A Tail of Hope – 

October 2020 – Brayson’s name was meant to sound soft and approachable for fear of the stigma that Pit Bulls have had to contend with in recent years. And he was soft, friendly and loving. At my worst moments, throughout my struggles, I would promise Brayson that a house with a fenced-in backyard would come.

The first time Brayson and I moved, I had just broken up with a rebound boyfriend after a sad and bitter divorce. I was broken inside, feeling unworthy of love. I drank heavily to soothe the pain and to manage my constant depression and mood swings. This started years of bouncing from one rented room to another, begging people to accept my dog. We often had nowhere to go, and often faced being homeless.  That was the least of my problems. The first time Brayson and I were separated was because I made a major suicide attempt. I was living with a close friend and knew Brayson would be safe and cared for there. While in the hospital, I was told I was bipolar and an alcoholic. That I would never get better if I didn’t get sober. I cried, unsure how I could go on living the way I had, not sure how to change, and afraid.

I continued to be crippled with depression. Brayson rested in the car while I attended 12-step meetings and tried to not drink. He stayed by my side when I struggled to get out of bed. He licked my too-long-unwashed arms and face, encouraging me to shower. Through tears, I told him of a future with that fenced-in backyard, and held on to him through the pain. Brayson attended every doctor appointment with me, and the staff came to know him well. By the end, my doctor prescribed Brayson as a medically needed support animal.

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