My name is Julie Otzelberger and I am no stranger to bullying. I grew up in a small suburb in Wisconsin and was overweight for most of my life. The comments made by classmates still haunt me after over thirty years. I admit I’ve had self esteem issues all of my life because of the bullying I underwent, and in an effort to overcome it, in January 2010 I underwent gastric bypass surgery.
Anyone with pets will tell you how special the bond between a pet and owner is because of the unconditional love pets offer. I’ve had many cats during my life, all of them special and dear to me. I currently have four cats, one of whom I am a registered animal handler of through Pet Partners. My cat Bear and I currently volunteer for Heartland Hospice and Health Heelers, and I find this to be the most rewarding experience of my life. Gastric Bypass surgery may have changed my appearance and the way some people treat me, but my work with Bear has changed how I feel about myself and has given me the self esteem I’ve been lacking.
Hershey is a combination of each cat God has blessed me with over the years. My life was similar to Ellen’s, but I did not find anything like Pet Partners until very recently. I hope I help a young girl finds her way to Pet Partners and follow her altruistic path with her best friend.
Where to buy in print
The Cat That Went to Homecoming
by Julie Otzelberger
The Cat That Went To Homecoming is the coming of age story of Ellen Jones, an overweight teenage girl from a single family home. She is under constant attack by her peers, bullied because of her weight and her family's poverty. Through volunteer work with her cat, Hershey, Ellen finds her self esteem and the courage to stand up to her bullies. Along the way, she discovers what true friendship...
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