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Monday, November 25, 2013

Gratitude Challenge Day 25

A few years ago I was flipping through the TV channels while I fed my newborn and came across the Ellen show, something I hadn't seen in quite awhile but enjoy. She was just sharing a story of a man hiking in Arizona who came across an abandoned puppy 350 feet down in a slot canyon! The story drew me in so I paused on the channel to watch this amazing story.

And then she brought the hero, Zak, out - a former Marine, with his wife Michelle. I watched them greet Ellen and then she asked Zak a question. And the second he responded I just about fell off my chair as I knew who he was! I went to middle school and high school with Zak! His story was courageous and I know that there are not many people out there who would have done what he did.

Here is a clip of Zak and Michelle along with their newly rescued puppy, Riley, on the Ellen show. The same clip I watched that day when it aired.

Zak went on to write a wonderful book that I just finished today, about the events that day. He writes in his book about his own story of struggles, bullying and abuse as a child emerged as he wrote the story of Riley's rescue and how the dog had been abused and left to starve in this canyon. The story is of how Riley rose above his near death struggles and how this experience also helped Zak to face some of the demons of his past.

His story hit home for me in many ways and I pray that in his telling it, it will draw a bigger light on bullying and perhaps save some kids the torture of going through it.

So today I am very thankful for people like Zak, who are not afraid to do the right thing even when nobody is watching, and share their personal struggles to perhaps help other people who are facing something similar. 

You can learn more about Riley and Zak & Michelle on their Facebook page.

Thank you, Zak and thank you to everyone reading this today!

What are you thankful for today?



  1. Thanks for your comment, mch! And for reading this post. Do you know Zak? I am very impressed at what he was able to do and also with his new book.


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