My name is Ashley, and I'm an animal rescuer.
I was born an animal rescuer.
It's truly the reason I was put on this Earth.
As a little girl, I'd bring home every stray dog and cat in sight. Nurture them. Find them homes.
Back then... I remember how heartbroken I was... the first time I realized that not everyone was like me.
As I get older... I realize just how few people actually are like me.
It’s difficult to explain the way I feel... to someone who doesn’t share my passion. Most people will admit that it's painful for them to witness a case of animal cruelty. However... most people are able to see a dog in need, resolve to themselves that they cannot help the dog, and go about their lives as if they never saw the dog in the first place.
I am incapable of doing this.
The image of that dog will slowly eat away at my soul. I have nightmares about the dogs I cannot reach. I'm not the kind of person who can just look away. When others turn their heads, I look harder... and take action. I see the world for what it is, and I fight against it. I don’t live in my own bubble... where I think everything is okay. I know that things aren't okay... but I do everything in my power to change that.
I'm a voice for those who cannot speak... and I'm a voice to be reckoned with. The animals need me. In most cases, I'm their only hope.
As a rescuer, I get angry at the world every single day.
My heart hurts from the things I have witnessed.
I get overwhelmed.
I want to scream.
Sometimes, I just want to quit.
To completely give up.
But... when I think I can’t go on... when I think I just can’t do it any more, I look at the dogs. I look at these precious souls... living a life they never knew was possible. I look at their capacity for forgiveness--which far exceeds that of any human. My rescue dogs have experienced the worst the world has to offer. Most of them have been chained, beaten, and starved for much of their lives. Before me, they'd never encountered kindness on any level. But when I look at them today... I see no trace of anger.
There's no resentment.
There is only the desire to be loved.
It's truly the most incredible thing I have ever witnessed.
The pain associated with animal rescue doesn’t even come close to the joy it's brought into my life. My heartbreak is healed daily by the love of those I've saved. They remind me that there's more to the world than my selfish needs. They make me smile, and laugh, and feel ever-so comforted by the unconditional love they give me.
They make me feel alive.
And with each that I save... my faith is strengthened.
My heart is made whole.
My soul is awakened.
Because... what most people don’t understand is this:
I'm not rescuing them. They are rescuing me.