Touched By An Angel

*If you haven't read Annie's story, Before You Go to Heaven, or the follow-up post, A Gift from God, click here first: http://www.luckydogrescueblog.blogspot.com/2011/07/gift-from-god.html 

On September 14, 2010, my special angel, Annie, left me for Heaven. That very day, a stranger named Mary Ferguson changed my life.

Nearly one year later, on the anniversary of my Rudy's death, I wrote a 3-part post about the events that had happened in the year since Rudy died.

In the 3rd post, I wrote about Mary Ferguson of PhenomeGNOME.

I wanted to surprise her, so I didn't tell Mary that I was writing the post about her. I only sent her this thank you message:

Mary- It’s funny how life works its way back around. It’s been almost a year since you first gave me hope… and here we are again.

You probably don’t even realize what you did for me last year, but honestly, you changed everything. At a time when my life could’ve easily gone another way, you were the turning point for me. You showed an incredible amount of compassion to a complete and total stranger, and in doing so, you gave me back my life. I’d always wondered what it feels like for the dogs I save… when someone who owes them nothing… gives them everything. Now I know.

If I tried to explain all the things that have happened in my life since Rudy died, you probably wouldn’t believe me. But believe this: you made it all possible. Thank you, Mary, from the bottom of my heart.Your generosity saved more lives than you could know, including my own.  -Ashley

So, when I finally shared that special post about the gift from Mary that changed my life, she had no idea it was coming...

At the end of that post, I begged everyone to show Mary their support by liking her facebook page, and purchasing some of her amazing memorial statues. I just wanted to make Mary smile, and maybe return some of the hope she'd given to me the year before.

...But when I shared that post, here's what I didn't know...

That very day, Sunday, July 10, 2011, Mary was crying on her way home. As she was driving, Mary was carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders. And that day... her world was crumbling around her...

A few years earlier, Mary had finally made the decision to take that leap of faith and do what she loves. Mary is an artist. Her passion: creating... through love and compassion. Specifically, Mary makes special memorial pieces for those who have lost a loved one... in hopes of bringing some comfort and peace to their hearts. Such was the case with me. 

But in making the decision to follow her dreams, Mary faced so many struggles. The income wasn't always there, but the bills were getting larger. And then, her husband got sick. Very sick.

Fast forward to July 10, 2011. As Mary was driving, she decided that maybe it was finally time to give-up on her passion. She began to sob... realizing that it was probably a silly dream after all... and that the time had come for her to move on, for the sake of her family.

Mary wiped her tears, walked inside, and turned on the computer to check for any final orders. Then... her mouth fell open, and chills covered her body...

Mary's inbox was full of inquires and orders. Many of those messages said: "Ashley told me about you. You are amazing." She was beyond confused... wondering what in the world she'd missed...

That's when she went to her facebook page... and saw the hundreds upon hundreds of new fans and comments waiting for her. Every message said: "Ashley sent me." 

Mary thought: "What did Ashley do?? How is she doing this???" That's when she saw the blog post I wrote... about her

And that's when she contacted me...

Mary: Ashley!!!!!!!!! I've never... I'm so... I don't even know what to say!!! I think I just fainted, but I can't remember! I'm crying! Sobbing! Tears! Joy! Amazement! Ashley! Thank you!!!!
Me: Did you like your surprise, Mary? :)
Mary: Ashley... you will never know what you did for me today. I was going to quit. I was closing up shop. I was giving up my dreams today, Ashley. You just can't know...
Me: Oh... but I do know, Mary! I know exactly what you mean. You did the same for me last year. It was only fitting that I return that love to you. You should never, ever have to give up your dreams. Maybe now you won't have to...
Mary: OMG! An order just came in from Denmark?! Fainting again!!! Thank you, Ashley!!!
Me: I didn't do this Mary. You did. The kindness in your heart. The compassion for total strangers. The love you so freely and unselfishly give. You did this, Mary, and you deserve it.

Every single day, I try to make a difference in this world. But that moment with Mary... was one of the proudest moments of my life. I will never, ever forget it.

So... the story should end there, right? Mary changed my life. I changed hers. End of story? Well... if you're Mary Ferguson... then you've just gotta do something else to truly blow me away...

A couple of months later, I was checking my email, when I saw a message from Mary waiting there for me.

Subject: Hi Mommy

As I opened that email... I burst into tears. The message read:
Hi Mommy! It's me... Rudy. I miss you so much, but I've made so many friends here at the Rainbow Bridge! I promise I'm okay now, so you don't have to worry about me anymore. Just look at my angel wings!

You're famous here at the Rainbow Bridge, Mommy. So many animals here know you! They're all so happy that you were part of their lives, and they love you so very much. Each of them asked me to thank you... for loving them when no one else would. I feel the same, Mommy. They all want to kiss your face when you get here, but I tell them: ME FIRST!!!

Sorry I can't stay longer, Mommy. I have to go now. But I want you to know what a huge difference you made in my life... and in the lives of every single person and animal you meet.
Please don't be sad for me, Mommy. I'm so happy here... playing in the sun with my friends. Just know that, okay?

Always remember that I love you, I miss you, and even when you can't see me... I'm right there beside you. My whole life... I waited for you to arrive. Now, I'll be right here... waiting for you to arrive again.
Love, Rudy

In all my life, I don't know if I've ever been more speechless. Without my knowledge, Mary had worked tirelessly to create a Rudy memorial just for me. The next week, she mailed it here.

And once again... a package would arrive from Mary Ferguson... that would change my life.

*I asked Mary to add the Pit Bull Angel Memorial to the regular listings in her Etsy shop. And now, YOU can purchase a special, amazing Pit Bull Memorial, too!!!
PLEASE SUPPORT the incredible Mary Ferguson of PhenomeGNOME on Etsy!
Link to purchase Pit Bull Angel Memorial:
Link to PhenomeGNOME Etsy shop:
PLEASE LIKE her PhenomeGNOME facebook page:

*Mary, from the bottom of my heart... thank you for being you. -Ash


  1. What a beautiful story. I hope my pups are with Rudy and I will see them all one day. Thanks for sharing Ashley.

  2. What an amazing story! I'm so glad you and Mary found each other. The Rudy statue is absolutely gorgeous and well deserved!

  3. LOVE! and i purchased a memorial for my boss back when you posted the first story...i am so glad i did. thank you both for all you do.

  4. Thank u for sharing such a beautiful story .. and thank you on behalf of all animals and those of us who love them just as deeply for your kind souls. <3 this world needs a lot more people like u in it!

  5. Two Angels on earth, this is a wonderful story of hope and friendship. Miss all five of my doggies and can't wait to see them as I come to Rainbow Bridge.

  6. Mary still doesn't realize that she's my angel on Earth.

    I don't even know how to put into words what this woman means to me. She is so kind. So giving. So caring, compassionate, and selfless. Every interaction with her... gives me hope for the world. She is INCREDIBLE.

  7. Tears are rolling down my face!!! I read your first story and was blown away!! This one is even better!!! Thank you!!!

  8. I don't have a pit nor have I ever but I have had dogs and cats and they are always part of our family. I read this blog and just had to tell you I look forward to reading them everyday. I have been through alot this year and I just cried when I read this today.
    It gave me hope in knowing that maybe someone will save my life. Thanks for all you do in so many ways.

  9. This is beyond a beautiful story, it's the power of love for one another. Never underestimate the power of a single lovely action.

  10. what a beautiful story...made me cry. thanks for being you asley and mary. you have touched my heartin so many different ways.

  11. I started reading at the beginning of this story, and as I read I could feel my heart filling up. You and Mary...the lives you touch...they blow me away. I managed to get through it all without bursting into tears. Until now. When I got to the part about the Rudy statue, I lost it.

    You see, yesterday was exactly one year to the day that I had to help my kitty Sisko (aka Boo) across the Bridge. I held him as he crossed, my heart has not been the same, it still feels so fresh. I've lost pets before. Quite a few. They all hurt in a very unique and intense way. I miss them all so so much. Maybe because it's so fresh and it's been a number of years for me, but losing Boo was (and still is) so very painful for me.

    I don't know if you believe in animal communicators, Ashley, my guess is you probably do. But I had an animal communicator speak to Boo when he was still with us. My vet had diagnosed him with IBD/Lymphoma - there was really no way to be sure, no tumours, but symptoms, and they tend to be interrelated in cats. And that's not how we lost him, that was his heart. But...my point is that she talked to Boo, about his illness, and he told her that he knew I was apprehensive to put him through too much in the way of chemo and specialists and radiation because he was so sensitive - he told her that he would do whatever needed to be done, would go through whatever he had to, in order to stay with me, because he knew that I needed him.

    Maybe that's why he affects me so very deeply, or maybe there was something deeper about our souls being connected, I really don't know. What I do know is that there isn't a day that goes by that he's not on my mind, that I ache for him to be here. And then I read this. And Rudy's letter to you, and being happy and with friends, and waiting to see you...the timing, that I read this when I so, so need to...

    I'm crying so hard, Ashley... I'm betting Boo is missing me, and he's ok...but I wonder if he's worried about me, because he knows I'm not ok yet.

    I have no idea why I just told you all that...I guess to say thank you. And though I don't actually know you in person, I believe my heart knows yours. <3

  12. This touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes. I have a boy at the Rainbow bridge and I hope he meets me there one day. I love and miss him so.

  13. Thank you. I just hope I have the honor to meet my "Kids" when I pass on to the next realm. Thank you for sharing your story. Patrick

  14. That is such a touching story. I am bawling my eyes out. Thank you again Ashley for everything you do.

  15. What a truly wonderful and touching story. Thank you for sharing it with us. Thank you for what you do for the animals. Bless you!

  16. God bless you both, Ashley and Mary! I lost my best friend on the morn of my birthday, sept. 20, four years ago. She, Issis, was an angel all of her life as she is an angel now with Rudy and all the Rainbow Bridge family. The Rudy statue is amazing...Mary, if you ever could reproduce a totally white Finnish Spitz like my Issis, please let me know. Keep up the amazingly awesome work, girls, and live your dreams as you make so many dreams come true for others (our pets). Godspeed and Love to you both!

  17. what a wonderful story, truly a story of inspiration for everyone

  18. Beautiful! That brought tears to my eyes! You have been giving me tons of hope in the last few months! and I am so happy for Mary! I will share this post on my blog in hopes that others will see it and be interested in Mary's work!

  19. I am actually in tears. Rudy must be playing with my dogs Sebastian and Texas. They were my babies and I miss them every day.

  20. Truly amazing. Thank you so much for sharing this story, and for writing your blog. I just stumbled upon it the other day and can not stop reading. Most of the time, I sit here, in tears...sad, for what these poor babies go through. Yet happy that there are people like you willing and able to help them. Your story and the work you do is incredible. I am truly inspired by you and hope that one day I can make even half the difference that you have. Keep doing what you do, the world needs more people like you (and Mary!) in it!!

  21. thank u Ashley for sharing this two wonderful and amazing stories , everytime i read ur blog i alway have tears falling down my face because u are turly and amazing women and a heart of gold u have gone more the above and beyound for these doggies thank you so much for all u do and they are wings in heaven waiting for u THANK YOU

  22. Thank you all for your amazing, wonderful, touching comments. They mean the world to me... and to Mary.

    I'd also like to leave a little info about those who want to order from Mary:

    Each of Mary's statues is custom-made, which is why they're so amazing. But it's a time-consuming process, because she pours her heart into each and every piece she creates.

    With the holidays just around the corner, and hopefully- with the help of this post- Mary will be very busy making her wonderful statues.

    So... if you order (and you should!), just be patient with the process, so she doesn't get too overwhelmed with trying to get orders completed and shipped :)

    But trust me, if you do order, it's well worth the wait! You will not be disappointed!!! I LOVE mine!!!

    Thanks y'all!!!

  23. Thank you Ashley for everything you do! You are amazing and making a difference to so many. You are young and filled with live to give. You have just begun your purpose in life, and you are are doing an amazing job at it. You are living my dream and it makes me smile every time I read your posts. God bless you, and may you continue to be the loving voice if so many!:)


  25. Speechless, once again. Truly magical.

  26. Such a beautiful and a tearful story to read. I know it is very difficult to lose someone important in our life but we must accept the fact that each and everyone of us goes on that time. We must cherish and love at one another.

  27. Ya'll are killing me so early in the morning with all these tears and blowing my nose! But, once again, I am inspired not to give up on my dreams. And you were so right....this one DID inspire me. As if all the rest haven't! Tragedy does not make me cry anymore. Its the goodness of hearts that have no reason to be good that get me bawling everytime! I am so thankful to be a part of it all. I'm a better person today knowing this story of you and Mary. Thank you.

  28. Your stories always touch my heart, this one left me with tears rolling down my face and all I wanted to do was hug and squeeze our dogs until the tears stopped flowing.

    Thank you for the wonderful work you do, the world needs more Ashleys. Your blog is inspiring and you give me faith so I’ve nominated you for the Versatile Blogger award.


  29. twoblackdoggies,
    Wow! Thank you!!! I'm so honored and touched!

    To everyone here,
    You make my heart so happy. I can never thank you enough!


  30. Wow!! How amazing what you've done for each other without even knowing... <3


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