SPOKANE, Wash. -Man's best friend is one couple's best tool in their fight against drug addiction.
Elizabeth Osborn and Devin Dickson are married, struggling to find jobs and are making ends meet by helping locals with odd jobs (i.e. mowing lawns).
They'll admit they're struggling, but will also be the first to tell you that things are better now than ever before. Well, at least for the past decade.
"My husband and I had a ten-year addiction with crystal meth," Osborn said.
Their addictions landed them in prison and left them homeless, camping from city to city across the country. Before they moved to Spokane, they were camping throughout Colorado while sustaining a dependency on methamphetamine. Osborn said no matter what they tried, it felt impossible to imagine a life without using meth.
That is, of course, until Alex walked into their lives... on all four of his legs.
Alex is a Border Collie-Red Heeler mix that, according to Osborn and Dickson, was the only thing in the world that got them to quit meth.
Here's how (and why): Osborn and Dickson said they fell in love with Alex the moment they met, specifically because of "how chill he was." As time went on, their shared experiences only assured Alex would always be a permanent member of their family.
That assurance was put into question when the couple noticed something.
"We found out very quickly that Alex is horrified by the smell of methamphetamine coming out of someone's skin or being smoked," Osborn said.
With Alex and meth, it was like the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. When Alex was around meth, he'd be abnormally aggressive. If someone was high or carrying meth, Alex would attack them.
When Alex wasn't around meth, he'd go back to being Alex: relaxed, friendly and "chill."
The couple used meth a few times while owning Alex and he always reacted negatively: someone would get hurt or something would get destroyed.
"It was either Alex found a new home or we stopped using meth, and there's absolutely no way I could've gotten rid of Alex," Osborn said.
The couple chose Alex two years, one month and sixteen days ago. Both Osborn and Dickson said it's the best choice they ever made.
Osborn (who is on disability) said her family is still struggling to afford a permanent home. She credits God's Love International for helping her and Dickson stay clean and survive. The relief program/group is currently gathering funds to build a new youth center in Deer Park. To donate, click here.