Miley and Zeppy.
Submerged in her vehicle during a flash flood, Alesha Franks survived the life-threatening experience thanks to her friend's dog. Afterwards, Alesha was terrified of water, even rain. But with the help of another dog - her miniature Dachshund, Miley - Alesha began an activity that would help her overcome her fear.
Diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, Alesha's doctor recommended she try kayaking. Alesha decided to bring Miley along with her. Alesha says Miley is like her "therapy dog" but she too initially feared the water.
The two soon began kayaking together and their adventures would help them conquer their fears and inspire others. Zeppy also ended up staying in Alesha's life.
Alesha shared her amazing story with DogHeirs, writing, "It's taken me a very long time just to talk about what I went through. I still get a little shaky when telling it...but now by telling it, actually helps."
"I am Alesha and the beautiful girl kayaking with me is Miley. We live in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. To start - I was in an accident that had to do with a Major flood a couple summers ago. I was trapped inside my truck for hours with 5 inches of air and fighting hypothermia. At 4 in the morning."
"I was up in Minot, North Dakota during the big flood. I was 9 hours away from home. It took the search and rescue team so long to find me because only a few inches of my dark green truck was out of the water and it was pitch black out. I had a friend's dog with me!"
"The search and rescue people had told me that it was the warmth from that dog's body keeping me from going into full hypothermia and prevented me from letting go of the breaks that I had to keep pressure on or else the truck would've been swept away with the current. (In the process of the water coming inside my vehicle, it was spinning around, so I hit the breaks to see if that would do anything and it did. It helped by causing my rear tire to catch on to something, thereby keeping my truck in one place JUST as long as I had my foot on the break.) The dog was able to keep my chest warm enough to which I could keep my body from slipping. Slipping off the breakpad."
"Being how dark it was, I could HEAR the boat's motor from under the water but they couldn't see me. So, knowing that the dog (Zeppy is his name, mini dachshund) had been crying along with me... I thought maybe I'd try grabbing him by his harness and, as horrible as it is, I dunked him in under the water and up out through the window (he was not harmed) hoping Zeppy would still keep crying and he did. He cried loud enough for the rescue team to hear him and find me. I did not know what was going on and if this plan was working... until I felt him leave my hand and heard voices."
"The moment they pulled me out from the truck window, it floated away!"
"After seeking trauma therapy, I was diagnosed with PTSD. I was terrified of water, even rain. So my doc suggested I try kayaking! So I went out and got my very first kayak. At the same time, Miley, also had a fear of water."
"After our first summer of kayaking (Last summer) Miley and I BOTH became unafraid of the water."
"Now, Miley loves kayaking MORE than her own chew toys at home! Miley and I have paddled over 400 river miles this year. She has no fear left and she absolutely loves it!"
"My first kayak was a small beginners kayak and it had no place just for her to sit, she wanted her own seat, so I went out and got a bigger and faster kayak with a spot for her to have her very own seat!"
"Miley is a 4-year-old long-hair miniature dachshund. I've had her since she was only 11 weeks old. She's inspired numerous people to start bringing their dogs along on the kayak!"
"These people have never even considered this before and, now I'm hearing from a few friends that they're building their own kayak especially made for their pets! It makes me extremely happy to hear that!"
As for Zeppy, he ended up staying with Alesha due to circumstances around the time of her accident. Alesha said, "Zeppy's owners were actually in the process of finding him a new home, so instead, I asked if I could take him.. being he saved my life, literally." (That's Zeppy in the orange life jacket pictured with Miley above.)
Alesha now kayaks nearly every weekend, saying "it's a great stress reliever". She also brings along Zeppy and Merlin, her dog she saved from a life or death situation at the shelter she found him at.
The adventures continue.
~ Submitted by Alesha Franks
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