Broken Hearts of Steel

I'm often asked if an “emotional” or “soft” person should be involved in animal rescue. Actually... I'd argue that you have to be “soft” ... in order to feel truly motivated to end animal cruelty.

When you see unimaginable suffering, your heart should hurt. In rescue, compassion is the spark that ignites the fire. Without compassion, no animal would ever be saved.

Many people mistake a “soft” heart for “weakness.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Some of the kindest, most caring people I work with in rescue... are also the toughest people I know.

We all cry. All of us. We may seem “strong,” but we're all walking around... with broken hearts of steel…

Honestly, it's not about "strength."
Instead, the defining factor to success in rescue is this:  Action.

The people who take their heartbreak, & turn it into action on behalf of the animals... those are the people who truly change the world. Many of these people are my dear friends, & I'm constantly amazed by their ability to carry on... despire their own pain.

There's a balance… between soft & hard. Finding this balance is the challenge. People often tell me, “I’m not as strong as you… I just couldn’t handle the things you see on a daily basis.”

What they don’t realize is that I’m one of the “softest” people you'll ever meet. I may appear tough, but trust me... I’m not.
My heart hurts all the time.
I've lost many battles.
I've cried into more than one lifeless body.
One of those bodies was my own angel, Rudy.

I'll be honest... no matter how many times you witness this heartbreak, there are some things you just never get used to.

However... at the same time... I'd say that the more cruelty I see, the “harder” my heart becomes. This happens out of necessity. In order to make a difference, you've gotta adapt to the pain. Your heart molds to each situation… & you become stronger with each rescue. 

Even if you think you can’t handle something... just try. Don't give yourself the excuse of simply saying: “I can’t handle it.”
You can.
Trust me... if I can, you can.

So... I'm writing this for all the good-hearted people who love animals, but think they're too “weak” to get involved. Here’s what I’m asking of you: Take your heartbreak, and get angry. Allow yourself to get so angry, that you can't sit any longer... without acting.

My ability to do this is actually my greatest strength. I turn sadness into anger… anger into action… every single day.

Please, give yourself more credit & try to do the same. You're stronger than you think, & the animals need you NOW.


  1. I love you, Gayle!!! You are definitely one of the amazing friend I'm talking about :)

  2. Great blog, I signed up to follow your blogs :)

  3. I love this Ashley....so very true.. when I visited a shelter, the Downey Shelter, first time to a shelter in my life... I cried for days, I was so sad for them all there... I decided to turn that saddness into something that could maybe help them...so I go with my camera in hand now, to take pictures of them to bring to facebook and with the help of my many great friends we have saved many lives at that high kill shelter.. God Bless you and everyone... we must continue to be strong.. for them... the voiceless.

  4. Sherry, thank you!
    Celeste, you are amazing! You & Gayle inspire me everyday. You do so much. You are so kind & tough, all at once. You're incredible :)
    I LOVE YOU!!!

  5. Wow.........well said!
    Nice one Ashley!
    I wish my steel didn't melt so easily.
    but, action does help :)

    Give a big smooch to sweet Lucy.
    Glad she's home.

  6. AWWWWWW Thanks Ashley you are an amazing woman and such an inspiration!!!
    Yes tears come all too often and the compassion, though I didn't technically "save" Brutus, Duke and Bam Bam my compassion for dogs definitely came through the day I saw them. Thank you for helping such a deserving mama that made beautiful babies (even though they are little scrappers)!!! Maybe I can get some more of those beautiful babies up to the cold north...
    Keep up the awesome work we need more people like you in this world *hugs from me* and *kisses from BBBD* (Brandy, Brutus, Bam Bam, and Duke)

  7. Thank you Ashley for posting this. Your words are truly inspirational. I am trying to seek justice for my fur babies that were taken away from me. The road ahead of us is very long one, but your words have refueled my fire. Thank you.

    Their story:

  8. Jill, you most certainly did save the 3 pit babies! And you will continue to save the every day that you love them (for their whole lives)! Love you & you're so amazing as well!

  9. Wow, so well said...and so true. I had tears in my eyes while reading it, because I could so relate to what you said. Thank you Ashley!

  10. Hi Ashley,
    Thank goodness we never get used to it, don't you agree? I hear you saying that cruelty speaks to your heart in a voice that incites you to take action.
    Animal cruelty IS unbearable to witness which is exactly why we have to fight it. Thank goodness for people like you Ashley, who make us all feel less alone in this battle.

  11. you have been my inspiration to do what i am trying to do, and that is to help save as many babies as i can,,you are right my heart hurts everyday, but then i get really mad and i get busy doing all i can..my last rescue/adoption has showed me even after years of abuse they still have so much love to give us and hold no hard feelings towards humans..Hope has showed me that everyday and i will continue to do all i can for all the babies out there..thank you for being my eyes to the cruel world out there, i knew it was there just didnt know how bad, but now i do and so i will be getting more involved and doing all i can


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