by Chris Watson
Most would shy away from the moniker, “crazy critter lady.” Walbridge author Kelly Meister-Yetter not only embraces the label but declares in her latest book, No Better Medicine, that “The crazy critter lady is back!” Still, she tries to correct the perception. “One can’t stay crazy forever,” she said with a smile. “We get better.”
No Better Medicine, released in December 2014, continues Kelly’s adventures in both abuse recovery and animal befriending. Her first book, Crazy Critter Lady, was published in August 2011. It recounts her experiences with animals of all kinds. “I love telling tales of the great animal characters I have known and loved,” she stated fondly. “It is, in essence, a critter-themed memoir.”
But it wasn’t always smiles and acceptance for the local author. She grew up with a long history of childhood sexual abuse. “In my family, we kept secrets. After being abused, I spent years in the recovery process, which continues today,” Meister-Yettler said. ”Animals helped in my recovery. When it came time to write my first book, it seemed perfect to write about them.”
Writing has always been a part of the author’s life. An avid reader, she knew from a young age that writing was her calling. “I used to write books in grade school about weird subjects,” Kelly said sheepishly. “I wrote one that was called ‘Death Row.’ It was a research project for class.”
It was not a quick road to her first book. “I was working on sanity,” she stated clearly. In her abuse-recovery process, she got involved in a treatment called Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP). This jump-started her work with animals—she now owns a half-lease of a rescue horse called Bit at The Healing Barn in Millbury, OH, a facility that supports equine rescue projects. It seemed natural to take her experiences in recovery and rescue and write about them.
Now, Kelly doesn’t lack for critters to care for. She and her husband, Dudley, shares their house in Walbridge with four cats (Buddy, Spanky, June Bug and Gracie Ellen Tripod) and their backyard with four rescue ducks (Penny, Daffy, Ethel and Boyfriend). The rescue ducks are the latest edition.
The author shrugged when quizzed about her ducks. “I used to live in Three Meadows in Perrysburg, and I saw people feed the ducks but not care for them. So I got involved in their rescue.” Beside having ducks of her own, Kelly has worked with Perrysburg Animal Control to rescue, foster, and transport ducks all over the area. “Ducks are cheerful,” she claimed, mirroring that cheer. “They are very nice, especially if you have a worm in your hand.”
Overall, her work, and experience, speaks to the benefit of animal therapy. “It is possible to heal from child sexual abuse,” Kelly claimed. “Animals were my way. Science is only now starting to figure out what most of us have always known . . . animals are therapeutic.” She smiled broadly. “Anyone can rescue or adopt.. Our animal friends stay with us through all the times of our lives, good and bad.”
Forget the Crazy. Kelly’s Critters are worth reading about. And, this Lady is worth listening to.
No Better Medicine is available in print and for e-readers via Amazon and Barnes & Noble. More info at crazycritterlady.com.