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Rebecca Boyer

Hi Karen - this just made me so happy for you all and especially Annie. I suspect Keyton has more than a little Bichon Frise in him - hence the non-pointy nose and long tail. My favorite breed and they are good for people with allergies! Regardless, though, Keyton is perfect. I've been following your blog since the beginning and rarely comment, but this just made me so happy. Thank you for sharing!


Making me cry happy tears for Annie and your family. What a special moment for Annie to feel truly seen and understood. Wishing Annie and Keyton many happy years together.


So very happy for Annie!! And praying Deedle finds a happy home too, with few tears from Annie. Baby steps, I'm sure. Congratulations on your newest family member.

Rachel Millington

Made me cry that the shelter lowered their price for Annie, how sweet is that of them! Bless you all and I hope you're all enjoying having Keyton as part of the family now xXx


I think that's about the sweetest story I've ever read ... and I'm sitting here all teary-eyed. Congratulations Annie on all your hard work and dedication, congratulations to Keyton for finding a wonderful and lovely forever family!


This story totally made my day. Thank you for sharing.


I must be close to that time of the month as well because I'm in Starbucks sobbing because it's just so NICE and YES, I need to learn these lessons about 1,000 times plus more because I NEVER LEARN.

I think of you often Karen - how you taught me to use a camera that let me see my life in that helped me reinvent what was in that lens until I really liked everything in it's view. Your words are so beautiful and I'm so grateful that I "met" you 6.5 years ago and how you've touched my life in hundreds of ways since then.


I am the farthest thing from an animal-lover (I avoid them at all costs because of my own childhood allergies) but this has to be my favorite post you've ever written. :)


What a great story! I love that you got a rescue dog! I did that with my kids too and got the sweetest most loving dog! I think there is something you can get for cleaning the rusty colored stuff by the dogs eyes. You might want to google it or ask your vet. Hope Annie and the rest of you enjoy your new family member!

Marsha Kern

What a wonderful story and so glad that Marty is part of your family!

Marsha Kern

Sorry I had his name wrong!

Erin H.

Beautiful story and thank you for rescuing this dog!!! My family and I are avid rescuers...I tell everyone that it was my dogs that rescued me and gave me their unconditional love! :)


Oh this is just wonderful! I love this post and am so happy for Annie! Although I love Boston's, this seems like a great match!:) Congrats! And we got our cat from the local shelter as her time was almost up and she's been perfect!


So happy for sweet Annie! And what a wonderful local shelter you have there! Thank you for sharing this story with us. Welcome home dear, Keyton! :)


Tell Annie he is beautiful! So proud of you both.

We have a wonderful rescue dog here too -- his name is Keddy and he is a Border Collie. Right now he's laying under my desk because he doesn't like thunderstorms.

Denise M

I am sitting here bawling. So happy for you & Annie! I too struggle with severe allergies & stomach issues. We are a whole family of pet lovers (I especially have a soft spot (but terrible allergy) for cats. We have adopted a few different animals over the years that I would be fine with then slowly develop symptoms. I tried to hide and double up the meds and separate myself from because I didn't want to traumatize my kids with having to let go yet (again). Until my last visit to the ER in full respiratory failure due to the ferrets we adopted 2 days prior. Years later after my animal loving daughters have rescued frogs, turtles and even hatched butterflies and praying mantis (totally gross don't even think about it) I looked into birds. I visited them for hours and asking tons of questions at the pet store before even hinting to anyone about getting one. Then on my oldest 16th birthday I took her to the breeder where we picked up a pineapple conure and it's been almost a year now with not one symptom. Never thought I'd have a bird or that one could love/need people as much as it does. Also not the family pet I'd ever imagined but it's perfect for us. Much love to you and Annie!! XoXo

Abby Ronnebeck

Oh my gosh... this just made my heart swell!
Congrats on your new Bundle Annie!!!

Mary Jo Griego

I am so happy for Annie and Keyton! They're going to make a great pair! Oh and I believe there is some stuff you can get at the pet store that will take away the rust on his eyes and mouth.

Rachelle S

oh, My, Goodness! What a story! I'm so happy that Annie and Keyton found each other, and what a wonderful staff at the shelter to recognize the animal whisperer in her :) Hugs to you all!

Kelly B

I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for sharing your life with us, the good and the not so good. This post had me literally in tears, so proud of Annie and so grateful for special people like the manager of the shelter whose kind words and special gift I am sure Annie will remember forever. God is good - All the time.


This is one of the best stories I've ever read! Your daughter, the poor little dog, the shelter...I am in tears (the good kind). I hope everything works out for Annie; you must be so proud of her.


I sobbed through this entire story! We had a similar experience when we adopted our first pup. All the other small dogs were barking except for Rosie, just sat their wagging her tail. Glad you were able to find a pup that works with Annie's allergies!


wonderful story- so proud of Annie and That little guy is going to be the BEST friend she ever had!! No allergies-- that is why we have golden doodles at our house-- golden and poodle mix --it's great! congrats on the new family member!


Wow! This post brought tears to my eyes. It is so tough to be a mom and figure out the best thing to do for our children. I love your honest storytelling. It really inspires me to be more authentic, as well. I'm so happy Annie got the puppy dog that's just right for her.


This - " need to let go of the pictures I have in my own head about what I think things should look like, because those mental pictures just keep proving time and time again to be nothing more than obstacles I am placing in my own path." I so very much needed to read that. Thank you. What a wonderful, caring girl you've raised there. Congratulations on the new family member!

Beth S

My friend has a bichon and her vet said to give her blueberries for the eye drainage… worth a try!
She gives her 4 small blueberries a day in her food. She also said green beans are also a good treat.
Congrats to Annie! So sweet to see her heart and compassion for animals as well as you're encouragement of her as a family!


Amazing story! Like Annie I am a total sucker for a fuzzy face and admire her dedication to "earning" her own puppy! So glad Keyton found a home where he will be loved and adored as he should be, that poor baby, what a terrible life he had before he was saved. I am so thankful there are kids like Annie around and so excited for he that she gets to volunteer this summer!
Ask her to give Keyton a kiss for me!


This was such a great story. Although I had a hard time reading the last half through all my tears! So so sweet and I love that Annie felt totally reaffirmed for her innermost wishes. And Keyton got a great home! And the key! And volunteering! Ok, seriously, this might be my favorite post of yours ever :)


What a wonderful story cute dog and I love that key. Annie will love working over the summer in the dog shelter. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane


I am so choked up, I can hardly type... such a beautiful and wonderful story- Annie's and Keyton's... thank you for sharing, and to Annie- thank you for your heart and compassion!!!


So glad that Shelby approved! There are things you can do for the rust stains by the way!! Apparently, rather than just getting rid of the stains, you can sometimes prevent it..


What a wonderful story. Thanks for sharing it.

Last year we had a horrible trial where we lost custody of the foster baby we had cared for since birth because of an accident when he was 7 months old. The day of the accident our non-dog family adopted a dog. This dog ended up being a huge gift for us during this incredibly difficult time. I blogged a bit about it here.

God is so good.




so many great lessons in this post, <3 it all!!


Congratulations on the addition of your new family member! I am so impressed with Annie and happy that she finally got her dog! We have a dog very similar to Keyton (ours is a poodle, bichon, cocker spaniel mix). She is a great dog, does not shed, and also gets those rust stains under her eyes and sometimes on her paws from licking. I use Angel Eyes and it works really well (

Good luck!


So happy happy happy for Annie! Also excited for the opportunities to grow, learn and trust God she has been given in her relationship to Keyton. She is blessed with a wonderful mom who cares greatly. She is blessed with a God who affirmed in her that He sees her love of animals and desire to take care of them. This life story greatly encouraged me, put a few tears in my eyes and a great big smile on my face.

Judy Webb

I am too late.....pretty sure Keyton is Bichon Frese. We rescued our little one from our to young grandchildren. Best dog we have ever had. He and Annie will get a long beautifully. So glad she has summer coming up for Bichons like to stick close to their person. Peace to you and your family.


^insert photo of Dana crying^ - love love love this! My dogs are two of the greatest joys of my whole life. Unconditional love for all!

Kim H.

I love his new name. I have a son named Keaton and I so wish I had thought of the spelling Keyton when I named him!! Beautiful story! Yay for Annie!!


This is such an amazing story! Congratulations to Annie on her new dog. That is so cool that she saved up enough money to buy one herself!


Oh my gosh, best story ever. I'm so happy for Annie and her new best friend! I even teared up a little bit reading this story. Dogs can bring so much joy to a family.


what a sweet, sweet story! I started bawling when i read why the lady gave her the key and what Annie said back in the car. what a perfect name for her dog!

Robyn :)

That girl's faith and dedication is truly inspiring.


I know you're not the perfect parent. I know there are days when you fail your kids and your kids fail you. And maybe it's all the pregnancy hormones raging through my body at the moment. But one thing you and Josh Downs get so right is letting your kids be whoever they are called to be. Maybe all you wanted was to teach your daughter a little patience, hard work, and responsibility. But I see you teaching her about faith. That God is on her side, that he is for her, and that his plan for her is so much bigger and more beautiful than anything she could dream up on her own. Bravo, Mama. You did it.


What a wonderful post touched my heart and made me cry a few tears in a good way. Annie has such a beautiful soul and you are such a wonderful mother. I love that you share your life with us. Those little companion dogs are wonderful, I hope he brings your family many years of love and joy.

Maria Rodarte

Wonderful story brought tears to my eyes. I'm glad your family adopted a dog in need of rescuing!


Oh Karen this made my heart sing and my eyes water. What an amazing girl you have there xx

Megan Whitney

This seriously made me cry. What a beautiful daughter you have (inside and out) and God has a wonderful plan for her. God's timing is amazing and beautiful and He knows us so well. I love that she knows who she is so well and is living up to her potential. :)

I started following your blog for the pictures, as inspiration of how to document my family, but I've stayed for the stories. You have a beautiful gift in story-telling and I'm grateful that you share it.


Going grain free and red dye free with Keytons food and treats may help with the rust stains. It helped with my pups rusty discoloration and itchiness.


What a great story and a sweet sweet child! Bravo to Annie and to you and your husband for raising such a sweetheart. And as for the stains, we found once we started giving our pup filtered water from the tap (just like what we drink) it really really minimized it. Good luck and welcome home to Keyton!

Carole R

Such a wonderful story and such a happy ending. What a sweet girl you have raised. Well done Annie, the world needs wonderful people like you. I normally don't care for poodles but Keyton is amazingly cute!

Colleen Barron

I'm so happy that Annie and Keyton found each other. And you are such a great mom not only to make good on your promise but to show Annie that where one door closes....another opens. It's all in God's perfect timing. I'm so glad He is in control of it all.


I kid you not, I think my sister has Keyton's sister. They look identical!! She got Ripley from a rescue here in California and the vet thinks she is about 3 years old. She doesn't trust poeple and runs away if you try and pet her. She has warmed up to my sister but doesn't trust others.

So happy for Annie to get her pup!!! (I've read it 3 times and I still cry, tears of pure joy!)

Sherry G

Wow! Poodles and rescue--2 of my favorite things. Maddie says congrats Keyton from one rescued poodle to another. Can't wait to see more photos.

Juli P

Oh my have such exceptionally thoughtful, lovely children!
Keyton looks very much like my friends Poodle, Bischon Friese identical! Sweet little dog!
I have a Havanese and he's amazing with all of our allergies...I keep him trimmed short, the groomer calls it a puppy cut.
When he goes to the groomer, he gets the spa treatment and all the red/rust stains around his eyes, mouth and paws (because he's a licker) are gone.
I've tried all the home remedies, but whatever the groomer uses works like a charm.
Congrats Annie! I've got a dog lover at my house too, she dreams of working at the vet clinic....

tara pollard pakosta

I am so so PROUD of Annie!!!
I was going to suggest a Cockapoo, as I am allergic to dogs and we have a Cockapoo
that i am not allergic to and you can get mini ones that do not get very big!
but as i read further, I saw it all worked out!
so proud of your girl!

Ruth Tacoma

This might just be the most beautiful thing I have ever read. God has a way of changing things for the better when we just let Him lead. So happy for you all!


Yep, I totally cried along with you. Love that she finally got her beloved dog!!


My Kayley and Yans would get along so well. Kay works at Petsmart and became a pet trainer last year. She wanted a dog of her own to go to work with her (and also to fill the empty spot left when our 16 year old lab passed away). Her dad told her since she still lives at home that she had to get a dog that didn't shed and wasn't a large dog. She decided on a Labradoodle (lab poodle mix) but the prices were crazy so like our previous dog she started looking at rescue groups and at the end of August last year I drove with her an hour and a half away to bring home her new pup a poodle mix. She decided to name him Noah after her favorite bible story. It's funny because love dogs but have never really liked poodles and especially white ones with the yucky rust colored tear stains too LOL. But he's been a great pup and loves everyone and every animal around. He even gets along with our almost 19 year old cat and the hedgehog. Kayley had a DNA test done on Noah and turns out he is a mini poodle, Lhasa Apso, Maltese mix which explains his crazy teeth (he needs doggy braces). The world needs more Annie's and Kayley's. Hugs

Kay B.

I went to a doctor who practiced NAET to treat allergies. Totally holistic. He did wonders for my stomach issues. I am not allergic to dogs, but while waiting there were several who came through with dog allergies. Google NAET. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful testimony of God's love for us!


Wonderful, heartwarming story. Wishing Keyton many years of comfort and Annie a lifetime of memories with her new doggie.

Now we get to see (in pictures) the love story evolve between the two of them. Yay!!


Cried my head off. . .it's my emotional time too.

Marie Shepherd

Just think Karen...
All because someone took your seat
on that PLANE!!
GOD is so GOOD.
And your new addition
Especially grateful for the shelter for recognizing AAnnie's beautiful little. HEART!!


You are the best mom and inspire me to try harder.


Oh Karen! I'm crying as i read this! Bless you all and your new pup! I recently adopted a poodle mix (she's white too!) after I lost my Lhasa of 14 years. The tear stains are unsightly for sure. I recently tried a wash and it does seem to help, as well as some chewable supplements that are supposed to work from the inside out. I continue to google solutions and try different things. Maybe Annie can solve the mystery for us since she's clearly resourceful and brilliant! Keep on, keeping on....I love reading about you and your family.


This is an amazing story! I have a poodle myself who rescued me and she is the love of my life. Such a sweet demeanor and never sheds or causes sneezes! Check out Angel Eyes on Amazon, it works well for the rust spots.


WOW...what a beautiful story. Like everyone else, I cried and cried for the beautiful daughter and her loving heart for a sweet little dog and his rusty eyes. And what a great mom your are for working it all out step by step. And finding peace in prayer.


I love this whole God story! What a testimony to Him, his goodness, and his timing! So happy for Annie and your new family addition.


oh man, what a story. thanks for this! and for making me cry in my cubicle at work.... ha! such a sweet story. i'm such a dog lover so this was making me feel alllll the feelings. keyton is lucky to have you guys and it sounds like you're lucky to have him as well.

marianne b

Crying happy tears for Annie and the sweet doggie she rescued. God is good.


Are you still here?!?

Kristina Spaulding

Annie reminds me of myself as a kid. When I was 8 years old, I decided that I wanted to run a dog rescue group. Now, almost 30 years later, I am finishing up my PhD in biopsychology so that I can get certified as a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist. I train dogs professionally and also teach other trainers as well. If she wants to make a career out of this, she definitely can. Some good organizations to check out are: The Association of Professional Dog Trainers (, dogtec (specializes in business counseling and training for people in the dog field) (, and the Center for Shelter Dogs at Tufts (

Tess S

Oh, goodness. I think I cried no less than 5 times through this post. I'm so happy for your little miss. And happy for you.


Um, I never, ever cry reading blogs. Ever. I bawled reading this post. So heart warming. I'm in love. God bless all of you!


ok, maybe I'm also emotional, but I was almost in tears reading this....then I came to the photo of the zipper pouch that Annie has been using. I am so thrilled that Annie loved it! And as always, you know exactly what to write to reach home to me. I totally need to let go of the 'pictures' that are in my head.......sigh. I wish I could hug you right now!


Oh how I cried through the beauty of this post!! He looks like a precious little lamb!!


Good Lord woman, you can tell a story... I haven't checked in with you in what seems like a coon's age... and I've missed reading your posts... and now I sit here in my office trying not to cry. How I missed you!!!


This is the BEST story I have read in a long time! I don't visit your blog often as I used to only because I work full time and life in general does not allow me to sit at a computer and read blogs! I do think of your family often and wonder what your kids are up to. How is Josh Downs, what is Yans up to , how big is Courtney, and how big is Cole?? Your blog was always a top 5 fav! I am going to have to carve out time to come and visit more often. You are a great writer and so inspiring!! Thanks for continuing to share your life and family with us! xoxo


I'm not a frequent blog visitor; in fact I haven't been hear for more than a year. I want to say that I'm not sure how I got here today, but of course, I do know. And while I love your photos, I will say that God repeatedly speaks to me through you when you share your heart. His plans are better than my pathetic expectations. I needed that reminder today. Thanks so much for being the vehicle. Don't stop sharing your gift with words.

Denise Armbruster

Haven't read your blog in quite a while so I am catching up today at work (it's a slow day :)) and I am trying very hard not to cry. Annie has my heart for sure. I have fostered a few dogs and have a loud voice for adopting shelter dogs/rescue dogs. When I read the part about you looking for breeders I cringed. I so hope Annie grows up and does what her heart tells her to do now. She is so awesome to want to save dogs. I was just like her when I was young. If I could change anything about my life, it would be to completely and totally emerge myself in rescue as soon as I was able.
Annie saving her money to adopt is just about the sweetest thing I've read in a long time. You should be, and I know you are, so proud of her. So proud. I hope Keyton has a long and healthy life with your family, lucky boy!

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