Laura Linkenhoker of Dover, Ohio

Picture of winner's bracelet.

When my husband was called to duty (3863 – USA FLAG) as an active duty sailor on the USS John C. Stennis CVN-74 in January, 2011, my small family was thrown into a bit of a crisis. We had just been transferred to Bremerton, WA from Patuxent River, MD in November, 2010. Then I gave birth to our second daughter in December. So many life changes at once became too much for me to bear without the support of my sailor husband at home. We all decided it would be best if my 2 young daughters and I moved to Ohio to be close to my family during my husband's deployment. A major part of our crisis was that my parents wouldn't allow our family dog, Penny (2404 Labrador) in their house, where we lived during the deployment. While searching desperately for guidance (4901 – CROSS) as to how I would find someone to care for our Penny while we lived at my parents' for a year, an old family friend called to let me know he would be more than willing to take Penny in to his home (4698 – HOUSE) while we lived in Ohio, then graciously return her when the time came for our family to be reunited in Washington upon my husband's return home. Matt cared for Penny, loved her, and treated her as if she were his own (6086 – HEART). During our separation from our beloved Penny, we exchanged letters, treats (3019 – DOG BONE), Christmas presents and pictures to keep in touch (8217 – MAILBOX). When the time came for Alison, Abby and I to reunite with my husband after a year of service to our country, it was a wonderfully happy reunion for us with our Penny. Sadly, it was an extremely difficult day for our friend, Matt who had grown to love Penny. We will be forever grateful to Matt for all he has done to help our family in a time of crisis. And mostly for his selfless willingness to return our dog to us. Penny is now almost 8 years old. She is the most loyal member of our family. Matt comes to visit every now and then, and Penny seems to know he's here before he reaches the door. We still correspond with letters of thanks, thinking of yous, and holiday gifts. Our families are forever bonded by our love for Penny.

Laura Linkenhoker
Dover, OH
Dog Tales Winner
November, 2013

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