12.08.2011

Home for the Holidays

In animal rescue, there are many tough days. Often... the tough days turn into tough weeks... which soon become tough months.

But days like today... make it all worth it.

Today, my Marco was adopted. Yes, that Marco... my little storm survivor.

On Monday, I wrote a heartfelt blog about Marco. My greatest hope was that the post would lead my special boy home for the holidays...

But in writing that post, I knew the reality of the situation. I've written blog posts about each of my Lucky Dogs. Many of those posts were written months ago... and many of those pups are still waiting to go home.

Why so? At Lucky Dog Rescue, I take the dogs with no other hope. My dogs are rescued from the most horrific situations... abuse, neglect, chaining, baiting, and torture. I also save many with special needs, illness, and health issues.

I choose to save the worst of the worst... because they deserve it. These are the babies who've experienced the purest evil that exists in this world... never receiving an ounce of compassion to ease their pain.

And if not for Lucky Dog, nearly every dog here would've been killed in a shelter... without ever knowing love.

However, in saving the worst cases... I'm also saving the least adoptable dogs. Therefore, my dogs are often here with me for much longer than many pets with other animal rescue groups. And I'm okay with that. 

When I save these dogs, I know that they'll likely stay with me for a while.

So... when they finally do go home... there's this mixture of pain and joy in my heart... that just can't be described in words.

For me, that moment is incredible. It's heartbreaking. It's everything to me.

Today, my Marco was adopted. For months now... I've been waiting for this day. Because today is the day... that I finally got to send my special, homeless boy... home, forever.

But the best part? Marco wasn't adopted by strangers... but by a family he already knows and loves.

My friend, Kim, was one of the amazing fosters that stepped-up to help me over the Thanksgiving holiday. When she offered to foster one of my babies for the week, I said, "What about Marco?" She excitedly said, "Yes!!!"

I knew that Marco would steal Kim's heart --he's freaking awesome-- but I never in a million years expected Kim's family to adopt him. That was just too good to be true. 

But when they brought Marco back to Lucky Dog, Kim couldn't stop crying. She didn't even want to go home that night... because Marco wasn't there. And every day after that, Kim would check-in with me, to ask how he was doing.

Yesterday, I was going through a couple of adoption applications for Marco. As I was about to contact one of the families for an interview, I received a text from Kim:

"Ashley, we'd really love to adopt our baby Marco."

Suddenly, tears filled my eyes. I said, "Really?!?! Kim!!! Best news ever! He's yours."

Kim's family has been so good to me, and especially to Marco. When I received that message from her, my heart was filled with so much joy... knowing that my Marco... was finally going home.

Today, Kim came to adopt her new baby. When she walked through the door, Marco's smile and excitement lit up the room. That moment... was one of the greatest moments of my life.

For Marco... it's the only moment that's ever really mattered.

As Kim was filling out the adoption paperwork, I said: "Just so you know... I'm going to sob when you leave with him. But I promise I'm so happy for Marco. I'm just sad for me. I'm going to miss him so much."

Kim said, "Aww, Ashley! Every time we go out of town, we'll be boarding Marco here at Lucky Dog Retreat. So, you'll see him again soon. I promise."

I looked down at Marco, and said, "Did you hear that, buddy?! We still get to play together!" I watched his tail wag like crazy.

I kneeled down, to give Marco one more massive hug. I held his face, looked him in the eyes, and through my tears, I said: "I know you have a new mom now... but can I still be your best friend?"

Marco smiled and kissed my cheek. Then, with tears streaming down my face... I watched, as Marco pranced out the door with his new mom, Kim.

And just like that... my Marco went home for the holidays... and forever.

57 comments:

  1. i'm so happy he has a home, but can only imagine the pain in your heart. xoxox

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  2. What a wonderful story!!!!!

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  3. In tears, again. So happy for Marco. A big thanks to your friend Kim for stepping up!!

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  4. I am so beyond happy to hear this Ashley your my hero

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  5. I'm soooooooooo happy to read this! Ashley, you're awesome. And the fact that you'll still get to have Marco as a part of your family is soooo rewarding! Congratulations on all of your hard work, and if you read this Kim, you're awesome too! Marco's going to have a very good life from here on out...awesome news...just awesome.

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  6. Am so glad Marco has a forever home. I am sure he will be deeply loved.

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  7. That is wonderfully awesome! Hugs too all!!

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  8. Yay!!! My foster got adopted today too, we've had her for months and I know exactly how you're feeling.

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  9. I'm weeping ... this is a beautiful story

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  10. Damn it, you made me cry AGAIN!!! So happy for baby Marco, for Amy and for you. Cherish days like these girl! Hugs! xx

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  11. I brought that blog up for my husband to read on Monday and said somebody will read this and see this gorgeous animal and give him a home!! What a great day for Marco - for all of you. You deserve a million more days like it.

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  12. The happiest tears ever... you are a true angel.

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  13. >>>crying now... what a wonderful story... Godbless you all and all who strive to make lives better for animals who are not fortunate to have known love and compassion in their lives x

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  14. Good job Marco!! Kim you will be so happy, a rescued dog is more than a best friend. Good job Ashley, you created another happy life. Happy holidays

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  15. So So happy...tears...but tears of joy. I am so happy for Marco, you and Kim!!!! Thank you so much Ashley for saving this baby and thank you so much to Kim and her family for giving him a forever home!!! Wonderful news!!!!

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  16. So very happy, brought real tears of joy, thank you for sharing this story and taking such great care of these needy pets. Lela

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  17. Makes it all worthwhile. God bless you!

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  18. Like so many others, I'm in tears but they are good tears. Tears that there are good people like Ashley and Kim...so happy for Marco!!

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  19. This really made me cry! How precious that he finally has a family! All dogs deserve that!

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  20. there is an angel among us............you !

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  21. You had to make me cry, didn't you ?? So very happy for Marco & his new family !! It's just so wonderful to hear a story like this one - too bad they couldn't all be this wonderful. I wish people would fix their pets & stop a lot of the breeding (& of course puppy mills), & we wouldn't have so many homeless & helpless pets. Thanks for doing all you do. I would take so many if I could but I live in a condo & have 2 dogs & 2 cats of my own. Another problem is holiday time. People get pets & a lot of them end up @ the shelters once the "newness" has worn off & they don't want to deal w/what it takes to be a true pet owner. Same thing happens @ Easter w/rabbits, & they, more often than not, end up there, too. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart :)

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  22. Wonderful news. I wish they all could find a home.

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  23. EVERYTIME I READ YOUR BLOG I CRY TODAY IT WAS TEARS OF HAPPINESS.THANKS FOR ALL YOU DO ASHLEY

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  24. FIRST OF ALL, LET ME START OFF BY SAYING " UR AWESOME!!!" UR A GUARDOGIAN ANGEL!!!! GOD SENT U HERE TO MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE IN THIS WORLD. WE NEED MORE LIKE U.THIS STORY IS A FREAKIN' GREAT AS I BAWL MY EYES OUT! ITS HARD LETTING GO OF SOMETHING U LOVE SO DEARLY. GOOD FOR MARCO. WONDERFUL BABY TO A WONDERFUL CARING FAMILY.EVERY ANIMAL AND ANIMAL LOVER HAVE A PLACE IN MY HEART, EVEN IF I DONT KNOW U BUT WE SHARE THE SAME BOND...... THE BOND TO ANIMALS. I WISH I COULD DO SOMETHING/ANYTHING LIKE WHAT U DO, BUT I BARELY HAVE ENOUGH FOR ALL MY BABIES ( I HAVE KITTIES)WOULD HAVE DOGS IF I WERE ALLOWED WHERE I LIVE. ACTUALLY... PORBABLY EVERY ANIMAL FOR THAT MATTER!! GOD BLESS, GOOD LUCK, AND KEEP UR HEAD AND SPIRITS UP. GOOD THINGS COME TO THOSE WHO WAIT!

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  25. omg, your stories always leave me teary eyed, so happy for this outcome

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  26. Ashley, thank you for all you do to help homeless animals find loving, forever homes. Just by sharing some of your animals on my facebook page through Pet Pardons, several of my friends have adopted animals in need. What you do is AMAZING and I appreciate you so very much. God Bless You!!! Laurey West - Heath, TX

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  27. Man oh man I think I cry almost everyday when I read your posts! I'm so so happy for Marco! I love happy endings Ashley I've said it before and ill say it again.... thank you! You're awesome!

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  28. So I hope none of my co-workers walks in on me crying while I read your blog. I'm so happy for Marco. It's always tough to part ways with our beloved furry angels but it's great that he's going to his forever home. Merry Christmas, Marco! This blog just put me in a huggy-dovey mood but can't hug just anybody here :) Wish my beloved rescue cats Beans and Bagel were right here. Oh well I'll give them a massive hug when I get home. In the meantime I'll have to put my self-control in check. No hugging anyone...

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  29. Ashley. That is great Marco found a home with your friend. You are the greatest.

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  30. Happy tears - the best kind! I wrote a little something about this heartwarming story on my Facebook wall and shared the link to your blog, hoping others would want to read about Marco's new home for the holidays! :)

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  31. If i didnt marco from the beginning i would never believe he was the same dog. His foster mom never gave up on him. Both her and you are marcos angels. I just cant thank you enough for everything you did for us here in ttown. With so much heartbreak and gloom you helped me especially put that ray of hope in my life again. You took the ones that i knew no one would step forward for. Its been a long 7 months and we are slowly getting back to normal. But when i see the damage still i actually smile and know that some of those dogs that barely made it out alive are living the life they deserve.

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  32. OMG- my eyes are so teared up. What a great story and good for you for taking care of the least wanted and giving them you love. You are a dogsend: )

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  33. that is so wonderful Ashley, i have tears writing this :)

    Kimberly W.,,Sherburn, MN

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  34. Congrats to Kim & Marco...So happy !!!... Ino she loves him very much and will have a wonderful life with her ...hugs to Kim & family ...and Marco ~laura

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  35. I tweeted and Facebooked (do the same please): Home for the Holidays - Happy :) http://ow.ly/7TC5E #PetRescue #dogs - Lucky #Dog #Rescue in #Mississippi SHARE!

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  36. Ashley: God bless you, Marco and his new family.

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  37. I just have to write and thank everyone for their words of encouragement and support! Marco is laying on the rug with his reindeer toy and Bandit as I write this. Our 3 dogs greeted Marco like they had missed him so much, it was truly amazing to watch! Ashley I wanted to say thank you again for all you have done. All that you have done for me, Marco and all these precious darlings that you so willingly care for and share yourself with. You are the greatest! Thank you for allowing me to foster Marco, and trusting me to adopt him. He is a joy and a blessing and as I told you before, I think I needed Marco just as much if not more than he needed me... What a beautiful Christmas gift!!! Merry Christmas all!

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  38. My heart is filled with joy!

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  39. Ohh Ashley, you always make me cry...you are and incredible person...saludos desde Honduras!!! xoxo

    Caro Irias

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  40. I,m so happy for Marco. He so deserves his furever home. I,m glad it happened to be your friend so you can see him again. You do so much and never complain about the work, because you love your friends. I truly admire you for that. I,m sure he,ll do fine. Don't cry...although I know that's hard. He'll be truly happy and loved forever and you know that for sure.

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  41. Christmas miracle for Marco~~tears of joy!!!

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  42. Wonderful story, I love happy endings. I feel joy today becase on this story. Thanks to Ashley, there is HOPE.

    Deb Tampa Fl.

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  43. Project Hope Animal RescueDecember 9, 2011 at 9:53 AM

    I run a rescue called Project Hope and we, too, only rescue special needs, older, senior dogs. Our first rescue dog, Mocha, has three legs and is a senior Chocolate Lab. We have had her since July 25 with little interest. However, she will soon be in her new home. It does take awhile for these dog to get adopted, but I have found that the families that adopt these dogs are very special themselves to adopt the "less" adoptable dogs, which makes the adoption so much better!

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  44. What a heartwarming and loving story. It is people like you who give so many unwanted animals a new leash on life. I so wish I had the courage and guts to do this, but I would never want to give them away.

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  45. Wonderful way for me to start my day. I'm so happy for you and of course Marco!

    Claire
    Seattle, WA

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  46. Busting with happiness for Marco and his people!! <3<3<3 can't wait for updates!!

    Leslie, Barkley and Bogey aka the B Boyz

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  47. You made me cry again!! But tears of joy!! God Bless you , Ashley & Marco's wonderful new Mom!!

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  48. Ashley, I have to say, I'm here sobbing... not because I'm sad, but just because you say these words that are so true.. "the purest evil", "abuse", "neglet", "baiting", "withou ever knowing love", and I know that are so many pets out there in shelters waiting, and waiting for a loving home, pets that suffered and still suffer in silence. I don't and I will never understand people (if we can call them that...) who mistreat animals, and treat them like garbage, as if they don't have feelings. I can not imagine the pain of an animal trapped in a home with people who can't provide love and caring for them, or abuse them. I don't understand people who use them as a bait, and I can't imagine the pain that a dog is put through, and that's why I cry. Because when I read these words, I can somehow feel their pain, and my tears roll when I read that they finally found a home and they will know what love is, finally... And I feel happy, really happy. So, I'm here sobbing, but happy that Marco is a happy dog now. Thanks for taking care of him, thanks for exisitng in their lives, thanks for having this love for them, which makes me believe that there is really angels around us, and we can't never lose hope. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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  49. I didn't bash any shelters. You clearly missed the entire purpose of the post.

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  50. As Always Ashley has me flooding my keyboard! Im am ecstatic to hear the news for Marco, Kim is a Hero this holiday! I pray for these poor babies and it is so rewarding when I get to see some of them answered. I pray for you to Ash, I pray for your safty and health mostly because without you there are so many that would lose their guardian angel! keep up the great work! God bless you and Happy Holidays

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  51. You are a wonderful, beautiful person. I donated a small amount and wish I could do more. Thank you for what you do!

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  52. You are a wonderful, beautiful person. I donated a small amount and wish I could do more. Thank you for what you do!

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