New Year | New Beginnings



The last few months of 2018 were tough.  Anyone who knows me, know that my dogs are like my kids.  I love them and would do anything in their best interest.  Losing Ryder was devastating.  I have struggled with guilt, grief, and surviving one of the toughest tragedies.  I have PTSD from what happened, and it’s taken a lot of work to stay in my home.  (That’s another story I’ll have to share)  I’ve learned a lot through the process, and have made it through the other side…stronger.   I loved Ryder so much and would have done anything to save him if that had of been possible.  I do believe that in that moment, he did everything he could to keep Skyrah safe for us, and thankful for the gift of her each day.  She’s a survivor too.  We’ve both been sad as we navigate a new “normal”.  I don’t know how else to navigate a broken heart than to fill it with more love.

I started looking around the holidays at puppies, and “thinking” about maybe adding a chocolate lab puppy to our pack.  Nothing felt right though.  I thought I needed more time.  Some friends had labrador puppies and offered to gift me one.  I was so overwhelmed by their generosity….but it just didn’t feel like it was “my puppy” yet.  I talked to the labrador breeder, (where we got Ryder) and they didn’t have any chocolate puppies.  His dad fathered a litter but they were black.  I spoke with a few others and found one who had beautiful dogs.  I thought, “This was it….this was our dog.”  Then after a few days, it still didn’t feel right.  I felt like I was just going through the motions.  I decided to step back because I wasn’t ready, things didn’t feel right, and we began navigating the holidays.

Mid-December, I started looking again and found a chocolate lab that needed to be re-homed due to its owner being incarcerated.  Unfortunately, the dog “Buddy” wasn’t a good fit in a home with other dogs.  We found another dog that was wandering around in Quincy, and tried to save her….but she was picked up by the county, and thankfully her owners retrieved her.  Then there were two chocolate labs in California, at a shelter.

While I was waiting to hear about those two labradors, I was tagged on FB post by my friend Melanie.  I saw this beautiful chocolate lab, read his story, and said, “That’s MY dog!”   Up North, a couple was driving down the road in a 55 MPH speed zone.  There were two dogs running around, and they had to swerve to not hit the labrador head-on…and clipped his front left leg.  They’re amazing people.  They immediately stopped and tried to help the dog.  They saw the yellow dog he was running with, run up the road to a house.  Another lady stopped and stayed with the dog while the first couple went to the house to see if it was their dog.  They got to the house and asked the person at the home if they had a chocolate lab.  The person said, “Yes, that’s our dog.  We’ll be down in a few moments.”  The couple went back to the dog to get him help.  The “owner” drove down the driveway, turned….the opposite direction, and never came to claim their dog.  The people helping this sweet boy got him to the veterinarian.  They splinted his leg, and then OKANDog Rescue got involved and bought him into their rescue.  Thankful for the people that hit him, that they stopped, and did everything they could to save this sweet boy.

As I read the story, I crossed my fingers that the other two dogs I was waiting to hear about,  were claimed by their owners because I wanted this sweet boy.   (The owners picked the California dogs up  – yeah).

I kept checking the post about the chocolate lab I saw.  More information came to light.  OKANDogs rescued him and brought him to our area. After a second veterinary visit, it was determined that the dog would need orthopedic surgery.  I emailed the rescue and exchanged an email with them and then received an email that the surgery would be over $2,000.00.  I emailed him back, that I would still like to talk to him about the dog, and that I was interested.  This was Friday. I  hadn’t heard anything, and know they’re busy (they have a lot of dogs they’re rescuing, and do such amazing work).

Sunday morning, I was talking to a friend of mine and was thinking about the chocolate lab that I’d seen.  His story tugged at my heart.  (Chocolate lab, hit by a car, owners abandoned him, and his heart was probably broken).  I decided to see if OKANDogs had a phone number on their FB page (YEAH! They did!).  I called OKANDogs on Sunday morning, January 6th.

As I started talking with Tom from OKANDogs, he shared that the dog needs orthopedic surgery, and he found a rescue out of the area that would take him, cover the costs, and get him the surgery that he needs.  Before I knew what was happening, I said, “I’ll pay for his surgery, I want to adopt the dog, and provide him with his forever home.”  I told him “I’d figure it out”.  I called the vet clinic in Wenatchee that was doing the surgery and arranged things so I would be covering his surgery, the clinic called Tom back, and let them know that I would be covering the costs to adopt the dog.  Then I called Tom, and I remember him saying, “Wow, I have never had this happen before – ever.”  I laughed, and said, “Well you haven’t met me”.  (I have a soft spot for labradors and dogs in need.  He said, “I’ll turn around, and head home.  Would you like to meet him this afternoon?”  Of course, I said, “Yes!”   (Little did I know until several days later, he was 20 minutes from turning the dog over to another rescue).  It was about 3 hours of waiting for him to return from his trip.  I kept trying to stay busy, and checking my phone thinking I’d missed a call (I didn’t), and then the phone finally rang.  I was so nervous, and excited.

We drove out to Cashmere to OKANDogs, and met Tom, his wife, and the chocolate lab who we now call Hudson.  We walked into the garage where there were some kennels (nice, heated garage)…went into Hudson’s kennel, knelt, and he snuggled right up.  His tail wagging, and he put his head on my forearm, looked up with his big greenish brown eyes, and smiled.  I didn’t want to take him out of the kennel since he was in a full leg cast…when I walked out of the kennel, Hudson followed me.  He slid down onto the ground and laid down on my feet.  I sat down with him, and he curled up in my lap.  I knew at this moment, he chose me.  (We both chose each other.  Perhaps he knew my heart was likely as broken, as his heart.) He snuggled right in, tail wagging, and lots of puppy kisses.  I think it took about 30 seconds to fall in love with him.  I think I fell in love with this sweet boy…in the photo I saw on FB.  It was hard to leave him there that night…for the next few days.

I set up a GoFundMe to help with Hudson’s surgery to save his leg.  So many generous donations came through from family, friends, and people I’ve never met.  I’m forever grateful for the help, love, and support in rescuing this sweet boy and saving his leg.  Each one of you made such a difference for this sweet boy, and has helped both of our shattered hearts begin to heal. I’m so appreciative and forever grateful for the love that has been shown to both of us.

The next 3 days were loooooong days.  Hudson went to the vet on Tuesday for his surgery.  They were able to save his leg and put a metal plate with 7 screws in his leg.  He broke both bones, and it was a tricky surgery.  Thankful to our veterinarians, and their talent in saving his leg (we would have adopted him either way) but it’s easier for him to have four legs 🙂   We brought him home Wednesday afternoon.  He’s adapted quickly.  It hasn’t even been a week, and he fits into our home like he’s always belonged here.  He’s such a sweet boy.  His tail wags like a helicopter propeller (haha).  He’s potty trained, knows his name already, and is just a snuggler.  He has a fun personality too.  They thought he was two, but he’s likely around 1 year old.

I’m thankful every moment for the gift of this beautiful sweet chocolate lab who has entered our lives, and taken up a huge space in our hearts.  He’s brought so much joy, in such a short time.  My heart is happy, and he looks really happy too.  He’s smiling, loves being with us, and loves our other dog Skyrah too.  He’s a wonderful addition to our family.  Perhaps, his broken heart, and our broken hearts…we can help each other heal.  I don’t know any other way to help heal a broken heart than to allow more love into my heart.  When we lost Ryder, my heart shattered….what I’ve learned with loss…when your heart shatters it never goes back together the same way.  the pieces leave gaps…and through those spaces the light filters through, and that light lets more love in…..and your heart gets bigger…and you will love again…you will love even more.  I feel like Ryder, and some angels above had a hand in bringing Hudson our way.

His official name is “Hudson Sage Zander” which means Warrior with Heart.  I look forward to a lot of firsts with Hudson and continue to pray that his leg heals well.  I know Skyrah is excited for him to have his “running/play” legs soon!  So far we’re doing great with his healing, and keeping him quiet.  The day his cast comes off, Firehouse Pets dog bath, some special treat shopping (he can choose what he wants), and he’ll be joining us on the bed.

If you’re looking for a dog, or thinking about adding to your family.  You should check out OKANDogs, they do great work, and have some fabulous dogs to adopt!

Thank you again, from the bottom of our hearts to everyone who has said prayers, donated, and just been so supportive of our journey with love, and kind words too. Each one of you, has played an important role in our journey.  Blessings your way for a fabulous New Year.

The post that started it all!

To learn more about our mission of dog collar safety visit

You can also learn about OkanDog Rescue: 



New Year | New Beginnings


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