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A Canine-Centric Life

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Allison Thomison, 24, has spent most of her life helping homeless pets, so it was only fitting that her former foster pups and her three rescue dogs were part of two of the most important days of her life: her engagement and her wedding. Before the Phoenix native met her husband, James, 31, dogs and other animals were her first love. Her mother told her that even as a baby she always had a strong bond with animals.

Allison’s love for animals only increased as she got older. She said that when she was 12, her mother allowed her to bring stray dogs into her home. Eventually, her mother introduced her to Valley of the Sun Dog Rescue and Allison has been involved with the organization ever since.

Together, Allison and James have fostered nearly 70 dogs and puppies since 2015. The two of them care for dogs and puppies that come through the rescue by providing a warm space where the dogs can prepare for their new homes. The couple said that one of the most rewarding parts about this job is getting updates about the puppies and their new lives from their new families.

In 2016, Allison got much more than a heartfelt note or email. James, then her boyfriend, spent about two months rounding up 10- 12 of their former foster puppies, getting them to Grover Basin DogPark, where he planned to pop the question.

Allison was very focused on making sure her two rescue Pit Bulls were behaving. She hadn’t realized what was going on until James asked her, “What if you had rescued every dog at the park?”

She looked around and began to see all her former foster puppies, now grown up and playing with their families. At that point, James went down on one knee and asked her to marry him.

“It was so very special,” Allison said. “There were dogs who had been rescued in 2013, playing with dogs that had been rescued in 2015, playing with kids from each other’s families. Suddenly I was so overwhelmed looking around at all of these dogs. Then they started running toward me because they began to recognize me, and there was my ring, and he was on his knee and he was crying.”

When it came time to plan the wedding, Allison said it was essential for her dogs to be there. “I think from the second I rescued a white dog, I thought ‘Wow, she’s going to match my wedding dress so perfectly,’” Allison said.

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