BOTHELL, Wash. - It’s a story of a warrior and her rescue dog.
Their story started just five years ago come October.
Self-taught photographer Amanda Tromp, 23, was like so many when she was in high school.
Tromp was very focused on school and wasn’t really interested in relationships – until she met her ex-boyfriend one summer.
“He was charming and sweet,” Tromp said. “His sweet talk drew my attention to him and after chatting we ended up dating.”
Everything started out normal. Going on dates, hanging out with friends, watching movies – when suddenly things took a turn for the worse.
Tromp’s ex-boyfriend became extremely controlling and wanted to know who she was talking with at all times. He would question her when she went to work or even when she went home to visit her parents.
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His controlling behavior spiraled out of control and turned into emotional abuse.
“He would insult me anytime he was upset, or jealous,” Tromp explained. “Calling me fat, ugly, stupid and a variety of profanities I am uncomfortable sharing here.”
She lost ties with friends and family, which made it extremely difficult to leave because she felt like she had no one to turn to.
“I felt alone and that no one would understand what I was going through,” Tromp said
Then, something truly life-changing happened.
While on her computer, Tromp stumbled across an ad of a woman who was in desperate need for assistance in taking care of some Siberian Husky puppies and finding them good homes.
The litter was unexpected and the owner was young, and feeling extremely overwhelmed in this situation.
After helping care for the puppies, Tromp immediately fell in love with the chunkiest of them all, Kyro.
Tromp decided to rescue him, but what she didn’t know is that Kyro would be the one who ended up saving her.
Soon after taking Kyro home, her ex-boyfriend’s behavior turned toward him.
He started to hit him – and that’s when something inside Tromp snapped.
Kyro had grown into her world and was helping her regain her confidence.
“A fire I hadn't felt in a year exploded inside of me and I left,” Tromp said.
Her desire to protect Kyro from him was more powerful than the fear she had of what he would do when she left.
When Tromp decided to leave her abusive relationship behind, everything changed.
“Goldilocks and the Wolf” became their nickname and Tromp’s photographer business name. The nickname was born from Tromp’s mother, who had given the name the day she brought Kyro home.
“It became something empowering to me and extremely meaningful to me,” Tromp said.
Kyro's name is short for "Kyrös," which stems from a story Tromp’s great grandfather used to tell her. A story about Kyrös the blue-eyed dragon, keeper of space and time. The shortened version "Kyro" means the bringer of opportunities.
Tromp decided she would combine her nickname with her gifts of photography to share her story of domestic violence, hoping to smash how taboo the topic seemed to be.
It is now flourishing online, with 261,000 followers on Instagram, who are all routinely wowed by her breathtaking snaps of Kyro out on his adventures.
Women and men alike started to reach out to Tromp with stories of their own, expressing their fear of sharing their stories and being judged, or labeled weak.
So many stories reminded Tromp of her own and she said that despite some of the negative comments from people online saying being in an abusive relationship was "weak" and "cowardly,” Tromp continued to share.
“You aren't a coward for not being able to leave,” Tromp said. “You are a victim in something that society does not understand and turns a blind eye to because they don't want to accept it as a problem.”
The biggest reason Tromp decided to share her story is to let people know that they are not alone, nor are they weak.
“You can find happiness again, you can rebuild,” Tromp said.
The two things that Tromp said she wished she’d heard when she was in that relationship were, "You are not alone." and "I believe you."
If you are reading this and are going through something similar, or know someone who is, remember this:
"Don't forget that you aren't alone," Tromp said. "That there are others out there that have been through, or are going through what you are. Don't give up hope. Hope is an incredible thing and can move mountains."
© 2018 Cox Media Group.