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Abused early in life, 'Sweetie' the dog lived happily ever after


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HERRIMAN — Even as Lynelle Brinkerhoff was giving Lulu her afternoon treat, she couldn't stop thinking about her other dog.

Sweetie passed away last Friday.

"She brought joy and happiness and giggles, and she taught us a lot," said Brinkerhoff.

Without ever saying a single word, Sweetie left the Brinkerhoffs a lifelong lesson.

"One of the biggest things she taught that I was able to utilize into teaching my kids was about forgiveness," said Brinkerhoff.

Sweetie's story is all about forgiveness. Seven years ago, she was left at an animal rescue shelter in Sevier County near death. She was dragged several miles by a chain behind a pickup, burned and left for dead.

"She's missing part of her ear," said Nellie Mooney — owner of Mooney's Animal Rescue — back in 2007.

"She has burns on half of her face clear all the way down to her neck," she said.

Brinkerhoff just happened to be watching KSL that night and saw our story.

"We saw her on the news that night with your report and we had just lost our animal three months prior," said Brinkerhoff. "We were feeling the loss of that, but when we saw her, there was something very special that came off the report to us — she kind of spoke to us. I just looked at my husband and said that is our dog."

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The Brinkerhoffs drove to Richfield, adopted her, and brought her home to Herriman.

Almost right away, Sweetie made herself at home.

"We called her the keeper of the house. She was the gatekeeper," laughed Brinkerhoff. "My husband and I would go out on a date and knew Sweetie would keep our children safe."

Even though Sweetie is gone, the Brinkerhoffs are remembering her by starting a scholarship in her name for a Herriman High School student. The student will have to volunteer at an animal shelter and write an essay on how animals positively impact people's lives.

"We will miss her, but that's why we want to move forward in this to bring joy and happiness to somebody else," said Brinkerhoff. "The best way we can do this to pay this forward and do a scholarship in her name."

The Brinkerhoffs hope to award the first Sweetie Scholarship to a student next spring. They're not sure yet how much it will be, but they're hoping for donations.

You can reach Lynelle Brinkerhoff by email at lynelle.brinkerhoff@gmail.com.

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