10.26.2011

And Then There Were None

Brody HATES the camera flash
Often in animal rescue, the happiest days of your life are also the saddest days of your life. Welcome to today for me. 

I'll never forget this day: October 26, 2011. Today is the day that my Brody went home forever. Today is the day that the final piece of a very special puzzle fell into place. Let me explain...

Eight months ago, I rescued a litter of 8 Pit Bull/Boxer puppies from euthanasia. Despite the fact that I didn't have room for 8 new dogs, these puppies deserved a chance. And so, 8 little babies came to live with me. 

Several of the puppies were sick. The rest made huge messes. But every single one of them stole my heart. I'm telling you... this was the cutest litter of puppies that ever lived.

Soon, 3 of the puppies went to amazing homes in Minnesota: Brutus, Duke, and Bam Bam. A couple months later, Darcy and Lexi were adopted in the Northeast. And soon thereafter, Ellie was adopted here in Mississippi.

And then... there were two: Teddy and Brody. 

Teddy and Brody were not only brothers, but best friends. They did everything together, and their relationship was truly special. And I felt special to be a part of it. I felt even more special... because I was their mom. 

I'd basically raised these two since birth, and they'd never known life without me. But as much as I didn't want to know life without them, I knew the time would come... when I'd have to let them go. And then, in August, the time finally came to say goodbye to Teddy, when he was adopted by an amazing family up north. 

Seriously, Mom? Another picture??
And then... there was one... Brody.

When Teddy was adopted, Brody lost his brother and his best friend. Teddy was Brody's hero, and I won't lie... it was heartbreaking to watch Brody searching around Lucky Dog for Teddy. 

I promised Brody that his day would come soon... that he'd have a special family just like his 7 brothers and sisters. But after months of waiting --and for Brody, a lifetime of waiting-- I sometimes wondered whether Brody would ever go home.

With each month that passes, puppies become less and less adoptable. Adopters tend to want either a baby puppy... or a grown adult. The in-between stage is rarely desired. So, if they don't go quickly as a pup, then there's often a waiting game until they're full-grown. 

Such was the case with Brody... until today... 


Following an approved adoption application and home check, a wonderful family here in Meridian adopted my Brody today. He'll have 2 human sisters, and a new mom and dad. 

The family's excitement brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. And the smile on Brody's face honestly meant everything to me. Because for the very first time in his life... he finally knows what it's like... to be home

That was one of the happiest, most heartbreaking moments of my life. The joy was for Brody. The heartbreak was for me, because the time had finally come... to say goodbye to the last baby from my special litter of eight. I just couldn't believe they were really all gone.

Ever since he was just a baby, I've been Brody's mom. But now, my job is done. My baby is all grown up. And it was time to let him go...

So... I bent down, and gave my Brody the last hug, and the last kiss, I'd ever give him as his mom. He has a new mom now. A new family. A new home.

In his ear, I whispered: "You can't understand it right now, but this is why I saved you." And then, I repeated the special quote I've recited to him every day since he was just a sick little puppy: "I'll love you forever. I'll like you for always. As long as I'm living, my baby you'll be." Then... I quietly sobbed as I walked away.

Before I shut the door to Brody's new house, I looked back at my baby one last time. Through my tears, I smiled and said, "Welcome home, baby boy."  

With that, I closed the door to one of the most incredible chapters of my life...

And then... there were none.

50 comments:

  1. In animal rescue there are always those animals that touch your heart and stay with you for life. Ashley you saved 8 lives that day. Today you showed a human family a new love with Brody. We love the work you do. xoxo Lori

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  3. I love reading your stories. They ALWAYS make me cry!! You are a WONDERFUL person for doing what you do and may God always bless you!!!

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  4. Ashley Owen Hill....I Love You! I admire you! I wish you all the luck in this world. Everything that you've been doing makes me wonder why can't people be a bit more like you. Thank you, and I'm sure all the animals that you've helped say the same. Keep it up and God bless you!

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  5. thanks so much for this light in my day. I spent most days advocating and searching for fosters. Begging those already burdened more than they can handle, to handle more.
    Most days are so sad, knowing that not everyone will be safe that night, reading about some atrocity that a human has done to the helpless.

    Reading your posts help me keep going and help me realize that sometimes, just sometimes, its all worth it to know they finally have a family, and will be ok after all.
    much love for all that you do.
    your friend in action, Brooklyn

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  6. This made me cry.....seriously, tears are streaming down my face right now.

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  7. OMG Ashley again another tearful read..... My God what a great Lady Mom Care giver to animals you are .... I <3 U Ashley for everything you do for the furbabies you save. I am the one who asked for a 10.00 button . I hope others are also using it and giving to a great cause xoxoxo Tammy

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  8. cheap shot to ANONYMOUS above this post. This woman is a HERO and an INSPIRATION. We should all hope to be even a fraction as gracious as she is.

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  9. You are truly an Angel sent to help the Ones with no voice. May God bless you, your calling, and the babies that you save. I am going to share Brody's story and hope and pray that it will help rescue some poor homeless baby.

    Timothy Kerley

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  10. Ashley, you made me cry yet again. Tears of happiness for Brody and some tears of sadness for you. I say sadness because he holds and always will hold a special place in your heart. If it wasn't for you, Brody may have never seen this day. God Bless you Ashley, you are a true angel right here on earth. God Bless Brody and his new family and I hope they live out many long years together.

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  11. Ashley you are an amazing lady! I know what it's like to raise a furbaby from birth and the joy you feel for them when they go to their new homes and moms, but utter heartbreak you feel for yourself. A lot of people don't understand how attached we get to those animals that we care for, they are like our children in so many ways, part of our family.

    Sharlotte Adams

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  12. I usually foster mama cats and her litters. Our shelter is extremely urgent. Some animals only have 2 days to be adopted before being put down. But I wanted to say I know EXACTLY what you are saying:
    You are with these babies from such an early age and they learn from you and you learn from them. You feed, bathe, nurture and love these animals as if they were your own! I cry every time one goes to his or her new forever home. Just like I cried on my human daughter's first day of school, like I will probably cry when she goes off to college or gets married and starts her own life.
    Like human children, animal children fill that special place in a person's heart and stay no matter when or where they go.
    Good job Ashley. You part is done but you will never be forgotten in those dogs hearts!!!!!

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  13. You made me cry at work...

    I wish there were more people like you in this world. God knows we could use the help. Thanks for all that you do... and we will all continue o try and do our small parts along with you.

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  14. Ashley: I have said it before, and I will say it again, you made God smile today. May all eight babies find joy and happiness in their new forever homes.

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  15. Ashley, you are truly an amazing woman and inspire me to be a better person..I don't know if I could of let Brody go, you will always be his and the other 7 babies you saved Mom.
    What an incredible story!

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  16. You brought tears to my eyes!! Bittersweet but absolutely worth it!! You gave Brody just like the others what he deserved, a home and a loving family.

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  17. I adopted my baby and will always adopt in the future. I'm so grateful to all of the rescuers out there. I can't fully imagine what you all go through when "the time" comes to let go, but I thank you all for doing it so the pets and the families can know the joy they do or will have someday. I wouldn't trade my Furgii for the world.

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  18. How much happiness can the heart hold? You only have to think of your babies to know. Thank you for caring for, loving, and saving them so they can spread that happiness. God bless them, and you.

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  19. Hooray for Brody! Good job, Ashley.

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  20. I know why I always wait until I'm not at work to read your blogs! You are so amazing Ash! Minnesota.....omg I would love to meet your babies, its the connection u know! Love you!
    ~Angie

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  21. You are amazing, tears of joy running down my face. God bless you and the wonderful, selfless person you are!

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  22. So touching, so moving, so beautiful! I'm weeping as usual but they are the best kind of tears!

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  23. Thumbs up for Brody, for his new parents, and of course to our favorite dog rescuer

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  24. :).....bittersweet to send your baby off to a new family....What a lucky baby to have found you and now his forever family....

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  25. Ashley, I'm really touch by the story. Although I'm new at having pets (5 years) but after learning all those bad things out there that had happened and is happening to those animals I promised myself the next one(s) will always be a rescued. I often talk to my 3 dogs of how I would never let anything happen to them as long as I'm alive. Thanks God, my husband also turned out to be a dog lover (all my 3 dogs and other dogs I dog-sit for people love him).

    God bless you (Ashley), all the dogs you have rescued and all other animals out there. People like you give me hope that there are some good people left on this Earth.

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  26. I know what you mean, I love all my fosters, there's always something special about each one and watching their real personalities emerge. I think about Vita (small cairn terrier mix) went from timid and hiding in dark corners to Ms Thang and ruled my lab mixes with an iron fist and every other foster until she got adopted. And the babies, watching them grow and their features and personalities develop, so hard to say goodbye even though you are delirious with joy that they have found their own forever home.

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  27. Amazing! You bring tears to my eyes & joy to my soul. You are my inspiration Ashley. I absolutely adore you.

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  28. YAY!!! I'm in tears Ashley I've been waiting for lets see got Brutus Feb 18th, 8 months for the last of the liter to find a wonderful home like my monkey has!!! Thank you thank you Brody's new parents! This liter is an amazing bunch and you won't have any regrets!!!

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  29. You are truly an inspiration and an angel to these sweet, helpless animals. I just hope one day I can do something this meaningful in life. God bless you.

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  30. My husband and I now have a hobby farm where we do feral cat rescue and, someday, dog fostering. But, back in grad school in Madison, WI we fostered little feral kittens for the local Humane Society. Some of my most bittersweet moments were also my happiest - to see tiny, sick little beings become strong and well - to bring them back for adoption when they were big enough. To say goodbye and give them up so their forever homes could find them...aaach! Your heart could break from joy and pain! And the stories that stay with you about them - each so unique; naughty as only kittens can be; funny and adorable, and utterly irresistible! I am thrilled for you, Ashley, that you are fortunate enough to know the full breadth of true love and compassion for these lovely souls. I truly wish more people could know it - it would change them forever. Blessings. ~Laurentia McIntosh

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  31. WOW Ashley. Awesome!!


    Deb.. Tampa Fl

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  32. To the one saying you thought it was Pet Pardons... Ashely is one of the owners of Pet pardons thank you!!!! And this is HER website for HER rescue, thats why it says "Lucky dog rescue" ^^^^^^ on top of this,, lol come'on now get with it and couldnt you just be nice and say something nice about this beautiful blog?

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  33. Brody is clearly a very special boy. Kudos to his new family for recognizing a good thing when they saw it. We wish Brody all the happiness in the world in his new home.

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  34. Your blog is always a bright spot, even when the events you talk about are sad or bittersweet -- because you show us how you live your beliefs.

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  35. Beautiful, touching story♥♥ ~Rusty~

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  36. If only there were more people like you in the world and fewer of those who treat animals like disposable accessories. As heartbreaking as it is saying goodbye, it is wonderful that all your babies have found their forever homes.

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  37. I just want to say thank you for all you do, you are the most wonderful person to do what so many wishes they could. I know your life is truly blessed by all you do. I just want to say thank you.

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  38. 8 Years ago this week I rescued a mom and her 8 puppies. At the time I also had 5 other dogs of my own. I had never been through that experience, I almost declared bankruptcy because of it, but to this day, it has to be one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. I ended up keeping mom. Unfortunately I lost her to bloat in April of last year! I still have her son, whose birthday is on Sunday! Your writing just brought me to tears because it does rip you inside when you have to let them to, but you know it's for the best. So YIPEE for Brody! And congrats on a job well done!

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  39. Way to get a girl worked up! I can't imagine how it feels to raise 8 babies and see them go off to their forever homes. We are fostering 2 of 7 and while I'm ready for my life to get back to normal, its great to know we're helping these little guys get their first start!

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  40. I love reading all of your blogs Ashley. You are truly a special person. I wish there were many more people like you. Brody and those babies were lucky to have you as thier foster mom!

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  41. This is the first time I've read your blog, I just recently found pet pardons but this story really made me cry. You see last November someone ditched a pit bull outside my apartment community, people outside said she was crying at random doors to be let in. I walked over to her and she was obviously carrying a litter of pups. I was headed to work so I told my boyfriend to bring her in the aprtment. I had to leave work early that day because 5 hrs later she was delivering her babies. She had 6 beautiful puppies, it was tremendous work taking care of them, my two boys, and my other puppy who was 6 months old at the time(also a pit bull mix abandoned on my jobs back door at 7 weeks old with the rest of his litter). To make a long story shorter I loved those puppies and their momma and it was heartbreaking to see them go, but great to know their stories have a happy ending. Momma is now in a great home and she has been spayed, she comes to visit with us sometimes. The only difference in my family's story is the last pup Sanchez, who I thought would never find a home. I finally found him a family at 5 months old, he apparently had different ideas he jumped through a screen in the window and found his way back to us. Needless to say after that stunt I figured he was choosing us and I didn't have the heart to tell him no. He is almost 1 now and he makes me smile everyday!

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  42. Awww, this made me cry. I have a dog I saved from the street who I am rehabbing and will have to find a home for, as I have 3 already and my BF does not want to keep any more. I have fallen in love with her and I know I will be so sad the day she goes... now I just need to find her that special home! <3 Best wishes to Brody and his new family for a lifetime of love and happiness together. <3

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  43. Having to let one of your furbabies go is one of the hardest thing we animal lovers do. I have a cat who has become FeLV positive - which means in order to save my 3 other cats, he has to go live somewhere else. I've found him a home whith a friend but my heart breaks for the day when he's not with me every day anymore but I'm happy to know his disease did not become a death sentence. Very bittersweet. For what you do and for all the others like you, we thank you for what you do. Those 8 babies are happy because of you!

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