8.18.2011

Goodbye Teddy. Hello Forever.

This is the story of my Teddy... a story of life, love, and letting go.

For the past 6 months, Teddy has been my baby... especially because I've had him since he was just a baby. Teddy entered my life as a 6 week old puppy, when I rescued his litter of 8 tiny puppies from inevitable euthanasia in a shelter. The reason for their pending deaths: their breed

Teddy's mom was a Pit Bull. Obviously, this makes Teddy a Pit Bull mix. And even though he is every bit as much a "Boxer mix" (which, by the way, is considered "acceptable" by most shelter standards), the Pit Bull label assured his fate--death.  

And so, I rescued 8 Pit Bull mix puppies... and brought them back to life. Several of these pups were malnourished, requiring additional vet care, frequent feedings, and expensive supplements. 

Teddy was one of those sick babies, and out of the 8, he needed the most from me. He was so tiny... and I remember how he'd snuggle his little body in my arms and shower me with kisses as I nursed him back to health. I treasured every minute of those early days with my Teddy, and those memories will stay in my heart for as long as I live.

Soon, three of the healthy pups, Brutus, Duke, and Bam Bam, were adopted and transported to Minnesota. The remaining 5 lived with me... healing, growing, and learning. Each day, they became a little healthier, got a little bigger, and learned a little more.

Each day... they changed my life.

Shortly thereafter, Darcy, Lexi, and Ellie were adopted. 
And then... there were 2: Teddy and Brody.

Teddy and Brody are best friends. From the beginning, Teddy has played the role of "big brother" to Brody, and I could always see the admiration in Brody's eyes for his cool big bro. Teddy showed Brody the ropes, and Brody willingly followed Ted's lead. Their special relationship with each other, and with me, has impacted my life more than words can express. When the 3 of us are together, the world is exactly as it should be. Well... almost.  

As much as I love them, I want more for my babies. Families. Homes. The chance to be special. This is my dream for my children. So, for months, I've waited... for one, or both, of them to get that chance.
 
A few months ago, I thought Teddy's chance had arrived. I approved an amazing adopter and set-up transport. But the week he was meant to leave me, the adopter called me in tears. Her insurance company was going to drop her family if she adopted a "Pit Bull mix," and they couldn't afford to switch companies. Just like that... a misinformed corporation stole my baby's chance for a family... 

And my heart shattered. I cried as I told Teddy the news. I apologized over and over again, for something that wasn't my fault, and certainly wasn't any fault of Teddy's. But it didn't matter whose fault it was. Teddy wasn't going home.  

A couple months later, another adopter was set to adopt my Teddy. Then, the morning of the scheduled transport, the adopter backed out. So... for the second time in Teddy's short little life, his chance for a family was ripped away from him.

I was blown away. Teddy is one of the most gorgeous, awesome dogs I've ever rescued. He has the coolest personality, with a happy-go-lucky disposition and a gentle, loving soul. Teddy is simply amazing. 

Yet, he's been "in-waiting" all of his life. Most days, I blamed myself for this, assuming that I must suck at my job if I can't even find a home for this incredible dog. I'd tell myself that I must be the problem here, feeling that Teddy has never had a real family... because of me.

Well... this week, that all changed, when I approved the perfect adopter for my Teddy. Of course, I was worried... considering that his past 2 adoptions fell through last minute, so I tried not to get my hopes up. I scheduled the transport and set my heart on this chance for Teddy's future. 

Today --transport day-- I woke up, said a special prayer, and prepared to let my baby go... to finally send him home. My stomach was in knots all morning, wondering if, once again, bad news would come last minute... and preparing my heart for another potential letdown. 

I loaded Teddy into the car and drove to meet P.E.T.S., the transport company that would get him to New York. I was in constant contact with the adopter, Melissa, and she couldn't wait for Teddy to be on his way to her family.

When we got there, I realized that this was really happening... Teddy was really going home. I could hardly believe it. I did it.

As we said our final goodbyes, Teddy's life played like a movie in my mind. Suddenly, I realized that my baby... the sick little puppy who needed his mama... was all grown up. He was healthy, happy, and ready for his future. Months of my time, energy, and love had made this moment possible for him-- the biggest moment of his life.

In that moment, I forgave myself... for thinking that I'd failed my baby boy. Because in truth, I never failed him... not once. Every time he needed me, I was there for him, and I'm the only reason he's alive today.

Brad & I with Teddy
So, I gave Teddy one last hug, one last kiss, and said one last "I love you." Then, tears filled my eyes as my Teddy left me forever. 

As we loaded him on the transport truck, Teddy couldn't understand why I wasn't coming with him. I'm his mom... the only mom he's ever known, and he didn't want to go. But on Saturday, when he meets his new family, he'll understand why I did it. I did it for him.  

I gave Teddy life, love, and hope. 
Then... I let him go. 
That's what I do. 
That's rescue.

*And then... there was one: Brody.

UPDATE: Click to read Brody's adoption story: http://luckydogrescueblog.blogspot.com/2011/10/and-then-there-were-none.html 



59 comments:

  1. What a beautiful story. Thank you so much for what you do for these dogs, it means more than you know and you inspire me to do the same thing when I grow up. <3

    ReplyDelete
  2. Beautiful. You are amazing and I hope always know how special you are!

    ReplyDelete
  3. ashley i cried. i love all your stories.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh mh goodness I am in complete tears! What a sad, but then beautiful story. Prayers and positive energy going to Brody that he soon has his "hello forever" too : )

    ReplyDelete
  5. As a foster home, when one of my babies gets adopted, my fellow fosters tell me - as I also tell them - the best way to move forward... is to get a new foster dog. I know your new 'baby' Lucky is on his way - and I can't wait to hear more about him! Best of luck Teddy, you handsome boy!

    ReplyDelete
  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Teddy is gorgeous and you are a wonderful and brave lady to love them so much and let them go to their forever homes.

    Wishing him much happiness for a fabulous life with his new family.

    Angela, UK
    x

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm all teared up. You are definitely an angel. thank you for helping dogs!

    ReplyDelete
  9. So beautiful! You are an amazing person!

    ReplyDelete
  10. As usual, I'm in tears. You are so strong and special to do what you do for these precious dogs who wouldn't stand a chance at life without you. And, you have such a special way of putting your emotions into words. I hope Brody will soon find a home of his own, too. I know he will have to adjust to life without Teddy, and that will be difficult for him. God Bless you!

    ReplyDelete
  11. oh i wish i could take one. here in UK pitts are illegal too and the rescue i volunteer at has to put any pitt mixes that come in to us by law. all the people that work there think its stupid especially when we had a dog that was a return to shelter and was the sweetes dog ever and had to put him to sleep coz this stupid law came in that said any possible pitt had to be assessed and if found to be part pitt had to be put to sleep. needless to say everyone that day was in tears. its such a stupid law just because some stupid people own them and have given them a bad name. pitts should be assesed just like any other breed not just condemned. you are wonderful for what you do :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. YAY TEDDY!!!! I'm in tears (of happiness)!! Had chills go through my body the whole time reading your blog. Teddy now you listen to me you be good in your furever home or your brother's Brutty, Duke and Bam Bam will come find you I can assure you that because I'm the proud mama of your brother Brutty!
    Thank you Ashley for saving this family Brutty means the world to me and now Teddy gets to mean the world to someone else. LOVE YOU and keep up the amazing work!

    ReplyDelete
  13. The third time truly was the charm. Happy Forever, Teddy. <3

    ReplyDelete
  14. Loving them enough to let them go...as a relatively new foster mom, I'm still getting used to that. It doesn't get easier, but I'm getting stronger. Thank you, Rescues!

    ReplyDelete
  15. As if I haven't cried enough this week.

    As you know, MY brindle Pit/Boxer mix pup was adopted on the 14th. I didn't have him nearly as long as you had your kids, but Lars was MY dream dog. He was brindle and handsome and sweet and smart. His ears were to die for! But... I couldn't keep him. I need to keep fostering. It's what I do. So... I helped raise Lars from puppyhood to a little man who had all of his adult teeth and waited eagerly for that perfect family to come around. I couldn't understand why he hadn't been adopted immediately. I guess MY dream dog isn't everyone's dream dog. Lars had many adoring fans, don't get me wrong. But you, better than anyone else, knows that people who rescue are usually already at their limit. "Oh, I love him... but I already have four dogs at home." The limit here in Virginia Beach, VA is four.

    I fell in love more and more each day... and when I began to wonder if anyone thought this puppy was amazing as I did - a glimmer of hope. He had an application in on him! Turns out... they were the perfect family for him. As sad as it was to see him go... the family couldn't have been anymore perfect.

    These things take time... and a lot of people don't see what WE see in our foster dogs. But... the wait usually ends up being worth it... because they usually end up finding that perfect forever home.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Great blog...I cried as I read it. You've done a good job and may you be blessed for your compassion!

    ReplyDelete
  17. What an amazing story - Good luck Teddy! Wishing you the best at you new forever home!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Oh Ashley that's so moving! Teddy and his siblings have all been very lucky dogs to have had the good fortune to be rescued and nurtured by you until permanent homes could be found for them. It must be so hard to say goodbye to the animals you care for but you will never forget them and they will never forget you. Perhaps you'll get the opportunity to see some of them again and I'm sure on Facebook, say, you'll be able to get updates about them and how they're getting on!! I'm sure Teddy will be absolutely fine in his new home and will have a wonderful, happy and long life!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Awesome story, had me in tears. You do awesome things for dogs that need it... BRAVO!!! to you and to all you help!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I am just sobbing.. I would find it impossible to let them go after being "mom" for that long.. God Bless you.. I hope Teddy never forgets you.. and I hope his forever family sends you updates on him..

    ReplyDelete
  21. very moving....I am so in awe of you and your dedication. God Bless !

    ReplyDelete
  22. very moving....I am so in awe of you and your dedication. God Bless !

    ReplyDelete
  23. Ashley, you are a beautiful person, inside and out. I felt a huge lump in my throat as I read your story. Then tears running down my cheeks. I don't know if I could do what you do, but I stand in awe of you being able to love Teddy enough to let him go. Thank God there are people like you in this world.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I so hope Teddy will be happy in his new home. He must be so confused and hope the trip isn't too hard on him. I don't know how you do it - I don't know if I could let them go, I'd love them too much, thye're "mine" :-) I'M in NY so if you ever need anyone to check up on him, let me know.....

    ReplyDelete
  25. Frankie Taylor FisherAugust 18, 2011 at 5:29 PM

    ... you always make me cry ... but I read and hope and pray, anyway ... they are worth my tears ... I'm so happy for Teddy ... Safe travels, buddy ... enjoy your new life ... thank you Ashley, for everything you do ...

    ReplyDelete
  26. Ashley: I think you made God smile to get Teddy his forever home. God bless you for what you do!

    ReplyDelete
  27. so happy for that ending, good luck with Brody, i'm in tears

    ReplyDelete
  28. Incredible story! I really hope Teddy is happy in his new life, because you sure sound like an awesome mom! Great job!

    Chris

    ReplyDelete
  29. God bless people like you, Ashley. This is such a wonderful story. It's sad that any breed gets a bad rep when it is really due to humans and their cruelty. As long as dog fighting is ignored and punishment isn't severe the problem will exist. Again, thank you. I'm 73, have two male mixed breeds I took in as strays and just don't have the money to care for any more or I'd have a house-full.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Lovely story. Heartwarming and uplifting. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Ashley, you are an Angel.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I was nervous when I started reading the story..I thought that Teddy was put to sleep..... I too own a rescued Pitbull and she is hands down the greatest dog that I've ever had. She is so very, very sweet.

    God bless.

    ReplyDelete
  33. What an amazing story! Tears are running down my face as I read this because it reminds me so of our rescue Louie. Also a pit mix who was wanted by no one and given back after days because of his excess energy. We were his last chance at life. We took him in with his 2 brothers and he has turned out to be a lovable, incredible member of our family. God Bless you and every dog that comes your way!! Keep up the great job you do!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Bless you for loving and giving so selflessly

    ReplyDelete
  35. The tears are running down my face!!! what an amazing story, I am so happy that he has a forever loving home but my heart go's out to you for having to be separated from your baby, keep up the great work you are truly amazing!!<3

    ReplyDelete
  36. I totally know this feeling and have tears in my eyes as well, but thank goodness someone was kind enough to give him the loving home he needs. It is people like us that make the difference and we have to remember that no matter how long it takes there will be someone out there as loving and caring as we are to give these lovely critters a forever home.

    ReplyDelete
  37. What an amazing story! Tears of joy right about now! Thank you for all that you do for animals! I know they can't thank you enough! Welcome home Teddy! You have a lot of courage to do what you do I would never want to let them go!:)

    ReplyDelete
  38. ...And at that moment.... all the suffering is behind you because your baby has found a new life, a new family to call his own... a place to belong. A piece of you lives on in Teddy---- you're in his DNA. Because of you he is safe, he is whole. Your job is done. Well done. :)XOXO

    ReplyDelete
  39. Ashley- I love he way you write. And I always end up with tears in my eyes. It must be so incredibly hard to let these babies go. I give you so much credit for that, and for all you do. You truly are amazing. <3

    ReplyDelete
  40. I have so much admiration for you, the way you raise these pups then let them go, don't know if I would be strong enough. Another success story. Congrats.

    ReplyDelete
  41. love this story, it's so nice to hear nice ones too!!! thank you for all you're doing for pit bulls!!! THE most affectionate BREED on the planet, poor people that don't get that do they lose out!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Crying. Again. As per usual when I read your blog. You should seriously look into getting Kleenex to sponsor you. They must be making a killing off your readers. Welcome Home Teddy! Be happy sweet boy.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Such a sweet story. Thank you for your good work.

    ReplyDelete
  44. You are something, Miss Ashley!! Teddy is going to have a wonderful life thanks to you.

    ReplyDelete
  45. OH Teddy Baby, so happy for you! Sending love from me and Wonder bird. Love u Ash..always thinking of you <3

    ReplyDelete
  46. I just want to say thank you for doing something i can't do. But someday i hope i will beable to do. I know God is watching over your baby Teddy, you are truly blessed.

    ReplyDelete
  47. What a Wonderful Story...Teary Eyed....Wish I could do the same...

    ReplyDelete
  48. Ashley,
    I promise you from the bottom of my heart that Teddy is going to have a wonderful life with us in his forever home!! The entire family is anxiously awaiting Sat when we go to pick him up! I will send you lots of pics so you can see how GREAT he is doing. Thank You so much for all that you do!! You are an angel!!

    ~ Teddy's second mommy
    Melissa

    ReplyDelete
  49. This story truly touched my heart. I lost a golden retriever of mine a week ago due to a ruptured tumor. I had him for 14 years, almost all my life. Throughout elementary school I had a hard time learning and making friends, and everyday my golden McCloud would let me hug him and cry. He helped me through break ups, and fights and the best part is him just being there helped me through. He slept with me at my feet everynight and would always be by my side everytime he was with me. This story just touched my heart and Im glad others get to enjoy the love of a dog. I miss my dog dearly but I thank him for being there for me. Thank you for this story its good to know that theres people that accept any animal and breed so many people are judgemental. You have a big heart.

    ReplyDelete
  50. What a wonderful story! I am in full blown tears. You are amazing and such a very special person!

    ReplyDelete
  51. I cried practically as soon as the link opened in my browser and I in all honesty I can't stop crying. It was so sweet and touching. I admire you so much because there is no way that I could ever do what you do without closing off my heart and feelings altogether because I could never trust anyone out there to adopt any of the animals I rescue for fear that something would happen to them. Knowing myself I would cry every single day for months if I had to send an animal to another person's home.

    I love that you can do this. I would have gotten so attached to him that I could have never let him go. I'd have to buy the entire state of Alaska just keep all the animals.

    You are an amazing person.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Completely in tears here. You have such a big heart to be able to love and let go so he can have a family.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Aww, hooray for Teddy! You are so strong - it must be so hard to let them go after you've spent so much time and given so much of your heart to that pup. You're awesome! <3

    ReplyDelete
  54. this is the kind of story that should be the poster for pit bulls and their temperment with the right person. Hope he has a wonderful rest of his life.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Wow thats a sad and happy story.God Bless you. You are an Angel on Earth! You are very strong person i think if i where you i keep them all i could not give them away because it will break my heart. Thank you for having such a big heart and help those babies in need.I wish you lots of Health,Happiness,Love and Prosperity.Friend i Love you from the bottom of my heart you will be in my prayers you are a Sweet Angel! Amen.oxoxox!

    ReplyDelete
  56. Bless you! Keep up the wonderful work. I have a rescue Pit. Most wonderful girl!

    ReplyDelete
  57. You are amazing and a beautiful soul...thank you for all the work you do and i know to you it is not work...because you love it so much..you are an inspiration to me.

    ReplyDelete
  58. What a beautiful story. I wish there were more people like you in the world.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Every single time I cry at one of your heartfelt posts...sad or happy. God bless you, Ashley. <3

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.