A Letter to my Family

A letter to my family

Dear Mom & Dad,

I'm so sorry I couldn't be with you today. It's not because I didn't want to spend Christmas with my family. I did... more than anything... and I miss you very much.

I hope you understand why I'm not there today. I hope you understand why you didn't see me much this year. I hope you understand why I couldn't be with you... on Christmas day, or Thanksgiving day, or my birthday, or either of your birthdays.

It's not because I don't love you. It's not because I don't need you. It's not because I don't care.

I did it... for them

I hope you understand why I'm always working. I hope you can appreciate the importance of my job. I hope you can at least feel comforted... by my love for what I do.

Honestly, I don't do it for me. I do it for them.

Mom- I know that your heart is broken today, as you spend Christmas without your daughter. I know how much you want me there... I know how much it means to you. I know that you'll have to go through this day... just trying not to cry. I know that you'll pretend to be okay, even though you're not. I know that your only wish today... is to have me there to share it with you. And I know that... in any joyful family moment today, you'll stop and think, "I wish Ashley were here." I know that I won't be there. 

I'm so sorry, Mom. 

Dad- I know that you understand my responsibilities, but obviously... you still miss me. I know it's been so hard for you... to watch your daughter struggle, despite how hard I work. I know that you'd do everything in your power... just to lighten my load... just to see me more. I know that you're just waiting... for the day when I get to take a break and come visit. I know how much it hurts you... when that day never comes. And I know that our family isn't complete today --and most days-- because I'm not there. 

I'm so sorry, Dad. 

I realize that I'm not the only one who's had to sacrifice here. With each of my personal sacrifices... you've both been forced to sacrifice as well. You've had to sacrifice your time with me. You've had to sacrifice your weekends with me, trips with me, and holiday dinners with me. You've had to sacrifice... your daughter.  

But I also know... that you'd sacrifice everything --a million times over... just to see me smile. 

I know how incredibly lucky I am... to have 2 parents who would do anything for me. I know how much you want to help me... and I know just how helpless it makes you feel when I ask you not to.

It's not because I don't appreciate your offers. It's not because I don't want your help. It's not because I don't need you.

It's only because... quite honestly... you've done more than enough for me... all my life.

And even as I say things like, "I hope you understand" ... I already know in my heart... that you do understand. You do get it. You do support me. You're beyond proud of me.

Even still... I know that it's hard... to constantly miss your daughter. To always worry about me. To always make wishes for me... and have them not come true.

But no matter what, I want you to know... that I'm okay. I promise you I am. You don't have to worry so much.

And more than anything... today, I want to say thank you. Thank you for understanding me. Thank you for encouraging me. Thank you for supporting me. Thank you for loving me through it all.

Thank you for teaching me responsibility. Thank you for showing me compassion. Thank you for helping me each and every time I need you. Thank you for guiding me through my journey.

And thank you... for the unconditional love I've known... every single day of my life. 

Because of my sacrifices --and your sacrifices-- I'm able to make a difference in this world. And because I do without --and you do without-- my dogs don't have to. From the bottom of my heart and their's... thank you, Mom and Dad. 

While I can't physically be with you today... or most days... my heart is always there. I'm always thinking of you, missing you, and loving you. I'm always with you... always, always, and forever.

And no matter where life takes me... there will never come a day when I don't need you. Because no matter how old I get... I will always be your little girl.

Merry Christmas, Mom & Dad. I love you.


  1. Absolutely beautiful...makes me miss mom & dad.

  2. Merry Christmas Ashley, and thank you for all you do.

  3. Merry Christmas Ashley, we love you.

    Deb Tampa Fl

  4. WOW what an amazing daughter and person you are, Ashley. Your parents must be so PROUD of you, as we all are that follow your blog and donate to Lucky Dog Resuce. Much love on this Christmas Day and always. xoxo Olya

  5. Ashley, you have a beautiful heart...and no humans could know that more than your parents. You are a very special girl who gives to her community every day and who goes above and beyond what most people could dream of doing for others...
    You make a huge loving difference to all your dogs...and to everyone around you, including me, and we have never even met...

  6. Merry Christmas to you & your Lucky Dogs!! Today more than any other day, they are just that, lucky! Although you already know how grateful they are for you, know that so many others are as well. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the sacrifices that you make. You inspire me to be a better person. May their smiling faces bring you much joy today & everyday!!

  7. Ashley, thanks for all you do for our fourlegged friends. God Bless you and yours.

  8. Thanks Ashleys Mom and Dad for having such a wonderful daughter to grace this world, and show others by example how to make changes for the better.
    Merry Christmas to you and to Ashley who makes everyday mean something for those who ask only to be loved and love their owners back. Your pride in her must fill your heart everyday.

  9. Merry Christmas, Ashley, to someone who has really done something special and important with her life. As we celebrate the birth of Christ, I can think of no more fitting way to embody the spirit of Christ than to make a personal sacrifice to benefit so many others. Way to go. When my kids grow up, I hope I am as proud (as your parents are of you) of how they have developed compassion and responsiblity...working to demonstrate it for them every day! Merry Christmas from someone who admires you from afar!

  10. Merry Christmas Ash. Keep dancing to your own drummer and you will be rewarded.

  11. Happy Holidays Ashley and from the bottom of my heart, I thank you for who you are and what you are doing and for all of the sacrifices you have made, however, with each and every sacrifice comes a paw or a wet kiss ~ I am sure of that. Mom and Dad should be so very proud of you! xoxo

  12. Ashley,
    You know we are both so very proud of you. We love you with all of our heart and would do anything to help you. I cannot express it in such beautiful words as you. Your actions and words have inspired so many people around the world. Everyone loves and admires you for not only what you do for your lucky dogs, but also the hope you give to lonely shelter dogs. You are so special. We have known that since the day you were born. For 27 years, we have had the pleasure of watching a beautiful, wonderful woman blossom before our eyes. But for the last year, we have able to share you, and now the whole world knows how truely amazing you are.
    We love you!
    Mom and Dad

  13. So beautiful Ashley, and the response from mom and dad. Thank you for all you do and for making the world aware of how much these beautiful animals need us.


  14. Thank you Ashley for loving so hard!


  16. You are one of the most loving, compassionate person I have learned to know through the incredible life saving work you do in saving dogs and cats from a certain execution. You are loved by many!

  17. Dearest Ashley, I have always encouraged my daughters to follow their dreams, knowing that I would not be part of the dream, but yet IN the dream. The three of us share unconditional love. Thank you Ashley for having the spirit and courage to follow yours. Blessings, Mary Ellen ...

  18. Dearest Ashley, I have always encouraged my daughters to follow their dreams, knowing that I would not be part of the dream, but yet IN the dream. The three of us share unconditional love. Thank you Ashley for having the spirit and courage to follow yours. Blessings, Mary Ellen ...

  19. Dear Ashley , So glad you are in my life and I care about you as if you were my sister. Your parents must be very special also. Thanks for all you do for the dogs who need all the love they can find. You are a wonderful person ! I think of you everyday and strive to be like you . Hope you have a peaceful New Year .

  20. That was awesome Ashley. I would like to write something similar to my 3 grown children - 2 don't understand my commitment to the animals and why I can't leave, visit my grandchildren etc. [none live nearby or in my state]. However, I am able to look at myself in the mirror each day and feel good for what I do.
    Love and hugs from NH..

  21. Ashley you are Blessed that your Mother & Father are still here on this Earth...
    I can't pick the phone up and call my Mother or Father, I can't give them a Hug I can't say to them "I Love You" at least not face to face...There are so Many thing I should have said, I should have done, I should have spend more time with them...But I can't--For they Both are in Heaven...I will see them both one day , but for now I have to wait..
    Don't take the ones you Love for Granted that they will alway be here..Nothing is more important than your Loved one's..Believe me..I KNOW..

  22. Thanks for sharing. We like your blog a lot.


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