We Still “Got Jesse”

Through the course of this past year I have made many new friends. Some of them in pretty unexpected places.

From our very first conversation, I knew I had a friend in Jesse Jones of King 5 News.

Jesse knew we were telling the truth. Or as I believe he put it – we didn’t trip his bullshit meter. :)

Thank you for all you have done for us Jesse, but more importantly, thank you for your friendship.


Jesse and I yesterday at Waterfront Park.

But Jesse was not the only friend we made from King 5 News. We also met the Amazing Brad. It’s hard to get a picture of Brad because he is always behind the camera himself! Brad won my heart when he was scouting camera angles and I asked “Just don’t use the one that makes me look fat.”, to which he replied “I couldn’t even if I tried.”. Yeah…he’s a sweetheart. :)

Thank you for all your patience with Faith and your calm style of dealing with her. It mattered.

Brad doing what Brad does.

So, anyway….King 5 News will be running another update tonight. But, it will not be the last one.

Cheesy Smiles. :)

What $50,000 can buy

Since this Pepsi Pup scam has been hitting the media, I have been getting contacted by people who have had dealings with Lea Kaydus.

Not a single person has had a positive experience.

Ever wonder what you can buy with $50,000 from Pepsi?

A puppy mill! A puppy mill from Pepsi, won by exploiting special needs children.

And even if it was voted upon as training for 10 dogs to be placed with 10 children, don’t worry! Global Giving will let you change it.

No problem. Now you don’t need to worry about those children upon whose backs you won the $50,000. Now you can build a puppy mill, and just call it “the spirit of the grant”!

Wonder what is happening with Animals For Autism / Siberian Snow Babies? Here are some snippets from people who have dealt with her :

“To make matter’s worse, the puppy almost died, it was so sick with worms”

“…none of the dogs there have ever been trained. They aren’t house broken much less trained as service dogs.”

“Lea’s told people the recipients misunderstood her intentions of the grant money.  The service dogs were to be given free of charge but the winners had to pay for training.”

“Never did allow us to go in and see the parents.”

“The weird part was she requested we make the check payable to her husband George Kaydus.”

Want to see what $50,000 from Pepsi buys?


Before Pepsi

And after:

After Pepsi

I also notice a new fence. Looking through public records we found the request for a variance to build the fence. That’s a mighty big one. Must have cost quite a bit also. Funny thing is….she couldn’t even afford to feed the dogs. She had to put them in emergency shelters. I wonder who paid for that fence? I CAN afford to pay for food for my pets and there is no way I could pay for that big of a fence.

To responsible breeders I would like to say I’m sorry. I’m sorry I promoted Lea Kaydus during the Pepsi Refresh Grant. I’m sorry I asked people to vote for her. I’m sorry I voted for her. I’m sorry I used all the Power Codes she sent me to vote for her. I’m sorry.

To legitimate service dog organizations I would also like to say I’m sorry. I’m sorry if the scam wrought by Lea Kaydus is calling into question any of your good intentions to help people with disabilities.

The Punchline

A sailor, a preacher, a nurse and a single mom walking into a puppy mill funded by Pepsi….

Oh, I forgot…

This isn’t a joke.

If you are interested, the actual lawsuit filed against Lea Kaydus dba Animals For Autism (aka Siberian Snow Babies) by the Illinois Attorney General can be read in it’s entirety HERE.

How am I feeling about this?

I don’t know.

At the end of the day, Lea Kaydus gets to keep her puppy mill that she built with the $50,000 from the Pepsi Refresh Grant.

You remember the grant, right? The one that was supposed to go toward the training fees of 10 service dogs. The grant that was changed AFTER the voting was complete to fund tangible goods like a puppy mill.

A puppy mill, funded by Pepsi, won by exploiting special needs children.

No jokes here.

Animals For Autism – finally

Approximately 18 months ago, my family thought we had found something that would help our daughter. A service dog from Animals For Autism. Instead what happened was 18 months of stress, anxiety, sadness, and even fear.

Our family and many others were pulled into a scam. A scam orchestrated by a woman, Lea Kaydus, against special needs children. I’m not going to go over every step of the scam in this post, but if you are interested, the chronological postings of what we went through can be found HERE.

Our family, along with almost all the families that we know of, attempted to bring what Animals For Autism was doing to light. We told anyone who would listen. Media, Blogs, the Attorney General and of course, Pepsi and Global Giving.

Oh, how we tried to tell Global Giving.

We presented our facts over and over.

We were brushed off. Ignored. Told that we were wrong. Told that Global Giving and Pepsi were honored to work with Lea Kaydus. Told that we just had a personal issue against her. Told that we just needed to sit down and shut up.

Told that Global Giving stood behind Animals For Autism and Lea Kaydus 100%. That they were happy with how Lea Kaydus had spent the $50,000 they gave to her. That since she “fulfilled the spirit of the grant to the best of her ability”, they felt it was all sunshine and bunnies.

Funny thing is…

When the Attorney General of Illinois saw the exact same facts that were presented to Global Giving, not only were they concerned, they were concerned enough to issue the following press release today:


For Immediate Release Media Contact: Maura Possley 

August 23, 2012 312-814-3118 


Follow OAG on: 



Attorney General: Proposed Judgment to Require Downstate Woman to Reimburse Families Waiting for Service Dogs 

Springfield – Attorney General Lisa Madigan today filed a lawsuit and a proposed consent judgment against a downstate woman who cheated families across the country out of thousands of dollars in payments for service dogs to assist children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. 

Madigan filed her lawsuit in Sangamon County Circuit Court against Glenarm resident Lea Kaydus and her organization, Animals for Autism. The lawsuit alleges that for more than a year, Kaydus solicited donations and payments from families in Illinois and around the country to match them with specially trained dogs to serve as companions for their children. To date, Madigan said, none of the families who paid for the service has received a trained dog as promised by Kaydus. 

Madigan’s lawsuit states that Kaydus’ Animals for Autism advertised it would specially train Alaskan Klee Kai and Siberian Huskies for $3,000 to $8,000 and then pair the dogs with families to assist their children who have Autism Spectrum Disorder. Kaydus promised families that they initially would be introduced to their dog in person or via teleconference calls and then would receive frequent updates until the dogs were trained and ready to be placed in families’ homes. 

Families in Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, Florida, California and Washington sent payments to Kaydus and were led to believe over the course of several months that Kaydus was training dogs to place in their homes. In some cases, families received pictures of puppies, though those images were taken years earlier and depicted dogs that weren’t involved in Kaydus’ supposed training program. One family received a photo of a puppy that was purportedly born in 2011, though Madigan’s investigation revealed the picture was actually taken in 2007. 

Madigan said Kaydus has collected at least $5,190 from families in the scheme. The lawsuit alleges numerous violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act and Solicitation for Charity Act against Kaydus and her organization. The proposed consent judgment filed with Madigan’s lawsuit would require that Kaydus provide restitution to affected families. 

Assistant Attorney General Melodi Green handled this case for Madigan’s Consumer Fraud Bureau. 


If you think in terms of win/lose, I think this is classified as a win.

But it feels very much like a lose. We lost 18 months. We lost our innocence. We lost our trust. We simply lost.

Thirteen families will never be the same.

Thirteen children were taken advantage of.

And not a single “I’m sorry.”

Pepsi and Global Giving, are you still honored to work with Lea Kaydus?

Chicago Tribune update story

WICS Top Story video

The Lady and Cheesus

There are times, usually after she takes her night time med, and is in the funny, hazy land of almost asleep, that Faith has moments.

Moments of extreme clarity. Moments where she shares with us a glimpse of a child that seems locked inside. Sometimes she talks about her feelings, sometimes about things that have happened, and sometimes she just talks.

We have learned to not intrude on her talking by digging too deep or by asking too hard of questions. We have learned the right blend of “Uh huh..” and “Go on..” that keeps this precious 5 to 10 minutes flowing.

Some nights our brief encounter with her clarity leaves me laughing, some nights it leaves me in tears.

Some nights it leaves me stunned.

I was unsure about sharing the encounter we had a couple of nights ago.

But I think I should.

First thing you should know is that we do not attend church right now. Nor have we since Faith was about 2. Church, God, it is not something that we talk about in our home. We DO talk of love, and tolerance and respect.  I’m not writing this to debate religion, or to debate anything. But I am writing this to share what a beautiful, amazing, developmentally disabled 9 year old told me.  Since she did not really engage me in this conversation, I will tell it as she did….as a story.

Mommy, when I was a tiny baby, tinyer than tiny, I lived with that lady. And she and him, Cheesus, they loved me. The lady, she was my mommy before you were my mommy. I wasn’t sad that you weren’t my mommy though because I didn’t know you were my mommy yet. I could run with my other mommy and her and Cheesus loved me. Then they left me. I was so sad they left me and I cried and cried and cried. But they said I had to go to my new mommy and that my new mommy would love me just as much. But I was sad. Then I was a tiny baby in your belly and you loved me. But I will get to see my other mommy soon. And I won’t be sad because she loves me. And you and daddy love me!

I didn’t know what to say during this, so I just kept saying “Uh huh…” and I held her.

She fell asleep.

I laid next to her for a few hours.

Once upon a time

Once upon a time, there was a family.

It was slightly dysfunctional,

and it could at times be frustrating,

but it was still good. Ya, it was good.

Even though it was good, something was still missing.

It was missing a wet nose. A waggy tail. Slobbery lickety kisses.

So the family took a trip to Kitsap Humane Society.

There she was.




We didn’t know much about her other than Faith sat down in front of her cage, and declared that her name was to be Daisy and she was to be ours. Daisy seemed to agree as she pressed her little body as close to the wire as she could get in an attempt to be next to Faith.

And it was good.

It has been a year since Daisy Mae joined our little family.

We love you goofball!!

Happy Gotcha Day!!!

Dear Summer, I win.

This has not been an easy summer here. The change of routine has really thrown Faith off kilter. She is not sleeping much and has been extra meltydowny.

Hush up autocorrect, that is so a word, ask any parent.

Not only has this summer so far been quite turbulent for us, the coming three months will possibly be the most unsettled we have dealt with.

At the moment I am mentally and physically worn out.

Yesterday, in a massive stroke of genius,  my husband gently pointed to the sleeper sofa.

Of course, the fact that I was essentially passed out on the floor out of sheer exhaustion may have spurred this.

Yes, that is me, the kiddo, the cat, and the dog, all asleep on the floor yesterday.

So anyway, as soon as Jimmy pulled the sofa bed out…….I realized…..

This was the most amazing thing ever.

Faith, Daisy, Suzy and I all fit. And. AND I could doze when Faith was calm and quiet!

Freaken Brilliant! 

This is a game changer. I can now wake up, get out of bed, then go back to bed. Faith’s edema is particularly bad this summer, so having her laying rather than sitting is perfect, and did I mention I can catnap?

It may not be a full nights rest.

The dishes may pile up. The dust may take over.

But I will retain my sanity.


A friend even delivered my mostest favoritest coffee.

So, if you need me at any point between now and October, you will find me right here, in bed.