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GRANITE CITY, Ill. – An Edwardsville woman says her dog saved her life when she overdosed on drugs. That experience changed Tricia Hogan’s life and she has since been on a mission to help others with therapy dogs.

Hogan says her dog kept her breathing after she overdosed on drugs in 2012.

“She was actually had her front feet on my chest and was leaning on me and was licking my face repeatedly and every time she licked me I would take in a breath and then when the paramedics came and they took her off of me I quit breathing about a minute later,” she said.

The near-death experience affected her so much she gave up her job as an academic adviser at a university and founded Furry Friends Recovery.

“Dogs appreciate things that us humans take for granted: the littlest treat, a nice walk, sitting in the sun. I mean, really, dogs have taught me about how to manage my own life and manage my own stress and how to cope better with the world,” Hogan said.

A volunteer with the therapy dog group nominated Tricia for our Pay It Forward award – a $500 gift card from First Bank.