Save the Animal Kisses

A lot of people have asked me to write about how I got started in animal rescue. Actually, I've been rescuing dogs all of my life. As early as 5 years old, I began taking in stray dogs and cats and finding them homes. Many of my rescues found their forever home... with my family.

As a kid, there were times when I'd arrive at a birthday party... but never even make it inside. I’d see a stray dog, wandering through the parking lot, and honestly, I was physically incapable of leaving the pup all alone.

While my mom would beg me to go into the party with my friends, I preferred to just sit on the concrete and comfort the scared dog. Sure... I’d go inside for a second... just to steal some hot dogs and hamburgers... so I could feed this poor starving baby.

Then, when it was time to go, my poor mother would wince... because she knew: we weren’t going anywhere... unless that dog was coming with us.

I helped at the local shelter as a kid. Every day after school, I'd beg my parents to take me to play with the dogs at the pound. Actually, many of our family pets were death row babies from the shelter.

Back then (much like today), I’d look into their eyes... and see a pain so deep, that it physically hurt me.

But despite the heartbreak I felt ... watching their suffering, I soon realized that I could save them.

So, as a little girl, I decided to dedicate my life to replacing their pain with happiness.
And that’s exactly what I’ve done.

All of my life, my goal has been to take care of dogs.  At age 9, I started my own business, The Pet Sitters Agency. Basically, I'd take care of pets when their families went on vacation, because I never wanted those pets to be sad while loved ones were gone.

Ironically enough... I grew up to own Lucky Dog Retreat, a boarding kennel, focused on giving pets their own special vacation when their families are away.

I guess this was always in the cards for me...
I was also an animal advocate as a kid. There were many times, when I’d boldly approach a neighbor, and say:
“Excuse me, Mister. I’m sorry to bother you, but your dogs look very hungry. I think they'd really like it if you fed them more. If you don't have enough food... maybe I could feed just them for you? And... also... if you aren’t ever going to play with them, could I maybe come over every day... and play with them for you??”

I'll never forget it... one particular neighbor said, “No, I don’t think that’s a good idea. Please, just go home now, and DON'T come back.”

Well... I was always taught to respect adults, but I have to be honest: when it came to this man, and his treatment of his pets... I knew it was wrong.

For weeks... I'd watched his 2 dogs... being insanely neglected in their own backyard. He'd  forget to give them water. He'd forget to feed them. He'd forget to play with them. He'd forget to love them.

And finally... at just 8 years old... I decided to do something about it.

Like I said... first, I offered him my help. Yet, I was rejected.
But did that stop me? No.

Instead... without his knowledge, I secretly fed them; I secretly played with them; I secretly loved them.

Every day, I’d rush home after school, and sneak over to play with his dogs.
Then... at 5:30 pm, when I’d see his car pulling into the driveway... I’d quickly climb his fence.... and run home as fast as I could, so he didn’t know I'd ever been there.

I remember the heartbreak I felt... because this man didn’t love his dogs. He forgot about them, every single day of their lives. 

So... I decided to take care of them myself. Every day before... and every day since... I've been doing the same... for other dogs who need help. 

Back then, I remember crying myself to sleep every night, because those poor dogs were outside all alone... with nothing, and no one.
Today, I cry for others... who know the same pain.

I've always been this way.

I've been active in animal rescue throughout my life, and I always knew that I’d have my own rescue organization when I grew up. There was never any question in my mind... or anyone else’s. This is why I was born.

Rescue is what I know... and what I do, and I’m just thankful to be able to make a difference... doing what I love.

Sooo... I told you all of that... to tell you this story. Yesterday, I got the following, very special message:
Ashley, My 13 year old daughter, Arianna, has started a website. It’s called 'Save the Animal Kisses.' It would really mean a lot to her if you would 'like' her facebook page and maybe check out her website. She visits your sites daily and is always showing me your pictures and videos. She is very special and a true animal lover. Her dream is to someday open her own rescue, and basically... follow in your footsteps. Honestly, I couldn't ask for a better role model for her to want to be like. Thank you for being you, and we appreciate all that you do.

Wow. I was touched beyond words.

I looked at Arianna, this 13 year old girl, with a dream of saving the world... and I saw myself. I saw me... as a little girl, desperately trying to make the world a better place for animals.

I thought back to the discouragement I received as a child... from those people who told me that my dream was silly or stupid. The people who said, "There are just too many animals who need saving. You'll never make a difference."

They’d say that I was “just a kid,” and kids can’t change the world. Or, “Why do you care so much? A dog is just a dog. Animals are just animals. They don’t matter.”

I remember crying, because no one cared… sobbing, because there were so many animals hurting, and so few people trying to help them.

And I remember coming to the realization... that I was different than other people… and if I wanted things to change... it was up to me to make it happen.

I looked at Arianna, and I wanted her to know that she CAN make a difference. At that age, hearing that you have the ability to save the world means everything.

So, my mission for the day became: Make Arianna's dreams come true. On my personal facebook page, my Lucky Dog Rescue Blog fan page, and the Pet Pardons fan page, I put out a plea: please show this special girl how amazing she is... by Liking her page.

Her page started the day at 19 Likes, and my goal was to get her to 100... before she got out of school for the day.

Well, those 100 Likes happened within the first 20 minutes...

And by the time Arianna got out of school.... her page had 1000 Likes! She had messages from across the globe saying, “You are amazing. You CAN save the world!”

And then, I got the most touching follow-up from her dad... about Arianna's reaction:

Words cannot express my gratitude for what you did for Arianna today… and all of her tomorrows. It was a very inspiring day, to say the least.

You are truly a wonderful person, Ashley! When she got home from school, Arianna was absolutely speechless, excited, and grateful... but mostly--motivated.

Her mom and I were very emotional while reading the comments people wrote on her facebook page; knowing how touched Arianna would be when she got home. You truly touched our hearts today!! Thank you so much.

PS- Arianna, you are amazing. Never forget that. Never let anyone take that from you. Never let anyone stop you from saving the animal kisses. If anyone ever tries to put you down for your big heart... you send them to me. Your dreams... are my dreams… let’s make them happen together!

Please visit Arianna’s Save the Animal Kisses facebook page!
Click here to visit the Save the Animal Kisses website!


Hello Haters

Hello Haters. I know you’re reading this… as you always do. There are 2 of you in particular, who have the same hateful, useless goal in common: putting all of your energy into ruining my life. Well hey there, non-friends.
Welcome to MY blog, AGAIN.

One of you is reading this at your office, as you do every single freaking day. You bitch to your co-workers (who inform me of this) about how much you hate my blog… AS YOU SIT THERE READING IT. I’d like to provide you with this shocking piece of information: No one makes you come here. I’d actually prefer if you’d go away. Don’t you understand that by purposely coming to my blog... then complaining about how much you despise me and my posts... you seem pretty ridiculous? But I guess you’re used to that???

The other hater is reading from home, where you sit and obsess about every single thing I do, all day, every day. You’ve been blocked from my facebook page, but you still study my every move on my blog and my fan pages, and write hateful comments. Then, you use all of the hatred in your soul to try and TAKE FROM ME. How’s that working out for you? Have you gained more supporters from your negative behavior? Remember this: Hatred rarely works in one’s favor. Why don’t you try, just for ONCE in your life, to do something positive that doesn’t hurt someone else?

I’m going to let you haters in on a little secret: Good-hearted, successful people DO NOT take from others to get where they are in life. Good people GIVE. When you try to gain by taking from others, you end up with no friends, no respect, and no life. Maybe you’ve both been very effective here??

Anything I’ve accomplished in my life has been a direct result of me busting my ass to get there. I didn’t TAKE FROM OTHERS to get where I am… I gave of myself, time and time again. Maybe you should try that. If both of you put even half of the worthless energy you waste on ruining me ... toward something more positive, maybe you wouldn’t be so miserable… and the world just might be a better place.

You each spend enormous amounts of time slandering my reputation, my business, and my rescue dogs. You wanna take from me? Fine. But you take from my dogs… I’ve got a real freaking problem with you. Those dogs have been through enough, and they've done NOTHING to you. Get a life, and stop taking from their’s. How dare you.

In addition, you continue to contact my best friends to try and bash me?! And you seriously think they aren’t going to tell me about this?! Why don’t you just call my freaking mom and talk crap about me? I’m sure she can’t wait to hear from you. She'd be ever-so touched.

Here’s some advice for all the haters: If you want something to happen for you, MAKE IT HAPPEN. Trying to take from others for your own gain will get you nowhere. I have never tried to take from anyone for my own benefit, and I never will. While you haters put all of your energy into plotting my demise, I put my energy toward saving lives.

And please, DO keep bashing me. The last time you berated me on MY blog, American Dog Magazine saw your ridiculous words... and gave me a freaking 2-page spread in the summer issue! Wow! Thank you, haters! You’re negativity seems to bring even more good things into my life... because I am a GOOD PERSON.
One last note: My life is MY life. Your life, is apparently so boring, that your jealousy drives you to live through me. From now on, focus on yourself. You should write that on your hand and look at it every day. Yet, I doubt it would change much.

You're just mean people... and mean people suck.

This is the last bit of energy I will waste on you. GOODBYE.


It's Your Turn

I was recently asked to guest blog for Dogster.com. I hope this story touches your heart and inspires you to do more. For me, this is what it's all about. Click here to see my feature on Dogster.com's blog, or read my guest blog post below. I beg you to share this story with others, so that it may touch someone and move them to action.

It’s Your Turn: My Dogster Guest Blog
I see a dog, and my heart breaks into a million tiny pieces... that fall at my feet as teardrops.

The dog is skin and bones, and his spirit is completely shattered. The dog has been beaten, tortured, and starved. The dog has been subjected to the bone-chilling cold, the scorching heat. The dog knows all too well the feeling of hunger, pain, and suffering.

This dog has lived his entire existence on a 3-foot chain. Never touched by a caring hand. Never hearing the words, “Good boy.” Never free to run or play. Never able to escape the abuse…

This dog has been beaten every single day... for as long as he can remember. This dog has lived his entire life in a state of sheer terror… never knowing when the next blow would come. Never knowing what he'd do to trigger the next beating…

This dog watched… as his family packed up all of their belongings... and moved away… without him. This dog waited… for weeks on a chain… for them to return for him. They would never return for him. This dog waited… with hopes, dreams, and love… he waited…

This dog ends up at the pound… where he's immediately placed on death row. He's again restricted from running and playing... this time by a cage. He's again terrified for his life… as he should be… he doesn’t have much time…

This dog waits... as day after day, no one stops at his cage. He sees the children run for the cages with the cute little puppies, and then watches the pups leave with their new families.

He sees a family pass him by... to visit the dog in the next cage over. At first, he thinks they're stopping for him, and he goes to greet them, tail wagging. As they play with the neighboring dog, he sits… watching… waiting… longing for his turn. And then... he watches, as the other dog joyfully prances past him, on her way to a new home.

For days, this boy gets up to greet every family that comes past his cage. He waits eagerly by the gate for his turn to show that he’s special. But no one ever stops for him…
Eventually, he stops getting up.

Day after day, this dog waits. He sees the others, one-by-one, heading out the door… but it’s never his turn.  He watches each person pass him by, but he doesn’t understand…

He doesn’t know that his emaciated frame makes others look away. He doesn’t know that his eyes don’t shine due to the years of torture. He doesn’t know that his coat is dull from improper care, or that he smells because he’s never had a bath...

He doesn’t know that he's of a breed that doesn’t stand a chance. And of a color that's all too common. He just knows that he wants to go home, and he's beginning to understand that it will never happen for him.

And so… he waits. With shattered hopes, dreams, and love… he waits… to die.

On the day his time runs out, I arrive for him. As I approach his cage, he doesn’t even lift his head. What’s the use? No one is here for me. No one wants me. Why doesn’t anyone want me? When I stop at his kennel, he barely looks up at me. He's certain that I couldn’t be there for him. No one has ever been there for him.

I look into his cage. I see a dog, and my heart breaks into a million tiny pieces... that fall at my feet as teardrops. I see a soul so wounded, so broken, that he's given up all hope.

On this day, I'm there for no other reason than to save his life. While I know that I'm there to take him... he doesn’t know that. He waits for me to keep walking on to the next dog... but I’m not going anywhere without him.

I open the gate, and say, “Come on, buddy. Let’s go home.” He has no idea what this means. He's unsure, afraid, and heartbroken. For days, he's waited for someone to come for him... and no one ever did. Now, he's waiting to die… he assumes that’s why I’m here.

So, I bend down. I gently touch his head. And I say, “It’s your turn, buddy. Let’s break outta this joint.” As I loop the leash around his head, his tail slowly begins to wag. He follows me... timidly... with uncertainty of where I'll lead him…

On death row, you walk one way to die, and the other way to live. He and I... headed down the path of the living...

And I watched the smile spread across his face... as we stepped out into the sunlight…

This dog… was my Rudy. The dog who would eventually steal my heart more than any other pup I've ever known. This dog, was the most special boy that ever lived. And he was sitting on death row... waiting to die.

Until that day, Rudy had only known abuse, sadness, and heartbreak. From that moment on, he never knew pain again. Rudy’s time with me was so full of happiness... that he never stopped smiling. Every day, he thanked me, with a love so powerful, it will stay with me forever.

On July 8, 2010, Rudy died of a sudden, unexpected heart attack. It was the worst day of my life.

But on that day... I stood over Rudy’s lifeless body, and I didn’t see a dog. I saw my son. I saw my child, my heart, my life. I saw a once-forgotten soul, who will be remembered forever. I saw the reason for everything I am, and everything I do. I saw a boy who didn’t die in the pound... but rather lived in my heart.

And so... on every trip to the pound, I look for him. Another Rudy is waiting to die. Another broken spirit has given up. Another lost soul will become yet another statistic.

Unless… we save them.


AshleyOwenHill Animal Rescue Humor YouTube Videos

Many of you have watched my ridiculous AshleyOwenHill Animal Rescue Humor cartoon videos on YouTube, but I thought it would be a good time to re-share them so those of you who haven't watched can have a good laugh.

These videos are intended to be funny... to give rescuers, who deal with so much sadness, something to laugh about. The script for the male character in these videos is based on things that have actually been said to me. The female's responses are things that I only wish I could say sometimes... but trust me, I try to be very polite and respectful in real life.

*The videos contain language that's not suitable for children. I'm sharing a couple of the "cleaner" ones here, but you can find all of the videos I made by searching ashleyowenhill on YouTube.

Note: To my parents and grandparents, I know you are reading this, but it's probably best if you do not watch these videos. You will not be proud. Thanks.


My ProjectDOG Guest Blog Post

I was recently asked to write a guest blog for ProjectDOG, a site aimed at bringing together the worlds of rescue and purebred dogs. ProjectDOG asked me to share my own life experience, in hopes of inspiring others to get involved in animal rescue efforts. They also wanted me to touch on the subject of purebred rescue groups. Check out my guest blog post below, and click here to see my feature on ProjectDOG.

My name is Ashley Owen Hill, and I'm an animal rescuer. I was born an animal rescuer. It's truly my purpose in life. I have my own animal rescue organization, Lucky Dog Rescue, in Meridian, Mississippi. Lucky Dog Rescue is focused on saving dogs from death row, abuse cases, and those who are sick. I write about my rescue experiences on my blog, Lucky Dog Rescue Blog.

I was asked to share my story, in hopes that it may inspire others to get involved in my mission: saving the world, one dog at a time.

My Life
My entire life has been dedicated to saving the dogs who have been forgotten by the rest of the world. I look into their eyes... and I see pain, fear, and despair. But those same eyes also convey dreams, love, and hope. This heartbreaking and beautiful mix of emotion is why I fight every day to save the most incredible creature on this earth—the dog. Others may witness their pain and look away.
I choose to look more closely, to see them, and to take action.

Much of my rescue work takes place in shelters. On each trip to the pound, I kneel down next to each of the dogs; I rub their heads. I notice them. Most of these dogs have never been “noticed” a day in their life.  While many potential adopters go to the cages with the cutest puppies... I head toward the cages with the forgotten souls. The pit bulls. The abused. The terminally ill. The ones deemed “Unadoptable.”

I head for death row.

When I walk death row, I know that most of these dogs will never make it out alive. I know that my rescue space is limited, and volunteer foster homes are few and far between. And I know... the consequence... when these dogs have nowhere else to go. Their lives, are the consequence. My heart breaks, because so many dogs within these walls have never known love... and likely never will. So many have been beaten, starved, and neglected all their lives... and will never know otherwise. So many have only dreamed about having a family... and will never go home.

And so, I stop, at each cage, to say, “I love you, and you matter.” I reach out a caring hand. I press my face against the gate to offer a kiss. I replace their numbers with names. I study their faces, as to never forget that this precious being once lived. I burn their existence into my memory... so that their life was acknowledged by someone.

And on my next visit... I notice when they are gone… and I know that they’ve joined my Rudy in Heaven…

Every chance I get, I take one with me. I usually take them... on the very day their time runs out. I pull them from death’s door, right into my heart, and I give them a second chance. On that day, the day they are meant to die… instead, their life begins.

I take them into my shelter as a foster dog, and for a short time, I call them my own. But in my heart, they'll always be mine. I nurture them, love them, and teach them. I show them what life is meant to be, as I prepare them for the rest of their journey… their journey to the family who will treasure them forever…

I am the bridge between the forgotten and the remembered.
I am the link from despair to hope.
For these dogs, I am love. I am happiness. I am safety.
For a short time, I am everything to them.

Although they'll one day leave me for a family of their own, they'll stay in my heart for as long as I live.

As one of my rescue children leaves me for their new home, another waits on death row ...for me to arrive.
And when I arrive... another life is saved. Another soul is remembered. Another spirit joins the living.

And we walk out into the sunlight of a new life…

Your Story
In sharing my story, my goal is to inspire others to get involved… to make “Your Story” matter. If you’ve never rescued, fostered, or adopted a dog, you’re missing out on the experience of a lifetime. When I walk by the cages at the pound, I see the most amazing dogs… waiting to die. These dogs are beautiful. They are smart. They are loving, and deserving, and special. And yet, they are killed in shelters every day, because no one steps-up to help them.

Many of these shelter dogs are purebreds. While people spend hundreds of dollars to buy these very breeds from breeders and pet shops, thousands of purebred puppies and adult dogs are dying in shelters each day. If you’re looking for a specific breed, shelters and rescue groups have so many incredible purebred dogs for adoption. In addition, there are breed rescue groups for every breed of dog, with gorgeous purebreds of all ages available for adoption. When you adopt a purebred dog instead of buying one… you will save a life. Thus, you can use “Your Story” to give “Their Story” a happy ending.

Mixed breed or purebred... all shelter dogs deserve homes. They need love. They need protection. They need hope. Please, save a life. They are waiting for you, & they don’t have much time…


My Meridian Star Article: How To Save A Life

How To Save A Life
By: Ashley Owen Hill, guest columnist

What does it take to save a life? Do you have to be schooled in medicine? No. Do you need to have a billion dollars in the bank? Negative. Do you need to have a ton of extra time on your hands? Not so much.

With pets, all it takes to save a life is the willingness to temporarily open your home to a dog or cat in need. This is called “fostering a pet.”

Fostering a rescue pet is one of the most rewarding things you can ever do, because you will truly save a life. Basically, a foster family brings a dog or cat into their home until the pet’s adoptive family can be found.

Fostering can be done through an organization like my rescue group, Lucky Dog Rescue. The rescue group provides the food and vet care, you just provide the love.

Rescue dogs and cats need one-on-one attention and socialization, as most of them have never received proper care. Foster homes are essential in providing this special love for pets when they need it most.

The length of stay in a foster home varies. It depends on how long it takes to find the right adoptive home for the pet. Some pets will only be with their foster family for a couple of days; some may be there for weeks or a couple of months.

However, the goal of the rescue group is to place each pet with the perfect adoptive family as quickly as possible. If at some point the pet can no longer stay in the foster home for whatever reason, every effort will be made to find other placement for the pet.

Why is fostering important? Rescue groups desperately need foster homes in order to continue to save pets in need. Any dog or cat taken in by a rescue group must have a place to go until the pet can be adopted. If there is no space for the animal, the pet cannot be saved.

Many rescue groups have no shelter facility, so these organizations depend on foster homes to care for the pets until adoption. In addition, foster homes provide much-needed attention and socialization for each pet, making them more adoptable.

If you have ever considered fostering a pet, now is the time. Please don’t wait for ‘some day’ in the future that will never come. Dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters every day, because there aren’t enough foster homes to get them to safety.

You may think that your house is too small, or that you already have too many pets in your home to foster another. Trust me, if I can foster in my modest-sized house with all of my dogs, then you can, too!

These pets don’t care how much space you have. They need love. They need shelter. They need hope. Please, save a life. You can make a difference today! Foster!

To foster a pet for Lucky Dog Rescue, please email me at luckydogrescueblog@gmail.com.

Ashley Owen Hill is the owner of Lucky Dog Retreat, 8659 Hillview Dr, Meridian. Email her at luckydogrescueblog@gmail.com. Follow her blog at http://www.luckydogrescueblog.blogspot.com/.


Found Dog

I rarely feel as down as I do right now. Today, everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. It was just “one of those days.”

I won’t get into the specifics of my sucky day… what happened, happened, and nothing can change it now.

But on days like today, I need to smile, and laugh, and remind myself that tomorrow will possibly be better. And the way I do that, is by laughing at ridiculously silly stories about dogs… and how these pups always seem to find me…

One day, all of my dogs were playing outside, while I was cleaning inside. Suddenly, I heard a lot of commotion in the backyard.

So I looked out the window—and I kid you not—there were TWO BRAND NEW DOGS in my fence, playing with/terrorizing my pups.

Ummm… What the french?! Are they freaking multiplying back there?! Where the hell did these 2 come from?!”

I stopped for a second… and thought real hard: Did I rescue 2 new dogs today... and somehow forget that I did this? Think, Ashley! Think! Have you really gotten to a point... where you can rescue 2 dogs... and retain no knowledge of the event? Because, if so… WOW. You’ve reached a new level of ridiculous.

So, I go outside... and I realize that these 2 stray dogs had found a loose board in my privacy fence... and then, proceeded to break-in. If you don’t know much about dogs, it’s very rare that they break into a fence. It’s usually quite the opposite...

So... my dogs don’t know what the crap is going on… but they're freaking fascinated by these magical new pups. They’re looking around at each other like, “Did you see that?!”

I could swear I saw one of my dogs high-five one of the new kids… while the others were busy getting their heads stuck in that hole in the fence.
Awesome. Now, we can FINALLY work on the “Stay” command.

Another day, I opened my front door… and there’s a dog, just freaking standing there. It almost looked like he'd knocked... and then politely waited for me to answer.

I said, “May I help you, Mister Dog?” He decided that we should talk inside... and proceeded to walk in the house.

Why of course, come on in, sir…

A different day, I looked out my back door, and I was stunned. A line of stray dogs... was forming at the door… and they were impatiently waiting for me to open-up and let them in.

In this situation... any rational, levelheaded person would stop and think things through.. before simply opening the door for some random pups, right?

So anyway...
I opened the door and allowed the dogs to come inside... and they decided to completely ruin everything in my home. Yay.

Another story: at one point, one of my foster dogs learned to climb the fence. One day, I watched him… he put so much effort into scaling the fence… got himself all the way over… and then...
he simply walked around,  and laid in the carport.

Seriously? You break-out of the grassy backyard with your friends... just to lay in the nasty, concrete garage by yourself? I mean… don’t get me wrong... it does sound genius.

So, to solve the climbing problem, I built a wooden privacy fence. Well... then, a different dog learned to dig under the new fence. She would dig out... then run to the front door, & scratch for me to let her in.

So... let me get this straight: you're quietly sneaking out of the fence, only to run around the house... and announce your misbehavior?! You get a treat for that. Good girl.

No matter where I go, or what I do, dogs seek me out. One day, I stopped at a convenience store, opened my door, and out of nowhere, a dog freaking leapt into my car. Do what?!?! She sat in the passenger seat and refused to move. I had some ice water in the cup holder, and she proceeded to drink all of it.

Then, she looked at me like, “Um… what are you waiting for, Lady? Let’s freaking go.”

Um... Wow. Okay. This wasn’t in the plans for today. But I guess this means you need a ride?
Since I’ve heard stories about hitchhikers robbing people... I decided to put the car in drive and do what I was told…

Dogs always to know where to find me. When they need me, I’m there for them… and when I need them, they never fail me. There are very few people I can say the same about. So whether these dogs break into my backyard, or show up at my door, or invite themselves into my car as a hitchhiking bum... I welcome them into my heart.

Because I know... that one day, a family of pups will do the same... for my broke ass…


Meet Susie

Meet Susie. Susie was scheduled to die in a Mississippi shelter on December 27, 2010. On that very day—the day that was meant to be her last, I pulled Susie from the pound and took her in as one of my rescue dogs.

When I saved her, Susie was severely emaciated, badly malnourished, and completely terrified. She'd been badly beaten just before arriving at the pound... leaving her with several open wounds and a great deal of pain.

But the most heartbreaking part about Susie... was her wounded spirit. She was about as broken as they come.  

During our car ride home, Susie was absolutely petrified. She crawled down into the floorboard, and closed her eyes as tightly as she could… too afraid of what she might see if she opened them. I'm sure she thought that I was taking her back to the place she came from… to the people who starved her, tortured her, and left her for dead.

She whimpered as I stopped the car.

I opened the passenger door, leaned down to her, and said, “It’s okay, baby girl. You’re safe now. Let’s go inside.” She looked up at me... and I'll never forget what I saw in her eyes. A look of sheer terror, that said:

"Please don’t make me go back there.”

At this point... Susie didn’t know me at all. I was just a strange girl, who picked her up from a very scary place, and drove her to an unknown location. She had no reason to trust me yet... and I understood. A dog like Susie has never been given a reason to trust anyone.

So, I gently rubbed her head... and made her a solid promise that she'd never know pain again.

And then... I watched... as Susie mustered the courage to cautiously follow, as I led her inside to a new life…

Today, Susie is nothing like the girl I rescued three months ago. She's the sweetest, happiest, most trusting girl you will ever meet. She loves to go for car rides, loves giving kisses, and will follow me just about anywhere I go. In fact, Susie is so loving, that during a Meridian Star photo shoot with me, she couldn’t stop giving me kisses long enough to snap a picture. The resulting photo captures the happiness and gratitude of Susie’s renewed spirit.

Susie thanks me every single day for saving her... and in return, I thank her for trusting me... despite the horrors of her past. Watching Susie’s transformation has been nothing short of incredible.

And now… she's ready to find the family who will love her for the rest of her life.

Susie is a black and white Pit Bull mix. She’s approximately 3 years old, fully vaccinated, spayed, and heartworm negative. As far as personality goes, Susie's about as awesome as they come. You won’t find a more loving, special dog... and she'll thank you every day for loving her, just as she does me.

The cutest thing about Susie is her love of laundry baskets full of clothes. She's never had a comfy bed in her entire life... she’d only known the feeling of the hard ground against her protruding bones. So today, her favorite thing is to curl up in a laundry basket full of fluffy towels or clothes. And even though I gave her a very comfy pup bed of her own, she much prefers to make herself at home in the laundry room. If you have a laundry basket in your closet... that will work too.

Susie loves to play outside, but she loves being inside with me even more. She likes to lay with me on the couch or curl up at my feet. She loves a good belly rub, and she'll roll onto her back and look up at me with the sweetest eyes ever.. to let me know her request. This will be followed by lots of kisses to thank me for rubbing her tummy.

She also loves a good chew toy. When I hand her the toy, I can almost guarantee that she'll run off to the laundry basket for chewing. This dog LOVES dirty clothes. And she’s really smart... I could probably even teach her to wash them for me.

Susie longs for a family of her own, and it’s time to make her wish come true. To survive the things she’s endured, and still have such an amazing spirit, is why my Susie deserves the best family out there. You have my word that she will steal your heart, just as she did mine. And if you adopt her into your family... you'll have my heart too.

Because my heart… will follow Susie... wherever she goes…

Fill out Adoption Application for Susie online: http://www.petpardons.com/adoption/
 Amazing homes only.



Just Another Black Dog

Meet Pepsi. Pepsi has been my foster dog for nearly 2 years. If you don’t know much about fostering, 2 years is a LONG time. Pepsi is only 3 years old. She's lived with me for more than half her life. She thinks I'm her mom... and essentially, I am.

But Pepsi needs her own family. She deserves her own family. She deserves to be in a home with one other (male) dog, where she's treasured as someone’s special dog.

But let me explain why that may never happen for Pepsi…

Pepsi is a simple black dog. Nothing more... nothing less. To 99% of adopters, she's just another black dog.
People want to adopt a dog they see as “special.” They want a unique-looking dog, a beautiful dog, a dog that others will see and say, "WOW… now, that’s a cute pup!"

Pepsi is just another black dog who needs a home. For the rare person in search of “a black dog,” Pepsi is one of millions... who all look the same.

She doesn’t stand out in a crowd. She doesn’t look different, or pretty, or cool. She’s a black dog... and thousands of her are dying in shelters every single day.
If you look at her pictures, there's nothing seemingly special about Pepsi. But let me take you behind the photos... into this girl’s wounded heart, and tell you why Pepsi deserves to matter

For the first year of her life, Pepsi lived on a very short chain. At some point, the chain became badly embedded in her skin... leaving her with a deep, awful scar around her neck... to prove that her pain was ever-so real. Those same people who chained her... also starved her, beat her, and tortured her…

But my Pepsi is a fighter... and you can’t break her that easily.

I rescued Pepsi from that abuse, and she came to live with me as one of my foster dogs. When we got to my house, she looked around… and then up at me, with a grin that said, “Seriously?! For me?!” For the first time in her life, she got to have mealtime, and playtime, and “special Pepsi time.” She also got a super-comfy pup bed of her very own and lots of toys. She'd never known so much joy in her little heart—ever.

I'd soon learn that Pepsi’s favorite game is fetch. She can play fetch for hours, and she’s really smart… bringing the ball right back every time and dropping it at your feet to throw again. Sometimes, my arm gets so freaking tired from throwing that dang ball, but she drops it so politely and looks up at me like, “Come on… one more time, Mom. Pleeeeaseee!” This goes on for at least 100 more times... but I’d do it 1,000 more just to see that smile on her face when I throw it again. She absolutely loves to run and play… because she’d never been able to do it before me. Never.

Pepsi’s first friend ever, and best friend in the entire world, was my Rudy. Pepsi and Rudy had so much in common.. and it’s like they just knew that the other understood. They would play outside for hours, and sleep right next to each other every night. They had a bond that was so special to watch… and so heart wrenching to see it end.

Pepsi was with Rudy when he died. She was forced to watch ... as her very best friend left this world... and she couldn’t do anything to save him. The day Rudy died, Pepsi’s grief overtook her. The once fun-loving, outgoing pup became very depressed and withdrawn. Every day, she'd lay on top of Rudy’s grave... and mourn his loss. She knew that he was gone, but she didn’t want to believe it. I'd go sit with her at his grave... and tell her I knew the feeling. We'd cry together.

Pepsi and I helped each other heal, but I can tell that she still misses him. Almost a year later, every time I let her outside, she still goes straight to Rudy’s favorite laying spot —the spot where he died— to look for him. I can’t blame her… I’m tempted to do the same thing.

Pepsi’s new best friend is Freddy, another black dog. Freddy has helped her pain tremendously, and my heart would soar if they could be adopted together. But the chances of 2 black dogs being adopted by the same family... are so slim, that I try not to kid myself. I just want Pepsi (and of course, Freddy) to find what she’s always wanted: a home to call her own.
My heart breaks every time a potential adopter comes to see my dogs, because they never give Pepsi a second glance. She’s never been special to anyone... other than to me, and I think she realizes that.

My heart aches for her, as people ignore her presence. As people go for the “pretty” dogs and completely overlook this amazing girl. As they come through to meet all the pups, Pepsi sits politely and waits her turn. But she never gets a turn.

So every time someone leaves, I sit with her and say, “You’re special to me, Pepsi-Co, and I love you.” She licks my face and says, “I love you too, Mom...” to tell me that she’s okay. But my heart hurts for my special girl... my child that no one wants. For the girl who has endured so much, and is still considered lackluster. For the girl, who has been waiting for a loving home of her own... all 3 years of her life.

If you’re looking for an amazing dog, Pepsi is your girl. She loves to be by someone’s side. She longs to be someone’s special girl. And she deserves to be cherished by a family forever. If anyone knows this girl, it’s me, and let me tell you this: Pepsi will change your life. Pepsi will enrich your soul. Pepsi will thank you every day for loving her. Pepsi IS special... she is not just another black dog. She is, quite simply, incredible.

Fill out Adoption Application for Pepsi online:
Amazing adopters only.