She Saved A Puppy ... And Found The Strength To Leave Her Abuser

When she took in a tiny husky three years ago, Amanda Trop thought she was adopting a puppy named Kyro. In reality, however, she was bringing home the dog that would give her back her life.

"To this day he still is the one who rescued me," writes Amanda, "not the other way around."

At the time, Amanda was trapped in a relationship with a controlling, abusive boyfriend. After he isolated her from her friends and family, Amanda says, the man she began dating when she was just a teen started hitting her, leaving her with black eyes and bloody noses.

"He'd come home from work stressed or upset and I ended up being his punching bag," Amanda told KIRO 7 News. "You get beaten down and you feel stuck and trapped. I don't think anybody that hasn't been in this situation would know how that feels."

After volunteering to help raise a litter of huskies abandoned by their mother, however, Amanda found something worth living for in a "chunky puppy" named Kyro.

"He became pretty much my only source of happiness," said Amanda.

At first, Amanda says outings with Kyro became an excuse for temporarily escaping her abuser, but when the helpless puppy also became a target of her boyfriend's rage, she knew she had no choice but to finally leave him for good.

"It's like, 'it's not okay to hit me but it's especially not okay to hit him,'" said Amanda, "that's kind of when everything changed and turned around."

Since then, Amanda has been documenting her new life of adventure with Kyro on Facebook and Instagram and encouraging others caught in the cycle of abuse not to give up hope.

"It has not be easy to relive the memories of the past abuse, but my goal is to help inspire others that are in (or were in) situations like mine," writes Amanda. "You will find yourself again. I found my four-legged knight - who knows where yours is waiting?"

Unfortunately, Amanda is not alone: According to some studies, over 70 percent of women in domestic violence shelters say their abuser has threatened, injured or killed a pet.

To get help escaping an abusive situation, visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline's website or call 1-800-799-SAFE. Or, to learn how you can increase protections for animal-owning victims of domestic violence and their pets, visit the ASPCA's website.