“[Animals] just tug at my heart,” Helen says.
So, after spending her childhood in England raising money for animal hospitals, growing up to create a foster home for rescued horses in Canada felt like a dream come true.
“So happy!” Helen smiles, before feeding carrots to the pair of horses she’s rehabilitating in her rural front yard.
But if you ask Helen if she ever dreamed of adopting a dragon, she’ll laugh and say, “No!”
Yet, on the other side of her drive away, you’ll find a human-sized, green dragon – made of painted driftwood – sitting on a stump.
“So this is where the story kind of unfolds,” Helen smiles.
We’ll get back to the dragon in a moment. But first, you should know that, along with animals, Helen’s had a lifelong love of baking.
“One day I want to have a little farm stand,” she recalls thinking. “[But] years go by…”
And it can be hard to find the time or energy for a hobby when you’re balancing a day job at an office, and raising your family at home.
“[But] I’ve always been the type of person who, if I set myself a goal, I achieve it,” Helen says.
Seeing as she realized the horse-helping dream, Helen set her sights on turning her baking dream into a reality too.
She enlisted her family’s help to come up with creative toppings for cookies.
“There’s no limit to the amount of crazy cookie ideas,” Helen smiles.
After baking cookies that were covered in all sorts of candy, from Swedish Berries to lollipops, cookies erupting with mini chocolate bars – from Skors to Kit-Kats – and cookies that were seemingly eating smaller Oreo-style cookies with cartoon-style eyes, Helen set up that stand at the end of their driveway.
“I thought maybe some friends and people in the local community would drop by from time to time,” Helen says.
She certainly never expected that her baking would be such a blockbuster that they’d have to expand.
That’s when they “hired” that dragon they dubbed Doug H (because his name also spells the word “dough,” as in cookie dough).
“The story is he’s breathing fire into the oven to bake the cookies!” Helen smiles.
Doug is one of dozens of fantastical creatures that Helen “adopted,” from fairies to gnomes, which now greet you along a path that features Bigfoot footprints and leads to The Crazy Cookie House.
The original farm stand has been replaced by a larger structure that features lopsided windows and a rumpled roof that resembles the Sorting Hat from the “Harry Potter” movies.
What started as a whimsical place for her creative baking to be sold through the honour system, where social media posts about the house have earned more than 300,000 views, The Crazy Cookie House has become so popular, Helen was able to leave her day job and focus on this fulltime.
“If you love it and enjoy it, the rest will follow,” Helen smiles.
And you just might find, in a collection of positive post-it notes on display in The Crazy Cookie House, from people visiting from across North American and as far away as Peru, one message that couldn’t be more meaningful.
“I like the way you dream,” it reads.
“It’s a dream come true, it really is,” Helen smiles gratefully. “And hopefully others can enjoy it along the way.”