Brandi Guillet's son Connor was born addicted to opioid painkillers and abandoned by his birth mother, but none of that mattered to Brandi, who wanted so badly to be a mother. She had already experience one "failed adoption" previously, with a baby named Ellie, but Connor's adoption went through and even though he was born with an addiction, he's a normal kid today — except for the fact that he doesn't speak. Because of this detail, Brandi and her husband decided that Connor needed a friend; more specifically, a dog.
Although the family already had an 8-year-old dog named Chowda, Brandi felt that Connor needed a younger, more active dog to keep up with him daily. At their local Boxer rescue shelter the pair were told that some of the dogs were deaf and that they actually use simple ASL signs, a statement that changed everything for Brandi and her boy because Connor, too, uses simple signs. Brandi shared Connor's backstory with the shelter employee, who immediately knew which dog was meant for the little boy.
"So we went and met the dog and she immediately began licking Connor and let him put his hands all over her face," Brandi shared with the Love What Matters Facebook page. "It is the most beautiful thing to see: he shakes his finger at his dog and the dog stops what he's doing. Connor motions 'come here' and she goes to him. And all of a sudden my nonverbal son has a best friend he can talk to and who understands him."
And the most moving part for Brandi? This dog's name was Ellie.
The only hiccup in this truly sweet story is that Ellie was a foster dog, and her adoption fees were expensive. "I knew as soon as she came home that she wasn't leaving. She was my son's best friend instantly," Brandi said. "But the adoption fees were expensive. Then one day the phone rang. It was the rescue shelter telling me that she had been adopted. At first I was heartbroken that we would have to give her up. Then they said 'You have a guardian angel in New Jersey.'"
Tina, a woman who heard Brandi and Connor's story on Facebook, wanted to help the family with Ellie's fees. "I did what I did because any child or pet with special needs — it's expensive," Tina said. "I wanted to give Brandi some room to breathe. It was clear that dog was right where it needed to be."
Brandi, forever grateful to this stranger and for the family she has, feels like everything that's happened up to this point was meant to be. She said, "I got my family and I got my Ellie."