Story and photo submitted by Heather Deiss

Our love story began at our local animal shelter where I was paired with Kymmie to be her "mentor." Months went by as I spent time with her every week, and got to know her better. I saw that she was special. She was tough. And she chose me to be her mommy.

In time, she came to live with me, my husband, and cats. Little did I know, that in her years with us, she taught me as much as I taught her.

Kymmie survived many years of abuse, neglect, and sickness before her life with us. She never had a home. She never knew kindness or love. She overcame mammary cancer, Lyme disease, and chronic abuse. Her body healed, but her emotional scars were the real challenge. It became my life's work to care for her. She had severe separation anxiety. She did not like other dogs, and did not trust people. She was difficult. We found our way in life on walks in more secluded places, which she loved. She went everywhere with us, and sang in the car while tapping her paws when the car would roll down the hill.

We turned any negatives into positives. We gave her freedom to be herself. She began to shine and grow. Eventually she was able to see that she could trust us, she was loved, and would never be left alone. She made every day extra ordinary. She was a great "huntress" who loved long forest walks. She loved the snow fall, and would bury her face in it to play. She loved the rain, hail, storms, and even our cats. She hoarded cat toys as "babies" to mother in her bed. But most of all, she loved us. She wanted nothing more than to be with us. A family of her own.

We had six amazing years with her. She got her angel wings at 16. 5 years old on August 20th, 2015. Reflecting on our time together, she taught me how to love, to forgive, to enjoy the moment, to enjoy every season of nature, and how to be brave. She was so inspirational to me, she reminded me of a sunflower. She always looked to the sun, she was full of joy no matter what. She was my soul dog, my heart dog, and the best part of me.