You Lucky Dog

Each rescue dog manages to touch my heart in a way... I didn’t know possible. However, few dogs have ever impacted my life... quite like my foster baby, Lucky.

In January, my rescue friend, Lisa Hathcock, called me about a Pit Bull, who had been dumped at the Louisville, Mississippi shelter. This boy needed help... immediately... and Lisa knew I wouldn’t let him down.

Earlier in his life, this Pit Bull’s owners had made the cruel decision... to crop his ears... with an old pair of scissors.

As heartbreaking as that may sound... sadly, it doesn’t make him unique.

Many dogfighters, thugs, and just-pain cruel people give their dogs "homemade crop jobs," often using an old knife or a rusty pair of scissors to remove the dog's ears. Tail docking is usually done in the same manner. No anesthesia is used. No pain meds are given. No sutures for the blood loss. Basically... one person holds the dog down… while the other mutilates their body with household cutting utensils. It’s unbelievably cruel… but sadly, very common.

Why do they do this? There are several ridiculous reasons, none of which is justified. First, since cropped ears convey a more “vicious” appearance, the dog's ears are often removed, in an effort to intimidate others. Secondly, because the ears and tail can be a “hindrance” in dogfighting, they're usually removed, for sadistic purposes. Further, the tails of female breeder dogs are often docked... to make it easier to breed them.

This particular dog was subjected to an especially painful crop job; as his ears were cut... right-down to his scalp, leaving no ear flaps whatsoever. Further, the dog suffered from a badly broken leg, which the owners never treated… leaving him with a front leg... he can no longer use.

Then, he was dumped at the pound... and scheduled for immediate euthanasia.

The shelter had given Lisa until 5:00pm that day... to find a rescue for the dog. At 4:45pm, I answered Lisa’s call… and said, “I’ll take him.”

I wanted to meet him... before choosing his name. Then, when I pulled up, I saw the most precious, happy dog... rolling in the grass, with a big smile on his face. Obviously the pound was a step-up for him... and he felt lucky to be alive.

That’s when I decided to give him the name... that I’d been reserving for a very special dog… “Lucky.”

The word “lucky” has always had a special meaning for me. In fact, it’s so special to me, that I named my business “Lucky Dog Retreat,” and my rescue, “Lucky Dog Rescue.” My birthday is 7/11… two “lucky” numbers, and I’ve endured some things in my life... that have made me feel extremely lucky to be alive.

So... I named him “Lucky,” deeming him the mascot for my life and my work. My nickname for him is “Lucky-Buppy” … don’t ask me why. Each dog gets a special nickname, and usually... it makes zero sense to anyone...other than me and the dog.

Lucky-Buppy has lived with me since that fateful day in January… the day he was meant to die. Despite the horrors of his past, Lucky is hands-down THE HAPPIEST DOG I’ve ever known. The joy he’s brought into my life is unreal.

Lucky represents everything good in the world… wrapped- up in a badly-damaged package.

His incredible spirit has truly changed my life. I’m so moved by his ability to forgive, and forget, and to love with a warmth that sets my soul on fire. I honestly can’t explain the beauty of my Lucky-Buppy in words… you’d  have to meet him to understand. He’s amazing.

Despite all of his special qualities, I knew the harsh reality for Lucky. I knew his chances of ever finding a family of his own... were so slim.

Lucky is a Pit Bull. Strike one.
Lucky has no ears… giving him a very severe, intimidating appearance. Strike two.
Lucky is a special needs dog, with a bum leg. Strike three.

Lucky is the kind of dog that people feel sorry for
Lucky is not the kind of dog that people want to adopt.
And even though I knew that Lucky would be happy living with me forever… all of the hope in my heart has been set on finding a special home for Lucky.

And... I gotta be honest...
I’ve also secretly wished that his new family would live in Meridian, so I could see him again someday.

Even still... each time I’d think about the likelihood of these things… the tears would flow, as I'd realize that my dream for Lucky … and his dream for himself... was nothing more... than a dream...

Now… let me backtrack a bit. A couple of months ago, Dustin’s 13-year-old step-sister, Libby, started visiting the rescue pups at Lucky Dog. She immediately bonded with Lucky, for obvious reasons… he’s awesome. Lucky’s incredible love made Libby feel so special… as he’d follow her every move, and give her lots of kisses.

Libby would laugh and say, “Hey Ashley. If you get here one day and Lucky’s gone… I promise I didn’t take him, okay?”

I’d say, “Okay Libby. I promise I won’t drive to your house and check under your bed for Lucky. I’m sure he won’t be there…” And we’d both laugh.

One day, after Libby and Lucky had the best time playing together, I said, “Libby, you know... you could always foster Lucky, even if just for the weekend. I’m sure he’d really love that, and then you could play with him all weekend long.”

In that moment, Libby’s eyes lit up. I knew she wanted to foster Lucky... more than anything, but she’d have to ask her mom, Beth, first. Luckily, Beth had also fallen in love with Lucky over the months, so they decided to foster him over Memorial Day weekend. My heart was elated.

When they got home with Lucky, Beth immediately called ... to tell me how much fun Lucky was having with their 2 other pups, Champ and Charlie. She said, “Ash! He’s having a blast! It’s like he’s always been here!” I was so happy… hoping maybe they’d decide to foster him long-term, until I could find Lucky's forever family.

So then... yesterday... I was working at Lucky Dog, when Beth came through the door. I was surprised to see her, and I couldn’t wait to ask how Lucky was doing.

But... before I could ask, Beth said, “Ashley, I wanted to tell you... that we’ve made the decision to adopt Lucky, if that's okay with you.”

I was shocked.
I dropped whatever I was holding.
I honestly couldn't believe it. 
I felt the tears welling up in my eyes, as I said, “Really?!”
Beth said, “Yes. We love him, and we want to adopt him.”
Suddenly, tears of joy were streaming down my face…
And then, I was sobbing.
I could barely muster the words, “Beth... thank you,” as I gave her a hug.

 That moment, was—without a doubt—one of the best moments of my life. It’s the best news I’ve ever received… and I didn’t even see it coming.

Since day one with Lucky... I’ve had a dream for him:

I wanted Lucky to live in a home with a big yard and other dogs. I hoped they’d have children. I prayed they wouldn’t live far from me. I wished... upon all wishes... that they’d let me see him again someday.

But after months of waiting... I realized that my dream... may never become a reality for Lucky-Buppy.

And yet... with one sentence: “We’ve made the decision to adopt Lucky,” Beth made all of my dreams come true. This was beyond what I’d dreamed for him. I just can't tell you...

Lucky will have a huge backyard... and other pups to play with. He'll live with his best friend, Libby. His new home is just down the street from my house, and I can see him whenever I want... which will be often.

But the best part of the story…
The part the brings me to tears every time I think about it… 
Is that Lucky is finally home…
And his new family...
Is my family.

Lucky is now a Hill… just like me.

Lucky you…
Lucky me.

*I love you Lucky-Buppy Hill! I’ll see you later this week, okay?!


  1. Patricia NicoliniMay 29, 2011 at 7:04 PM

    Darn it Ashley, I just finished putting my make up on to go out, and now I have to touch it up because I am sobbing here. What an awesome story. Thank you for sharing it. And for what it is worth I think Lucky is beautiful!! Thank you for keeping me inspired day after day. I believe there is a special place in heaven for you,and when you get there all the animals will be there to greet you. <3

  2. What a wonderful story for this weekend I'm so gland that Lucky got his forever family and will live happily ever after. And what a lucky family to get him.

  3. what a lucky family..and a lucky doggie. I am so happy for him!!! Thank you for all that you do Ashley. You are such a hero. I am so glad that there's someone like you looking out for these furbabies.

  4. I love this story as well! I had a cat that I rescued when he was just a stray kitten. He followed me all over the house and even would greet me at the front door when I'd get back from school or hanging out with friends. He slept at my side every night. I miss him still even though it's been 12 years since he's been put down due to being very ill with cancer. I miss him greatly and still is taking me a long time to adjust without him around. His name was Dusty because he was a beautiful Domestic short hair gray colored cat with beautiful blue eyes. He was my baby and to this very day is still my baby. Pit bulls are often seen as very vicious dogs but I see them as big babies. The way the animal turns out is often how the owners treat them or train them to be. I have a beautiful all white Akita now named Musha for "Shadow" and people are afraid of him. But he's a baby and will only attack if I say so and if he senses a real threat from others. When there's danger he'll only tug at my pant leg but makes sure not to grab skin and whimpers to let me know something's wrong. Animals appear vicious but they're just more scared of us than we are of them.

  5. I am so happy for him! i couldn't stop crying b/c i was so happy for him finding a family.

  6. what a beautiful story... so happy for lucky

  7. Barbara/New JerseyMay 29, 2011 at 7:21 PM

    for starters, the people who did this to him should be shot, tortured and their ears removed the same as Lucky. Putting my hatred aside, I am so happy Lucky found a home. It just goes to show that dogs are so forgiving and non-judgmental, it's no wonder they are our best friends! This story just made me smile from ear to ear. His story reminds me of Oogy, the pit bull used as bait in a dog fighting ring that was dumped off at a vet's office outside of Phila. and became a media sensation after his "daddy" wrote a book about him. He had the same background as Lucky and became such a happy, loving puppy in his new home, you'd never know he and Lucky each had such a hard "first" life. Keep up the good work. Your place in heaven is assured!! I don't know if I'll ever get to Mississippi but if I do, I'd love to meet you and visit your shelter. Hugs to Lucky and all the other dogs lucky enough to have you in their lives.

  8. That picture at the end of the story says it all...He is smiling the biggest, happiest smile I have ever seen!! Such a happy ending!
    Laura Loberg


  10. Awesome story. Have a great life Lucky.

  11. there should be a miilion of you in this world! bless you and bless lucky.

  12. Oh, this made my weekend! What a wonderful happy ending for Lucky! He looks like the kind of pup you just have to hug!

  13. This makes me smile and cry. He is loved by many and the best part is, he gets to still see you all the time. Yay for Libby and YAY for LUCKY!!

  14. this is so wonderful! i definitely started crying....thank you for sharing this. I love the last picture (aerial view of big smiles). lucky is truly truly lucky to have met you all!

  15. How wonderful! I follow you on Facebook, from AZ! Best wishes to Lucky, and I hope he enjoys his forever home!

  16. SO amazing!! I'm so glad your dream came true! What a wonderful, wonderful story!!

  17. Ashley, my name is Kathleen and your story brought tears to my eyes. Beth is one of my best friends, and I actually had the pleasure of meeting Ludky yesterday.She is so happy at her new home! You are truly a blessing to your family and friends---2 legged and 4 legged alike. Keep up all your good work!

  18. Thank you all for your sweet comments. My heart is so happy for Lucky and his/my family. Out of all the rescue dogs in my life, Lucky would've been the hardest to let go. Thankfully, I didn't have to let him go. He will be in my life for as long as he lives... and that's so incredibly special to me.

    Kathleen, I'm so glad you got to meet Lucky! He's such a special boy, and he brings joy to everyone he meets. He deserves this more than any dog I know :)

  19. What a lucky girl Beth is!

    Great job, Ashley:)

  20. Great...you made me cry again. Lucky is sure lucky to have gotten somebody like you to save him. Thank you for all you do.

  21. You write so beautifully about such a profound life. I also foster dogs and each story I hear gives me more hope that there are good caring people. Hopefully someday there will be so many loving rescuers and families that adopt that just the shear numbers will begin to diminish the many "thugs" that injure and torture these beautiful creatures - Dogs!

  22. Thank God for you Ashley and Thank god for Libby and her family...Lucky is a lucky dog Yeah im so happy for him you did it again....

  23. Such a wonderful story!!

  24. I too am crying! What a fantastic story! It breaks my heart hearing/seeing all the horrible things people do to animals but you Ashley, you give me hope. Your stories and unwillingness to give up on finding amazing people who understand how precious dogs are makes me feel something I truly cannot describe. I think you're wonderful and even though I don't know you, I look up to you. Thank you for everything!

  25. It's always wonderful to hear the happy-ending stories! I absolutley love the picture of Libby and Lucky laying on the ground looking up at the camera. I don't think I have ever seen a dog smile that big before in my life! They look like soul mates. Wishing Libby and Lucky a life full of love. Thank you for sharing the story.

  26. you bring me to tears (of happiness and gratefulness)- thank god for people like you and Beth and Libby. (selkie)

  27. Tears of joy are really flowing...What a beautiful, powerful story. This happy ending gives me a praise to add to my prayers tonight. Thank you, Ashley. Thank you, Beth. Thank you, Libbby. Special thank you and love to Lucky, who didn't give up on people and gave us all a second chance....

  28. Im sitting here at my desk with tears welling up in my eyes...the most wonderful story- the last picture with him all happy with his human can melt any heart!
    Amen to what you do for these wonderful animals!!

  29. YAY! Score another one for you, Ashley! Just too wonderful for words... I am so grateful to you it is beyond words. YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE. NEVER forget it. When I am sick and horrified by what humans do... I come here to remind myself that there are lights in the darkness. Stay strong, dear, your efforts are not in vain. You are incredibly important to SO MANY. NAMASTE. <3

  30. What an awesome story! I knew Beth was going to say her family wanted to adopt Lucky, but the moment I read those words the tears started flowing! Way to go, Lucky! And God bless you all for caring about him!

  31. These are the kind of stories that make pet rescue all worth while! Thank you for sharing.

  32. And the tears keep on coming! The best part about this entry... is that last picture of Libby and Lucky are together. LOOK AT THOSE SMILES! I'm so happy that Lucky found his home... and that you'll still be able to keep in touch with him. He's surely lived up to his namesake. Congratulations!

    Peace, Love, & Paw Prints... Emily

  33. Thank you everyone for reading this!! Lucky is truly AWESOME! I love that baby to death!!No guy can steal my heart, Lucky already has!(: Sorry Boys! I'm taken, by Lucky, Champ, and Charlie AKA... The best dogs EVER!!!!!


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