6.25.2011

The Wait is Over

Last October, I got a call about some puppies... who had been thrown in a trash bag... and then dumped in a ditch.

At the time, I was already overloaded, but these pups had no other hope. So, I made the decision to take in four, very emaciated, terrified little babies… and I slowly brought them back to life. Within a couple of months, they'd all been adopted…

All… except one.

That one puppy... was Ali. Ali was a simple black puppy… nothing more, nothing less. While I thought she was extremely special, I knew the reality for a little black puppy like Ali. Her age was the only thing working in her favor... and that wouldn’t last long.

During the puppy phase, I can feel the “time crunch” for each dog. As a young puppy, their chances of adoption are highest… especially for a “black puppy” … who will soon grow up to be a “black dog.” Families can fall in love with a black puppy, and go on to treasure them forever. But adopters rarely look at a simple black dog and say, “Yep. That’s the one.”

So... I worked hard during Ali’s younger months to find the perfect home for her… before it was “too late.” Then, last Christmas, I found a wonderful family who wanted to adopt Ali... and my soul was on-fire...

But... just before she was meant to go home… the family chose another dog instead.

After that, I wrote a special blog post … letting Ali tell her story "in her own words."

My hope, upon hopes, was that someone would read her story... and fall in love with my Ali.

But... no one ever did.

Months passed… and soon, Ali was no longer a puppy. Suddenly, she was just another black dog.

And while I never give up hope… I knew…

I knew the chances of Ali ever finding a home of her own were so slim. I knew that her hopes may never be realized… her dreams of a family may never come true. I knew that Ali may live with me forever… and while I was okay with that… I knew that she deserved better.

How did I know all of this? Well, I currently have six “black dogs” for adoption: Ali, Pepsi, Freddy, Lucy, Liberty, and Maddie. Five out of the six have been living with me for months or years. In addition, every other rescue and shelter across the nation... is packed with “black dogs.” Further, Ali looks like a smaller version of Pepsi, the black foster baby I’ve had for 2 years and counting… with no adoption requests.

So… I knew.
I hoped, I wished, and I prayed… but I knew.
Ali can be a little camera shy

For the last few months, Ali has been my child, my little Bali Boo. She’s been every bit as much my child... as my own dogs. From the moment I met her, I fell in love with her precious spirit, her fun personality, and her unwavering devotion to me. I’m the only mom she’s ever known… I’m her family… and she’s never had any idea... that she isn’t “mine.”

Because... in truth, she is mine… she’s my heart.

I’d accepted that Ali would probably live with me forever, but I never lost hope that the right adopter may come along one day. Either way, I knew she’d be happy and loved.. with me, forever... and that’s all that really mattered to me.

Even still... every now and then, I’d re-share my blog post about Ali, in hopes that maybe --this time-- the right family would read it.

And yet… no one ever wanted Ali…

And so… my home... became Ali’s home, and that was that.

Well... this week, I was checking emails, when I saw an adoption application in my inbox. I opened it, and at the top, I saw the name: Ali.

Seeing her name on the app... was enough to make me cry.

But as every rescuer knows, the application itself means nothing. It’s the content that matters.

As I read further, I saw that this was more than just your average adoption application.
This was the home I’d been dreaming of for Ali... for the last 9 months.

I read it several times… stunned and completely speechless. A home? For my Ali???

I rarely get my hopes up anymore, but I quickly called the adopter... to talk about Ali. I asked how he’d found out about her, and he said, “The blog you wrote about her… I fell in love with her story, and I wanted to make her part of our family.”

So, it turns out… the "Ali blog" that I’d put my entire heart into writing… worked after all. For months, I’d been beating myself up... over that very post… because I felt like I’d failed Ali... in my one chance to tell her story…

Once I'd approved the adoption, I ran in, scooped-up Ali, and held her in my arms.

 My tears had her concerned, but my smile told her it was okay. And finally… I was able to look at my baby girl and say, “You’re going home, Bali Boo! You’re going home forever!”

Ali and I have a special “Bali Boo dance” that we do every day. It’s one of her favorite things, because I sing in a funny voice and jump around like a crazy person, which makes her so excited. It’s really hard to explain the lyrics of the Bali Boo dance without sounding completely ridiculous, but it goes something like this:

“Bow, chicka bow bow, chicka bow bow. Bali’s a bow wow, chicka bow bow…”

So we danced, we sang, and we laughed. Then I cried, hugged her, and cried some more. I held her… rocked her… and promised her... that I’d remember this moment... for as long as I live.

Then, I held her little face in my hands, looked her in the eyes, and said:

“Just so you know… I’m going to cry tomorrow… and you won’t understand why. You’ll be leaving me forever, and you won’t understand why. But soon… I promise… you’ll understand why I did it. I did it for you. One day, you’ll be happy with your new family... so happy... and you may not even think of me anymore. And that’s okay. But just know… that no matter where you are, or what you’re doing, I’ll be right here… thinking of you, missing you, and loving you, forever.”

Ali kissed me on the cheek, like she always does when I’m sad, and I reassured her that I was so happy for her… and I really am.

But while the joy of an adoption is overwhelming, the pain of giving up my child is undeniable, inconsolable, and heart wrenching. I didn’t want to let her go… I never want to let them go…

But… there comes a time when you have to do the right thing for them, even if it hurts you. And for Ali, the right thing… was to let her go…

And so, with the happiest, broken heart I’ve ever had... I said goodbye to my little Bali Boo today. She was excited to meet her new dad, Paul, and her new pup sister, Annie. And I know she'll go on to live a life of happiness and love.

But she was very unsure... as I loaded her into the car... with tears streaming down my face. She couldn’t understand why I wasn’t coming with her… and she tried to stay behind with me.

It ripped my heart to pieces, but soon… she’ll know that I did it for her. Everything I’ve done, since last October, has been for her.

Then... as Ali left with her new family, I was finally able to say:
“Thank you… for taking my baby home. She’s been waiting for you her whole life.”

As they drove away, I saw Ali watching me through the car window, with hope and uncertainty. I blew her a kiss, and kept watching... as her little face... got smaller and smaller…

And then, she was gone.

My Ali is home tonight. She’s home... for the first time in her life… and I gave that to her. While I’ll probably never see Ali again in this lifetime… I’ll love her every day, for as long as I live. And I know that one day, as she’s running through the yard, happy as can be... she’ll stop… she’ll smile… and she’ll think of me.

And I have no doubt… that at that very moment… I’ll be thinking of her too.

Because I’m her mom… and that’s what moms do. They love... forever.

*I love you, Ali. Thank you for the joy, the laughs, and the love. I will never, ever, ever forget you.


40 comments:

  1. I know how you feel. We are in the process of finding homes for some of or rescues. It is very heartwrenching, but I am happy they are finding new homes. I am balling my eyes out as I type this!

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  2. i'm so happy for her, looks like she has a wonderful new family, good work Lady.

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  3. that story made me cry. i pray that all the homeless animals in the world find a loving home. thank you for all that you do for these wonderful animals. sincerely, teri kirk

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  4. this story made me cry! Im so sorry for your loss! :'( but remember, 'if you love something, set it free. If it is yours, it will come back<3 Thank you for all that you do

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  5. I am happy for both you and Ali, even thought I know your heart is broken. You are a mother to these dogs, and most mother dogs have their babies taken away. Maybe this helps you understand dogs so well. Ali will always remember you. You will always be in each other's hearts.

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  6. Tears fell uncontrollably as I read this. I have said that I could never do what you just did, let them go to their forever home, I would become too attached I just know. I was told that that is considered a "failed rescue". Congratulations on not failing. Your story and what you do is truly inspiring! xxx

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  7. this story broght tears to my eyes. im so happy for her but i kno how u feel

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  8. Wishes do come true

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  9. Not only is she a lucky little girl to have found a forever home, but also to have had you as her guardian angel. Thank you for sharing this, and for being the person you are!

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  10. That wad so touching, you're making me cry again. If you're ever in Florida, I'll bring Bali Boo to you! I promise to love your precious baby with all my heart.

    Paul

    P.S. I'm amazed by how quickly you composed this heartfelt and moving message! Seems like we said goodbye (for now) just an hour ago.

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  11. This was such a sad and happy story all at the same time. It made me actually cry and smile. You're an amazing mom and it's nice to know there are happy endings for beloved family members like Ali. <3

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  12. This is what you were put on this earth to do Ash...It's in your actions and your words that tell your story so well. Totally selfless. You are the best of what people are. And I am laying here with my black dog Pepper so thankful. With LOVE from Maine.

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  13. That's awesome! any chance the new dad will update us (you) on Ali's settling in?

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  14. Paul, I'm so thankful for you, for loving my baby. If only you could know the gratitude in my heart for you and Annie.
    PS- I wrote the first half of this (Ali's backstory) last night, and finished it after she was adopted today :) I knew I'd be a basketcase once she was gone, so I wrote the parts I already knew last night, with Ali by my side :)
    This is an AMAZING DAY! Yay for Ali!!!

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  15. Ashley,

    I have been in rescue for four years and understand the heart hurt that letting them go can cause. I have fostered over twenty dogs and it never gets easier for me. The little girl who came to me starving, covered in fleas and burned with a cattle prod will forever have a place in my heart. I was crying so hard when her new mom came to get her that my husband had to do most of the talking at the adoption. I got to see my Chloe about 8 months after she went to her new home when her mom adopted another of our rescues. She now lives in a big beautiful home with the best of food, medical care, a groomer that comes to her home and most of all lots of love from her mom and fursister. She was so happy in her new home and I'm not sure she remembered me. She is now visiting nursing homes and and caring for others who have been forgotten like she had been. That's how I can take the next soul and heal their heart knowing mine will break again when they go "home".

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  16. Thank you so much for what you do for these precious babies. I wish I could do the same. If only I could afford to, I would. I have three dogs now, I did have six but three have passed on from this life. I gave them lots and lots of love while they were with me and was totally lost without them. It breaks my heart in two to think of these precious animals that only want to be loved and cared for. God will reward you for caring for these helpless babies. God bless you!!

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  17. Ashley, thank you so much for taking care of me when no one else wanted me and for showing me what love is all about. Thank you for taking the time to share my story.

    Paul, thank you for opening your heart and home to me. I promise you many years of faithful companionship.

    With all my love,
    Ali

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  18. woman, are you trying to kill me? I could not read the original blog...... Im crying so hard that Im having chest pains..... Im sobbing til I cant catch my breath.... you know they are thinking that you are abandoning them, sending them away. It will take her alittle time but she will learn that this is where she was meant to be since she was born... her destiny. She is what I call gods angels... they are different, special, no words can ever explain it. My angel was named Chelsea. She was a boxer i adopted from gaston county nc shelter and IT IS A KILL SHELTER! I know god put her there to wait on me. I dont know who brought her there and left her but they never knew that they was simply a stepping stone, a vessel getting her to me!! Because God knew I was going to need her..... OHHH DID HE AND HOW I DID NEED HER!!! The 10 1/2 years i had her was the hardest time of my life!! It was one thing after another. I would lay in my bed and start to cry and she that 65 plus pound ball of muscle HAD TO BE right beside me no matter where I was and would have been in my lap if I would have let her and COULD HAVE HELD HER IN MY LAP... THAT WAS A JOKE EVEN THOUGH IT WAS NEVER FUNNY TO HER AND SHE NEVER UNDERSTOOD WHY SHE COULDNT BE THERE!!!! When I would cry, she would get as close as she could to my face and be so upset, tore up cause I was..... AND SHE WOULD LICK THOSE SO MANY TEARS OFF MY FACE!!!! OHHHH GOD HOW I MISS HER AS I START TO LOSE IT AGAIN IN SOBS.... IT STILL IS SOO UNBEARABLE!!! She would get so upset that i would start wiping my face quickly and start saying to her, im okay chelsea, im ok. im stopping see, im ok and i would have to stop cause i couldnt bear to affect her like i was.... just as god had planned.... so i couldnt, wouldnt stay in that moment, in that situation, wouldnt, couldnt let it keep taking me there, and on down!!! HE PUT HER THERE TO SAVE MY LIFE AND SHE DID I SWEAR TO THAT GOD WAY MORE THEN ONE TIME!!!! IM NOT KIDDING..... A year in january end of that month I had to put her down. I knew it was coming. probably should have done it before then due to ongoing pain she experienced, had 24 7 in her joints and her gums started to aggresively grow and had to have them lasered 2 or 3 times and they were back and that was extremely painful and made it unbearable for her to eat. That morning, she just couldnt breathe. so my daughter and I rushed her to the vet. they could have tried but it was just cruel to make her endure any more but GOD I WANTED TO BE SOOOO DANG SELFISH..... AND STILL DO!!!! I REALLY DO NOT THINK I WILL EVER GET OVER HER AND DONT THINK I CAN PUT MYSELF THERE AGAIN.... SO I THANK YOU AND ADMIRE YOU FOR THE STRENGTH TO CONTINUOUSLY PUT YOURSELF, AND HEART THROUGH IT!!!! I will be praying for you both to make the transition and weight lighter so easier to bare. The only way I could have saved myself this pain is to never had excepted my gift of an angel from god. LOOK AT WHAT I WOULD HAVE MISSED...... THAT KIND OF LOVE, AND DEDICATION AND LOYALTY!!!! AND I WOULDNT BE HERE I HAVE NO DOUBT TO BE CRYING WITH YOU!!! THAT ANGEL that you saved I promise is destined to have that kind of affect somewhere on someones life..... WAIT AND SEE..... BY SAVING HER.... YOU SAVED SOMEBODIES LIFE IN THE FUTURE!!! GOD BLESS YOU MY LOVE...... Thank you for doing gods work!!! I love you for it.... I truly do....

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  19. I cried when I read your blog and Ali's story. It's so wonderful that Ali has a forever home...and wonderful that you love Ali enough to let Ali go to that home. THANK YOU! And THANK YOU, PAUL, too!

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  20. For all you do God Bless. I am so happy for Ali. You are a very unselfish person and I pray we have more people like you
    You are a special gifted person,
    Thanks doesn't seem enough.
    I am so happy for Ali
    I pray also that all animals without forever homes get one, and also all this cruelty to animals stops, that brings them to shelters in the first place. I advocate on Pet pardons, and so many stories make me weep.
    God be with you Ali and your new family.
    My sweet dog is a rescue and is my joy and I wouldn't change a thing.
    Sincerely, Peggy and my sweet dog Jeffery

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  21. Thank u Paul.. and Annie- for inviting her in to your family

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  22. I cry every time i read one of your blogs, because you put all of your heart into this work and because its a cause close to mine as well. I just read Ali's story for the first time a few days ago and said a little prayer for her. I'm so so so glad she has a forever family at last! Having fostered several dogs myself I know the seperation is bittersweet. But looking at those photos with Ali and her new dad, I see there is love already and that is the best thing one could hope for. She gave him kisses - that speaks volumes! Carry on the good work, Ashley. And THANK YOU Paul.

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  23. I promised myself I wouldn't cry when I read this blog even though I know your blogs always make me cry tears - whether they are happy or sad ones. This one was no exception and I broke that promise to myself as I read Ali's story. I'm happy she found her forever home, but I feel your pain in letting her go. What a difference you made in Ali's life and all the dogs who are blessed to know you, Ashley! I had to laugh at the Bali Boo dance though! How cute!! Keep up the good work!

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  24. Ashley and Paul:

    Thank you. There is a special place in heaven for both of you one day. You are beautiful people who share the heart of beautiful Ali.

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  25. I just got done crying like a baby , :') it never fails every time I read one of your stories , Thank you for being so good to this poor babies

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  26. I also cried like a baby-your such a special person with a big heart-your awards are waiting in heaven :)

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  27. you are a beautiful person, inside and out. what a wonderful story. you're a very strong woman to do what you do, love an animal, knowing that you will need to say good-bye to them. God put angels like you on earth to do this, and we're so very fortunate to have such a special person as you. God Bless You. btw, i cried, of course, reading this story. I spanked my Sammie this evening for peeing on the living room rug right in front of me. I felt so incredibly bad afterwards I couldn't hug her long or hard enough, to say I was sorry. Reading your story just made me feel more guilty and that's a good thing. Again, God Bless You for doing the incredible "work" you do. Sincerely, Kimberly W. Minnesota

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  28. Paul is already giving me updates on Ali and I know he will for the rest of her life :) After she gets settled, I'll get some new pics of her and share how she's doing with y'all :)

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  29. Awww Ashley! This is such wonderful news! I know you'll miss your little girl but you did what any good mom is supposed to do. You raised her right and gave her wings to fly. Paul is picking up where you left off and, of course, Ali will never forget you, I'm sure of that. From one mom of beautiful black dogs to another, keep up the good work!

    Crystal
    Florida

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  30. Bye-Bye Alli! I love you girl! so glad you found a home! You and Lucky was always my favorite dogs there! I got Lucky, but I couldn't get you, I'm sorry, but I'm so happy Paul got you! I can already tell you, Paul and Annie will have a blast for the rest of your life! I'll never forget you sweet girl! Love you!!(:
    -Libby

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  31. I cried through most of this blog... it was written with such love and gut-wrenching pain, all combined! What you do for these dogs is amazing- you put your whole heart and soul into them... I can only imagine how hard it must be when you have to say good bye to them, even though you know it's the best for them. I still don't understand why she was not chosen earlier (or any of your other "black dogs")... I am partial to black Labs myself, and would have wanted her earlier!!! Unfortunately, I can't have dogs where I live, and so I have multiple cats, whom I love lots. You are a true Guardian Angel to the animals you rescue and care for, and what you do for them is AMAZING... I wish there were thousands more of you... or that I could do what you do. Please keep posting any updates and/or pics of Alli... she is adorable... and I wish her a long and super happy life in her new home... Paul, PLEASE take great care of her!!! <3 <3

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  32. Ohhh I so know of what you speak! It's the wonderful awful pain in the world; especially, if you've had to nurse them either as neonates, or through a health issue. But, every minute of the pain is SO worth it!

    Please, please, everyone that "thinks" they can't do...is one less foster home to save a wonderful animal. We CAN do it because of the lives we save. We need people to put aside their fears of falling in love, and please do....fall in love, that is. Never forget that when that special dog leaves your home, there are hundreds waiting to take it's place.

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  33. Jericho's Promise,
    I couldn't agree more! Which is why I posted this status on my Lucky Dog Rescue Blog fb wall earlier:

    Fostering is the most rewarding thing I've ever done. It has given me more joy, laughter, and love than I deserve. At the end, there's always heartbreak. But never for a second does the sadness outweigh the joy. Never do the tears outweigh the laughter. And never does the pain outweigh the love. Heartbreak heals... but love is forever. ~Lucky Dog Rescue Blog

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  34. I wrote it before and i'll write it again, Ashley, you are beautiful! The passion and emotion you instill in your writings, especially Ali's story, I'm in awe. You've definitely named your rescue correctly. We, and the dogs, are
    supremely lucky.

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  35. Let's see if I can type through the tears. They are happy tears. Tears of a fellow animal rescuer, fellow foster. Someone that understands the pain of letting our babies go. It is very sad to see them go, but we know it's the best for them! They deserve their own home!! God bless you Ashley and all the other animal rescue people in the world. Without us so many more would die a senseless death. We've got to keep on keepin' on! Rescue Rocks!! And my passion is black dogs!!

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  36. i have to stop reading these beautiful stories while im at work. mascara smeared all over my face does not make for a good presentation :) i had seen the picture but i missed this story. omg! you truly are doing gods work. this was just an amazing story - well all of them are. i remember reading your blog about this baby the first time and when i got to the part where the family picks another dog, well i had to shut the door, crawl under my desk and absolutely lost it! i am thrilled that this baby has her new forever home. this absolutely makes my day. to know that someone loves her as much as you do, that should make yours. god bless you ashley. if there is a heaven, there is a special place just for you!
    patricia

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  37. Ashley:
    All your tears of heartache and joy are recorded with God. He knows the challenges you face everyday, but I think you make Him smile everyday because of the work you do. Keep fighting the good fight, it's worth it. May God bless you and all your furry babies.

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  38. It breaks my heart to see the photos and read the stories of babies that have been neglected, abused, etc. But it also warms it up to know there are beautiful people like you, Ashley, out there helping in every possible way. Iam so happy that Ali has her forever home.

    I didn't understand the part about black dogs - is there a reason why people don't want to adopt them? I have a little black girl named Padfoot is my heart and soul - she picked me out special :)

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