We are going to flash back to 2010 and I will tell you the story of Violet the dog.

I am unashamedly a dog person. As a single mom of 2 kids, under the age of 3, and CEO of a boot-strapped tech company…I was worn out. I wanted a dog, but the absolute LAST thing I needed was more poop to clean up, or someone else waking up crying in the middle of the night. I decided to look at rescue dogs and came across Violet. She was a young dog who had been returned to her kennel when she was fired as a working dog. I knew Germelhaus Kennels and  they are known for producing some of the top working dogs in the country, with particular attention to genetics, health, and sound temperaments.

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I bundled up the kiddos and we drove out to the dog kennels. I wasn’t sure if this would be a good fit as this young dog was fierce and I wasn’t sure I had the energy to train her into our pet home. Oh well, a nice drive with the kids into the country is a nice day no matter what. I drove my two tiny children and we sang songs, and pointed at cows and horses along the way. Me: What does the cow say? The backseat replied “MOOOOOOOO”!

We arrive at the kennels and I undo both car seats and put the kids down on the ground. I reminded them both that these dogs are not our pets, and that Violet did not know us and we had to be careful with her. “Yes MAMA!!” was chirped in chorus. They immediately ran to the puppies.

MelloDee the kennel owner, and Violet’s breeder, walked out with a sleek, black, beautiful dog on a leash. My baby turned from the puppies, screamed “VI-VI!!!!!”, then bolts towards the dog in the super-speed that is the mothers-of-toddlers curse.

Violet the working dog did what she was trained to do, she transformed from relaxed yet vigilant, into a live action-figure and launched ONTO my tiny whirling dervish, flattening said child to the ground in one pounce. I swear the grey streak in my hair expanded as I reached out with eyes wide to intercept, knowing I was too late as I heard my baby shrieking. I lunged forward and was grabbing handfuls of fur when we realized the shrieking was not fueled by terror nor pain, but by unbridled joy. The dog was not using the bone-crushing-jaws to bite, she was holding the toddler down to lick every surface of the baby like she was a favorite toy.

My baby looked up, wiped off some slobber and said grinning… Vi-Vi LOVE ME MAMA!!! I collapsed to the grass, pulled baby NA onto my lap and pet Violet gratefully. Good dog.

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Our pod of 3 became a pack of four that day as we brought Violet home. Violet needed structure, training, but more than anything, a family to love. Violet was no longer a failed working dog, she had found the perfect job.


The best perk of being a founder and CEO was the ability to bring my family to work every day. Violet the dog quickly became our office mascot. She alternated watching over the kids in their office nursery and accompanying me to meetings around the building where she would approach the team with a powerful sense of entitlement to pets and cuddles.

Violet was always on duty watching her charges, as they learned to ride bikes, played at the park, and even during bath and story time. She would swim with the kids as they screamed WATER TAXI she and would swim up and drag them around by her tail while they chortled and squeed with glee.

My kids were noisy, I was always singing, and Violet fit right in with our chaos. Violet told us what she wanted as she barked, sang, grumbled complaints, talked back, yipped with joy, growled with anger. We all knew exactly where Violet stood on any topic on any day. She even sang duets with me, as I woke up the kids each morning.

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The years flew by and before I knew it, both kids graduated from the nursery to attending school. The first phase of empty nest was hard. Violet came to work with me and some days she would peek her head into the quiet and empty nursery and make sure her charges were not hiding in there, and then come over and complain and grumble that they were gone. “I feel you girl.”

Violet was Enseo’s Canine Cultural Enforcement Unit

Our office culture was unique, to say the least. I had kids at the office, my dog at the office, but they were all indicative of our family forward, innovate with compassion culture. That didn’t work for everyone and Violet was a great barometer for that. I remember one day a new employee barged into my office and started yelling at me. Violet had been lounging under my desk and she slowly and menacingly came out in her disapproval of the tone. Needless to say that particular employee didn’t last long. Violet was also an amazing blood pressure cuff for me, as soon as I got agitated or upset, she would come and find me and demand a pet or a scratch, or even brought me her leash so we would use exercise to shake off the stress. Violet kept me sane in many ways.

When the kids were gone on the weekends and for weeks in the summer Violet saved me from being alone with my own thoughts and fears. I was relieved to be divorced, but the special hell-like consequence to be separated from tiny children was almost unbearably difficult. Violet went for runs with me every morning to stave away the depression. Violet and I took road trips, we went to the lake and had adventures learning to surf, paddle board, and canoe. We took pictures of the eagles and wrote stories on the deck. Violet was with me for every Unplugged story and song written. She was with me on the rollercoaster ride of my life as I decided what to do with my business and my love life. Deal is on, deal is off, guy is in, guy is out. Violet was always there.

Violet taught us to be bold and to take adventures. She lent us her strength.

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Vi was our bodyguard and backup. She empowered us to be brave. The kids hitched up ViVi on her leash and in their minds they were taking her on a walk (and not the other way around) and they had independence. They explored and had adventures in our backyard, in our front yard, and as pirates collecting treasure on the shores of the lake. Violet kept the monsters under the bed away after dark, and truly nobody was getting near those kids with her on guard duty. She was a quiet force that lent all three of us backup and emotional support that helped us grow into who we could be in the light of day.

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I join everyone who has ever rescued an animal to say that while some would say we saved Violet, in truth, Violet saved us, many times over.

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The wind changed with Snowmageddon of January, 2021 in Texas. We all bundled up and went out to play in the snow. The kids were teenagers and seeing them let loose of their new grown-up-edness and play was a treat. Violet was racing around the yard as if she were a puppy. She ripped and snorted in the snow, chasing the kids, even making puppy snow angels with Thing 2, lying in the snow wriggling back and forth … good times.

The next morning Violet couldn’t stand. Her back legs just stopped. I dragged her to countless vet and specialty clinics and was reassured she was not in pain so I used a sling to help her come in and out of the house and to go to her “place” in my home office. Our prayers (and perhaps the hot compress massage) gave us a miracle and she was back on her feet in April.

Vi taught us the beauty of second chances.

It was so wonderful to have Violet back in action, that we told her and showed her how much she meant each and every day. Everyone let go of pretense and rededicated ourselves to our family motto of

There is always time for a hug and a kiss!…and a doggie scratch!

This sense of carpe/bark-eh diem was contagious in a good way. We made more time to call and visit the grandparents, having been reminded of life’s sharp turns. My teenager, previously more likely to complain about dog hair than to brush the dog, sat with Violet every morning before school and took time for a scratch and snuggle after school.

The “not a baby anymore” who had slobber bonded with Violet 11 years ago, returned to the floor to take naps with ViVi as her pillow. Thing 2 and ViVi went on walks outside and did joint art projects. I’m pretty sure they made a TikTok. They were always stealing whipping cream from the fridge. Thing 2 was hit the hardest when I woke up a morning in August and something was wrong.

It was the morning Violet gave me a look that was oh so sad. My heart started to break. I knew. It was time. The kids were leaving for their last week away for the summer and I gently urged them take the time to have a special snuggle with Vi before they left.

I am a firm believer in quality of life. I have made the heart-wrenching call to sit with many a dog on the floor of the vet’s office and pet them and shed my tears while they pass away. Dr. Krug is my vet of the last 30 years and he teases me often that he wants me by his side when it’s his time to go because he remembers me feeding an entire Cadbury chocolate bar to my first dog, Biest, in his last moments. I was gearing up for the decisions and heartache to come with Violet as I packed my kids up and they were driven away. My heart was so heavy and my steps back to the house were slow.

Minutes after the kids left, Violet had a seizure. I screamed for Paul to help me get her into the car and then I drove desperately to the emergency vet clinic for a MRI. We had already had one miraculous recovery, right? Violet waited until the vet had taken her back for the MRI before she had another seizure, fell asleep and didn’t wake up. She took the hard decision away from me and took care of things herself. I drove home alone.

Much like Mary Poppins was truly there to save Mr. Banks and not the children, Violet played with and loved the kids, but her true job was to take care of me. She acted as an emotional battery pack to give me extra courage, compassion…extra emotional capacity while I tried to take care of everyone else. I didn’t understand that until now.

Violet started out by being fired from her job. She had too much compassion to be a full time K9. Then she found her calling. She took care of us, literally even with her last breath. She was protective, vocal, powerful, demanding…if she were a CEO she would certainly be called a bitch.

Takes one to know one. RIP VI. I miss you so.