3.07.2011

Before You Go To Heaven...

I was asked to share the story about what I do for special needs dogs on death row in shelters. I do realize that this might not be the most popular idea with all of you, but I’m hoping that maybe it will inspire someone to do the same. If you ever have the chance to do this, it will change your life.

When there are terminally ill dogs on death row, I choose to do something very special for them. Since the decision to treat these dogs for their conditions would cause them immense suffering, I choose not to treat them.

However, I also choose not to leave them in the shelter to be killed. In short, I bring them into my home for a few days. I adopt them into my heart. I love them with all that I have. And then I do what’s best for them... and I let them go...

Annie’s Story, September 2010
Annie had never known happiness. She had been beaten, starved, and neglected all of her life, and then she was dumped in a shelter to die. Annie waited on death row, terrified and lonely... crying every night for someone to help her. She was very ill, so the pound asked if I was willing to take her. Yep, I’m on my way.

When I saw Annie, it was obvious that she was very sick. She was underweight, coughing, and having trouble breathing, in addition to severe skin and eye issues. The vet told me that Annie had advanced heartworm disease, congestive heart failure, and several other life-threatening conditions. It was highly unlikely that she would pull through any of the treatments, and she would suffer tremendously throughout the process. The vet asked me if I wanted to go ahead with euthanasia. I replied: “Not yet. I’ll bring her back next week. Annie needs to know love... before she goes to Heaven.”


That day, I brought Annie home with me. I looked at her… so broken, so sickly, so unsure of whether she could trust… and I cried. I sobbed uncontrollably for Annie. Over the sad life she had led, the abuse she had endured, and now the life she would never have... thanks to the worthless people who never cared for her. And while I was bawling like a baby, Annie walked over and licked my tears, as if to say: “Don’t be sad. It’ll be okay.”

I was speechless. This precious, wounded soul was comforting me. This girl, who had never known compassion in her life, was consoling me.

And so, I got up, stopped my crying, and vowed to give her the best week of her entire life. No more crying. Not around Annie. She deserves to know only happiness now.

That week, Annie slept in the bed with me. She ate the best food. She played as much as her little heart could stand. She laid next to me on the couch for belly rubs. She laughed at funny movies with me.

That week, Annie was special. That week, Annie was home... for the first time in her life.

Every day, Annie and I sat on my special bench by Rudy’s grave and talked to him. I told Rudy that he would have a new friend in Heaven soon, and I asked him to take care of her. I told Rudy all about Annie, and Annie all about Rudy. Annie loved our talks with Rudy. She loved anything that involved love... she'd never had it before.

When Annie got so weak that it was painful for her to live, I took her to the vet to end her suffering. I stayed with her, I comforted her... and Annie wasn’t afraid. She was happy, because I was there with her. Her mom was by her side… the only family she had ever known. The only person who had ever truly loved her. She was finally safe.

Annie knew it was time… it hurt too much to go on. And I was there to hold her, to love her, to say, “It’s okay. You can go now, baby girl.” And as they stuck her with the needle... I whispered into her ear...

Know that I loved you. Know that you mattered. Know that you finally belonged to someone—you were everything to me. You will never really be gone, because you'll live forever in my heart. Thank you for sharing your last days with me. It was truly an honor to love you.”

As the drugs entered Annie’s veins, she looked up at me one last time, and her eyes said...
“Thank you for saving me. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for showing me what life could be like... and for giving me a family. I always wanted one. I love you.”

And just before she closed her eyes forever, I said: “When you get to Heaven, ask for Rudy. Tell him I sent you.”

And then… she was gone.

I buried Annie in my backyard next to Rudy. She died on September 14, 2010.
But the week before her death... she finally lived.





*If you'd like to help other dogs like Annie, please donate today.

219 comments:

  1. WOW Ashley! If that doesn't bring a tear to anyone's eyes I don't know what could. That is the bestest thing I have ever heard in my whole life. You do the most amazing things and I am so glad that you are my animal buddy. Props to everything that you do to help give another chance at life and love.

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  2. What a very special person you are! <3

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  3. Julia, I'm so glad to have you as my animal buddy too :) You are amazing! Thanks so much for your sweet comments! Love y'all!

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  4. Tracy Landis S.C.A.R.S. Pit Bull RescueMarch 7, 2011 at 7:26 PM

    OMG Ashley!! I cried through this whole story! Even though I knew what the story was going to be about and thought I was prepared I wasn't...I still cried. What a sweetheart you are! I'm sure Annie knew that you were her mama and loved you!

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  5. Thank you, what a wonderful gift for Annie. I'm still crying but I'm happy too that she finally had a home and was treasured as she so richly deserved.

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  6. Ashley, God bless you! What a truly touching story. Thank you for sharing. I'm sure Annie treasured your short time together as I'm sure you did too. Keep doing what your heart tells you and sharing your stories. True love heals everything, no matter what the circumstances.

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  7. Ashley, I'm sobbing. I still can't imagine why anyone would ever mistreat a dog. As much as I love my baby, I know there will come that day and I cry to think about it, but at least she will know she is and has been loved and that she meant something to me. Thank you for showing those babies that they do mean something to someone. Even if it is for a short lived time. I do believe all dogs go to heaven and you will have a long line of greeters when you get there!!! Love you girl!

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  8. Ashley what a wonderful story, you gave a wonderful dog the chance to give the love inside her to someone in her short life. She went to heaven knowing she left her love here on earth... God Bless...Kay

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  9. roseysweezers7@aol.comMarch 7, 2011 at 7:54 PM

    i can't see through my tears to even type this, but thank you for loving her.

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  10. Beautiful, Ashley. Bless you for giving Annie the best life ever for a short time. It made all the difference to her. Surely, she and Rudy are playing in heaven. You are an incredible human being.

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  11. This made me cry!:( sad that so many animals will never know love and happiness! As I sit here with my three dogs scattered across the living room I smile :) knowing that they are loved and happy and they love and make me happy too! Great to come home from a bad day at work and have three dogs jumping and and over joyed to see me! hope more people see animals the way that you do. That they are worthy of love if only for a moment!

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  12. That is the sweetest thing I have ever read, if only everyone had the heart you do and love for animals.

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  13. Ashley,
    I am so glad you decided to write about this. After me and you talked about this, it really left an impression on me and I vow to do this very same thing someday soon. Well, at least you cant say you have never made a grown man cry!

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  14. Just when I thought you had already made quite the impression on me, you wrote this. The world needs more people like you. You are more special than you probably realize and no words can do justice to describe what you do for these animals. :)

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  15. I looked at all the caged animals in the shelter... the cast-offs of human society.
    I saw in their eyes love & hope, fear & dread, sadness & betrayal. And I was angry.
    "God!" I said, "This is terrible! Why don't you do something?"
    God was silent for a moment & then He spoke softly, "I have done something," He replied, "I created you."

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  16. Oh my gosh that breaks my heart. You are an angel. I don't think I would have the strength to do that. But I think it is absolutely wonderful and beautiful. Thank you for having such a kind heart.

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  17. god bless you and thank you for making a difference.

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  18. Isn't it amazing how an animal that has been so abused in life can still give unconditional love!I could not imagine mistreating or abandoning one of my own! They are my best friend and my heart is sadden by the fact that Annie did not meet you sooner! God bless you Ashley and thank you, for the world is a must richer place with you in it!

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  19. Wow, Ashley God bless you and your kind heart.

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  20. I've known that you were special since the first day I met you, sweet Ashley...so, I'm
    not surprised at all by the kindness and love you gave to precious Annie during her last
    and best week of her life.

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  21. I always say the same stupid thing - hope she and Rudy enjoyed a birthday cake together when she reached her destination. They're probably paw-picking every dog who gets sent your way. -g

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  22. That was the most Beautiful gift you gave to sweet Annie, and you are trueloy a wonderful human...We all need more love in this world...I have 14 recue eldery cats...3 pound resue dogs...A white arab mare...and my very newest baby a small welsh pony, with big blue eyes...thank you so much for sharing this wonderful story...and I will be passing it to all of my friends on Facebook...I would like to do the same thing for some wonderful being...I am going to check with my local shelters...and see if I can help out with the last love...

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  23. Ashley you are a gift from above! I love animals with all my heart,more so than most people.I adore what you do.Letting the pet know that there is still love on this evil earth.The hard part would be the heartbreak of it.God has blessed you to handle the heartbreak, and Ashley, he will continue to bless you all your days !!

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  24. This brought me to tears. Thank you for giving her love, a home, and for taking such good care of her. I'll never understand people, and why they treat animals they way they do. Keep doing what you're doing. You made a difference for this sweet girl.

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  25. I, like everyone else, cried, from the first sentence....and I praise you for this gift that you give of yourself for them. Maybe some day I can have a heart that big....

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  26. OMG...I am here tears down my face... bless you Ashley...what a gift you gave to her..LOVE...I can't stop crying.....

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  27. Ashley, God has a special place in heaven for this angel. God bless you for giving this baby the only love she has ever known. I could not stop crying as I read this piece. I hope God brings you much happiness and good things in life. Your not only a beautiful girl on the inside but on the outside where it counts. God bless.

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  28. Ashley, I love you so much, you are one of my most cherished friends on Facebook. You heart is bigger than the sun and your compassion is deeper than the oceans. You and I have so much in common and the pain and love we have been through with pitties I feel has given us a special bond. I have made a promise to myself to come and visit you soon. You are the only person I have evr felt the need to sit with ....on Rudy;s bench and hug and cry. I love you for what you did for this baby girl and I don't know if I could survive it as I have thought about doing it many times. In you telling this story you have given me the strength to seek out doing this myself. Much like people I think every living thing should have someone by there side in their last moments to know someone cared. You are so many things to me that I will never be able to describe in a lifetime and I am honored to know you. God Bless you Honey and all the babies that have left us too soon never loved. I know Rudy is making his momma proud up in heaven.

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  29. ASHLEY WHAT A GREAT SPIRIT YOU ARE TEARS ARE ROLLING DOWN MY FACE THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR BEING WHO YOU ARE AND DOING WHAT YOU DO THERE IS A SPECIAL PLACE IN HEAVEN FOR YOU NEXT TO ALL THE GREAT SPIRITS THAT YOU GAVE LOVE AND A HOME TO I AM SO PROUD TO HAVE YOU AS A FRIEND

    LOVE
    LAURA

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  30. Ashley, Even on my darkest days, where I have nothing left to give, you remind me of why we do this. Thank you for being an inspiration and working so tirelessly at what you do. Elyse

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  31. WOW I just got done sobbing myself! What a truly touching story!

    My dog was a rescue that I adopted on her last day at the shelter. She is my WORLD! It is truly amazing how deeply a dog can connect with your soul.

    Thank you so much for this reminder of how precious any animal life truly is!

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  32. omg this made me cry God blessed you and it is true,i worked in a shelter and its hard but , i remind myself 3 things and i havent forgotten any of them even though its been 15 years , I have been the last hug They felt, I have said the last ilove you They heard, and I have cried the last tears They seen a human cry.!

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  33. You make me want to go and help a dog even if for a week. Truely one of the best acts I've ever heard of.

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  34. I am sharing this on my wall. I was hoping for a miracle for Annie so as I sit here and cry, I pray for miracles for the others who are not as lucky as Annie. Thanks for sharing, Ashley.

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  35. Wow, sobbing now. A happy/sad thing. I head off now to my afternoon of volunteering with the dogs at my local shelter with renewed vigor. Hopefully, I can bring some love into their lives, as you did with Annie. Bless you, Annie and Ashley.

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  36. Ashley, you are truly an angel. I wish I knew more people like you. You've brought a little more hope in my heart. Thank you for all that you do.

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  37. Ashley, you are an awesome,beautiful,lovely, amazing,wonderful,strong,precious,courageous angel.That is so awesome,I wish I could do that but I am not strong enough.God Bless You Girl.You are the BEST.

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  38. Ashley,you were the best owner that dog ever had. Im so happy that she had someone to love her and care for her before she had to go to heaven.You are truly amazing.Annie is probably smiling and having a good time in heaven just because of that amazing thing that you did.God probably wishes more people are like you.

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  39. Just happen to find your blog via a friends facebook message. After reading it, I felt compelled to share my heart and encouragement. I am in crushing tears, but with such a grateful heart that Rudy and Annie had you to love them. Thank you for sharing your story and being you. God has truly touched you with a gift of love and giving. May we all find the strength and courage to love these precious animals as you have. And May God continue to bless you and let you shine your light so others may follow.

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  40. Oh my gosh!! I just cried my eyes out. This story and your compassion for these animals totally tugs at the heart. If only there were more people in this world as kind and compassionate as you. If only....

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  41. Thank you for caring Ashley. You are making more of a difference than you know - not only to these animals, but for being an inspiration to others.

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  42. You are an inspiration and a guardian angel to these poor abused creatures. Will try to emulate your compassion and love. Thank you, for showing what can be done even in their last days. My heart is breaking. I will replace my feelings of helplessness with hope.

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  43. You are now officially my new source of inspiration.
    Bless you and all Rudys & Annies out there!
    I put a link to your blog on mine. I'm sure Annie's story can inspire more people than you can dream of!
    http://ainamaj.blogspot.com/2011/03/its-dogs-life.html

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  44. Oh girl you surely are an ANGEL, heaven is surely yours already. Anie's story made me cry so much Im so glad you did showed her love and caring before she was gone.I pray to God to put more people like you in this world!!! Keep doing the same for more dogs Ashley, God Bless you!!!!!!

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  45. What a beautiful person you are, it takes a true Angel to do what you have done...I hope someday I will have the courage to do the same...God Bless you, you are an inspiration to all!

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  46. This is a very popular idea with me. Wish you were closer...i'd help you out as a group. I have been doing things like these for rescues for years...that is why I am so used to dogs coming in and then going to heaven. But i am happy to hear that others realize that loving a dog or an animal before they move on in a way is spiritually healthy for them and for us..Keep up the good work...I am glad I know there is someone like you in Mississippi.

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  47. Thank you for helping Annie! You are an angel! :)

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  48. thank you so much... i just cried through this whole story... you are an amazing woman.

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  49. That was an amazing story. But did you know that love can change pathology? Don't be too certain that the vet's prognosis is right. Vets rarely understand the energy which is behind all life. Change that and health changes too.

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  50. Bless you for your endless capacity to love knowing that the end was so near for Annie. You gave her the best gift of all...love, comfort and a dignified end while holding her close. You are a very special person.

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  51. Amazing...absolutely amazing. I was bawling like a baby. Every day I see the posts on facebook of the urgent dogs, the dogs that are going to be killed via heartstick, gas chambers, shooting and every day I lose more and more hope. It's heartwarming to know that people like you are out there.

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  52. great story. you have a wonderful herat and mind.

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  53. What an incredible woman and such a bittersweet story. I'm glad that my boyfriend's still in bed not to see me sobbing at the computer!

    I know everyone here laments the maltreatment that many animals endure at the hands of humans, but please keep in mind that it's not limited to pets. This is the way 99% of animals in the meat industry live. If Annie's story touched you, consider going vegetarian (many of you probably already are!) or only purchasing meat from responsible sources.

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  54. Hey guys!This story made me cry like all of you.

    After reading and hearing these kinda stories I always listen to this precious words then I feel relax.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wupToqz1e2g

    As a physicist I know all the world is connected. All living being stars, planets...
    We are all have the same origin.

    You know what it means? we are not important! We were just lucky to be intelligent humans.
    Like it or not, THIS IS REALITY!

    Now it is our responsibility to take care of nature and other creatures on our lonely planet.

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  55. Do not forget she is not an angel she is only one of us who changed her world. She started some day to be different.

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  56. WOW. Didnt think id cry this much. What u do is truly amazing.

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  57. I understand what you did for this beautiful dog because I recently adopted a rescue dog who was left behind when her owners moved interstate. I only had her for 5 weeks, but she touched me so much and stole my heart. She was a sick little girl who didn't deserve to be left behind. Two days before I had to let her go she let me know she knew I loved her and that she had a home with me. I didn't realise the day I took her to my vet that I would be bringing her home to bury her in my garden. She seemed to get sick just days after I took her in and I believe she died of a broken heart, but she died very much loved by me and even if I knew the outcome I would do it all again for my darling Kira

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  58. Omg ur amazing, what a sad story , bought tears to my eyes,

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  59. This is one of the most touching stories of kindness, compassion, and love in action that I've have ever heard. Ashley, you and your sweet dogs inspire me to be a better person. Every single day.

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  60. You are truly an angel. Annie is a very very lucky dog!

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  61. This story is so beautiful-thank you for giving Annie that one week of unconditional love-I'm sure for her it made all the difference in the world, & made all the rest of her difficult life--worth it. You're a 2K Emerald-as was she! Much love~

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  62. What a big heart you have. Thank you

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  63. Wow! You are awesome!

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  64. Oh man, that was hard to read, I cried the whole time. My dog ran up to me to cheer me up and then he ran around crazily to find his toys and give them to me to make me feel better. What you did for her was soooo amazing, you have inspired me.
    Maybe there is something I can do for a little doggie in my local rspca. Dogs have feelings, the have needs and desires and I sware they know more than we do.

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  65. This was such a beautiful post.

    Bravo to you and all you do!

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  66. Ashley, this was the most beautiful piece you have written so far. There truly is a special place in Heaven for you!

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  67. Beautiful.People have to try to stop thinking on the negative side.Yes,the dog was abused,yes he does not have long to live for,but now he has a chance for love and life,if only for a while.And then he can go to rest.That is what people should focus on.Things that we can CHANGE.now.

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  68. You are truly an angel. I don't know that I could do what you do. Maybe one day but not right now. We lost 2 dogs in 5 months, one just last week. They were both large dogs with spinal issues who could no longer walk or even get up on their own. I cried and cried when I read this story. When you go to heaven there will be many many happy faces waiting for you. Bless you!

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  69. OMG Ashley, I'm still crying at Annie's story! You are an amazing person to give so much of yourself. So much love and compassion. I wish I had the strength to do what you do but I'm so afraid of the loss hurting too much. I have had pets/dogs over the years and Every time I've said goodbye to them because of illness or old age its torn part of my sole out. Thank you soooo much for what you do. You really are amazing. Thank you for all the dogs that you've helped and are still to help..... sue.

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  70. I read your blog yesterday while I was at work, and couldn't stop the tears from rolling down my face. We rescued a dog who was on "death row"....but, fortunately she was healthy, and now very happy. Annie's story....and your story have touched me...more than you know. The world needs more people like you....you are truly a hero and have inspired me to do more. Thank you...not only for what you have done for dogs...but, for what you have done for my spirit.

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  71. This is what its all about..if we were all this way there would be NO dogs suffering alone anywhere!!

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  72. TBFR Bichon rescue just sent us your story. I cried so hard and so long and I just couldn't focus on anything else. The power of your words and actions resonate so deeply in my soul and without question will inspire me to do MORE.6 mos ago I adopted a 14 y/o blind poodle, used up by a breeder, then given to a couple who forced her to live outside due to potty accidents. She was brought in to NSPCA to be euthanized.Frail and covered with fleas, ticks and thorns, the vet refused to do it and said she had too much life in her (so true). I had 2 rescues already but my heart screamed as yours did that I couldn't let this dog die w/out ever experiencing love. Cut to the present: she has put on weight and healthy as a little horse. She has 4.5 teeth left after her dental and she happily uses them on meaty bones larger than the size of her head.She no longer sleeps all day, but marches around the house up and down the steps exploring and interacting with all of us. She is a silly and adorable little character who loves to be snuggled and carried. I hope we have many more years together as we have grown so close, I can't imagine not having this precious angel in my life. As you stated earlier-what began as me rescuing her, ended in her rescuing me.There is no end to how far the heart can expand through the love and care of animals.

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  73. Stephanie VallettiMarch 13, 2011 at 10:43 AM

    So beautiful that Annie was able to know love if only for a short time. It obviously meant the world to her. She looked so happy. I'm sure she will remember you and tell all of her friends in Heaven about the wonderful Mom that cared for and loved her. Thank you so much for all that you do.

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  74. You're an inspiration. Thank you.

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  75. You are One of a Kind!! This world absolutely needs more people like you. Thank you for your caring & loving heart!
    This story is so sad, but happy at the same time. Thank you for sharing & giving hope to those who are hopeless... The many shelter dogs who deserve to kow only love & kindness.

    The Gutierrez family ~ Camp Pendleton CA ~

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  76. AShley, I've teared up reading many of blog posts written by many different people, but this one.....this one made me bawl. Tears uncontrolable. You are so special. And, isn't it just wonderful how giving and gracious dogs are?! They truly are the most giving creatures on earth. they still want to love, even when noone has shown them how. It just comes natural. That is amazing...as are YOU!
    much love,
    cat

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  77. I cried and cried.. I know how those poor babies feel. I think compared to not having enough food or water or shelter, cruelest faith for animals is not to be loved, not to get hugs, companionship. Making their last days matter is huge. They get to matter, love and be loved before they leave this world. It is not an easy thing to do, because I know how heart breaking it is to see them go. But not as heartbreaking as knowing that they left this world alone and without ever experiencing love.
    You have a big and strong heart! When ever it gets too hard for you, please know that we are behind you, supporting you, holding your hand, and adding our energies to yours, so that you can carry on.
    Incilay
    Mom to blind dog Listen and 5 sighted dogs: Kutsi, Efe, Bilqis, Elif, Dali
    (all stray dogs rescued from the streets of Turkey)

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  78. YOU ARE AN INCREDIBLE HUMAN BEING...FROM ONE ANIMAL LOVER TO ANOTHER..THANK YOU FOR BEING ANNIE'S ANGEL!!! GOD BLESS YOU!!! I CRIED MY EYES OUT...BUT STILL THIS ALSO MADE ME SMILE!!!

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  79. I realized the day I lost my last schnauzer and was crying uncontrolably, its not how much we loved them that hurts so much, its how much they loved us and the hole thats there now.

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  80. I commend your spirit and selflessness in caring for these animals during the time they need you most. You must have a great deal of strength to love them and let them go - I have an 11 year old Maltese and I don't want to even imagine the time when he must go over the Rainbow Bridge. Thank you for what you do.

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  81. Thank you for sharing your heart to a precious gift of God. I am so thankful to have run across your incredible gift and thank you for allowing us to read what you have done. While I don't think I could do what you have done, it has given me second thoughts. Blessings to you and your family. You are truly an angel.

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  82. ashley you are an amazing human being...i am bawling like a baby after reading this not just for the loss of annie- but with joy to know there are still some people out there like you...it also makes me think that perhaps if i am able to one day- i might try to do the same kind of work...animals are our best friends and the love they give us and allow us to give them is worth it..thank you for doing this work..you are awesome!

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  83. i seen the story on annie it brought tears to my eyes u are a special person to have done that for u some people would have turned away and not looked back but u didnt u gave her a chance at a little life that she deserved i wish more people were like u thank u for caring so much

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  84. That is so nice of you to do that i have a dog i have for 15 years he has heart failure but he is on meds and i think god that i have him everyday i have 10 dogs some are rescuse dogs i love them i was i could bring more home but i can't i do what i can for strays feed them and talk to them i ask god everyday please help these animals that are abused keep up the good work.

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  85. Your strength and heart are so inspiring. What an extremely kind and selfless thing to do for a beautiful animal. The world is a better place because of people like you.

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  86. Bless you, Ashley, for being a guardian angel for the animals. It takes a very brave, courageous person to do what you do. Thank you for helping the animals.

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  87. What a beautiful heart you have Ashley! God bless you for what you are doing for these precious animals!

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  88. God bless you Ashley for all you do for these poor creatures who are alone in the world. I am especially grateful for all my fellow pit bull rescuers.

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  89. Ashley, you did a great thing! So many people talk about doing something and never do.It is good to know that you made a difference.Knowing you are doing the right thing is always energy for the heart. I hope your life is full of love. You surely do have alot to give. Take care and good luck with all your doggie friends.I love them all too!

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  90. There are angels on earth! Ashley you are one of them.

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  91. Ashley, thanks soo much. ANY animal deserves to be treated with love and respect.You have shown people what we SHOULD be like in our treatment of those who co-inhabit our world.

    Hugo

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  92. Ashley...you're my hero!!! God truly does put angels here on earth.

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  93. You are a REAL HERO !
    May God be at your side forever.
    I wish we were all like you !
    I have a hot dog and I'm about to adopt a female.
    Allyne - Miami, Florida

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  94. Ashley...Thank you for being the amazing person that you are. This was so heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time. You make the world a much better place to have seen and lived for these special angels. They give and love unconditionally and deserve all the love they can get and you're their angel to give it. God made you special for this. God Bless you always and keep you strong.

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  95. I so agree with you Annie. Every animal needs love throughout their life and at death. Yes, it's hard, but you don't love only when it's easy. Good for you!

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  96. Your story made me cry the whole way through. What you do is truly amazing. I respect you so much for what you do. :)

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  97. Ashley, you are amazing. I am so glad that Annie found her way to you and left this earth knowing love.

    Best wishes from the UK,

    Angela

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  98. Ashley, thank you for what you do. You truely are an Angel. I am so glad that Annie got to know what love was, even if it was for such a short time. Best wishes for you.

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  99. Wow, the response to Annie's story has been nothing short of amazing. Sharing this story has honestly changed my life. So many people have told me that they've now been inspired to do the same for another "Annie" dog. So many people are now eager to get involved. This honestly makes my entire life worthwhile. I am blown away. Thank you all for your amazing support and incredible words. Thank you all for reading & sharing, so that others may be inspired as well. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you.

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  100. God Bless you dear and loving Annie...I am with you all the way...these dear, loving, kind and loyal pets can do nothing but endure the endless torture and abuse they get. How sad that this goes on and that people can actually think that it is okay. These people need to be treated the same way they treat the animals. You are so inspirational and I was bawling like a baby...how could you not when you look at those little faces and see how scared they are. Thank you Annie. Love Dori

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  101. Bless you for what you do. Your story of Annie absolutely touched my heart - I have tears streaming down my face right now. You have inspired me to do what I can for those poor dogs that have never had a chance to know love and have little time left. Keep doing what you do - it's people like you that make a real difference!

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  102. What a wonderful strong loving woman you are, they probably broke the mold when they made you. I wish our world was filled with many many more like you.
    I don't think I would have the strength. Thank heaven you do. You are a very unique special woman. Thanks from all the wounded hearts of the world.

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  103. Wow!!! You are truly a one in a million, amazing,kind,and wonderful human being!!!!! Wish we had more people like you in this world!!! Thank you for all that you do!!!!

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  104. You are an amazing person. I wish that every animal could experience this love. It is what they all deserve, but too often get the opposite.

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  105. This story brings tears to my eyes but a big smile to my face and heart. What you do is amazing. It's people like you and me that are going to change the world for animals now and in the future. Rock on girly. =)

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  106. ANNIE YOU ARE ONE OF GOD'S ANGELS.YOU DID SOMETHING THAT MOST PEOPLE COULD NEVER DO. I KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO LET GO OF A PRECIOUS ANIMAL. I HAD TO PUT DOWN MY BEAUTIFUL CAT AND I HELD HER WHILE THEY ENDED HER SUFFERING,DIDN'T THINK THE TEARS WOULD EVER STOP. YOUR STORY MADE ME CRY, AS I SAID YOU ARE GOD'S ANGEL!!!!

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  107. That is just beautiful, Ashley. What a Godsend you are to animals and humans alike!

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  108. Wow. Sobbing uncontrollably right now. I envy you. I thought I was a "rescuer" but I am nowhere near your caliber.

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  109. This is one of the most beautiful articles I have ever read! Your heart is huge & I would like to thank you for all you do for those poor dogs. You're truly an angel for what you do, & I admire that you can be so loving & kind enough to do that. The world needs more people like you. Those special dogs may now be in heaven who you've helped, but if anyone someday deserves their own star up there, to shine down on this world, it would be you. Again, a very heartfelt thank you!

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  110. Bless your heart, Ashley! Thank you for bringing joy to neglected, abused, and forgotten pets, and showing them how it felt to be loved and cared for before they went to Heaven. We need more people like you in this world. Your story brought tears to my eyes, yet happiness for Annie. She was blessed to have known you.

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  111. There are no words that I can really use to describe what you've done for Annie. All I can say is that your heart is made out of gold and pure love. We need more people like you to always remind us that we're humans and not beasts. That we're able to help all species with our love and patience.
    Thank you for sharing this with us!

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  112. What a wonderful story! Thank you for being such a wonderful, caring person!

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  113. You are right, its the people not the animals. I cried. I have had to do the same for my dogs with cancer. But they had what Annie didn't have, a loving home. But it still hurts, and they are still in our hearts.

    I am happy that at least she had that week.

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  114. Your amazing! THANK YOU!!!! People like you remind us there is hope!

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  115. So incredibly touching. I hurt deeply for any animal that is treated so poorly. It really is disgusting how this continues to happen and so few humans are ever held accountable for their actions. There needs to be more people like you in this world... This shouldn't be happening...This poor poor baby shouldn't never have had to suffer....ever..!
    Tina Mangiapane, Phoenix AZ.

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  116. God Bless you for all that you do. This is amazing.

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  117. I cried so much when I read this. What you need for Annie was incredible. You made a broken animal feel loved. And you were with her at her last moments. She felt your love during her last moments and she could feel at peace because her momma was with. I will never forget this story. What you have done is amazing.

    I've been wanting to write a story for a book lately and I could not find inspiration for any ideas. YOu gave me the inspiration to write a story based upon the idea that we can love dogs and give them the love that they need before they leave this earth. That those that have been abused or neglect should feel love before they leave this earth. Even if they have a short time left they should feel love from us before they go. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Keep doing what you do. Although there are so many animals to be saved all we can do is save them one by one. You truly saved Annie when you took her in.

    On a side note you should write a book based uipon your experiences of saving these animals. It would make a great story. :0)

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  118. You are an amazing warm human being and reading your story had me crying profusely. As I was crying my beloved German Shepherd, who comes from a very abusive background, was licking my tears away. I wish there was more I could do for these beautiful creatures and your story gave me hope that there are more loving people out there than hateful!

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  119. made me cry too - I wish I could save every animal out there and one day I dream of owning a shelter. Meanwhile, I give my cats all the love I have - every day

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  120. I have 4 cats that came from shelters and rescue siduations. I also vollunteer at a no kill shelter in Arlington Hts, IL. People like you give me hope that together us animal nuts CAN make a difference. Thank you so very much.

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  121. I can't stop crying. It's a mix between happiness and sadness. You are the most amazing lady I have ever read about. It was beautiful that Annie got to experience love before she passed. She was very lucky to have such a kind soul to give her that gift. I know she felt loved in her last moments. RIP Annie we love you.

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  122. YOU ARE AN UNBELIEVABLE KIND, LOVING, CARING, THOUGHTFUL, AND A PERSON WITH UNENDING COMPASSION.
    THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO --- IF I WERE YOUNGER, I WOULD BE RIGHT THERE HELPING YOU!! YOU WILL HAVE MANY, MANY LITTLE "GREETERS" WAITING FOR YOU AT THE RAINBOW BRIDGE!!!
    GOD BLESS YOU!

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  123. Coming from a veterinarian technician, Ive seen all kinds of cases. I have done my share of crying at work, along with smiles and tears of joy. Ive been through shelters donating my time to those animals...and also feeling helpless....that I couldnt save them all. Knowing that there is someone like you out there makes what I do everyday worth while. Thank you for what you do, because every animal deserves an angel, and thats what you are to them!

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  124. Annie was so lucky that she was able to spend that last week with you. This touched my heart and made me cry. You are an amazing woman for the things you do for these animals, I wish I were able to do the same but circumstances don't allow me at the moment. God Bless You!

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  125. I'm bawling like a baby and I want you to know how amazing you are. If everyone in the world had even an ounce of your compassion, it would be a better place. <3
    Tanya K

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  126. that was so beautiful that i have tears in my eyes and tears running down my face God Bless you for showing her the love that she needed and for being there for her at the end Rest In Peace Annie :(

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  127. and this is what love is all about!!

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  128. For Annie

    Prayer of Saint Francis for Animals
    God Our Heavenly Father,
    You created the world
    to serve humanity's needs
    and to lead them to You.
    By our own fault
    we have lost the beautiful relationship
    which we once had with all your creation.
    Help us to see
    that by restoring our relationship with You
    we will also restore it
    with all Your creation.
    Give us the grace
    to see all animals as gifts from You
    and to treat them with respect
    for they are Your creation.

    We pray for all animals
    who are suffering as a result of our neglect.
    May the order You originally established
    be once again restored to the whole world
    through the intercession of the Glorious Virgin Mary,
    the prayers of Saint Francis
    and the merits of Your Son,
    Our Lord Jesus Christ
    Who lives and reigns with You
    now and forever. Amen.

    St. Francis of Assisi

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  129. wow i'm crying like a baby reading this story. You are trualy an amazing person for this and im sure for a lot of other things. It's people like you that give this cruel sad world that it has become some hope. I don't knwo what else to say other than thank you & god bless you & please keep doing what you're doing you're truly an amazing person. <3

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  130. I thank God for people like you ashley. you truly have been sent here by God to help these animals. I love animals too and cant stand it when they are abused and mistreated. its horrible the things that people do. I do know that these sweet loving animals that God made are in heaven. I believe that and one day we will see them again and they will see you Ashley and I believe they will be able to tell you Thanks... cause in heaven...anything is possible...

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  131. I just want to thank you. Thank you for opening your heart,knowing that it will be broken. For giving these animals what every animal should have . A loving home in their final days. My hats off to you...
    Thanks again.

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  132. You truly are an angel and for your efforts here on earth you will surely sit at the right hand of God. My you and all of yours be blessed in all of your life's works

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  133. What an awesome story. You = <3

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  134. oh my gosh i cant stop crying you are one special person!!!

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  135. I don't know where you get this kind of strength, but thank you for your example. I have helped a few in their last days. It is a rewarding experience, but it is so hard too. Annie's story makes it better. Thank you with love.
    V

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  136. Tears are streaming down as I type... Annie was so lucky to have had you to love her. Thank you, thank you, thank you.... sending love your way <3

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  137. I'm bawling like a baby. What a touching story. I have 4 rescue dogs, and I thank GOD for all my four babies every day. Ginger, my oldest is now 12 to 13, she was also very abused when the spca found her. She was deathly afraid of men for awhile, until she started letting go of her fears and started knowing what real love was. I hold her beautiful face in my hands everyday and let her know what a pretty girl she is and how much I love her. I appreciate every day with her and my three other dogs and two cats. I wish all people could love their pets the way we do, and all the other people that have commented. God Bless you and all you do... All my love to you, Cindy

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  138. Can't control the tears... thank you for loving Annie. My heart aches for when the time comes for my furry babies to go play in Heaven. But thank you for reminding me of their love and how much they deserve from me to make it the best day every day for them!

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  139. Ashley, your stories of animal rescues always make me cry:( Annie was so lucky to have had that week with you. Thank you for what u do.....your truly amazing. She and Rudy have each other now:) God Bless You.

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  140. OMG!! thank you Ashley for giving Annie at least a week of happiness! I look at my two babies and wonder if I could be that strong to go the last moments with them! Yes I could cause they are my babies and give me unconditional love and its the least I could do for them! God bless you for being the sweet caring person you are! Annie is at peace now cause she did get shown what love and family is all about! RIP sweet Annie!

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  141. Thanks Ash I don't feel so alone in the world anymore but my nose is all stuffed up from the squalling and sobbing.

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  142. What a truly beautiful gesture. So glad you and Annie got a chance to love each other.

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  143. What a beautiful story....so glad there are people like you!! Definitely brought a tear to my eyes. <3

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  144. Thanks so much for sharing this story. I'm so happy that Annie had a chance to experience love before she left. Yours is a beautiful heart.

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  145. I wish everybody was as loving as you and every animal could have the gift you give with such an open heart.

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  146. So beautiful...the tears are flowing. You are so amazing...thank you for all you do.

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  147. What a beautiful story. Thank you so much for doing that, for sharing it with all of us, and for everything you do for dogs.

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  148. Thanks for sending me to this story, as I had not read it. Thanks for giving Annie the love she deserved before she passed away.

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  149. Ashley you truly are an angel here on earth for all these beautiful dogs you love! God Bless and Thank You!! -Deanna Di mastrantonio Boston MA

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  150. Ashley you truly are an angel here on earth for all these beautiful dogs you love! God Bless and Thank You!! -Deanna Di Mastrantonio Boston MA

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  151. Ashley, your an angel. <3 This made me cry, I have had a story just like that, about my dog Aticus who passed a few years back. You are the most amazing person ever. <3
    Love,
    Arianna

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  152. I don't suppose you have considered cloning yourself? You are an inspiration to so many people. I have always been an animal lover in a huge way, but have not accomplished anywhere near what you have in my days which are considerably more than yours. You make me want to do more.

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  153. I am a 48 year old man and I am balling like a baby over this story. My wife does so much good work with rescues and she showed me your blog. We have 2 rescues that we love dearly. Thanks for doing all you do to make these wonderful animals feel so loved!

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  154. I can hardly keep my composure right now. Inside I'm bawling. People hear me sniffling (good thing I'm getting over a cold).
    Your heart is incredible. God made you with a burden for these creatures, and it has enabled you to do a lot of good, but it also leaves you so vulnerable to the pain. A pain that you have to feel, and not shut out, in order to keep loving and doing. Not taking action just isn't an option.
    I completely understand how that feels. Not many people do. I've never known anyone else that did...until I started reading your blog. I feel like I know you, because you are like me.
    You have such courage to take on a dying dog and love them without holding back. You are a total inspiration to me.
    It's good to know there are people out there that really love and respect animals.

    <3

    H

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  155. You are a hero. Thank you for letting Annie live that wonderful week!

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  156. You were a dog in a previous life :) Which is how you can have so much empathy and inspire and touch us so deeply. You are the embodiement of the idea 'be the change you want to see' and thorough your actions show how one person can change the world. Thank you for sharing from so deep in your soul that it flows and touches many like-minded souls. How lucky to know your life's work at such a young age...Most us take a bit longer to get there!

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  157. I cried :/ I know what its like to say goodbye to a friend like Annie.......Its the worst feeling in the world......I don't see how some people can not love all these animals out there.....because the moment that one comes into my life I want them to stay forever!!! But i know that its not possible...so in the time that I do get to keep them I want them to leave me knowing that i love them.....You did amazing thing for Annie!!!! and im sure she's missing you just as much as you miss her.......

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  158. THANK U 4 GIVING THIS BABY THE ONLY HOME AND LOVE SHE EVER HAD. AMAZING STORY. BLESS U!

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  159. This something I have thought about for a long time--some of my rescues have had special needs or were seniors going downhill slowly. I am not in a physical place to do it yet, but I want to be able to take in those who no one else wants due to age or disability and let them at least live out their final time in a safe loving place before they have to cross rainbow bridge. To let them know they are loved and not alone.

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  160. God Bless you! I am going to see if the shelters will do that around here. It would mean so much to the animals to have love before they died.

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  161. What an AMAZING WOMAN you are and the couage you have. God bless you for something so beyond anything I couldnt even put into words. I will pray for all your courage of work as we all continue this fight to take care of the unloved animals that deserve that second chance at love, unconditional love... Just like we get from them! Anna mac,xo

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  162. Beautiful story. THIS is what hope is. Thank you for your heart and your loving soul.

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  163. This is why EVERY dog matters. The love and devotion that you can find at the shelters is amazing. I have always had rescued dogs and they are the best. Whenever one of my dogs has to "go to heaven", I tell my kids: "The reason dogs don't live as long as most people is because there are so many of them that need love and God wants us to love more of his creatures." It helps. Carry on the great work. One dog at a time.

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  164. That is amazing....truly amazing. What a wonderful gift to give to a dog who never knew what love was until she met you. That is so, so, so awesome. I thought fostering was the ultimate gift, but this is so much better. Thanks for sharing. :)

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  165. Awesome story. Nothing like crying at work!

    Thank you so much for offering these dogs a chance to know love. I'm on my 2nd foster pup and while Sassy has always been in a home and known love, it makes me feel good to know we are finding her that perfect forever love.

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  166. Thank you for sharing your story. Sometimes it's even more important and far reaching to change a life than it is to save one.

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  167. Oh my gosh! This beautiful story, like Rudy's, leaves me in tears! How wonderful that Annie's last week on earth was FULL OF LOVE! and she sure is in heaven with all our perfect furrry family members that went before us. Waiting for us! Heaven wouldn't be heaven without these dear loved ones. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful love story with the world.

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  168. Hi Ashley,
    This is such a beautiful story!!!
    You are so special and an inspiration to all of us who love our furbabies and participate in rescue at all levels.
    This story proves beyond any doubt the life IS about "THE QUALITY" not the quantity!

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  169. I am sitting at my desk at work crying my eyes out hoping no one stops by to see me a blubbering mess. Every time I read one of you blogs 2 things usually happen – I end up crying like a baby and I want to rush home and hug my dogs, my girls. . Thank you for showing Annie what it is like to know love and kindness and thank you for sharing her story and the stories of all of the dogs who have entered your life and made such an impact. You are truly a wonderful, kindhearted person. A one in a million.

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  170. If this doesn't pull at someone's heartstrings nothing will...thank you Ashley for caring...

    Sondra

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  171. I am a huge animal lover! It's so nice to know that there are others out there that care and love them like I do, but you are truly amazing Ashley! I swear you are an angel sent directly from God! I get so angry when I read these horrible stories of abuse. I just cannot comprehend how the human race can be so evil! Thank you Ashley for the love you give to these broken souls each and everyday! Thank you for loving Annie, if only for a short time. Her story has touched me deeply. My heart is broken knowing that she suffered for so long before she found you; but grateful that she did not die broken and alone. God bless you!

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  172. To take on an animal in such need is a powerful thing to do, I wish every one could know the power of an animals love!!!! Even in their last moments they are still loving us!!!1 I have been privilege enough to have had several of these amazing pets in my life!!! Thank you for the special gift you give to these beautiful gifts from God!!! You brought me to tears!!!

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  173. I wish there were more people just like you Ashley! Thanks for showing Annie love and respect!

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  174. wow, I am so happy there are people in our world that are as caring, giving, thoughtful and selfless as you. it gives me hope in humanity again. i wish i had the courage to do what you do. i just recently lost my first boy just under a month ago, and it is tearing me apart. my other dog will be leaving us shortly as well.
    i will miss them both forever, and can never replace them. but i will love again, and make sure that i rescue another and another.
    we all need to do our part and not buy our pets, but rather save them - rescue them. and they will in turn, rescue us.
    thank you for what you do, and for being a true human being. God Bless!

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  175. Reading your story about Annie not only made me cry but brought back my own personal memory of a dog I had tried to extend her life but finally had to let go. It made me cry and wish I could be brave to do the same for other animals but I know with the 4 I have since their puppyhood it would be a sin to attempt

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  176. No words, just tears filled with love ... and graditude.... Oh yes, a few words...because of you, Ashley, reading your blog, I rescued a throw-away-mama pitti scheduled to be killed later that day. She was saved because of your blog...Opal came into my life the end of March as a direct result of being inspired into action because of you! Now, I just found a (black)kitten the other day. Happy anniversary of love and ever-lasting life, Annie! <

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  177. Ashley, that is the most beautiful tear jerker! I SOB EVERY SINGLE TIME I read it! You are an angel in disguise! Thank you for fighting for these babies that cannot speak or fight for themselves. I aspire to be more like you every day! Like you, I too am an animal fanatic! Dogs, cats, horses, it doesn't matter. I love them all! I just wish I could do more than sharing and advocating but, at this point, my hands are tied. Keep up the fantastic work and never stop! You are truly an inspiration!! Thank you again from the bottom of my heart!!

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  178. pouring tears at my desk while reading this sad story that turned into a breath of relief for this poor baby. Im so glad YOU were born in this world to feel this love you have for animals...unconditional...as they have for us. Sorry i didnt read this earlier but I did now and will forever know your name as well as Annies :)

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  179. i just had a lil baby boy! on the 14th actually! he has Downs and has been on oxygen and has an infection and all sorts of issues! but this story just gives me hope for him in the future because there still are a few people out there that truly care! i just want him to know love! the only thing Annie wanted/needed! i cried reading this especially seeing when she died! i dont know! just hit me hard!

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  180. With tears running down my cheeks i want to thankyou for being the wonderful person you are. You have the biggest heart an the deepest soul to do what you do everyday for these animals. Annie is playing with Rudy and all the other animals lives you have touched. They will be waiting for you, tails wagging when your time comes. My friends always ask me whats up with all my animal posts..i tell them I'm saving lives do you mind? If they can tend to fake animals on their farms they can click for a real one! God Bless you always and we all love you! Keepup the great wor..I'd hateto think where these animals would be without you!!! xoxoxo

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  181. You are a truly amazing person. Thank you for sharing your story and reminding us that we CAN make a difference if we choose to. I hope that someday I'm in a position to make this difference for a dog who needs it.

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  182. I am literally blown away by what you do! There are many animal lovers in this world, many dog lovers. But those terms do not begin to describe the person who is able to do this for these precious animals. I am humbled by your story! God bless you!

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  183. Thanks Ashley for all you do! These stories inspire me to do more!!!

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  184. I'm sobbing uncontrolably, and I'm happy to be able to do that. to feel, to love, to be honoured to have been given the gift of allowing animals into my heart, time and time again! Ashley you are 1 in a million girl, keep up the good work, and may love/strength and courage always be with you xxx

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  185. Yes, Ashley, everyone who posts on your blog are true animal lovers and we all wish we could do the same as you do. You definitely are an inspiration to everyone. We desperately need more people like you out there. Animal Cruelty in my opinion is a horrific crime and definitely is not punished enough. I haven't been able to stop crying since I read your story about Annie! WOW! I too am very humbled by your story and if I was a younger person, I would do the same. Are there any more Ashley's out there? This world needs more Ashley's....God Bless you dear sweet girl!

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  186. Ashley, you do the most humane thing. Your strongest quality is to fall so deeply in love with them in such a short time and have to let go in such a short time...but you give the greatest gift...LOVE. God put them on this earth for that and they so easily forgive and forget...she'll carry (they'll all carry) the love you gave them...and still do. Bless your heart and those souls

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  187. You are a wonderful, kind person Ashley and I wish we lived closer so I could meet you in person. I too have rescued a few dogs but not from a shelter. I rescued my first dog Amiga off the streets of a small town in the Dominican Republic. She was left out on her own by a neighbor down the street but came to my place every day Of course this town being in a poor town in the carribean was filthy,and a stray dog had no chance of surviving. Its a long story but I eventually took her and brought her to the U.S. She had every possible parasite and heartworm and she was only 6 months old. I saved her, she lived to be 15 yrs old and was my buddy for all those wonderful years. She moved with us to 6 homes and 4 states and was always the trooper. I also rescued Max from a no kill shelter as a puppy and Bijou from a highway in New York City. I now have two dogs one I believe from a puppy mill that the humane society of Columbus somehow got him and other puppies. I respect what you do, wish I could do what you do everyday. Thanks for helping our babies who cannot do for themselves without kind humans.

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  188. That was a tear jerker....wow....you are an amazing person! GOD LOVE YOU... for all you do!!!

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  189. Thank you for what you did for Annie and all that you do.

    Like other people have said I came here from another blog knowing that this was going to be a sad story but I cried so much it took me ages to read every word. But I had to finish it and absorb every word to remind myself that there are still brave, amazing people like you in the world who will put their hearts on the line to make a difference to dogs like Annie who have suffered so much at the hands of scum who aren't fit to be called members of the human race.

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  190. Wow Ashley. You touch my heart every time you write. I wish there were more "you"'s in the world and I wish I was even 1/4 of the person you are. But I will try even harder these days then I ever have before to aspire to be that important and that proud!
    Thank you so much :)

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  191. You are a good person. A good, good person. Thank you for doing this.

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  192. You have just inspired me beyond belief! I hope that I can someday measure up! Thanks for being you...you are AMAZING ;-)

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  193. Wow I read this and my hart just went out we all have angels and all the dogs in there time of need your there when its your time the good lord will have his place for you in haven keep it up

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