Just when you think he can’t find a new way for his audience to address mental health, GH’s Maurice Benard rounded up Roadog Rescue founder, Nikki Carvey, to sit down with him on his video podcast show, State Of Mind, to discuss how animals can help heal depression and anxiety.
Maurice Benard & Nikki Carvey: Illness Gives Birth To Passion
Nikki Carvey always had a soft spot for fur babies, but she found her future passion while struggling with an illness at a young age. “I had kidney issues from when I was about 8 until I was about 12.” She recalled, “So I was in and out of the hospital, and I think that is what partly triggered the depression, to be honest with you, because I was isolated, in a sense. These changes happen to your body that you are not in control of.”
The illness caused physical changes that made her feel self-conscious and struggle with self-esteem. “I became hyper-aware of how I looked, and I had to be kept home,” she revealed. Her parents thought a dog might cheer their daughter up. “My love for animals came from that. I got my first dog when I was sick, and I could wrap my parents around my little finger at that point.
“It was companionship,” she explained, going on to say how animals work their magic. “They are just with you, and they give you that little look when you come home. They don’t care what you physically look like, and they just seem to connect with you on a more emotional level. You think people in rescue are angels? No, dogs are angels.”
Mork Skywalker: The Light From Left Field
As an adult, Carvey still struggled with depression. She tried many treatments like antidepressants, herbs, mushrooms, yoga, and breathwork, but animals always made a difference. She began volunteering more than a decade ago with an animal rescue foundation called Ace Of Hearts, which laid the groundwork for her own foundation.
“The reason I called it Roadogs is that I love old cars, old classic cars,” she smiled. The animal activist shared the other inspiration for the name. “A dog is your ride-along, your best buddy for life. A dog is one of the truest friends we will ever have. They are members of our family.”
A paralyzed dog with an amazing spirit inspired her to focus on dogs with special needs or who needed hospice care. “My motto now is, ‘Never underestimate an underdog.’ I feel that they are a representation of our world right now.”
But a little bulldog named Mork Skywalker with unique features put her on the social media radar. “He was, literally, rescued from a meat truck in China. And Roadogs works with this amazing organization out there called Harbin SHS, and we worked to bring a bunch of dogs here. So they sent me his photo when they rescued him, and he was huddled against the night sky, and I was like, ‘Oh, my God! I want him.’”
She created an Instagram page and a website to bring the incomparable pup to the masses…and make them smile along the way. “He got well known because people thought he looked like baby Yoda. And I thought his story is one of hope.” She added, “His story shows that you can be at a point of feeling like there is no way out. Feeling stuck, like there is no way forward, and a light comes in from the left field.”
Throughout her journey, she has gained pearls of wisdom that keep her in the light. “On really dark days, what is the one thing that I do believe? I believe in possibilities. I believe in the possibility of change.” Carvey called up the angel analogy again. “To me, that is Mork. Look at him. He was on a meat truck, and now he is living in Southern California. So I use his page and his story to promote that, and to promote mental wellness and health because I think people will see it.”
Fans can find out more about her inspirational journey through physical illness, depression, self-esteem issues, and finding the path to mental and physical wellness. Carvey shares her struggle to find her place in the world, meaning in life, and going inward rather than outward to find joy.
Benard (Sonny, GH) met her when he rescued his latest family addition, a bulldog named Vito (who also makes an appearance in this episode), from Roadog Rescue, and was inspired by her energy and her story. You may not know much about her now, but you will be inspired to learn more after this State Of Mind. Catch the full episode here.
To follow Nikki Carvey and her work at Roadogs Rescue, go to Instagram or the official website, Roadogs.org. Fans can contribute to her animal and human sanctuary there. Follow Maurice Benard on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. To follow State Of Mind and subscribe, go to YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.