This giving story comes from our #MyGivingStory contest. You can share your story and your chosen nonprofit organization could win a $10,000 grant, or another prize. Visit the contest gallery for inspiration and to vote for your favorites. This story comes from Julie, who founded the Pepper Foundation to rescue senior and special needs dogs

 In 2002 the love of my life Pepper my very first doggie passed away from heart failure. I didn't think I could live without him. I moped around for months in a deep depression because He was my soul mate. Before he passed away i made him a promise that some day I would do something very special to honor his memory. At the time I didn't know what that was going to be. I even wrote beautiful songs for him. 

 Instead of continuing to feel sorry for myself i began volunteering at my local animal shelter in Los Angeles, CA . As time went on I began to see that most of the animals being euthanized were the senior and special needs animals. It broke my heart so I started rescuing them one at a time and finding loving homes for them. This took a great amount of funding which I really didn't have at the time and I ended up maxing out all my credit cards just to rehabilitate sick and injured mostly doggies. 

 It was like a light bulb went off in my head in 2006 and that is how i started our foundation and called it The Pepper Foundation in honor of my beloved Pepper! 

 We focus on rescuing special needs and senior dogs from high kill shelters. Most of these animals come to us in horrible condition and have had years of neglect. In some cases many of them have been abused. We get them fully vetted and rehabilitated and into loving foster homes while awaiting their loving forever homes. 

 Many of the dogs that do come to us are hospice cases and we let them live our their lives with love and dignity. We never ever want an animal to die alone in the shelter feeling unloved! Sometimes the work is very difficult because sometimes we have to say good bye and our hearts get broken but I feel we are making a huge difference. My favorite quote is " The kindness we do for an animal might not change the world, but it will change the world for that one animal." 

 Not only do we change the lives of the animals we rescue but we change the lives of the people who adopt them from us. So in essence we save two lives. Many seniors live alone and we find that when they have a companion animal to care for, their lives are enriched and they suddenly have a purpose to live again. We've gotten lots of letters and emails thanking us for giving them a soul mate to care for. We are reminded over and over that this is why we continue to do rescue!! 

 We are hoping that you might consider us for this contest! We spare no expense on each animal we rescue and this could really make a huge difference to the lives of the animals we rescue. 

 Thank you so much for taking the time to read our story!