Brantley is featured in this year’s Sexiest Man Alive issue with his late rescue pit-mix.
He told People he met her more than a decade ago while playing a show at a bar in south Georgia. “Her markings were gorgeous,” he says, recalling his first impression. “People were getting ready to come inside and she was kind of hanging around, I guess because people had been giving her [food].”
Gilbert also noticed a man throwing beer bottles at Alley. “We had … let’s call it a conversation,” he recalls with a laugh. “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.”
Gilbert’s photo shoot with Alley at home in October for this year’s Sexiest Man Alive issue became a day that he will always cherish.
“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.”
Check out the sweet photo of the two together at people.com