“It’s easy to get down on yourself; we are all our own worst critics. But Hannah just had this aura of, ‘You can do it.’ Whenever I was struggling to believe in myself, she would just stare at me as if to say, ‘You’ve got this,’ or she’d nudge me to go out for a walk, and to do things that made me feel at peace. Without that, I don’t know that I would have had the determination to be so independent and to start my own company.” - Candace N. 

Hannah was an Alaskan Malamute-mix. “Like a brown husky,” according to her mom, Candace, who had her for twelve and a half years. 

After health issues forced Candace to take a semester off of college and move back home with her parents, she happened upon a high school acquaintance who was giving away a litter of puppies. Candace fell in love and begged her parents to let her keep Hannah, who she named after the song by Ray LaMontagne.  

beautiful smiling Alaskan-Malamute mix dog
Photo credit: Randal Ford @randalford

But the rest wasn’t history, as goes the familiar adage. The rest was just unfolding, as Hannah and Candace shared over a decade of navigating ups and downs together. In Candace’s self-described “chaotic life of a twenty-something trying to figure it out,” Hannah was the one constant. 

“Everywhere felt like home with her by my side. Whether we were at our apartment or on a road trip and staying in a hotel…if Hannah was there, it was home.”

Hannah was more than Candace’s pet. She was her… Kindred spirit. Best friend. Source of unconditional love.

“We navigated the world together and it all turned out pretty well,” shares Candace. “She was my protector in many ways. I was never scared of living alone or going on long hikes. Hannah gave me a sense of safety, not just emotionally but physically. We were partners in crime.”

Finding Strength and Meaning 

“Being able to hold her and whisper in her ear that she was such a good girl as she was passing, was just…such a heartbreaking but beautiful life and death experience.”

As an Alaskan Malamute-mix, Hannah’s wolfbane heritage was strong—and apparent in her vivid, almond-shaped eyes and pointed ears. But she shared more than physical attributes of these incredible creatures. “They’re loyal badasses,” she shares. “Free spirits.” 

female on walking trail with old dog

Candace channels those qualities in her daily life, being an independent, career-driven woman who likes to go against the grain. “Without ever having used a power tool, I decided to renovate my whole house by myself when I moved here,” she says. “Remodeled my bathrooms, replaced plumbing, built a huge plant wall on my patio, a breakfast nook, and more. I loved doing it, and my confidence was unwavering because, as always, I knew if everything went wrong, I have Hannah. She’s always in my corner. I owe it to her to take risks and improve myself. To show up for myself and others because of the confidence she gave me to be better, and to do the right thing because I have the perspective to do so.”

The inevitability of, one day, having to say goodbye to Hannah was something that weighed on Candace’s mind often. But when the time came, love won over fear. “I always thought I would have to crawl through this nightmare that was losing her. And when I felt her life leave her body, I crumbled. But, I also felt gratitude, because I got to be there when she needed me the most. After all the support she gave to me for the past twelve-and-a-half years, I owed it to her to be there. And I was. I got to help her through death in a way that I didn’t realize was going to be so meaningful. We experienced life and death together, and because of that, I feel stronger than ever.”

Wise Wolf: Marketing with a Mission

“There is a limit to how much time I can volunteer, but if I empower others, I can make a much larger impact. Whether that is donating a portion of my proceeds to animal shelters or tailoring marketing solutions for companies I believe in. Being authentic and trustworthy is at the forefront of my mission.”

After working in marketing and sales for more than ten years, Candace has the determination and experience to start her own boutique marketing agency. She named it Wise Wolf in honor of Hannah, and as a reminder that you can do anything. Her focus: helping businesses reach their customers in a meaningful way.

smiling woman nose to nose with Alaskan-Malamute dog
Photo credit: Randal Ford @randalford

Wise Wolf is fueled by the feeling of having someone in your corner, like Hannah always was for Candace. She also reflects on moments in her life when people showed her a little bit of kindness, and it made all the difference. Therefore, with the mission of creating meaningful connections, she takes a hands-on, white-glove service experience by fusing marketing expertise with a people-first approach. She believes each client is unique, with specific goals and challenges, so she takes the time to truly understand their goals and craft tailor-made marketing strategies.

“To achieve these goals, I will work with fewer clients,” she shares. “But I will make a much larger impact for the clients whose businesses I support.”

Hannah’s Diamond

“The process of growing a diamond has been so valuable to me. Grief is an awful emotion. Because you never know when it’s going to rear its ugly head.”

Growing a diamond from Hannah’s ashes was something Candace knew she wanted to do from the moment she heard of Eterneva. She started the journey shortly after Hannah’s passing, and shares that the milestone updates and videos of the process have been healing in myriad ways. “It’s not over,” she says. “I still have her. She’s going to be with me.” 

The diamond is red, an appropriate color for the “love of [her] life,” and set in a ring that Candace designed herself. The prongs, she points out, are an homage to Hannah’s ears that had their own personality. 

female hand wearing gold band with red diamond

As if an Eterneva Diamond is not inimitable enough, there is an option to have a microscopic message etched into the stone itself. Candace has chosen one that holds meaning for the incredible bond she and Hannah shared—and still do.

How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. 

“It so perfectly describes our relationship,” says Candace. “Losing her was a deeply painful, horrible thing, and yet, when I pause to think about it… how lucky am I to have loved someone so much? People search a lifetime for what we shared.”

Moving Forward with Gratitude and Purpose

“As I grow in my different pursuits in life, whether it’s my Wise Wolf agency or something still on the horizon, I hope that she’s never forgotten. When people ask why I named my business Wise Wolf, I love that I get to share her story with them.”

Hannah’s surefooted and encouraging spirit will live on through Candace’s mission-minded marketing agency as well as her one-of-a-kind diamond. An avid potter, Candace also makes clay pet bowls stamped with a wolf print to keep Hannah’s memory burning strong. 

young woman in red sweater crouches next to young dog in the snow

“I do everything I can to make sure she’s remembered in some way,” states Candace. “And whenever I’m feeling down, I just think, how lucky am I? People go lifetimes without feeling this kind of connection. I got it in my twenties, and for twelve and a half beautiful years. I was given the extraordinary opportunity to experience the full human scope of emotions. There is not a single thing I didn’t get to experience with her.”

Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Wise Wolf Consulting is a boutique marketing agency that prioritizes a people-first experience. If you own a business that could benefit from tailor-made marketing solutions to meet your goals, contact Candace Nixon at candace@wise-wolf.com and/or visit her website at wisewolf.consulting.