But what the news didn't tell or couldn't have known, is that today would end up the coldest, wettest day we've had in a long time, with non-stop rain in the hill country. It could have been a recipe for disaster. Dog handlers could have backed out. River Road could have flooded. People could've decided to stay home, warm and dry. But that didn't happen. Instead Ingram ranch employees and family came out in the rain and started cooking barbeque at 4:30 am, Comal County Deputy's set up the tent and tables in the pouring rain, and people came to watch the first ever Toughest Dog in Texas Competition...in the rain. There were 24 dogs in all, and they came from Police Departments, Sheriff's Departments, Air Force and Marines. The farthest team came from five hours away! All in the name of Rowan's Foundation, the Rowan Jameson Windham Foundation, which helps chronically ill children and their families, especially while they spend a lot of time in the hospital, like Rowan so often does.
We were all blown away by the support from Ingram Ranch, from the community and from the many branches of law enforcement and the military. Rowan said "this is another best day ever, I don't want it to stop." He loved on the dogs, gave them good luck before they took off running, fed them some of his homemade dog treats, and cheered them as they came back across the finish line. It wasn't just the dogs he was enamored of though. Their handlers were so kind, encouraging, and inspiring for Rowan. As you will see from the pictures, it seemed to be a two way street. They told Rowan how proud they were of him for trying to help other kids even though he is sick so much himself, and he just watched them all in awe as they took of with their gorgeous, strong, brave dogs and led them through the course. Each handler ran 2.3 miles with their dog through the rugged terrain of the ranch, crossing the river twice and climbing up and descending down a huge cliff . One dog even ran the course twice!
I took a lot of pictures, but wish I even took more. It truly was a great day, despite the rain. All I kept thinking about as I looked around today was this: there are so many good people in the world, paying it forward is what it's all about, good begets good, and the circle of giving just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Rowan was blessed by Kidd's Kids, so he raises money to help other kids go Disney too. Rowan has been blessed by so many during his life long battle, so we started a foundation to help others like him. And now, all the K9s and their handlers are joining in to help him further that mission. It does a heart good to see acts of kindness like this. I pray these pictures and this story bless your day too!