Be Positive

Be positive. That’s what I’m trying to do. It’s hard sometimes… to see the good. Because there's just so much bad. Everywhere. There are chained dogs with no shelter—starving & freezing to death. Pit bulls fighting each other for their lives. Puppy mills breeding dogs in deplorable conditions... while millions of others die in shelters every year, due to the pet overpopulation. I look around, & this is what I see. I witness these truths. Every single day.

But today... I am trying to be positive, & here’s how I’m able to do that…

I remember the lives saved. I think about the undying hope in a wounded dog’s eyes… and the incredible experience of watching that hope turn to joy… the joy of finally being safe, happy, & loved. I think about the amazing gift I'm given each time I witness a dog being adopted by their new forever family. For many, this is the first time in their life that they've ever truly been home.

And what really touches my heart, is that some of my former foster dogs will make a trip to visit me at my business, a boarding kennel named Lucky Dog Retreat. I want to share the story of one such dog. An amazing boy named Bear.

Last summer, my friend Mary Ann called me about a dog named Bear who needed my help. Bear’s family had chained him up for much of his life with little attention, and now they were simply tired of dealing with him. Their plan was to dump him at a local dumpster... & drive away... without him.

Just before they dumped him, Mary Ann begged the family to let me help them. Then, she called me.

As Mary Ann shared this information with me, my heart broke to pieces. I pictured Bear... in the moment he'd be dumped like trash, by the family who promised to love him forever. I saw him alone, afraid, and confused... chasing after the family... who left him for dead. The only family he'd ever known... the only family he'd ever wanted... the only family he'd ever loved.  The family... who was never coming back for him.

My own special dog, Rudy, had just passed away days before, & I wasn’t quite ready to take in another foster dog... due to my heartbreak. But... Bear needed me. And it turns out, I needed him, too.

That day, I rescued Bear from his sad situation. But in truth, he's the one who rescued me. I was completely broken when Bear came to me, and Bear helped me deal with the pain... like no one else ever could. 

He'll never know how much he meant to me during that time. He'll never know that he's the one who really saved me. He'll never know... that I'm the lucky one.

In looking for the perfect family for this special boy... I couldn't have found a better match. I

t turns out... my childhood babysitter had recently lost her dog, Jake. She saw my pictures of Bear on facebook, & she instantly fell in love with him. Finally... Bear was going home.

Bear was adopted by the Sims family last September. It was the happiest day of his life.

And this past Sunday, Bear-Bear came to visit me at Lucky Dog Retreat. I can’t even describe the joy I feel when I see one of my old foster babies living their new life. Happy. Healthy. Loved. Adored. Cherished. It’s unlike any other feeling in the world.

Even though I miss him deeply... in my heart, I know that Bear is exactly where he was always meant to be. God just asked me to get him there.


  1. I love it! you have a heart bigger than most and i admire and respect you so much for living life like you mean it! and following your truth and your passion. I pray that others may follow in your footsteps. My prayers and thoughts are with you! and also, i believe that ATTITUDE and ACTION are where it's at. and you, sweet girl, are living examples of both!

  2. Thanks so much for sharing!!! I just adopted out a Maltese, my little Bear Bear that had been rehomed 3 times in the past 3 years and had always been told to go away when all he wanted was love and attention. He loved me more than any other foster I have ever had and I am so glad he is in a good home now!! Although I do miss him terribly.

  3. Jennifer, Thank you so much. Your messages always mean so much to me. Especially the one you sent me after Rudy died. Thank you for always caring. You're amazing!

    Carla, Thank you for all that you do! I always miss them terribly... it's very bittersweet. As long as they are treasured, then the pain of my losing them is outweighed by my joy for them :)


  4. Dog rescue is often grueling, time consuming, and expensive work! But as you said, staying focused on the positive impact we have in the dogs' lives we help save makes it all worth it. We may take flak from our friends and family who don't understand, deal with stupid questions and negative comments from others, be deleted or blocked by our fb "friends" but in the end, its all about the dogs! Your blog is inspiring and helps me remember why I started getting involved in volunteering at my local shelter and dog rescue 6 months ago. Keep it up, keep saving lives and keep inspiring others! Love your blog!

  5. I love the fact that these babies make their way back to you for a visit. It's like their showing you how much they love you for saving them! Great blog!

  6. Just beautiful. Bless you for saving Bear and all the others. You do wonderful work. I know it's hard, but it truly is a dog and a day at a time process. Much respect to you, Ashley.

  7. Shadow, thank you for your kind words. It's hard not to get bogged down with the negative. Many days, I can't help but be consumed with the bad. But I do have to stop & remind myself of the good.. or I will eventually go crazy.

    Joy, I LOVE when my old foster babies come visit me! It's the most special feeling in the world! I can't even describe it!

    Michelle, You inspire me. :)


  8. Thanks for making me cry. Check's in the mail.

  9. Chris,
    My entire goal for this post was to make you cry. Mission accomplished. :) And you're totally welcome!

  10. Ashley! This is a wonderful post full of heart and inspiration! Thank you for sharing it. I've been so busy lately I haven't had a chance to catch up with you on your blog. I'm so happy you started blogging and you are such an amazing person! Thanks! xoxo, cat

  11. Thanks Cat! I wouldn't have this amazing blog without you! Your design is beautiful, & I just adore it! Thank you sooo much!!!!
    Love you!


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