To be such a small word... it holds so much meaning.

At some point in each of our lives, we've all experienced guilt, in one form or another.

Sometimes... we feel guilty, because we've done something wrong. Maybe we hurt someone, or failed someone, or lost someone.

At those times, we should feel guilty, because we made choices that compromised our integrity... and we hurt others in the process.

It's important for us to acknowledge, accept, and process those feelings of guilt, because that's what makes us human-- humans who actually give a crap. But also, that guilt can be leveraged for good. It can push us forward... challenging us to right the wrongs, and become better people. 

In those cases, guilt provides us with an honest opportunity to apologize, make amends, grow, and heal. Obviously, these are good things.

However... far too often... we feel guilty for things that we shouldn't feel guilty about. And I'm calling myself out on this one... big time.

I'm guilty of... excessive guilt.
Chances are... you are too.

What do I mean?

Well... I feel guilty when I work too much. I feel guilty when I work too little. I feel guilty when I ask for help. I feel guilty when I don't even ask.

I feel guilty when I say, "Yes." I feel guilty when I say, "No." I feel guilty when I take chances. I feel guilty when I avoid risks.

I feel guilty because I did too little. I feel guilty because I did too much. I feel guilty when I put myself first. I feel guilty when I put myself last.

I feel guilty for about 37 million other reasons too, but I think you catch my drift...

Sooo... at this point, you're probably thinking 1 of 2 things: 
1- "OMG! Me too!!!"
2- "This chick is sooo lame..."

To those of you in that second group... you're absolutely right. I'm way lame.

But to the first group... that "me-too-crew", I feel your pain. Trust me... I do. I'm always worried that I've let someone down, even when I haven't. I'm always feeling like I haven't done enough, even when I have. And I always seem to apologize for things... that need no apology.

With that last line about apologies, I can guarantee you that every person who knows me personally... just laughed and thought, "She sooo does that."

Here's a classic example:
My friend, Kirk, is also my most dedicated volunteer. Every single weekend, he comes out to help walk my dogs. While he's here, he smiles, he works his ass off, and he never complains. Oh, and he brings breakfast. Yep.... he's awesomeeeeee.

So, a couple of weekends ago, Kirk headed out the door to walk a dog. About 10 minutes later, it started pouring down rain. I immediately thought, "Mother-son-of-a-french! I just sent Kirk out in this shizz!"

A few minutes later, Kirk walked back, smiling and laughing-- completely freaking drenched. And I said, "Oh my gosh, Kirk! I'm soooo sorry about the rain!!!"

He looked at me, laughed, and said, "Ash... did you seriously just apologize for the rain?? I mean... I knew you had a lot of power and all... but I really doubt that you're actually to blame for this..."

I laughed and said, "Well played, sir. Apology retracted."

So, what's up with the guilt complex? Well, for people like us, it actually stems from compassion. We feel guilty... even when we shouldn't... because we care. In general terms, that's a very good thing...

But what I've realized is this: It's okay --even honorable-- to put others first. Just don't always put yourself last. That's the quickest way to lose your power in this world. That's the quickest way... to stop being... you.

Don't trade your power for guilt. Trade guilt... for your power.


  1. I know those feeling so well and it is hard not to feel guilty about things in general but it is true we can not control the rain or others only ourself and when things get over welming for me i sat back and ask could I have done more ,less and listen to inside myself and get the answer ,if you carry guilt all the time it eats at you and you can not accomplish anything so sometime you just have to let it roll of your back and move on.

  2. me to that is how I feel,but guilt should make you a betetr stronger person,without guilt there is no compassion

  3. Me too. Thanks for putting it into words for me. I'm going to print out your entry and hang it right by my desk so that I can read it each time I feel a guilt snowball starting.

  4. Ashley,
    I luv you for being you, and for being so much like me :)

  5. You are wonderful Ashley!! All of us with love in our hearts who are trying to change the world feel guilt over what we can not do... Thank You for putting it into words for us :)

    Melissa (Teddy's mom)


  7. When you are completely giving from your heart, you are making a difference. Change one person, change the world. One person at the time. One precious creature at the time. In total Love, total Hope, total Peace. Let Christ's Light be your guide, for it is His Love that Lives in You.. No need for guilt. That is a curse from the world. In Christ, there is Love. Live in His Love and Prosper in Him. Bless you for all you do for the voiceless. You are remembered in Holy Prayers. Love, linda.

  8. Not to make you feel guilty, but:

    Please make Pet Pardons donations tax deductible, and ...
    Please, when we advocate and share on Facebook, make a way for us to hear something! These posts go haywire with "He's been put down" and "Good luck." There's really no way to know. And yes, I have checked on a few and found they were adopted. If there's no feedback then it just feels like a FB drive-by.


  9. I have always felt so guilty for just about everything. these two Mangey itching puppies got dumped in my yard and it was the coldest night of the month. they were so unhealthy. We couldn't bring them inside because we had another dog we didn't want sick. We had to put them in our shed that was fully insulated and was warmer inside then the outside. It wasn't like those plastic sheds you buy at walmart. it was a hand made. Boot and nail shed. We got them warm, fed and feeling better. I cried myself to sleep that night. they are only about 3 months old very young and were in horrible condition. I had been dealing with depression and other such things and that drove me over the edge. I couldn't take it that someone would do that to puppies. Before that night ai had been clean of self harm for several months. The next morning I woke up I walked outside and they were there shivering so I say down on the floor and cuddled up with them. They smelled awful. Those 3 days I had them before they went to the rescue I felt truly happy. Alive, then they left. I feel like my life is slowly slipping away. the only thing that keeps me going through the day is seeing him and him alone everyday and waking up reminding myself that every day is a day closer to changing the world. I know now I changed those pups world for the rest of their life. I am 13 years old and I have changed 6 life's. I know I will change more.

  10. Very Good Blog and so true for allot of us..
    Came by your Kennel This past Monday~you have an AWSOME place..What a Great place for your Babies..Wish you would have been there, would have Loved to have seen the inside. Will call next time 1st Be-4 I come that way again..Please add pictures of inside & outside of your kennel so all can see..Believe me from the out side it is AWSOME..Thanks

  11. Guilt is what motivated me to get involved with dog rescue! I felt guilty for turning a stray into animal control that ended up being euthanized because they considered him to be dog aggressive. That combined with the pain I felt of all the mistreatment animals suffer in this area led to to the path I am now which has been extremely fulfilling.

  12. Ashley, I'd LOVE to hear more about how you handle a relationship along with all of this. You're married right? but we never hear about him. I'd like to know how you found someone so supportive :)

  13. You are nothing but a scam. And it's sad even people in Microsoft fell for this scam too. You do NOT exist. You are just an Internet entity that blogs and puts a pretty girl on the pictures. You do NOT have a physical facility big enough to have enough dogs. And no wonder you need to hide in a state nobody would ever go down to visit.

    No wonder you don't have a phone #. Or an address. Or a website.
    And please learn how to write without getting abusive. Have some respect for our kids for Christ's sake.

    1. Why do you say this is a scam? Numerous people have gone to visit the facility.

    2. Ashley does not give out her personal information because of CRAZY people like YOU!

    3. It's called freedom of speech. If it offends you, keep your kids off the internet.

    4. Hey there.

      FYI: I DO exist, as does my rescue. That's a fact.

      If you've ever wondered why I don't have my physical address listed on the internet... well... here's why: I write a blog that's read by at least 100,000 people each month... usually more... and I'm the co-founder for Pet Pardons, which has more than 500K users at this point.

      Is it safe for a young female, who works alone, to give out her address to that many followers? I think not.

      Further, I don't list my phone number for the exact same reason. I'd never be able to care for the number of dogs I have here... while answering that number of phone calls.

      I'm ONE person... not a call center.

      For your information, I'm registered with the IRS at a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. This is no secret.

      Thanks for your thoughts. Yet, they have zero merit :)

  14. this is not a scam. evidently u have no heart. also it bugs the crap out of me that people can't just have their animals spade or neutered. there would not be so many animals left to died or be abused. please any one who reads this,fix ur animals so they don't end up dying. MAKES ME SO MAD WHEN PEOPLE DON'T TAKE CARE OF THEIR ANIMALS,THEY HAVE FEELINGS TO.


  16. One of the preventive ways to hinder the burglar is to install security.

    1. I have security :) I'm still overly-protective of my dogs, which is a very good, very smart thing.

  17. To Anonymous: She is not a scam!!!! I have been to Lucky Dog Rescue and walked some of her dogs and watched her work her butt off in the care and loving of those dogs. You could not be further from the truth on that. If you have nothing positive to say or do in the rescue and care of abused animals as Ashley does, then why are you even wasting your time here? Enough said.

    As to the "guilt"........I have always loved dogs more than people. As a kid, we lived in a rural area where people dumped their dogs. We kept a couple, but not having much ourselves, we had to take some to the pound (this was 45 years ago, so no FB/email rescues options. Moving forward, raising a family, etc., I still did what I could. Now that I am semi-retired I am able to accomplish so much more for the abused and neglected animals. I can't let myself feel guilty about what I didn't do earlier; b/c I would eat myself up in guilt. I can only say, now that I can, I will live my life doing ALL I can. A lot of this comes from Ashley; her inspiration is amazing. When I found LDR, I began to look for other ways to help close to home. Now I transport at least once a week, foster when can, donate as much as I can (hide from hubby)! I know the feeling of wanting to save every dog, but I can't. I spend a part of every day in tears; some happy ending stories, many not. But I won't let guilt get in my way! Thanks for listening. And thank you ASHLEY OWEN HILL a real living, caring, wonderful person for opening a new chapter in my life.

    1. I love you, Kathy! And yes, you HAVE been here, you've seen me in the flesh, and you've met my dogs!

      People are CRAZY, aren't they? Wow... they really need to find a hobby.

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