A Journey of Love, Loss, and Lessons:

A Legacy of Faith, Hope, and Love

Life is a collection of moments, some breathtakingly beautiful and others incredibly challenging. It's in these trials that we often find ourselves discovering profound truths about love, resilience, and the preciousness of life itself.

Celebrating 11 Years Since Surviving a Car Crash

Embracing Gratitude, Community, and Cherishing Every Moment

As I commemorate the 11th anniversary of surviving my life-altering car crash, I am compelled to share my heartfelt story, filled with triumph, loss, and the enduring power of hope. It is a tale that highlights the significance of this particular anniversary, as it marks the first year without my beloved Tobie by my side, who courageously battled Hemangiocarcoma and left us all too soon just a mere 7 months ago.


On a fateful day many years ago, my life was forever changed. Nika and Tsunami, two treasured canine companions who shared countless joyful moments with me, tragically lost their lives in the car crash.  One tossed from the car in an unsecured crate. The pain of their absence remains etched deep within my heart, a reminder of the fragility of life and the importance of cherishing every fleeting moment.


But amidst the wreckage, a silver lining emerged. Tobie, my dog who I brought into this world and treasured family member, had managed to escape the chaos and ran into the vast desert surrounding us. For a grueling 24 hours, after checking myself out of the hospital, I scoured the unforgiving terrain, fueled by hope and desperation. Every moment without Tobie felt like an eternity, yet I refused to give up. The power of love propelled me forward, and it was in the darkest moments that the strength of our bond became undeniable.

The Power of Community: 

In my hour of need, an extraordinary community rallied around me. Friends, neighbors, and strangers alike joined the search, offering their unwavering support, encouragement, and prayers. Together, we formed a united front, scouring every inch of the desert - some virtually by calling in favors with friends who could fly over the crash site in the night hours, others called friends to gather horses in the area to begin a search, and some who actually spent the sleepless night on the side of the interstate highway until the break of dawn when we could resume the search - until finally, a collective sigh of relief swept through the air. Tobie had been found, weary but miraculously unharmed. The overwhelming sense of gratitude and love that enveloped us all is impossible to put into words.



From this life-altering experience, I learned invaluable lessons that forever changed my perspective. Firstly, gratitude became the guiding force in my life. I realized the immeasurable value of what I still had, despite the profound loss I experienced. Every breath, every sunrise, and every wag of Tobie's tail became reminders of life's blessings. It is through gratitude, and her hugs, that we find solace and strength to navigate the darkest moments.


Moreover, I discovered the immense healing power of love and community. Friends and strangers, bound together by a shared purpose, provided comfort, support, and empathy. Their presence in my life reminded me that we are not alone in our struggles. They nurtured my shattered spirit, allowing me to rebuild piece by piece. Together, we embarked on a journey of healing, recognizing the importance of connection and compassion.

Travel Safety

Another crucial lesson emerged from this harrowing experience – the significance of safe travel measures and responsible driving. The accident was a stark reminder of the devastating consequences of drowsiness behind the wheel. I became an advocate for safe pet travel, spreading awareness about securing pets in vehicles and prioritizing their safety during journeys. Additionally, I vowed to raise awareness to combat drowsy driving, emphasizing the need for vigilance and rest while on the road.


Throughout those grueling 24 hours, the community's unwavering support instilled in me an unshakeable belief in the power of faith, hope, and love. We clung to these virtues, forging a bond that transcended the boundaries of individual lives. In the face of despair, we found strength. In the depths of grief, we discovered solace. And in the moment of our reunion, we experienced a joy beyond compare.

A Tradition of Love:

At 9:15 a.m. on June 11, 2012, the Hug Your Dog Tradition was born. It symbolizes not only the physical embrace between Tobie and me but also serves as a reminder for us all to cherish every moment we have with our loved ones. The weekly tradition became a celebration of life, a testament to the resilience of the human spirit, and a call to honor the memories of those we have lost.

As I reflect upon these past eleven years since surviving that life-altering car crash, my heart swells with a complex mix of emotions. It aches for the loss of Nika and Tsunami, and it mourns the absence of Tobie by my side. However, it also overflows with gratitude for the lessons learned, the bonds forged, and the extraordinary resilience of the human spirit. This anniversary, although bittersweet, is a testament to the power of love, the value of community, and the importance of cherishing every precious moment. May we all embrace these lessons and carry them with us as we continue on our journey through life.

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