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Portrait of Tika


Tika was a lab assistant at California State University Bakersfield (CSUB), Antelope Valley location, computer lab. She was studying for her Masters in Social Work (MSW) and her bachelor’s was in sociology, which she received at CSUB.

Tika was originally from Oakland, California, USA. She came to Antelope Valley for a change of scenery and to be with her grandchildren and children. She had “three grown children and 10 grandchildren, the ages of seventeen down to two.”

Tika definitely was studying to be in the right profession. While speaking to her, I found that she was very calming. Tika is going to be practicing in a profession where people are anywhere from extremely sad, to depressed, to screamingly angry, and everything in between.

I’m sure that as Tika proceeds with her career, people who are at their height of their emotions will appreciate her natural ability to make them chill and make them listen to the wise things she has to say.

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin ©2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please

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Portrait of Kim


Kim worked for the Lancaster, California, USA, branch of CareNet Women’s Resource Center where she performed the duties of executive director. Her background was in social work; she earned her Masters in Social Work (MSW) at California State San Bernardino and her undergraduate degree at California State San Marcos.

Kim arrived in Antelope Valley a year prior to this interview. At first, she worked as a volunteer at CareNet, and then “the director of the center left, and it was a good fit for me to become the director.”

Kim practiced various forms of case management such as adoptions and Adult Day Health Care Center advising.

Kim was originally from Southern California but lived in Kansas for about seven years. Her husband had coached at a small Christian College there. When she lived in Kansas, Kim was the director of a transitional housing program for women and children.

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin ©2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Portrait of Dena


Dena was originally from Crowley, Louisiana, USA. She moved to the Los Angeles California, USA area because of the weather. At the time of this posting, she lived in Antelope Valley which was much more conducive to her asthma issues than living in
Los Angeles.

In the past, Dena had a disabling fall that required neck surgery. Dena was a retired registered nurse, RN, and at the time of this interview, did social work.  Dena studied general sociology at California State University Northridge and studied social work at University of Southern California (USC) where she received a Masters in Social Work (MSW.)

Dena acquired her female German Shepherd dog, Gracie, from a breeder, which she normally would not do. But Dena believed that since Gracie had a lot of problems, had someone else adopted Gracie, she would have ended up as an owner surrender, most likely in the pound. Dena had patience for Gracie and kept her and loved her. It was when Dena realized just how serious Gracie’s fear problems were, that she started training in agility with Mary, from Palmdale, California, USA.

Mary helped Gracie get over her problems by training her (along with Dena, of course) to participate in agility. When Gracie had it all together, Dena started her male dog, Harlem, a Siberian Husky, in agility training (see below). This was approximately three months prior to my meeting Dena. The fun run, where we met, was just the perfect venue and level for him (see my Portrait of Jean for more info about the fun run.)

Harlem was Dena’s daughter’s seizure dog. Her daughter was having 25 to 30 seizures a day and Harlem saved her life. Due to Harlem’s unique talents, Dena and Harlem were also training to be a therapy dog team with the goal of volunteering with pediatric oncology patients at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Harlem was very large for a husky and looked like a small Malamute to me. He was adorable and lovable and very friendly. Dena was a great person who I would be honored to have as a friend.

Harlem and Dena. What a team

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.