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Barking Beautiful Project - Kristine | Cleveland, Ohio Pet Photography

"Confidence, but more in who you are, and who you want to be. I'm finally feeling confident that I'm where I'm supposed to be in my life, and I think that's beautiful."

Kristine's story hit me like a ton of bricks when I first read it. I couldn't even imagine going through what she did, and at such a young age. Her strength and perseverance is simply incredible. I can't begin to do her story justice, so I will let her tell it in her own words:

"I adopted my furbaby Liam when he was 8 weeks old and he was the first that was all mine from day one. He was a complete mama's boy from the moment I picked him up. I failed crate training by night two and he's owned my bed ever since. When he was a year and a half, I met John. One afternoon walk together, and they were attached. I still was the authority figure, with those two fighting for attention, but Liam loved his daddy. John even tried to keep Liam off the new couch and bed when we moved in together, and that lasted less than a week. About a year and a half into our relationship, John was diagnosed with Stage IV Lung Cancer. It was everywhere and a shock as he was a non-smoker and only 28. Looking back, we realized Liam knew something was wrong, because he was constantly laying right on John's chest where the cancer started and never left him alone. He was always a cuddler but he took it to a new level. Liam was a big comfort to John and stayed right by his side through it all. We were married on 9/9/17. Less than four months later, John passed away on 1/6/18, leaving me a widow at 29. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Liam, who is now 7. He was the reason I got out of bed, to let him out, feed him and play with him. He's was often my only source of comfort and happiness over the last 18 months. I can honestly say I would be lost without him. I've battled the worst of my depression this last spring, and I'm now feeling more like myself. I'm still trying to figure out who I am after cancer and death and Liam has been there to see me through it all."

It's hard to express in words how strongly I felt that it was important for Kristine to be a part of the Barking Beautiful Project. This was a woman who had seen so much tragedy, and got through it with the help of an amazing dog. I can only imagine how proud John must be of them both.

"He's always there for you. Down for an adventure, although with some nervousness, but his favorite pastime is cuddling and naps. He loves to be outdoors and to run. Full of energy and full of life but will kick back and catch up on shows with you and a can of Brewdog."

Kristine, thank you so much for being brave enough to share your story with me, and the world. You are an inspiration to all of us. Oh, and Liam? Good boy. ♥