A Dream Comes True For Brain Cancer Patient Showered With Puppies

28-Year Old Dog Lover And Cancer Patient Courtney Gets Her Puppy Ambush!

By Catalina Barrios

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Credit: Facebook / Front Street Animal Shelter – City of Sacramento

What is your dream? Many dream of travelling the world, buying a house, or even winning the lottery. Our dreams are personal and limitless in their variation.  I do dream a lot, but one of the many lessons my grandma has taught me is that dreams are the result of hard work.  One of my dreams is to backpack with my son before he leaves for university in five years. I believe it will be a life changing experience for both of us and I work hard toward it by saving and preparing.

But, what if a friend needed help to make a dream to come true?

Maris Loeffler has such a friend in 28-year old Courtney Gessford. A brain tumor has threatened the life of Gessford for three years.  She has braved her way through radiation and three brain surgeries, and is now undergoing chemotherapy.


Credit: Today

Courtney has another special friend who has been a great support during this time – Clyde, her doggie companion. “He became such a healing presence in my recovery, treatment and coping. Simply being around him made me happier,” said Courtney. In fact, she has been an animal lover since childhood and has always dreamed of being surrounded by a lot of dogs. One day, Courtney and Maris began trading videos back and forth of people having fun being totally covered with puppies. Imagine how completely adorable this is!

Courtesy Courtney Gessford

Credit: People Pets

Maris wanted to make this dream come true.  For about a year, she tried to set up Courtney’s “puppy ambush surprise.” Maris initially reached out to local breeders with no luck. Finally, she proposed the idea to Ryan Hinderman. social media coordinator at a Sacramento shelter called, Front Street Animal Shelter. He immediately answered “Yes!”

“We’re always looking for ways to make magic through the connection between people and animals. This was a fantastic opportunity to not only bring joy to a remarkable young woman, but also to raise awareness for shelter pets and brain cancer,” said Hinderman.


Credit: Facebook / Front Street Animal Shelter – City of Sacramento

January 7th was the date set for Courtney’s uplifting surprise.  That afternoon, Maris gave few instructions beyond “wear cute and comfortable clothes.” Maris placed a blindfold and earphones on her friend and drove to the mystery location. Maris walked Courtney inside the animal shelter and guided her to lay down on a pillow-filled kiddie pool. Fifteen of Courtney’s family and friends were each waiting with a puppy; as soon as she took the blindfold off, they cuddled the puppies around her.


Credit: Facebook / Front Street Animal Shelter – City of Sacramento

“I immediately broke down. I felt so overwhelmed and grateful all at the same time. I had only imagined something like this in my dreams and Maris made it a reality,” said Courtney.

Courtesy Courtney Gessford

Credit: People Human Interest

The puppies and Courtney had a wonderful time and this day will have a very special place in Courtney’s heart. Her brain cancer prognosis is positive and she continues to raise awareness about brain tumor management. Courtney also encourages people to get to know a shelter animal and their spirit of never give up.

Courtesy Courtney Gessford

Credit: People Human Interest

“We are all fighting different battles and if I can inspire people to keep pushing through their own personal challenges, I have succeeded. Life is hard, for all of us, in different ways at different times. We have to persevere.” – Courtney Gesfford