2018-07-23 — 2020-04-29

Willow was born on July 23, 2018 in Alabama, where she and her 8 litter mates were fostered before being sent to Petland Norwin. We met on Halloween, October 31, 2018. I was looking for an emotional support animal and Willow fit that mold from the start. Most puppies would be wild, nipping at your hands, but she curled right up in my lap and both my boyfriend and I knew she was coming home with us. Following her adoption, she spent the next several months living with her mom and dad in an apartment in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. While living there she had many toys and a group of puppy friends she would play with at Twin Lakes dog park. In August, 2019 I took a plane to LA and my boyfriend drove there with Willow. There she got to see the beach for the very first time and fell in love. Her favorite thing to do was dig and roll in the sand and later she started learning how to swim. From there, we made our way up to Blaine, Washington. We were staying in a campground at first and enjoyed looking for rocks and shellfish at Birch Bay. I started working at an animal rescue, Embrace a Discarded Animal Society and later started living on the property. There Willow had plenty of room to run through the grass and trees. We left due to personal reasons and started 2020 back In California. We stayed in a converted tiny bus in China town for 1 month, allowing Willow to visit both of LA's dog beaches and just about every dog park. We then headed further south to San Diego and were living in our car. We spent everyday at either Ocean Beach dog beach or Grape Street dog park. Although the living situation was far from perfect, Willow had the ability to make anywhere feel like home. I just so happen to come across information about Willow trees on 2 different hikes with her, Mission Trails Regional Park and Mission Valley YMCA trail. Both in San Diego County but in no way related. They note the strength and flexibility of Willow trees and their ability to provide homes for small animals. The internet says this, “The willow tree gives us hope, a sense of belonging, and safety. Furthermore, the ability to let go of the pain and suffering to grow new, strong and bold. The image of the willow tree is our path to stability, hope, and healing.” I couldn't describe my Willow any better than this, she truly saved and forever changed my life. After discovering she was sick mid March, we drove back to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to stay with family in order to make her more comfortable. She was diagnosed with multicentric lymphoma with para neoplastic hypercalcemia. She was given 1 dose of Elspar and was planning on starting chemo, LOPP protocol 1 week later. On the morning of April 29, 2020, Willow was very lethargic and wouldn't get up to come outside until she saw me through the front door and managed to gain the strength. She made it out to pee but was unable to get back up the porch step. I carried her in and we laid on the couch together. An hour later she took her last breaths right there with her mom, dad, and best bud Riley by her side. We kept telling her to stay strong and she did till the very end. I could not be more proud of her. I currently write this as I make my way back across the country to an unknown location, without my best friend and biggest support. It has been a rough few weeks, searching for a reason why this had to happen. The only thing I can come up with and am told is that it is making me a stronger person. Willow not only blessed me with the strength to cope with the death of my mother and my pap but also her own. She taught me how to let go and keep going. She may not have had a long life but I believe it was a great one, she was happy. Her urn will stay at my dads house for now, as she has had her adventure and it is now time for her to rest. Even in your absence, there is hope my friend. On that Rainbow Bridge we'll meet to love and play again. I look forward to our adventures together in Heaven but for now they must be separate. Have fun running through the meadows and hills with your new friends. Thank you for everything, I love you always, my precious Willow

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