Onalaska mom shares the gift of unconditional love in honor of her 12-year-old son

Laurel Schmidtknecht helped a chocolate lab, who shares her son's name, find his happy ending

ONALASKA, Wis. (WKBT) — Every dog at the Coulee Region Humane Society in Onalaska has a story. Most are heartbreaking.

But an Onalaska mom is doing all she can to help a chocolate lab find his happy ending. 

Before they even locked eyes, Laurel Schmidtknecht had already fallen — hard.

“I felt like it was a sign, for sure. I didn’t want to ignore it, ” says Schmidtknecht. The Onalaska mom was online,  when her heart stopped aching for one moment.

“You think your life is over if you lose a child, and it is. It does feel like it,” says Schmidtknecht, whose son Chance passed away at the age of 12 in April .

“You just have to keep going,” she says. “Everyone has been telling me one day at a time throughout this whole thing, and that’s really what it is.”

There wasn’t an animal Chance didn’t love, and Schmidtknecht wanted share that love. She logged on and found a match.  Chance, a chocolate lab, was surrendered by his owner. Schmidtknecht is sponsoring his adoption fee to help Chance find his forever home.

Heather Drievold, executive director of the Coulee Region Humane Society, says, “I can’t imagine what she is going through. The fact that she put back out into the public to continue to support and follow her son’s mission is really remarkable.”

Like Schmidtknecht’s son, Chance the lab  has so much love to give — a priceless gift this grieving mom hopes will keep her Chance’s memory alive.

“He is an awesome kid. I just want people to remember him,” she says.

Chance the dog found his forever home. The Coulee Region Humane Society tells News 8 Now that Chance was adopted. He’s settling in at his forever home with his owner Tanner.