My Mom

*For whatever reason, my scanner isn't working today... so I haven't been able to upload all of the pictures for this post yet. I promise I'll add them as soon as I can.

Today is my mother's birthday. That's right, my mom's a Leap Year baby.

In the past, I've written a couple of blog posts about my family... a special Father's Day post for my dad, a wedding day post for my little brother, and of course, the tributes to my grandparents following their Christmas day accident.

In each of those blogs, I included little bits of information about my mother. But, up to this point, I really haven't shared that much about her.

That may seem odd... as if I'm neglecting my mom, or placing the rest of my family above my mom, or just have nothing good to say about my mom. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

To be honest... over the last year, I've made several attempts to write something about my mom. Today is just the first time I clicked Publish.

But why?? Doesn't make much sense, does it? If she's as wonderful as I say she is, then why can't I just write about her??

Well... it's hard to explain, but here's the deal: when I try to find the right words to describe my mother... I fail -miserably. Every single time.

I'm sure that today will be no different. I'm sure I won't do her justice. I'm sure it'll seem as if I just threw some crap together, in some half-assed "Happy Birthday" attempt.

Regardless, I'm going to try anyway, because my mom deserves to have a special post written about her. She means everything to me, more than I could ever put into words... and more than she could ever know...

So... here goes. I'd like to introduce you to the woman I call "Mom." 

My mother is --hands-down-- the most giving, selfless person I know. She is loving. She is patient. She is kind. 

She's honest, loyal, and sincere. She's compassionate, understanding, and forgiving. She's nurturing, thoughtful, and generous. She's wise, humble, and inspiring.

She's the kind of mom that everyone wishes they had... but very few people get. The kind of mom that makes everything okay... just because she's your mom. The kind of mom who was born to be a mom... to be my mom

And the kind of mom that I certainly don't deserve.

Even now... as I write these words... I can feel that I'm failing again. My mom is so much more than this...

She's more than just an amazing mom... she's an incredible human being. She gives everything to everyone else, and takes nothing for herself. She needs no credit... and asks for nothing in return. While she doesn't have to do these things, she chooses to do them anyway. If it's the right thing to do, then my mom is going to do it. Honestly... that's just the kind of person she is...  

Mom has the rare ability to see the good in every person, and in every situation. She's level-headed and realistic, but positive and optimistic. When the world turns upside down, my mom still sees the light. And even though she may sometimes worry...  I swear you'd never know it. In her heart, she truly believes that everything will be okay.

And even in your darkest moments... she'll make you believe the same.

Maybe I was gifted with some of her best traits, but my mom still blows me out of the water. I've only become the person I am today... because my mom taught me how to be that way. But no matter how hard I may try... I could never compare to the genuine goodness that pours from my mother's heart. She's the very best person I know... and anyone who knows her would agree with me.

Beyond that, she's an equally amazing mom. My mom is one of those all-knowing moms, but not in a "know-it-all" kind of way. Instead, she just knows stuff... in a non-threatening, non-showy kind of way. She knows how to be a mom, she knows her kids, and somehow, she knows pretty much everything else. If she doesn't know... she finds out. And then, guess what? Now, Mom knows that, too.

With any question, my mom has the right answer. With every issue... she's got the solution. Anytime I ask for help, my mom is right there to help me. She's always there to guide me... but she doesn't force the issue. She'll never promise to be right, and she'll never say, "I told you so..."

But... in the end... she did tell me so, and she was right. Sure, I can doubt her. I can challenge her. I can try to prove her wrong. But my mom knows stuff, and without her even trying to be, she's always freaking right.

While she doesn't want me to learn the hard way, she knows it's going to happen. So... she simply lends me her wisdom... but allows me make my own decisions, and my own mistakes.

When I don't take her advice, she's not mad, or disappointed, or frustrated with me. Instead, she supports me... whether she agrees with me or not. And then... when I fall, she's there for me... to help me pick up the pieces... to guide me back to where she tried to send me in the first place. 

Now that I think about it... it's actually pretty brilliant.

Mom knows tons of junk about life, but she also knows her kids. Some call it mother's intuition. I call it damn-near psychic. My mom has always known things about me, long before I ever told her about them. To be honest, she's so good at this... that it almost freaks me out a little... but in a comforting way. She's always managed to offer me the very advice I needed, before I'd ever mentioned the problem. To encourage me to go on, before I'd ever threatened to quit. To say the exact words I needed to hear... before I knew I needed to hear them.

In truth, she's the only mom on Earth that could've handled a child like me. Growing up, I was a total pain-in-the-ass, at least 90% of the time... especially during the teenage years, which were a real treat for my parents. (What can I say... it happens to the best of us.)

I was grounded more times than not --and for good reason. I broke all of their rules and did massive-amounts of stupid crap. If I could go back in time, I'd ground my ass, too.

Back then, I basically thought "my life was over" ...at least 7000 times. Of course, my Mom would attempt to comfort me, saying: "Ashley... I know you're upset right now, but I promise it will be okay, and you'll probably even laugh about this one day."

Ummm... doubt it!! Mom- this is soooo super-serious right now! Didn't you hear me?! My life is OVER!!! Obviously, in my mind, my mom couldn't grasp the severity of my "complex teenage struggles." Because --clearly-- my mother was born yesterday, as a full-grown-Mom-adult. Duh.

Looking back now, those "struggles" seem pretty ridiculous and hilarious. My life was never over. My problems were often trivial. That boyfriend was a total douchebag. Curfew didn't kill me. And drinking was 100% illegal.

If I'm being honest... I should probably still be grounded...

But somehow, even during those tough times, my mom knew just how to deal with me. While she didn't let me get away with things, she did allow me to make mistakes. She also knew how to teach me the important lessons, in the exact way I needed to be taught. She knew how to comfort me, to encourage me, and to challenge me in the right ways. She knew how to inspire me in the best ways.

And I'm not sure how or why... but no matter what I did, she always loved me through it.

Here's a classic Mom example:
On one of those I'm-being-a-massive-baby-over-something-so-damn-stupid days, I had a big fight with my mom, because I felt like she didn't understand me. Later, I came home to find a card on my dresser. The card had a dog on the cover... and my mother's handwriting inside. It simply said:

"I do understand you. I'm your mom."

That day, I tucked those words into my heart, where they've lived ever since. Really... nothing more true was ever written. I'm never alone. She does understand me. Of course she does... she created me. She's my mom. 

My mom brought me into this world... and she's also kept me here. She's saved my life more than once... in very real ways. I honestly wouldn't be here today, if not for my mother's love. I wouldn't be me today, if not for her. I wouldn't be much-of-anything today... if not for her.

She's the very best mom in the whole wide world, and for whatever reason, she's my mom. Every day of my life, I've been blessed to have a mom like that.

And every night...
As I close my eyes... 
I thank God for His belief... 
that I'm worthy of her.

Happy Birthday, Mom. I love you more than anything. See you tonight!

*Please make a special donation to Lucky Dog Rescue in honor of my mom's birthday! It would mean so much to her!


Why Dogs?

Why dogs?

If I had a dollar for every time someone's asked me: "Hey Ash... why dogs? Why did you decide to rescue dogs?" ... well... I'd be rich as hell.

Actually, no... I take that back. I'd still be broke, because I'd just spend all those extra dollars to rescue that many more dogs.

Regardless, it's a good question. A valid question. A question worth answering. Why dogs?

The answer to that question seems so obvious to me. It's pretty simple... but also complex. Basically-- I'm trying to answer the question: "Why are you... you?" 

Why dogs?

For me, it all started sometime around... well... birth. All my life, I've had this insane love for animals... especially dogs. But more than that... for as long as I can remember, I've been absolutely fascinated by them.

This fascination runs much deeper than a simple: "Aww, look at the doggy!" I'm drawn to dogs... and dogs to me... in this weird, almost magnetic-type way. In a way that sparked my curiousity as a child... that grabbed my attention, and my heart... and never let go

That fascination has undoubtedly shaped much of the person I've become...& much of my life. Because... even as a child, I knew that I'd been given a very specific purpose in life. From my very first encounter with the creature we know as "dog," I just knew.

How did I know? Well, it's hard to explain in words, but here's my best attempt:
As a kid, I was able to connect with dogs in this unexplainable way... to understand them, to comfort them, to feel their pain. It's not that I felt sorry for them... I actually felt their pain... with this insane level of emotion and empathy that --quite honestly-- should've been totally foreign to a super-happy, extremely-outgoing, very-social child like me.

Even still, I felt it... and I couldn't turn away from it, nor did I want to. Instead, I became driven by this intense, unwavering desire to heal their pain... no matter how much pain I felt as a result.

As a little girl, I realized that saving them... somehow saved me too. Each time I helped one... each time I saved one... I could feel these words so strongly in my heart: This is why I'm here.

Looking back on my life, I've sometimes wondered if my willingness to take-on the pain of others, beginning at such a young age, may have changed me --damaged me-- in some way. Maybe so... but really, those "changes" were always meant to happen for me. It all goes back to purpose, and I truly believe that every person on this Earth has a purpose. This one's mine.

Okay... so maybe this sounds a little silly to you: "Oh really? Your purpose is dogs??" And maybe you're still asking the question... Why dogs?

I guess now would be a good time to get a little more specific about this whole "dog purpose" of mine. Sure, I love all dogs, and of course, I feel connected to each and every one of them. However, my deepest connection... is with a very specific group of canines. I call them... the forgotten dogs.

My Rudy
These are the dogs who have suffered through each and every day of their existence. The dogs who only know fear, neglect, and torment... pain, heartbreak, and despair. The dogs who spend years crying out for help... with no response. The dogs who wait, every minute of their lives... for the love that never arrives... the relief that never shows... the hope that never comes.

The dogs who would live and die... without any purpose at all... if no one ever made it their purpose to save them.

And that's why I'm here.

It's my belief that every single person on this Earth has a distinct, unique, and significant purpose in this life. Otherwise, why are you here? Some people are here to save people... and others --like me-- are here for the animals. Which is good... because we all have needs, and we all need help. People have needs. Dogs do too. 

Quick note: many "non-animal" people feel very offended when someone compares dogs to humans. However, I'm actually not trying to compare the 2 at all. Obviously, dogs are not people. Dogs are dogs. They are amazing, unique, companion creatures, with extraordinary capacities for love, compassion, loyalty, and forgiveness. These traits are inherently canine... and cannot be fully grasped --or replicated-- by humans. The beauty of a dog... is that they are a dog. We humans could only wish to compare to that. 

Rudy & I
Further, unlike humans, dogs don't have the ability to meet their own needs. They have no thumbs, no cash, and no voice. Therefore, a dog's existence is entirely-dependent upon our willingness to meet those needs for them. Their health, their happiness, and their futures hinge upon the hope that someone, somewhere will help them. Maybe someone will care enough to do something. But even if you don't care... guess what? They still love you anyway. That's some powerful stuff right there. That's the kind of love... that deserves saving.

So... your question is: Why dogs?

In short, here's my answer: Why not dogs?

"When you ask me why I care so much, I wonder why you do not. When you ask me how I do so much, I wonder how you do not. When you ask me what I'm trying to prove, I wonder what you are not. You ask because you wonder. I wonder because you ask." ~me

*Thinking about my Rudy today. This one's for you, buddy.

CLICK THE LINK BELOW TO READ MY FOLLOW-UP TO THIS POST: Is It Worth It?http://luckydogrescueblog.blogspot.com/2012/03/is-it-worth-it.html


Remember Me?

So... you're probably wondering what ever happened to that Ashley chick. You know... the one who writes that dinky ole dog blog...

Not ringing a bell? Come on... you remember...

She's the one who saves all those vicious Pit Bulls. The one with the insanely-delusional "can-do" attitude. The one who writes with that annoying-ass sarcasm.

Oh... that girl? Yes, yes. Now you remember.

So... what-in-the-mother-bleep ever happened to that chick??

Well... I've got some slightly-disappointing news for ya.
I'm right here, folks... once again. Yay.

[Note: If you just rolled your eyes and thought, "Dear God, whyyy?!?!" ... then I've actually got a little gem of info just for you! See that X at the top corner of your screen? Just point your little mousey-majigger-thingger-bob right there, then click... and BAM-- I'm gone. Just like magic.]

To the rest of you... hello again :) I missed you!

I actually never intended to neglect my blog for the last month. I've just been so incredibly swamped here at Lucky Dog Rescue... leaving little time left over for writing. And also, I've been working on several exciting projects for my dogs... because obviously, those babies are my first priority. (More on that later...)

So... long (rather boring) story short... my time away from the computer has actually been well-spent, allowing for a ton of extra productivity on my part... things that will ultimately benefit my dogs. That's the good news.

The bad news? Well... during my time "away," Lucky Dog donations have suffered. Very much so.

Honestly, I didn't realize just how much my blog posts actually impact my rescue donations. With each post, I usually receive at least one small donation... and those donations allow Lucky Dog to continue its life-saving work.

So, while I wasn't writing... I also wasn't receiving the donations that my rescue so desperately needs... to ensure my dogs' futures... to keep them safe, happy, and healthy.

So today, I'm writing with a promise... and a plea.

My promise is to get back to writing... to return to sharing, connecting, inspiring, and feeling inspired by all of you. That's a promise.

Over the last year, I've written more than 200 blog posts. I've poured so much of my time, my energy, and my heart into this dinky ole blog, and I've loved every minute of it. 

However, despite the immense effort it takes to keep this thing going, I don't get "paid" to write this blog. Instead, I simply provide my donation link at the bottom of each post... and hope that someone will feel compelled to give a little something to my dogs. And honestly, those donations make the time spent, the energy expended, and the ridiculous-level of heart-pouring-outage totally worth it.   

In order for me to continue writing --and most importantly-- rescuing, I need those donations. My dogs' lives depend on those funds.

So... today, my plea... is for your help. Just hear me out... because I swear I'm not asking for much.

At the bottom of this post, I'm providing a link to donate to Lucky Dog Rescue. When you click that link, there's a Subscribe option at the top of that page, which allows you to auto-donate a monthly amount to Lucky Dog. The smallest subscribe option is $10/month, then $25/month... and so on.

If you love my blog, or my rescue work, or any (or all) of my rescue dogs, I'm asking you to PLEASE SUBSCRIBE to give a monthly donation to Lucky Dog. This is how YOU can do your part to ensure that my blog, my work, and my dogs... can go on. This is how YOU can save lives!!!

Seriously... for just $10 a month... YOU can make a massive difference for the forgotten dogs. YOU can help me save the dogs that have been beaten, tortured, and starved all their lives... the dogs who would die... without ever knowing love... if not for YOU.

Could you give $10 a month to save them? Would you give $10 a month to say: "You matter..." for the first time in their lives?

If 100 readers of this post subscribed to give just $10 a month, that would be $1000 a month in donations that my dogs could count on. That's life-changing for them. Life-saving.

Here's the bottom line: I write this blog from my heart. I write for all of you... and I write for my dogs. But I can't continue to do any of that... without a little help... and a little hope.

I can handle the dogs and the writing. I'm just asking for your assistance with the help and the hope. Please. Give hope to my dogs.

*PLEASE SUBSCRIBE today for a monthly donation to Lucky Dog Rescue, and PLEASE SHARE this post, asking your friends to do the same!