Guarding Dogs - The Documentary

J.R. Fleming & I
A few months ago, I received an email from J.R. Fleming, the producer/director of an upcoming film project: Guarding Dogs-The Documentary. He asked if I'd be willing to give my input on the project, and I responded, "Of course!" So, we scheduled a time to chat about it.

In talking to J.R., I could hear his genuine desire to make a difference for the millions of deserving rescue dogs in this country, and I was really touched that he wanted to use his talent and passion for filmmaking to bring awareness to this cause.

He explained the basic premise of the film: Guarding Dogs is an upcoming documentary film that strives to raise awareness of all of the wonderful dogs that are waiting to find their forever homes, and the rescuers who devote their time and energy to reaching that goal. It is the film's mission to not only emphasize the importance of rescue and adoption, but to also influence the way people think about animal companionship; not as an owner/property relationship but rather as a guardian/companion dynamic that encourages respect, and reduces abuse and neglect.

I loved it! Then, he asked me to share my own input regarding the direction of the film. So, I was open, honest, and candid... giving as many thoughts, ideas, and suggestions for the project as he was willing to hear. It was really cool, because he not only listened to everything I had to say, but he truly valued my input.

That first conversation with J.R. gave me a lot of hope for the future of my cause. I was so excited about the potential impact that a much-needed film like this could have, and I was truly honored to have the opportunity to provide any input at all on the project.

I just wanted to do everything I possibly could to help make this film happen, and to make it everything it could be. I never expected to be included in the film itself; I was just honored to be involved in the brainstorming process.

Over time, we continued to talk about the project. But then... one day... I got the call of a lifetime.

J.R. wanted to feature Lucky Dog Rescue, and me, in Guarding Dogs-The Documentary. And if it was okay with me, he wanted to come to Meridian, Mississippi to begin filming in November.

What?! Are you serious?? Me?! Umm... that's more than okay! That's amazing!!! Wow!!!!!

I was speechless. I was just so honored to be asked to be part of this amazing project. I was touched beyond words. "Thank you" was all I could muster... but it seemed like such a lame, insignificant way to express my gratitude for this opportunity.

Talk about adding 10 lbs with that jacket of mine
So, this week, J.R. came to Mississippi, to film me here at Lucky Dog Rescue.... giving me the chance to tell my story... my dogs' stories... and to share my life in a way I never dreamed possible.

Now, I should say this: I wasn't excited that a camera would be here to film me. Honestly, just the thought of myself on camera made me so unbelievably freaking nervous. But for me, any form of creation --whether it's writing about my work, or filming it-- is never about the recognition.

It's about the potential impact of that creation. It's about reaching new people... with the opportunity to influence their thoughts, decisions, and actions... in ways you could never do otherwise.

So... if putting my (very-nervous, most-likely-awkward, 10-pounds-added-by-the-camera) face on film allows me to share my experiences... and if my words could potentially have any impact on the future of my cause, then I'm all in. I can get over the nerves, the awkward feelings, and the 10-additional-pounds... to save lives.

So, for now, Guarding Dogs-The Documentary at Lucky Dog Rescue is a wrap. But they'll be back here soon, to wrap-up filming and the project.

This film has the potential to change things for the better, and I just have to believe that these important changes can be made. So, my greatest hope is that some of those very changes...will be made.

No matter what, it isn't impossible. And honestly... that's all I need to know.

Do me a favor! Please support this amazing project!


  1. Soooooo freaking exciting! I was already excited to see this, and now that you and the pups are in it I can't WAIT! yay :) Congrats, you deserve it!

  2. Congrats!!! That is so awesome! :) I hope it touches millions & billions of people and changes all their minds!

  3. I hope the film accomplishes everything you wish for, and more!! This is a great opportunity for you to get your story out to people who otherwise might not have the chance to learn about you and the wonderful work you do. Wishing you much success!!!!!

  4. I like the title "Guarding Dogs." I never considered myself, as a rescuer, to be guarding the dogs who come to me but I really like the vibe I get from it. I do and will continue to consider myself an "owner/partner" over "guardian" because my dogs need an advocate - they are unable to participate in the political and community arena in finding them homes, pulling them from death row, counseling grieving owners who need to give up their pet or driving transport so they have a better chance for adoption. On the other hand, like a former riding instructor said, we are partners with our horses...I am a partner with my dogs in finding them homes and/or offering sanctuary for the rest of their lives. We partner in training, exercise, love and community events. My ownership demands legal and ethical responsibility from me for their needs .
    I am very excited to hear more about this film. Congratulations! You must truly be over the moon.

  5. this is so exciting,looking forward to this presentation - This will help so many pups - Keep up the faith

  6. This is so freaking exciting. I don't usually watch documentaries, but I'm going to be watching now! I had heard about it, but just by title, so I never imaging Guarding Dogs was about this subject...for some reason, even though the term is correct, I can't reconcile the term 'Guarding' with the work you do, it's so much more than that. Guarding seems impersonal - a guard - detached, just a gatekeeper - you guys pour your hearts and soul into this - It just doesn't click.

  7. Congratulations Ashley! no one deserves it more. Lisa@HFL

  8. I was so happy when I read about this that I almost cried!!! This will help so many animals across the country and bring real light as what a Pit Bull actually is ... a loving, caring, compassionate dog with only love to give!!!! I don't know anyone more deserving of this than you Ashley!!! I am so happy!!

  9. I have told you that you could become the face for dog rescue in this country the way Cesar Milan is the face for dog training. And someday, if your lucky, Joan Rivers will sat something mean about one of your outfits

  10. I am happy that your rescue is getting this exposure. How soon and where will it be available?

  11. I love reading about people who are following their passion and making a difference in the world! Good work

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