It is with a tear in my eye and a smile on my face I write this Happy Birthday wish in loving memory of my dear Friend, Jackie Michael. Jackie was always my special Angel here on earth and is now a true Angel. 18 years ago, in the early days of ARF, Jackie called me after reading a newspaper article written by my friend John Carlson. I had begged John to please share my story of ARF and how grateful I was to be able to try to help all of the Animals I so dearly love. I was very fearful my dream was about to come to an end due to lack of money and space in the small building I was renting at the time. My intentions were to thank everyone who had been so kind and to say I was so sorry I couldn’t keep my doors open. I was heartbroken. Then it happened, my miracle, my Angel, Jackie called to ask if I would keep going if I did not have to pay rent and had more space to work in. I told her I wanted nothing more in the world than to continue my mission and if by some chance I would win the lottery, I would continue! We had a nice conversation and I thanked her for her kindness and for caring about the Animals as much as I did. The very next week I received another call from her. She said she was calling from a vacant house on Riggin Road and could I meet her there. I didn’t have to think twice, off I went to meet Jackie in person for the very first time. She was so classy and so smart! She was very kind but also a sharp business woman and asked me a lot of really good questions. We seemed to know each others souls when it came to our love for all Animals. It was a natural and instant friendship born that day. After looking all around she turned to me and asked” Will this work for you?” I shook my head yes. She turned to her realtor and said “We’ll take it!” She then wrote a check and handed it to him. I think maybe I was in shock and disbelief in that moment. I had never experienced this level of kindness, of salvation, from a stranger before. I am not sure what I even said to her but I do remember what she said to me, “Now, just keep doing what you do!” That was it, no contracts, no hidden agenda’s, no pressures, just plain kindness and generosity. That day She gave me my dream, she gave thousands of Animals new lives and started the legacy of what ARF has become, a reflection of her kindness and a place of love. I know this is an incredible story, but Jackie was an incredible woman! I will love her and do my best to honor her memory until I draw my last breathe. Happy Birthday Jackie, I know you know how much I love and appreciate you, then, now and forever.