Denver Finalist #1 )
On the night of Feb 24, 2017, I was on a girl road trip to AZ for the weekend. Along the way I had been texting off and on with my friend, Cassidy. Just outside of Albuquerque, we were struck from behind by an under-aged drunk driver. My friend, who had been driving, died. I had been lying down in the back seat and felt the impact, the car flipping, and everything that came after that. I only lived because I had been laying down. I absolutely believe that. I had life threatening injuries and was hospitalized in Albuquerque for 16 days. It took most of that year for the physical injuries to lessen.
In September of 2018, I was perusing FB and came across a post that Cassidy had recently shared from a local NM shelter, of animals that needed to be pulled out before they were put down. Why I clicked on that post I will never understand. I came across a picture of a young dog named Brenna. They listed her age as around 4 months and described her as a Shepherd mix. I commented on her picture that, if they could get her to Colorado, I would take her. It didn’t take too long to get a response, that there was a CO rescue group that made trips back and forth to NM, and they could arrange for her travel. The minute I saw her I fell in love. Obviously we had to change her name, and she ended up being Alaska after one of my daughter’s favorite books. When I took her in to be spayed the doctor thought maybe 6 ish months. That put her birthday around the time of the first anniversary of the crash.
Even though Alaska had been bounced around from a young age at shelters, and rescues, and foster homes, until she finally made it to me, she has never met a person she hasn’t loved. She has done so much to help me get through some pretty dark places. My brain is constantly in a fight or flight feeling because of the flashbacks and crippling anxiety that rears its ugly head whenever it feels like it. Some days, all I want to do is lay on my couch snuggling with her. I cannot even remember life without her. She was a part of our family the moment she walked in the door.
She came at a time when I didn’t know I needed her. I probably never would have clicked on her picture if her name had been any different than that of my daughter’s. If anyone else, other than Cassidy who was one of the last people I talked with that night, had shared that post on FB, I may never have paid attention. She just happened to be in NM too. Maybe my friend sent her to look over me, maybe she was just meant to walk in to my life. Alaska rescued me.
Denver Finalist #2 )
Dylan came into my life in 2012, when I first met my husband. It was an instant connection with Dylan, and that was also my first time having a dog in my life. A year before I met him, I was diagnosed with epilepsy (seizure disorder), and Dylan has an incredible gift of knowing when I’m having a seizure and would by my side until it was over. Unfortunately, in February 2019, we found out he was diagnosed with the early stages of dementia and is losing muscle mass in his back legs. That same month he also suffered a stroke, this heartbreaking news has broken our family, but we are grateful for the good days with Dylan. I have had the honor of having him be my protector for the past seven years, and now it’s my turn to take care of him. He will forever be my sunshine on cloudy days.