Back in 2017, we got our first dog. A tiny little baby shiba inu. As first time dog owners, we were clueless, but dove right in. I remember going to Buckles Feed Depot and getting a Shamrock Park dog park membership. For just $60 for the year, my little guy could run and play with other puppers! SWEET! So I got my guy suited up and we went to the park for the first time. We walked in and saw a bunch of people in one of the dog park areas, so we went in there. Mind you, up until this point my guy, Guillermo, didn’t have much socialization. Not a bad thing, we just were figuring it out!
So we walked in and I had NO clue what to expect. Suddenly all these dogs charged towards Guillermo. A new friend! But we were overwhelmed, as these dogs jumped on him. I still had his leash on him, not realizing I needed to just let him go run and dog. But as a first time dog owner, I was panicked! My dog will be eaten!! Then the kindest, calmest lady, with a huge smile on her face, and a pack of wolf-looking huskies following came over. She introduced herself as LeAnne and the huskies following were Sable, Compton, Kylie and Bauer (Bauer is sadly no longer with us and not pictured).
I had no clue at this time that LeAnne would become one of my favorite people and eventually be a bridesmaid in my wedding, that Kylie would make Guillermo like her little boyfriend, and that I’d cry so hard with LeAnne, every single time one of her precious senior dogs crosses the rainbow bridge.
Let me tell you about how amazing of a person LeAnne is. She rescues dogs from the Northern Lights Sled Dog Rescue. But not only that, she rescues senior dogs and provides them a sanctuary to live out their final days. Since knowing her, she has had many come into her home and gave them an amazing life. Some only have been with us for a little bit, but in that little bit, she provided more love than some people are able to give in a lifetime. These dogs who go to her home truly hit the lottery.
Over the summer of 2020, I remember the day that I opened a text and saw that Sable has cancer. Sable was one of LeAnne’s OG puppers, who started LeAnne’s road of rescue. I was so devastated with LeAnne. Sable always was such a sweet dog, who always came running up for pets when we’d get to the park. She’d sit and watch all the young pups get rowdy, and if they got too rowdy, she’d be the matriarch of the park. As soon as LeAnne gave me the news, I knew I needed to do a photoshoot. I wanted LeAnne to have the gift of beautiful lasting memories of Sable long after she crossed the bridge. So after LeAnne had time to grasp the devastating news of Sable’s cancer, we went to the beautiful Coxhall Gardens and took SO many photos.
Here’s the thing, pets – whether it be dogs, cats, bunnies, whatever – do not get to live long enough. We get such a short amount of time with them. There may be times when they are so frustrating. For instance, as I type this, one of my dogs won’t stop licking my leg. It’s cute to get kisses, but after 10 minutes of being cleaned, it’s enough. It’s easy to get caught up in the “this is so annoying, stoooooop!” but before long, they will no longer be here and we will be longing for those moments again. There’ll come a day for all pets, when we have to say goodbye. It’s the hardest part about being a pet owner.
I hope everyone who reads this becomes a LeAnne. Someone who can love your pets so unconditionally, and give them your world, because YOU are their world. I hope you can cherish every silly moment, every hard moment, every good moment. I hope you can tell your pet often that you love them and hold them at the end of the day. Pets are family.
Sable lost her battle at the end of 2020. I remember the day I saw the text that said Sable has crossed the rainbow bridge. My husband and I were bringing some wedding decor/props to a storage unit. I stopped in my tracks and instantly started crying. Sable really touched my soul. But then again, all of LeAnne’s huskies have. As my husband pointed out, I have cried for all of her dogs who have crossed. Why? Because they are such well behaved, kind, loving, sweet dogs, who welcomed us to the dog park with open furry arms.
Sable and LeAnne have taught me so much. Pets can be hard. Give them the world, because you are theirs. Even despite loss, open your door to animals in need. Your pet wouldn’t want you to close your heart to providing comfort to another pet in need. I am forever grateful for the friendship LeAnne and her pack has brought.