I was fortunate enough to spend a chilly Friday morning at the Marley’s Mutts Rescue Ranch in Tehachapi recently, surrounded by a synergistic community of people rescuing dogs and dogs rescuing people.

Among those given a second chance at a quality life – one that is most certainly deserved – was Franklin.

Franklin made his presence known the second he exited the vehicle he was riding in. You couldn’t help but notice him.

It’s not because Franklin has no front legs. It’s the fact that he was quite possibly the happiest camper at the ranch.

Once Franklin and I made eye contact, he made a beeline toward me, launching himself onto his hind legs and scurrying over to greet a new face that quickly turned into a new friend.

The 1-year old pupper is an inspiration. Despite being ejected from the back of a pickup truck traveling at high speeds and suffering severe nerve damage to his front legs that left them immobilized, he is still as upbeat as they come.

“Since getting the legs amputated, he’s been much, much better,” Marley’s Mutts founder Zach Skow said, adding that Franklin will soon be getting a cart to help with his mobility. “He takes care of himself.”

As someone who has a tendency to dwell on the negatives when things are down from time to time, I can’t fathom how others can go through such adversity and still maintain a positive outlook on life. Yet that seems to be the norm for canines. They can be dogged by misfortune (pun intended) all their lives but can still learn to love, trust and be happy again. That’s assuming the ability to love, trust and be happy ever left them to begin with.

Dogs are too pure for this world and we don’t deserve them. They are a testament to strong wills and even stronger hearts.

In truth, the heart is the most important asset we have. Once it starts beating, it doesn’t stop until our time is done.

Our hearts march on during the lowest of lows the highest of highs so let’s ensure that they’re in the best condition possible in preparation for the moments that make them flutter.

Bakersfield Life is extremely proud to support the American Heart Association’s Go Red campaign that encourages awareness of the issue of women and heart disease in an effort to save more lives.

It’s no longer about wearing red and sharing heart health facts. It’s about making a commitment to stand together and take charge of our own heart health as well as that of our loved ones.

It’s never too late to make heart health a priority. A healthy heart makes life that much better, whether we’re chasing that adrenaline rush that makes it race or giving it to that special someone who make it skip a beat.

We should strive to be as resilient as the beating in our chests. Because even as our bodies and minds wear down, our hearts beat strong.

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