field2016 was a tough year for me. Granted there were some high notes such as the Golden Crown Literary Award for Twisted Whispers. Even with those high notes, there were many moments of deep despair and times when I really wanted to throw in the towel. For instance, the results of our presidential election filled me with despair, fear, and dismay. But even that paled when I received a crippling diagnosis for my German Shepherd, Zoey. That late year call kicked me in the knees like nothing else.

You have to understand the relationship I have with this dog. She is four years old and for almost all of that four years we have worked side by side training to become a certified human remains detection team. Achieving that goal was one of the best and most rewarding things ever and we did it together. Zoey is a fantastic dog. So to hear that her career could potentially be over pulled the rug right out from under my feet and depression washed over me like a tsunami.

I hate that feeling. I hate feeling helpless. I hate that my dog is in pain. I just want to cry, stomp my feet, and quit. To pull the blanket over my head and hide.

But I didn’t and why? Because I choose hope. I refuse to allow 2016 to dictate my new year. I’m not going to let bad news dictate tomorrow. We’re not done. My dog is not done. We will work through this crisis and we will do it together. Zoey and I will find a path that we can travel together. It may not be the path we thought we were traveling but it will be ours.

I choose hope.

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