My Story

Since so many new friends are visiting my blog thanks to care2's post featuring Lucky Dog Rescue as "Rescue of the Week," I thought it was a good time to re-share my very first blog post... so that all of you can get to know me a little more. "My Story" was written directly from my heart, and if you want to know exactly who I am, this post says it all.

Thank you, all of you, for reaching out to me about Annie's story. I've never in my life been more touched.

My Story
My name is Ashley, and I'm an animal rescuer.
I was born an animal rescuer.
It's truly the reason I was put on this Earth.
As a little girl, I'd bring home every stray dog and cat in sight. Nurture them. Find them homes.
Back then, I remember how heartbroken I was the first time I realized that not everyone was like me.
As I get older, I realize just how few people actually are like me.

It’s difficult to explain the way I feel to someone who doesn’t share my passion. Most people will admit that it is painful for them to witness a case of animal cruelty. However... most people are able to see a dog in need, resolve to themselves that they cannot help the dog, and go about their lives as if they never saw the dog in the first place.

I am incapable of doing this.

The image of that dog will slowly eat away at my soul. I have nightmares about the dogs I cannot reach. I'm not the kind of person who can just look away. When others turn their heads... I look harder... and take action. I see the world for what it is, and I fight against it. I don’t live in a bubble... where I think everything is okay. I know that things aren't okay, but I do everything in my power to change that.

I'm a voice for those who cannot speak... and I'm a voice to be reckoned with. The animals need me. In most cases, I'm their only hope.

As a rescuer, I get angry at the world every single day.
My heart hurts from the things I've witnessed.
I get overwhelmed.
I want to scream.
Sometimes, I just want to quit.
To completely give up.

But... when I think I can’t go on, when I think I just can’t do it any more... I look at the dogs. I look at these precious souls... living a life they never knew possible. I look at their capacity for forgiveness--which far exceeds that of any human. My rescue dogs have experienced the worst the world has to offer. Most of them have been chained, beaten, and starved for much of their lives. Before me, they'd never encountered kindness on any level.
But when I look at them today, I see no trace of anger.
There's no resentment.
No self-pity.
There's only the desire to be loved.
It's truly the most incredible thing I have ever witnessed.

The pain associated with animal rescue doesn’t even come close to the joy it's brought into my life. My heartbreak is healed daily, by the love of those I have saved. They remind me that there's more to the world than my selfish needs. They make me smile, and laugh, and feel ever-so comforted by the unconditional love they give me.
They make me feel alive.
And with each that I save... my faith is strengthened.
My heart is made whole.
My soul is awakened.

Because... what most people don’t understand is this: 
I'm not rescuing them. They are rescuing me.


  1. You sound like me as a kid. I was allergic to dogs, but I brought them home anyway. I live in a house in the city with 3 dogs and 2 cats. Except for one, they wouldn't be alive if they weren't here. They aren't ill, thankfully but were strays, dumped on the streets and slated to end their lives in a shelter. They now live a life of priviledge, comfey spots to sleep, good meals and most importantly lots of love. wish I could do more, but I do what I can for those I can. You are truly a wonderful person and I'm glad I discovered your blog.

  2. Ashley, I saw your story about Annie and your life's mission on www.truthaboutpetfood.com
    (truth about pet food) You are an amazing woman and the minute I read about you and Annie on that site, I was reminded of my life-long hero, Mother Teresa, an earth-angel who spent her life ministering to the dying lepers and the lowliest of the beggars on the streets of Calcutta, becoming to the world an icon of universal love and peace. Your compassion is so similiar to hers, and you too are an inspiration to me. I do good works for animals and their causes, but you have truly taken your great love to the next level. Bless you for all you do...I will hope that I can at some point, do what you do and walk in your footsteps, because I had honestly never thought about doing this for a dying animal that was not my own.

  3. Ashley,

    I was just forwarded the recent Rescue of the Week to learn about you and what you're doing. Your Story couldn't say it any better...so many people don't understand, say "they could never do what you do" and thank you for doing so. And while its always worthy of thanks, I'm sure you feel as I that you are lucky to have found this purpose and passion and the thanks are so plentiful from the animals we are lucky enough to get to have in our lives...if even for a moment. I only wish I could convince more people that work like this is life changing...the animals and even more so, mine. Anyway, you have said it so much better than I ever could and would like to publish your My Story in a future issue of the shelter in which I am President's newsletter, if I might.

    I will try to email you directly.

    Carrie Roe, President
    Humane Society of Parkersburg (WV)

  4. Greetings from myself and my dog-children!

    I'm always thrilled to find people who share my passion for animals. Like you, I feel like there are very few people like me out there. They don't understand why I'm so madly in love with dogs and rescuing them. It enrages me when people refuse to actually LOOK instead of turning a blind eye. It's always a pleasure to meet someone like myself... or someone like you.

    Right now, I'm the proud mother of 3 rescues and 1 foster. I can't imagine a life away from rescuing and fostering. I applaud you for what you do and only wish that there were more of us out there. Happy to be following your blog now! That article about your time with Annie was beautiful and had me sobbing after the first paragraph.

    Peace, Love, and Paw Prints

  5. Ashley, you are amazing. I pride myself on posting dogs in need of homes every day on my facebook page. but you take the ones home that nobody else will take. Bless your heart for taking Annie, I literally couldn't stop crying over your story. Thank you!!!!!

    Sarah & her 2 dogs - my son & I adopted our 2nd dog from the ASPCA in NYC & it has changed my life.

  6. Ashley, you are a truly inspiring person. I do love animals and have 3 rescued dogs, a bunny, and my last rescue, a kitten. However, I avoid getting into rescue because my heart can't take it. But you inspired me stop thinking about myself, and do More for non-human animals... thank you. You're a true Bodhisattva ♥

  7. Reading this, I thought I was reading something I wrote:) I feel exactly the way you feel. People call me crazy often, they also commend me for what I do, but most times when I tell them that they could do something to help, they have a million excuses why they can't. I will never understand....Thank you for doing what you do! I myself have a thing for seniors, I foster mostly seniors, and puppy mill dogs as well. There is nothing like getting a 10 year old ex mill dog and watching them blossom into real dogs. To see them prancing across the grass or laying sprawled out on their backs on the bed or couch is so rewarding:)

  8. You're amazing. I am in awe of you. There should be more people in the world like you. Thank you, so much, for everything you do.

  9. My story is different than yours, but I'm rescuer, too and have said many many times that my rescues, rescued me. I can relate to all that you shared. Even more so at the moment. Check out my blog when you have time. God bless you and thank for the work that you do. On earth we have to God's hand and feet, and for some of us he's given us a passion and calling to rescue, re-home and rehabilitate. All of my rescues are special needs and I believe God gave them to me to love when someone threw them away. But, each has truly been a match made in heaven. Keep up the excellent work you do!

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  11. You sound a lot like ME.. I get angry at all the suffering too. Ive gone so far as to save baby sparrows under the porch from our house cats. I'm glad there are others like me in this world! There aren't enough people who feel so strongly about animals, and especially dogs.

  12. My friend posted the link to your care2 story on Facebook, and I just cried with joy and sadness at the same time. Sad that people can be so neglectful, and that such wonderful creatures have to grow old and be sick. Joy for the love that you are giving. Thank you!

  13. "I am not rescuing them. They are rescuing me." This is exactly what I've found too.

    Love and light and Reiki blessings to your work!


  14. Every word you speak resonates so deeply in my soul that it bring tears to my eyes and I can't stop crying. I feel exactly as you do and you have inspired me to be more focused and do MORE.
    You have kindred spirits scattered all across the world Ashley, we may be few, but we exist and you make us stronger by reaching out to us through your wonderful, insightful and moving blog.
    You are a stunningly beautiful human being inside and out.
    God bless you Ashley. We will prevail.

  15. Ashley - I can completely relate. You are definitely not alone!

    I am a rescuer of animals too. My last dog Aspen was 9 when I adopted her. I thought she had been dumped at the shelter I volunteered at because she had cancer. I couldn't bear the thought of this very sweet dog dying in a shelter environment. So, I adopted her. She didn't have cancer, but whatever she had made her very sick quite often. I had her for only one year, but she had everything a dog could want - love, daily walks, cuddle time, treats, etc. I still miss her all of the time. I am honored to meet someone else who wants to rescue other dogs like Aspen and give them love for the short time they have on this earth. It is a much higher calling than just adopting a dog from a shelter because you know their time is finite and love them anyways.

  16. Ashley, just sent you a FB friend request. There is an 11 yr old male boxer that was surrended by his owner during a cruelty/abuse case. He is posted on my page and is Athens GA..he only has a few days left before he is put to sleep. All boxers rescues from there to where I live are overflowing and I'm just trying to reach out to anyone that can help.

  17. Ashley you rock more than anyone else I know in rescue...I thank God for you. You are truly an angel here on earth.

  18. Hi Ashley,
    I really like this blog. Just last week I had such an argument with an old friend - the 8 millionth person who said to me that he admires me because he can't look at those pictures. Do you think it's a coincidence that I also had to make a doctor's appointment for excessively high blood pressure & migraines? I could just scream and go stark raving mad. Yet, how to answer without sounding condescending or patronizing or arrogant? They don't get the insult. I mean, do they REALLY think that the pics don't bother you? I don't understand why everyone in the world isn't rising up and saying that this is unacceptable. Thanks for being a voice for animal well-being. Silence is acquiescence.

  19. Hi, Ashely -- I stumbled across your blog from the Rescue of the Week story and am so glad that I did! Annie's story made me cry and your story made me strengthen my resolve to do all that I can not just for the current animals in my care but the future ones as well. Thanks so much for all you do and I look forward to reading more!

  20. Ashley - I read your story about Annie on the Belladog magazine website. Amazing. It takes a very special heart & unselfish nature to bring in an animal for just a short time knowing how quickly we can get attached to them, only to know they will be leaving in a short time. Thank you for giving her a home, a real life even for only a week. She truly got to know love before she died, and that is what life is all about. I think about the cats and dogs that I have rescued and brought to good shelters who have found them homes or have found homes for them myself, and I am thankful that each and every one of them has entered my life, and I will never forget them.

  21. There are no more word neccesary , you wrote it all . I will pray to God that he will give you the strength to keep going on . I admire you and you are my enspiration , you are the guardian angel of the dogs .

  22. I feel the same way. I cannot have children. And really Im not that upset about it. Animals are my children. I feel the same way you do. And the love and gratitude you get from a loving animal is so rewarding. Every animal I have ever had has been rescued. I admire you very much, and will do what ever i can to help your cause. Thank you for what you do. And thank you for letting me be a part of it.

  23. Finally someone put what I feel in my heart into words. Thank you

  24. I am a rescuer as well. Unfortunately I am unable to let them go. I read your story about Susie...when you promised her she would never hurt again. How do you know that your promise will be kept if you let her go? I have 10 dogs, 9 of which are rescues. I love them all as I do my children. The thought of giving any of them away would be as if giving away a child. I love and adore them, and they love and adore me back. I admire that you can do this. When I go get another one from the shelter, I tell myself I'm only saving his/her life and will find him/her a home. Well, I've found them all a home...mine!

  25. You are truly amazing. If everyone in the world thought about animals that way the world would be a much better place. You are very inspiring.


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