Brantley Gilbert is mourning the recent loss of his rescue dog, Alley.
Gilbert first found Alley over a decade ago when he was playing a show at a bar in south Georgia. "Her markings were gorgeous," Gilbert tells People, recalling the first moment he saw her. "People were getting ready to come inside and she was kind of hanging around, I guess because people had been giving her [food]."
Gilbert saw a man throwing bottles at the malnourished dog in an alley when he made the decision to step in and rescue the dog.
"We had … let’s call it a conversation," Gilbert recalls. "After that she ran right up to me in the alley, so that’s what I named her, and she’s been with me ever since."
After the show that night, Gilbert took Alley back to the hotel room and went to get flea and tick medicine. He then washed her "three or four times," he says, adding, "I put her in the bed on the floor, but when I woke up she was in the bed with me, and I was covered in fleas."
Once Gilbert got Alley settled back at home, she quickly became one of his closest confidants. "She was just kind of protective," he explains. "We found a lot of marks on her...I think she may have been used as a bait dog for fights because she was timid for a long time. But she was a baby doll.”
“When People invited me to be photographed with Alley, we had just found out she had cancer,” he explains. “Sadly she passed away shortly after, but I do believe all dogs go to heaven and I know our sweet girl is there now.”
In her last week, Alley was "happy and comfortable," surrounded by the love of Gilbert and his family.
Photo: Getty Images