Since little, I have always had an immense love for animals, especially dogs. I am an only child and in them, I always found big support and company. When I saw a stray dog I always went out of my way to kiss them and give them something to eat. As I grew older, my love for them kept increasing. I went to law school, and from the very first day I fell in love with a very special dog. Every morning, she came to the classroom where my friends and I were to say hello, and I fed her every day. It was this way for five years. After graduation, I had to go back to request something from the university, and to my surprise, I felt a really big push and it was her again! I could not believe how after many years she could still remember me!
A few years later, I got married and it was hard for me to have children. This frustration for me as a woman was erased by 7 wonderful dogs I had at the time, and as my family said, one dog per year I couldn’t have kids. After accepting I couldn’t have children, a miracle happened. I became pregnant with my only child Maria Carolina. She has always been surrounded by dogs, cats. She inherited this great love for them from me.
Dogs have been a really great support, company, and our best therapy in very hard moments in our lives. My daughter Carolina, just 1 week before her fifteenth birthday, was diagnosed with epilepsy. This diagnosis and situation changed our lives completely. She was a very healthy, and happy girl. This situation turned her into a very unhappy person because the first year of her diagnosis was very hard to control, and her medications produced a lot of irritability and attention deficit. There were many times in the hospital where she asked for a therapy dog, and this calmed her down and gave her times of happiness. Her psychologist recommended that we tried to take her to places where animals were present and this is when we started doing volunteering and fostering them in Miami-Dade Animal Services. Those periods of time were the happiest for her, she felt away from her condition, and this is how we advanced little by little with her psychologist. Nowadays, we have more than 1,300 volunteering hours and her epilepsy is under control. She is now the girl she always used to be.
In February of 2019 before the pandemic, one of our dogs called Titina, which was my emotional support dog, started to have gait issues. So, we immediately rushed her to the vet, and he referred her to a neurologist. She got a series of diagnostic exams, MRI, spinal tap, etc. Her diagnosis was Meningoencephalitis, her immune system was attacking her own brain and we had to take action immediately. The prognosis was that 60% of dogs respond positively to the treatment, 20% respond but relapse again and the other 20% do not respond. We started immediately with her treatment and it was very invasive. She was responding very well to it, we were very happy. In May, she had a very strong relapse and her medication was increased, but unfortunately, her condition got worse every day that went by. She could not go potty by herself. She had facial paralysis. On her last vet check, we took the very hard decision to let her go. She was a very young dog, she was only seven years old, she loved to play with her ball, and loyal like no other. Our world fell apart, with heartbreaking pain, that I believe only people who have pets will ever understand and feel. In the middle of this strong pain, and still not accepting what had happened, my daughter proposed to me to do something in her honor. This is where Titina Custom Designs was born. This beautiful project is a way of giving back this love that we have for the animals in our personalized designs, this being for dogs and cats. This project is focused on giving love to those who give us love and company without asking for anything in exchange every day.