Dr. Linda Harper

Consultants in Applied Psychology

11900 Southwest Hwy., Ste. 201

Palos Park, Il 60464

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© Dr. Linda Harper. All rights reserved.

Meet Linda

Hi! I’m Linda. I’ve always loved animals. (When I was 3 years old, my sister and I would rescue abandoned stuffed animals from the thrift store in my hometown in Minnesota!) I’m also a clinical psychologist. I owned my own practice in Chicago along with my husband, Dr. Mario Gallo, for 33 years before I shifted my focus to offering workshops for animal lovers full time. My greatest joy is combining these two passions to help animal lovers like you navigate the challenges of caring for and working with animals. I’m really looking forward to hearing from you!

ANIMAL THERAPY

Over the years, my husband, Mario, and I have had a furry family of dogs and cats of all ages, sizes and “issues.” My pet walker affectionately calls our home “the land of misfits.” You’ve already met one of them on my homepage: Chilidog!

 

He was a senior dachshund I adopted, and he was my therapy assistant for almost 5 years. The lessons I learned from him are the foundation for the guide I developed to help animal lovers refresh their compassionate hearts.

 

I thought that losing Chilidog would bring me inconsolable grief. Instead, I’ve experienced unexpected joy, gratitude and awe, because our bond continues to have a loving influence on my life and the lives of many other people and animals.

 

Another “misfit” was a senior cat name Belle, who I was fostering. She needed medication a few times a day, so I would bring her to the office with me. When Belle meowed loudly one day, a client invited her into our session. With Belle on her lap, my client began to sort out memories that she had not previously shared in our year of meeting. Insights she gained with Belle seemed to free her from her past and set her on a new life path. From that day on, my practice included at least one animal therapy assistant.

Millee, me, Chilidog and Milo

BLESSED BONDS

I founded Blessed Bonds, a nonprofit rescue organization, in 2004. It provides temporary foster care for dogs and cats whose owners are in crisis so the pets can eventually return to their families. It was a dream realized, but during my seven years as director, I became completely depleted. When I stepped out of that role, the program found a home with a well-established animal shelter. 

 

At first, stepping down felt like a failure, and I worried that I was letting the animals down. But the gift in that loss is that I now understand firsthand the roller coaster of emotions that comes when we follow our passion to help animals.

BEST FRIENDS ANIMAL SANCTUARY & RETREATS

In 2001, after attending a couple of workshops at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah, I became involved with their efforts to help animal lovers cope with the compassion fatigue, burnout and grief that come with working with animals. Animal lovers found my book Give to your Heart's Content...without giving yourself away helpful, and I began giving talks, workshops and retreats for animal organizations and advocates.

CHICAGO VET PET LOSS SUPPORT

For more than a decade, I’ve facilitated a pet-grief support group through the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association and helped train professionals to work the Pet Loss Hotline. Support-group participants often come because they don’t feel like people outside the group understand their grief. They cringe when they hear, “It's just an animal" and “Aren't you over that yet?" 

 

I understand how animal lovers feel, so I guide you through finding your own ways to work through your grief so that the joyful feeling of your loving bond can help to outweigh the pain.

 

BOOKS AND CURRICULUM

My greatest teachers have been the people and animals I’ve worked with during my 33 years as a clinical psychologist. I’ve written two books to help people and animal lovers who live with compassionate hearts and developed a webinar for The Pet Professionals Guild:

 

  • The Power of Joy in Giving to Animals, with foreword and contributions by Faith Maloney of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary (2014)

  • Give to Your Heart’s Content…without giving yourself away (2004)

  • Eat! Rediscover your best natural relationship with food (2014)

  • Learn How to Manage and Prevent Burnout & Compassion Fatigue While Working with Animals with Dr. Linda Harper (2016)

SEMINARS, PRESENTATIONS & Retreats

Essential Tools to Empower Every Compassionate Heart for Animals

  • Lafayette, IN, 2017

 

What Animals Teach Us About Joy

  • Touched by an Animal Fundraiser, Skokie, IL, 2016

  • The Center in Palos Park, IL, 2016

  • Chicago Family Pet Show, Darien and Oak Lawn, IL, 2015

 

Breaking Down Bridges: How can we work together to help more animals?

  • MENAW Conference, Cairo, Egypt, 2010, 2017

  • Animals Today, Palm Desert, CA, 2016
     

A Joyful Giving Heart: Making your difference in the lives of animals

  • Unity Church Animal Ministry, Oak Park, IL, 2015

 

Hearts Larger than Hands: Creating balance in your life to save more animals

  • Best Friends National Conference, 2002-present

  • A Sound Beginning Dog Training, 2016

  • New Jersey Animal Welfare Federation of New Jersey, 2014

  • DASA (DuPage Animal Shelter Association), Wheaton, IL, 2011

  • Good as Gold Rescue Conference, Chicago, 2011

  • MENAW conference, Cairo, Egypt, 2010

  • Illinois Animal Welfare Federation  2008

 

Retreats at Best Friends Animal Society, Kanab, Utah

  • The Giving Heart Retreat: Nurturing the animal lover’s soul, annually 2006-2016

  • Above and Beyond: Facing the challenges of animals with special needs, annually 2014-2016

Keynote Speaker

  • Asia for Animals, Bali, Indonesia, 2008

  • No Kill Canada Conference, Windsor, Canada, 2004

  • CHAMP Conference for Homeless Animal Management Programs, Las Vegas, 2004