’m sure my students did too, because I don’t want to call them my guinea pigs, but they have to listen to every story that I wrote. I need them to tell me whether they like it or they don’t like it. And they are truly, truly honest with me when they don’t like something
Art Costello: That is the beauty of children, they are brutally honest.
Stenetta Anthony: They are, they are.
Art Costello: That’s a blessing to have a built-in audience to critique your work before you release it.
Stenetta Anthony: Yes, it is. It is co’z they do tell you if they don’t like the story, they don’t like the pictures, they tell you the whole gamut I’ve been told. I don’t like anything in ‘A Home for Sally’ which is my latest book. I had a student say, I don’t like [inaudible]. but I think he was happy to sleep the day, I think it was a sleepy day.
Art Costello: What led you to write the book about dogs? And dogs help us heal.
Stenetta Anthony: Well, it’s kind of two fold. One is because I’m teaching special education. I thought about all of the children that are in special education and what they go through and then writing something that will connect with them that looks similar to them, that’s what actually started me on writing this particular book. And also I watch adoption shows on television, Saturday — television and they would always show, I guess the healthier dogs. I would sit there and wonder where are the other dogs? And I just did completely that you wanna put your best foot forward because you want to have dogs. But I still wondered about what about the other dogs who are in the shelter. What’s going on with them? And what about the ones that are blind? You know, little things like that. And so that actually pushed me to write this book.
Art Costello: That’s amazing because dogs and animals in general, when I was a little boy, I was nine years old and I was abandoned and had to figure out life on my own, one of the things that I did is I had a, at the time an English Setter and his name was Freckles, I used to sit and talk to freckles. But my biggest, I don’t know what the word I want to use, the biggest animal that I actually go talk to was, my brother had a horse and his name was Tiko and I would go down and pour my heart out to Tiko sometimes. He would just stay in there and you could literally see a tear drop down from his eye, and he put his head on my shoulder and it’s amazing to help animals connect with us and how unconditional their love for us is. That’s the beauty of it. How do you think that that translates into healing?
Stenetta Anthony: Okay. So with healing, after I wrote this book, actually I didn’t do prior research about healing, and emotions and everything. But after I did, and I’ve seen the connection of the importance of healing. So one of them is, what you were previously saying about the bond and you could pour out your heart to this horse, that’s the one thing with the healing. You can pour out your heart to an animal, you could pour out your heart to your dogs, and they’re not going to look at you any different, they’re not going to judge you for what you say. If you’re crying, if you’re on the floor, if you’re screaming, if you’re hollering, whatever you need to do, that dog is going to help you through that process. You’re allowing yourself to be open and vulnerable. And so that’s a big part of healing. I feel between a human and a dog how they can heal you, because healing is a mind, body, soul and spirit. So you can have one part of you heal, your body maybe, but your emotions may not be here. And your dog helps you to get those emotions out, whatever they are. So that’s a part of the healing and scientists approve over the years that there is a definite connection between emotional healing and physical healing and how they are connected.
Art Costello: I’m going to ask a question that you’ll probably find maybe a little strange but I’ve always felt that there was a connection between God, animals and humans. God places animals in front of us so we can speak to them, and he uses animals to hear our pleas.
Stenetta Anthony: I definitely agree because we are all creatures and I truly believe that we were all produced, we are created by God. I believe that he purposely does that for us to be emotionally connected, one with the other so I don’t think it’s strange. I don’t think it’s a strange question because you can fall in love, just like you fall in love with a human, you can fall in love with a dog and that is your passion. And when that dog or animal passes on, you still feel the same emotions that you feel. If a human would pass along, you may be a little different but you still have that feeling of loss and loneliness like if you have lost someone that is truly connected with me. And for pet, non pet owners or people who’ve never had a pet, that may be strange, but it’s so real. It’s so real. You can’t push aside people’s emotions.
Art Costello: Yeah. And you can’t push aside an animal’s emotions too. My Chloe would know when I was sad, she would know when I was happy, she was able to sense who I was at any particular time and she reacted to that. I mean, when my wife passed away in 2006 of ovarian cancer, Chloe was probably as sad as I was, you know? It just amazed me that when the EMS would come to our home, here’s this big 155 pound giant schnauzer who would be just, you know? Vicky, when she was sick, Chloe guarded her. And when Vicky would get really sick and I’d have to call EMS, the EMS would come in, you know how they come into the house, they’ve got stretchers, they’ve got all their luggage and baggage and everything that they carry with them. And there’s firemen, I’m in the house, she would not bark, she would go sit in the corner of our bedroom and watch every move that those firemen and EMS guys would do working on her. And the EMS environment would say: “That is one amazing animal. She just sits there and watches every move.” Because she knew, she knew that they were there to help and that she just had an incredibly intuitive behavior for an animal. And I was always surprised at how intuitive she was, it just amazed me.
Stenetta Anthony: And you know what? What is amazing about animals is that they are so in touch. Sometimes they’re more in touch with how we feel emotionally than we are, even ourselves. So, yeah, it’s just a phenomenal thing.
Art Costello: Do you have animals consistently throughout your life?
Stenetta Anthony: I’ve had them here and there. Recently, I wanted to adopt a poodle, but it just wasn’t the right time. We were a little busy and we discussed it, me and my husband, and he said: “Well, we’re not going to be at home. So who’s going to take care of them?” And so I felt that that was a little unfair to bring a pet into them, that was just my personal [inaudible].
Art Costello: I agree. I agree because I’ve always lived in kind of semi rural areas and always had a big piece of land and all that so I’ve always been able to have that. But I’ve had dogs most of my life and they’re just amazing animals. But then again, I believe it’s the same as human beings. If we love them just as we would love ourselves and love God, animals will love us back.
Stenetta Anthony: Yes, that is absolutely true.
Art Costello: What are some of the benefits you think of having animals versus not having them?
Stenetta Anthony: Well, one is they make you exercise co’z you need to go out for a walk, and we have a dog. So if you don’t feel like walking, that’s actually one of them. Another one is of course, social dogs make you be social because when you’re out walking with your dog, you may run into another person who has a dog and then that causes you to have that, we’re gonna talk about what’s going on with your dog, how are you treating your dog and things like that. So if you’re not social, it will help you be social. And then also it helps you with depression. I believe a dog helps you with, when you’re going through depression, you can rub them and comfort them. And while you’re accompanying them, they’re accompanying you as well. And they’re social in a lot of things, they’re best connected with. If you have a dog, one is anxiety, maybe you’re feeling anxious about something and if you have a dog right there beside you, you can rub your anxiety away. I’m going to say it like that, you can rub your anxiety away. And so what is it called scientific, but I call it the happy mood. It’ll bring you into that happy mood where you’re not anxious or depressed anymore. So those are some of the things that I do. And then there’s scripture in the Bible also. I’m going to back it up about friendship. I say: “To show yourself friendly, your dog helps you to be friendly. So if you don’t want to be friendly, it helps you to be friendly.” So those are some of the things I believe are the benefits.“Social dogs make you be social.”-Stenetta Anthony Click To Tweet
Art Costello: Yeah. There’s so much truth to that because if you go to a dog park, you socialize with other dog owners and it just opens up so many areas for human connection. Animals have a way of transcending, right? I know when I would take Chloe for a walk around Town Lake in Austin, and that’s a big, huge walking area, it probably encompasses like five miles. If you walk the whole circuit and the people would be jogging, and they would stop and they would go: “What kind of dog is that?” And I’d say: “Giant schnauzer.” And they would go: “Oh, my God, I’ve never seen a schnauzer that big.” And I’d say: “Well, there aren’t many, many, many that I know that are that big.” But it would always open up lines of communication so it was really great. Let’s shift gears a little bit.
Stenetta Anthony: Okay.
Art Costello: Let’s talk about your book. Can you kind of give us a synopsis of the book? What A Home for Sally is about and how it works?
Stenetta Anthony: Okay. So Sally is a special needs puppy and she is surrendered to an adoption facility. And that was because her owner was no longer able to keep her and her puppy. I mean, I’m sorry, I mean her siblings. So Sally siblings were all adopted because they didn’t look like Sally. Sally, her adoption story is a little different from everyone else, everyone else in the shelter. And so with Sally, she was made fun by humans and other dogs. She went through some emotional challenges, she felt rejected, she had low self esteem. It was just so loud going on with Sally and she felt that no one really wanted her. And so the director of the adoption facility was always nice to Sally but Sally wanted to be accepted by everyone, and she wasn’t. That transience with humans, we want to be accepted by everyone but sometimes we’re not. She has a good ending though, she has a good ending. But yeah, she went through a lot. Sally, I equate her to some of my emotions that I have throughout my lifetime.
Art Costello: What is the thing that you would like for people to take away from this book?
Stenetta Anthony: The things that I liked to take away is to be empathetic. You need to be empathetic to dogs that are in shelters who look a little different because Sally looks a little different from everyone. And then the other thing is expressing love for every dog, every human needs love so you should be doing that. The other thing is looking beyond personal appearance because we were always, sometimes we’ll gasp or we’ll stare when someone or something looks a little different from us. And so that’s what I want people to take away from her story, and adoption. I want them to take away the importance of pet adoption and how many pets are sitting even today, waiting in cages and can’t move around, have no freedom, have no family. And what can we do to facilitate that as a person or as a community?“Every dog… means love.” -Stenetta Anthony Click To Tweet
Art Costello: That was really great social and personal goals that we all should have, to look beyond the exterior and look deeper into the things that we care about and the things that socially matter to us. So this is a social lesson and really how to live and guide, and it’s a book more geared towards, assuming that it’s more geared towards children than it is than adults, but it’s something that all adults could learn and reading it to their child, or like being involved with their children.“We all should look beyond the exterior and look deeper into the things that that we care about and the things that socially matter to us. -Art Costello Click To Tweet
Stenetta Anthony: It is for children, but it is something that an adult can open up a conversation about because when I go out to visit schools, I have a finger that is, I call it my handicap finger now because it’s unusual. I used to didn’t like this finger because it’s a middle finger and I can never put it down, it always stands at attention. I can’t figure out what people were saying [inaudible]. So when I’m talking about Sally’s story, I always bring my own personal story into it because we all have something. It just can be a minor thing that we have something that we don’t like about ourselves that we have to overcome. So it’s for children, but adults can see where, okay, I see myself in here too and this is something I can overcome, this is something where we can talk about. It gives the door for talking about special needs, not just a special needs pet but especially a person or our child, how we should treat them, how they want to be loved, how they feel that I don’t want to look different, that I’m not different, I’m the same as everyone else. And so it can go both ways. It can go both ways, but mainly for children, mainly for children.
Art Costello: But that’s a beautiful thought. And with that being said, how can people get a hold of you?
Stenetta Anthony: You can visit my website, which is stenettaanthony.weebly.com. You can find me on social media. You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, so that’s a lot.
Art Costello: Can your books be purchased on Amazon?
Stenetta Anthony: Yeah, they are on Amazon. I know currently because of everything that’s going on, they’re only available on Kindle, but that’s only just until we come out of a pandemic, I believe.
Art Costello: Okay. All right. With that being said, thank you for being on the show, it’s really been a blessing to have you here. I’m going to encourage the audience to reach out and get Stenetta’s book, share it with not only your own family, but share it with their teachers and their administrators at their schools. So this book can get out into the mainstream and teach the valuable lessons that we have. Thank you, Stenetta for being on the show today. I really am blessed to have you here. Everybody will be able to find Stenetta’s contact information in the show notes, we thank you again. And with that being said, everybody knows where they can get a hold of me, Art@expectationtherapy, my email. expectationtherapy.com is my website. And with that being said, thank you. Heather White, go ahead and take us out of here.
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