Janie Healey Sollima, 65, of Paulden, AZ, passed Monday, March 29, 2021.
Born in London, England in 1955 to her parents Dee and Bobby, Janie had a very ‘proper’ upbringing and could be found either in her mother’s breeding kennels or in a paddock with horses. Wherever she was, there was always an animal attached to her. Representing Great Britain as a youth at badminton horse trials (she came ninth don’t you know), she also excelled academically.
Following the death of her beloved daddy when she was 17, there was a brief stint at art college, before becoming a groom at polo stables. Post that, she met the father of her beloved children, her daughter Bobbi and her son Davyd. The family joke was that she would often admit she didn’t know whether to put the children in a kennel or the crib.
The early 80s saw a brief stint as a self-employed business woman and also a dancer on dining room tables, either with her young daughter, teaching the joy of dancing, singing and female empowerment all to the sounds of Poison, George Michael and The Cure, and then in the night times dancing in a pub with her beloved friends. Not forgetting her racing duels with the local traffic enforcement in Lincoln on the newly built bypass.
The 90s saw the further development of her love of fast vehicles, with her marshalling at regular British touring cars and motorbike meets at the local racing track Donnington. Coming home, still with a full face of makeup, bright red nails, stinking of motor oil and with the biggest grin on her face. The 90s also saw the epic meeting of her ‘sister from another mister, Lorraine, and what became her surrogate nieces Nikita and Roxanne. There was joy, pain, tears, and laughter. Even more fast cars, absolute true loyalty and dedication that survived Janie‘s next great adventure, her emigration at the age 42 to the USA with her son, Davyd.
Following a three-year stint in California, she settled in Arizona, where her love of heat and sun was tested to the limit and she met her next great love, her Jake. Jake was her beloved rescue Dane and which kickstarted return to her early life of kennels. She trained, she showed, she succeeded with her beloved Danes. Finding a community in the Arizona dog world that was both addicting, thrilling and baffling to her English sensibilities. She also found a family with her beloved ‘soul sister’ Patsy, and later the women she decided to adopt whether they wanted it or not, Jackie and Nichole. These women are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the family that she created for herself in the states.
Outside of the dog world, she focused on Davyd, trying to ensure he developed his dreams, and occasionally got out of bed on time for high school. She found herself adopted by his beloved friends of Corwin, Gerry and Mike. High school was a loud time at that house of boys and great Danes with the other constant accompanying early 1980s rock and David Bowie.
Eventually boys and girls grow up and Janie embraced her beloved James and darling Kristen, the loved spouses of Bobbi and Davyd. Her joy when Kristen and Davyd gave her Devyn and Kamren, her beautiful grand babies was immense. You know that she was the Memaw, who when she saw them, plied them with sugar and promises of many animals before sending them home to Mom and Dad.
In later years, her health deteriorated which meant she had to give up her professional dog life, but that did not stop a succession of beloved and very pampered dogs from joining her.
Whilst she could, she decided to take up her old habit fast cars and could often be seen in her bright blue Mustang driving far too fast, simultaneously terrifying her friends and family and beguiling local law-enforcement who expected to see a young boy racer and not a white haired grandma with a cut glass English accent. All of us wish that there were pictures of the first local officers face when she moved up to Paulden.
Her final few years were spent building her dream home with her Paul, in Paulden, Arizona and planning her next American dream.
The Queen of reinvention, of meeting challenges head-on such as learning to walk and talk again in her early 30s following her first bout of Multiple Sclerosis and again in her early 60s following her first stroke, or moving to a whole new continent to create a dream, Janie was taken far too early from us.
She leaves behind her husband Paul, her daughter Bobbi and son Davyd , son-in-law James and daughter-in-law Kristen, and grand babies Devyn and Kamren.
We know that she is driving her bright blue Mustang 90 mph over the rainbow bridge with Jake’s head sticking out the window, where a host of her animals and others are barking with joy and purring with pleasure to see her again.