Annie was a terminally ill Pit Bull that I rescued from death row last September. When I went to the animal shelter for Annie that day, I never planned to adopt a dog. I simply hoped to save her life. But little did I know... that Annie would actually save mine.
Annie was a very sick girl, and I soon realized that she wasn't strong enough to make it through the necessary treatments to save her life. So, I altered my dog rescue mission: from curing her illness... to healing her heart.
And for as long as I live... I'll never forget what happened next...
Annie's transformation was the most incredible change I've ever witnessed. I watched... as the fear slowly left her eyes... as the sadness gently left her face... and as the pain finally left her heart.
I watched... as a dying girl... came to life.
That week, Annie and I smiled, and we laughed, and we played. That week, Annie and I healed. Before we met, Annie was broken, and I was broken. Together, we were whole. Together, we were family.
All the while, I knew that Annie was dying. I knew I'd have to let her go, and I knew the immense pain I'd endure when that time came. But I also knew the alternative for Annie. Death... before life.
So I gave her life... before death.
No pain has ever been more worth it.
On a fateful day last September, I walked into the animal shelter for Annie. I never planned to adopt a dog that day. I only hoped to save one. It turns out... I did both.
One week later, on September 14, 2010, I held my Annie --my baby-- as she went to Heaven. She died... in my arms. But only after she lived... in my heart.
I let her go, because I loved her. She died smiling... because she loved me, too.
One year later, I can still feel Annie's love as strongly as I did last September. I can feel her presence with me each day. I can see her joy in each dog I save. I can see her impact on my journey... every bit as much in death, as in life.
Because Annie didn't really die that day. She's been living and breathing through me every day since.
Our loved ones never really leave us when they die.They live on... in our hearts. They live on... through the memories. They live on... through their stories. Annie's story lives on through me. And now, she lives on... through you.
It's just more than she ever dreamed possible...
*Annie, not a day passes that I don't think of you. There's never a day when I don't miss you, nor a day that I don't love you. But there will be a day when I'll see you again. I can't wait.
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