Two former heroin addicts have revealed their unlikely romance – after they beat their drug habits with the help of their DOGS before meeting by chance and falling in love.
Brave Katelyn Hoglund, 29, and her husband Jeffrey, 36, got married this year and are now living happily with pit bulls Sally, Kilo and Kain and a Great Dane called Jack.
But before their paths crossed two years ago, the troubled duo were both battling deadly drug habits 1,000 miles apart and say they led dark lives of deceit and crime.
Katelyn says she was hooked on heroin in Huntington Beach, CA, while in Seattle, WA, Jeffery was abusing painkillers, heroin and meth.
Both had run-ins with the police, were locked up and ended up getting dogs after being released, which helped them each stay clean and gave them something to live for.
Katelyn’s first pup, Zero, tragically died while she was in rehab but she later got two more – Jack, now two, and Sally, three, while Jeffrey had Kilo, now seven, and Kain, one.
Then in an incredible twist of fate, in September 2015, Jeffrey moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where Katelyn was living at the time close to her family, and they met through mutual friends.
The pair bonded over their adoration of animals, fell in love and eventually moved in together with their four-legged friends.
Now he works as director of a drug abuse center, she’s a financial analyst, and they’ve both been clean for four years – but say they couldn’t have done it without their dogs.
Inspirational Katelyn said: “My life before consisted of nothing more than snorting pills and sticking a needle full of dope in my arm as many times as I could. Every single day.
“Death seemed so much more inviting than trying to exist another day. I was hopeless and desperate, but my dogs gave me purpose.
“There have been many times I’ve wanted to use and literally the only thing that stopped me is knowing that no one can take care of my babies better than me.
“They comfort me when I’m going through a rough time, they lick away tears and it’s like they can read my energy – they know when I need a little extra love.
“When I look back at my old life, I get very sad for the little girl that couldn’t find her way out of the dark.
“Every morning when I wake up, and every night as I lay my head down, I thank God for this second chance at life I’ve been given.
“I don’t think I could have done it without my dogs.”
Jeffrey added: “Kilo gave me the opportunity to love and care for something in a way than I never had before.
“Sometimes I have the thought that if it wasn’t for the love and caring that I learned through her that possibly I wouldn’t have cared enough about me to get and stay clean.
“I’m a drug addict living a life free from the compulsion to actively try to kill myself and that is the most amazing miracle that I have ever witnessed.”
Katelyn says she fell into heroin addiction after graduating college in 2009 and was in an abusive relationship before moving back to Ohio where she worked as a prostitute.
In 2012, she was arrested and detained over aggravated possession of drugs, receiving stolen property, fraud and misdemeanor drug charges, and eventually went to rehab.
After completing treatment Katelyn broke up with her boyfriend, moved back home to Cincnnati, Ohio close to her family and got two dogs, pit bull Sally and Great Dane Jack.
She began attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings regularly and immediately afterwards would “go home and snuggle them”.
Jeffrey was also trying to piece his life together, and says his turning point came in March 2010 when he came across a five week old pit bull puppy in a dope house.
He said: “I asked how much for the little white girl, and was asked ‘What do you got?’ ‘Bro, I got a quarter of weed and an iPod.’
“And just like that, me, a low down piece of sh*t junkie was now the owner of the soon to be named Kilo.
“From that moment she began teaching me what it was like to care for something besides myself.”
Still addicted to drugs, Jeffrey hit a low point in 2011 when he was arrested and charged with 14 felonies – seven counts of possession and seven of trafficking.
He faced 15 years behind bars but pleaded guilty and after being granted 90 days of treatment and two years of probation, he managed to get clean.
He said Kilo became his “rock” in that time, adding: “She singlehandedly got me through some of my roughest times being clean.”
After two years off drugs, Jeffrey moved from Seattle to Cincinnati and went on to rescue another pit bull, Kain, who had been neglected by his owner.
Then, in September 2015, he and Katelyn met at a meal with mutual friends.
“We started cracking jokes like we had known each other for years. We very shortly found out we both loved dogs. And that’s all it took,” Katelyn said.
The couple moved in together in earlier this year and got married in September with their beloved pooches by their sides.
Jeffrey described their recovery as “a miracle” and Katelyn added: “Now I have more than I could ever wish for, a life greater than I could have imagined.
“I have the love of four of the sweetest puppies and the man of my dreams all under one roof.”
To learn more about Katelyn and Jeffrey’s journeys, visit dogsandadvice.com or www.facebook.com/dogsandotherunsolicitedadvice/