Liberty was rescued from a chain in Liberty, Mississippi, where she lived in the scorching heat with no food, water, or shelter. She'd been badly neglected and abused, and she was also suffering from a severe case of sarcoptic mange, which caused her a great deal of pain. Even at her young age, I could also see that Liberty’s spirit was badly damaged.

But despite the misery she’d known all her life… the sparkle of eternal hope... still shined in her eyes.

While Liberty and Lola were rescued together, Liberty’s story is quite different from Lola’s. Following their rescue, Lola instantly received a ton of adoption requests… and shortly thereafter, she was adopted by her forever family.

But I knew in my heart... that things would be much different for Liberty…
And sadly, I was right.

I saved Liberty last June. One year later, she still lives with me. It took her a few months to recover from the mange, but even after she was better… no one wanted Liberty.

And so, Liberty has been with me for the past year.

But I should tell you that her name isn’t really “Liberty” anymore. I call her “Bibby” … Don’t ask me why. I think it started out as Libby… and then one day I changed it to Bibby, and for some reason, that silly little name just stuck. So Bibby is what she goes by… until she gets into mischief… and then it’s the full “Liberty!”

While Lola left me the day before Rudy died, Bibby was with me through the aftermath. She saw it all... the pain, the tears, and the despair. She saw me at a time when I didn’t know how to smile... when it physically hurt me to laugh. In short, Bibby witnessed the Ashley... that others didn’t get to see… the “me” that wasn’t really “me” anymore. And in all honesty, Bibby brought me back…

After Rudy’s death, Bibby was still very sick. She was in pain, she was afraid, and she needed me. At a time when I had little hope, all of Bibby’s hope... depended on me. So I told myself that I had to be strong for her… and that’s what got me through.

I was honored to watch Bibby’s transformation from a terrified, mangey little puppy... into an outgoing, beautiful adult. That rarely happens for me… since the puppies are usually the first to go. But I was able to see Bibby the whole way through... and it was nothing short of incredible.

Bibby began as a scared, timid little girl, who was in a lot of pain. She didn’t trust much at first… and for good reason. But I’ll never forget the first day she started to open up. We were out in the yard together, and suddenly… she became very playful, acting as if she wanted me to chase her. So, we ran and played in the yard together, and then she rolled onto her back to beg for a belly rub.

That was the first time I’d laughed since Rudy died. It was also the last day I ever saw “shy, scared Bibby.” After that, Bibby was happy, outgoing, and so incredibly funny.

But due to her contagious condition, she had to be separated from the other dogs... until her mange treatment was complete. My heart broke for her, because I could see how badly she wanted to play with the others. I remember how she’d cry when I’d let the others out together… her tiny whimpers begged me to let her go with them. I tried to explain to her that she was sick, and promised she could play as soon as she got better. But of course… she didn’t understand. During that time, I cried every day with Bibby, as she pleaded with me to give her the friends she’d never had.

So... I remember Bibby’s excitement, the first day I let her loose with the other pups. She ran circles around them… begging them to chase her… then jumping onto their backs, and hopping right over them like a game of leap frog. I laughed all afternoon watching her play… knowing that she’d been waiting for that day... her whole life.

Of course, Bibby and I have our own special song and dance. For some odd reason, I chose the song “Bad Girls” by Donna Summers, focusing on the part that goes, “Toot toot, Ahhhhh, beep beep!” When I sing the “beep beep!” part, Bibby thinks I’m saying her name, and she jumps up, smiling and dancing. I’ve tried to change the song from time to time… but that one seems to be her favorite, so I stick with it.

Bibby makes me laugh every single day. Some of her antics are absolutely hysterical. Bibby’s a “couch runner” like Noah, meaning she loves to run from couch to couch in the living room. She’s so proud of herself as she bounces off one couch and runs to the next… smiling and doing it all over again. Despite the chaotic nature of these couch running sessions, Bibby loves it,  so I just let her have fun… and then, I attempt to pick up the destruction when she’s finished.

Bibby’s really smart… so she quickly learned how to open some of the doors in my house. And lucky for me... she taught Darla how to do it too. I saw Bibby one day… jumping up to show Darla how to push the knob down, and then backing off to let Darla have a try. After that… it was over. Between the two of them, it’s nearly impossible to keep them in or out of any room. So, when it’s mucky outside, and they’re covered in mud… before I can even wipe their paws, Darla and Bibby have already opened the door, run through the house, and “decorated” my floors and furniture with their nasty foot designs. It’s so fun for all involved, especially me.

Other than the door-opening mischief, Bibby is extremely polite and well-behaved. She knows how to sit and stay, and she actually listens to me… unlike some of the others (who shall remain nameless). Each time I leave the house, Bibby goes right to her crate, lies on her bed, and chews on her toys. She is such a smart girl, and sometimes I wish the other dogs would learn from her good behaviors, instead of just the bad.

But my favorite thing about Bibby is her loving nature. She’s honestly one of the most affectionate dogs I’ve ever known. I can feel her love and gratitude each time she looks at me, with those eyes that say, “Thank you, Mom.” She loves to sit right next to me on the couch, for an ear and neck rubbed… and she has the cutest little groan when you hit the “right spot.”

Today, I look at Bibby… and I see a precious little angel, a survivor, and an inspiration. But others look at Bibby… and see another black dog. She’s a Lab mix… like so many other black dogs… and she just doesn’t stand out in a crowd. It makes me sad, because she’s overcome so much in her short little life, but even still, that’s not enough for adopters to think she’s special.

I’ve accepted that Bibby may live with me forever… and that’s okay, because she has no idea that she’s a “foster dog” anyway. Bibby’s my baby… I know it, and she knows it. While my heart longs for the perfect family for my little girl, I know that she’ll be happy and loved with me until that day comes… or even if it never does.

Bibby is my family… my home is her home. And no matter what happens in the future, she will always live in my heart.

One year ago, I saved 2 broken souls, Lola and Liberty… and made them whole. Today, Lola lives with an amazing family who will treasure her forever… and Bibby lives with me. And so… 2 more dogs joined the “Lucky.”

But the luckiest of all… is me.

*Thank you Bibby, for healing my heart. I love you more than you'll ever know. "Toot, toot, Ahhh, Beep, beep!"


  1. A beautiful story, made me cry for you both. I'm glad Biddy was lucky enough to find someone as wonderful as yourself and I only wish I could take her in myself. You have a kind heart and a wonderful soul, never let that go!

  2. She is absolutely beautiful. If she gets a forever home with a new family, I won't be surprised. And if she stays with you for the rest of her days, she'll be in the best possible hands...and arms and couches.

  3. This is such an amazing story - you truly have the gift of prose. I too have had my "Bibby" - as a matter of fact I'm getting ready to drive 1300 miles to take my black lab, Chloe, to her new home in CO!! It took correcting demodectic mange (though not as bad as Bibby's sarcoptic), the repair of a botched spay job (the first vet only took 1 ovary and 1/2 the uterus), a touch-and-go recovery, squirrely behaviors and 1 year of joy and pleasure, but I think this might be her new family!! Thank you for putting this into words . . .

  4. Resigned myself to putting the box of tissues next to the computer when I read your stories! I shed my tears for all those dogs that "just don't stand out" amongst the others, some of those, who live with me too since no one else thought they were something or anything special? Thank you for sharing your heartfelt stories!

  5. Awwww =( It's incredible to me that people overlook "Black" dogs. I never knew this. But I will tell everyone I can & keep this in mind when I'm ready to add another rescue to my pack! I hope she finds her very own family, but if not, thank you for rescuing this sweet soul!

  6. Such a heartwarming story. Thank you for saving Bibby and Lola from a lifetime of neglect and misery. Bibby is a beautiful little girl and hopefully she'll find a loving forever home very soon. However, I know you'll have a hard time letting her go. I adopted a black Lab mix myself and we love him so much and are talking about adopting a companion for him.

  7. This is a wonderful story. I guess you and her both are you should have been. You both healed each others pain and sorrow.

  8. Ashley,
    You truly are a wonderful soul and I commend you for your care of the dogs you have rescued and sent out into the world. I'm on my third black dog, and each one of them has been a joy and a treasure to me, and when the time comes, I'll look for another black dog, because the ones I've had have been treasured. Thank you for all you do for dogs.

  9. OMG so touching. Thank you for saving Bibby and for the love you have bestowed upon her. You are her Mommy and she knows it! A Mommy is not the one that birthed her, it's the one that nursed her through her disease, took her in in spite of the adversity and challenges she faced, and now is her best buddy. You two are BFF's forever, so even if no one adopts her, Bibby knows she will never suffer again as long as she has her Mommy. Take care of each other and may the Angels always watch over the two of you and keep you safe from harm.

  10. Goodness she's gorgeous. And the couch runner thing reminds me so much of my old dog, Kirby. He was a mini schnauzer mix and the love of my life; I miss him terribly... Thank you again for everything you do for these babies, from a fellow animal lover and rescuer.

  11. She reminds me of my Luanne, a black lab that I had for 13 glorious years. She died back 10 years ago, but will always be in my heart. I have several dogs now or I would be headed for Meridian! I hope that she finds a home just right for her, which I know you will work hard for her to find. Much love, Ashley, you are my hero!

  12. I also don't know why people have something against black dogs. Most of our dogs came to us after following our other dogs home. Maybe they knew we would welcome them.They were always buddies to the end, no matter what color they were. We loved them all!

  13. This is a beautiful story! thank you so much for sharing it. i wish people would look beyond thinking that they are just another black dog. im so glad she has you. and i know you are glad that you have her. sweet story!!

  14. Teary eyed again. Your writing is so good I am seriously thinking about going all the way to get her from San Diego. I cant imagine she wont have lots of apps after this blog. xo

  15. All of these fur babies are so lucky to have you. Liberty was already beautiful before but now she is just radiant!! Thank you Ashley for all that you do!

  16. Beautiful little girl!

  17. I too never knew people overlooked black dogs. To me, they are all the same! How could anyone ever overlook Bibby's happy and glowing face?? Beats me, but maybe it was meant to be that she would have her forever home with you.

  18. God bless Bibby and you!!!!!

  19. Reading your blogs every day is like a little glass of sunshine for me. It always makes me feel better


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