2.22.2011

Rudy

A lot of people ask me what keeps me going in animal rescue. Every person with a passion has an inspiration. For me, that inspiration is Rudy, my own angel pup. I was involved with animal rescue long before I met Rudy, but his arrival totally changed my life.

Rudy’s rescue story lit a fire in my heart that has burned in me every day since his rescue. And even more so, since his death.

Rudy was abandoned on a chain for weeks before he was finally rescued. His owners moved away & left him behind to starve to death. He was a living skeleton when I found him, but his eyes had a glimmer of hope. “Are you the one who will save me? I need you.”

After a ton of legwork on my part, Animal Control seized the dog. Rudy was immediately placed on death row, & he was scheduled for euthanasia the day they allowed me to pull him out. This was a major success for me personally, because it was the first time our Animal Control had allowed anyone to pull a pit bull from the facility. (In the time since Rudy’s rescue, I have been able to pull many other pits from death row. Every one of them, is saved in Rudy’s memory.)

I adopted Rudy as my own, & he was my son. Rudy lived a life that most dogs only dream about, & I have never met a more loving, thankful dog. He went on walks every day; he had special snuggle time every night; he ate the most expensive food that money could buy. He was the most special being in my life. When my rescue life became so tough that I didn’t think I could go on, I had Rudy. To say that he was my angel is truly an understatement.

On July 8, 2010, I came home to find my Rudy—lifeless. It was the very worst day of my life. Rudy had a heart attack when he was playing with his friends that day. His little heart was weak following his heartworm treatment, & it finally gave out on him. I got there too late… my Rudy had already gone to Heaven. There was nothing that could be done to bring him back to me. Trust me—I tried.

That day, my life changed forever. I will never be the person I was before I lost Rudy. That kind of pain stays with you… that degree of agony never truly leaves your heart.

But I have been able to turn this pain into a positive. After Rudy died, I made him a promise: I will save every pit bull I possibly can… for you. I will save them, like you saved me, and I will love them, like you loved me. I will make you proud of me, because I am ever-so proud of you.

And so, every Rudy-dog that I see, becomes my mission. I put every bit of myself into saving each one that I can in his honor. And it may sound crazy, but I can feel Rudy, right there with me, saying, “I’m proud of you, Mom.” I see him in the eyes of the dogs on death row & the precious souls living on chains. I hear him in the howling at the pound. I touch him when I get there too late… as another dog joins him in Heaven.

I feel him when I save another life… when the new rescue dog licks my face, I know it is Rudy. It’s my Rudy saying, “You did it, Mom. You saved me again.”

And I say, “No baby boy… you saved me again.”

25 comments:

  1. Ashley, you are the most compassionate and caring person i have ever met and I'm so proud just to know you. You showed Rudy love when he had known none, and in his name you work tirelessly every day to save more, sacrificing everything you have day after day. I am sorry I never got to meet him, but, clearly, he is with you always and nobody is more proud of you than he is.

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  2. Okay, now I'm crying. I know exactly what you mean about one special dog changes it for you. For me, the dog's name was Shasta. A dog at the Montgomery Humane Society that I just fell in love with, that was returned twice because people didn't like her once they got her home or "she was too hard to housetrain". She was my saving grace and I think about her every day. Maybe Shasta and Rudy are playing together in heaven.

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  3. Hello Ashley,

    I'm working on this mini project, and I would love to add this story. I'm from Canada, and there has been a lot of press on dog cruelty that's been circulating in the media: Robine, Hood, and Aidan (my personal tragedy involving my dogs), Huskies Massacre in Whistler, Bandit in Victoria, Blue in Paul Ballantynne reserve, the list could go on. I've been reading a lot of the comments from my friend's dog rescue facebook pages, and it seems the the morality has gone down. So I want to make a short, inspirational video dedicated to the dog rescue workers and volunteers to lift their spirits. Here's what I have so far:
    http://www.screencast.com/t/WwdRlfgZn

    This story is so powerful, may I please use it for the video?

    Contact: operation.wet.nose@gmail.com

    Nadia

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  4. I love this post! I hate I never got to meet Rudy but I know he is having a blast watching you from above save all these babies!!

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  5. This post brought tears to my eyes. I too rescued a pit bull from death row and he changed my life as well. After 15 years together we had to put him down last year and not a day goes by that I, my husband or my two little girls don't think about him. Two weeks after we lost him we finally found another pit bull that we rescued from a shelter about 3 hours from our home and he is now a huge part of our family. We will never forget our first though as long as we live. Thank you for all that you do for pit bulls. They are the best!

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  6. Rudy's story has me crying. i know exactly what you went through, i went through it june 10, 2010 myself with a rescue i had for 17 years. i, too have dedicated my life to animal rescue. i just do it a little different than you, but i know exactly what you mean when you say you see Rudy in every dog you save. I am blessed to have have met you through rescuing, i feel like we are similar souls. I am so sorry you lost your beloved dog, Rudy. I know the pain is still there everyday. I know. believe me, i know.

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  7. Rudy sounded like an amazing pup!

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  8. Ashley thank you for telling Rudy's story so beautifully. You honor his memory with great love. Thank you for sharing. All of us who have loved special dogs and felt as you did understand and empathize. What a great example you are setting.

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  9. Ashley you are a wonderful, compassionate and rare human being. There are so few out there. Please continue your humanitarian efforts, every animal saved because it is the right thing to do pulls the human race one step back from our determined leap into an abyss of callousness. I wish you continued and great success.

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  10. Thank you.. all of you. I am amazed every day that anyone would even want to read what I have to say. It touches my heart more than you could know. Thank you!
    Love,
    Ash

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  11. Beautiful. You made me cry and that's tough! Bless you, Ashley, and the difference you make every day for dogs like Rudy. He is looking down at you from heaven and cheering you on. Rudy will never be forgotten, thanks to you.

    Do you ever think about when we go to heaven that some or all of the dogs we helped will be there to greet us? I sure hope that's true...

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  12. Oh My God now I am seriously blubbering here! That story touched me in so many ways I cant even begin to explain. I think we all have had a "Rudy"
    in our lives at some point. I am amazed at the lengths yall go to to save even just one of these babies. I salute you for speaking up for those who cant speak for themselves and I too someday hope to rescue and save as many as I can. I am working on getting funding for a santuary here in my homestate of Maryland. You are an inspiration to those of us who dont know where to start. Thank you for being you!!

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  13. Thank you for rescuing and loving Rudy. I am so sorry you lost him. :(

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  14. THANK YOU ASHLEY. For saving Rudy, for loving Rudy and for sharing him with us :) You have moved & inspired me beyond words, which is going to help save more dogs. Like Tracy said, you are truely an inspiration to those of us who don't know where to start. With tears and smiles, thank you.

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  15. I had a Chester. A one eyed battle scarred Boxer who adopted me and became the great love of my life. A human can't touch it. He found me when he was five and was my constant companion and job site dog while I worked remodeling houses. He protected me everyday and let me know when it was time to go home and eat dinner.
    I miss his smooshy face and drool everyday. What a guy!

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  16. Mia Frederiksen (momtothreebeagles)March 11, 2011 at 5:57 PM

    Oh Ashley, Rudy's story made my heart soar and break at the same time! How long did you have the little precious? I'm imagining, not long, if I know HW treatments as I do. :(

    I had a "Rudy". My Willy, 11 year old beagle that I rescued and was blessed to love and care for for 10 short months only. I ran all over hell's half acre to help him (even acupuncture, the gorgeous little baby boy was not happy to be stuck with dozens of needles but I had to do what I could to help him!). He died on the big bed at home. I thank God above that I was there when he passed. I had to lie to my employer and call in sick for two days to be with him at the end. I'd do it again in a heartbeat! My heart and soul, and like you, never the same since. May our Father in Heaven watch over and keep you and the forgotten ones in your charge. We will pray for you each day from now on. Blessings to you and yours.

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  17. This is an amazing story about your truly compassionate work. I am so sorry for your loss.

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  18. Ashley, you are simply the best<3

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  19. Ashley, you are awesome! You have such a tender heart. Saving one dog at a time the way you do is heartwarming, beautiful, inspirational, joyful, selfless, loving, blessed, challenging, meaningful... You are these dogs' best friend. I wish there were a million more like you to save every animal in need. May God continue to bless you as you save your 'angels'.

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  20. My goodness, I am also in rescue and I love pit bulls. I had a special boy pit bull in my life too and I think of him always. My little Roo. This story made me cry, not in a sad way, but in an amazed and loving way. The love you have for dogs is how I wish everyone felt! Thank you for showing me and everyone else the real love and joy that life can give you.

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  21. Michelle, my wish is that each of my rescue dogs will be there to greet me when I get to Heaven. First in line, Rudy. I miss him like crazy every day, and I can't wait to see him again one day. But until then, I have him to thank for inspiring me more than I knew imaginable. Because of him, that line in Heaven will be quite long.

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  22. This brought tears to my eyes. I know exactly what you mean when you say "That degree of agony never leaves your heart". I had a "Jack"... I found him when he was just a tiny puppy, dropped off on a back road to die. He looked like he hadn't eaten in days. I took him to the vet and spent a few weeks with him, getting him healthy. When it came time for my fiance to say "Sweetie, we have to find him a home" I burst into tears and said "I don't want to." We kept him and he became part of our family. We had him for 6 wonderful months after that. One night he had an asthma attack and we couldn't get him to the vet in time. He died in my arms and it was the hardest thing ever. You are so wonderful - it makes my heart sing that there are people willing to devote their time and effort to rescuing dogs. Thank you for your story.

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  23. WOW, what a beautiful and heartwrenching story! I have 2 rescued pitties, myself, so your story spoke directly to my heart...Ashley, you are truly one in a million for doing what you do! God bless you!!!

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