Just when you think you are at the end. Just when you think you can’t go on. Your Second Chance shines like a beacon of light. A thread (of hope).

My life has been a constant fight for survival. Six years on this earth. I have had more puppies than I can remember and no home to speak of. The story of my recent life takes me to the depth of despair and to the pinnacle of hope for the future. 

I am hungry, searching for food in the searing cold. There is nothing around. I scavenge, I hunt. I constantly move. My nose takes me to a new area. I smell food in the distance and anxiously seek it out. Normally I am cautious but in my struggle, I don’t watch for danger.

I find some fish just lying there. I move towards to grab it. I should have hesitated. I should have known better, but hunger overrides my judgement. I become aware of it too late. It’s a trap. Not intended for a large dog like me, but one of my hind legs is caught in a snare.

I fight. I struggle. I bite. But I cannot break free. My foot throbs. Blood stains the snow as I cry and howl. No one to hear, no one to help. I am alone. At last I give up, exhausted from the struggle. I huddle against the crushing cold.

A new day dawns. The sun’s weak rays do nothing to warm me. Hunger, pain, and fear consume me. At first, I don’t hear the approaching snow machine. I’m lost in my own world. But suddenly I see it coming right towards me.   

Hey, Hey you! You alright? I lift my head in response. What is a dog doing way out here? Oh man, that’s a trap. Someone’s got a trap line out here. You’re in trouble. I hope you don’t bite. I need to help you. Easy now, I have to get you free.

Humans are hard for me to trust. I generally keep my distance, but I can’t run and I have no strength left. What will be, will be. I stay calm at his approach. I am a gentle soul. I would not hurt him no matter what. 

He gets me free. It isn’t easy for him or for me. But I am now out of that dreadful trap. But what now? The nearest vet clinic is hours away. I am a scared dog, depending on strangers to keep me alive. 

It’s a blur. I don’t know how long it takes. I doze and remain quiet. Finally, I find myself in a strange place with bright lights, funny smells, and gentle people. They ask me my name. I can’t tell them that I have never had one. One of them says Gabby. You are Gabby now. 

They tell me everything will be alright now. Somehow I believe them despite my fear and pain, and the terrible condition of my foot. They dull the pain and clean my wound. They give me medicine. Every resource they have to save my foot, but it is bad. 

Days later they make the decision – my leg cannot be saved. They tried so hard, I know they did, but too long in the cold, too long in a trap, too much infection. I go to surgery my leg is amputated. I am resilient and strong, this I will overcome.   

This is not the end, but the beginning. The start of my Second Chance. Three good legs, a gentle soul, and a loving heart. And people – good, kind people to help me find my way and my forever place.