5 Pet Peeves

Just laughing at the asshats of the world.
(Yep... that's a cheese-hat on my head.)
Sometimes, we just need to vent... about everything -- and nothing.
Today feels like a damn-good day to me.

So... here goes... a short list of 5 pet peeves (just a few thoughts we all have, at times):

1) Entitlement

I can't stand entitlement. You know... those ridiculous people who act as if you owe them something.

Actually... they act as if the world owes them something.

It's funny... these always seem to be the very people who do nothing for others.

From a personal standpoint, they've never done anything to help me. Yet, somehow, I owe them all of my help, my time, and my energy.

Do what now??

In reality, I owe them nothing. You owe them nothing. The world owes them nothing.

Of course, the "entitled" disagree.
They're "special."

Sure... it's okay to need help. We all need help.
It's okay to ask for help. We could all use a helping hand.

But expecting help... not so much.
Demanding help... um, no.
Getting pissed when help isn't provided... come on, man...

Ask and you shall receive.
Demand... and you'll get exactly what you contribute to the world: Nothing.

2) Disrespect

Blatant disrespect is just rude and unnecessary. We should all try to treat others with a basic level of respect. It's not always easy, but it's the right thing to do.
It's just common courtesy.

You won't like everyone you meet, and that's okay.
When it comes to certain people, you may struggle to be nice, and that's fine, too.
You may even avoid the biggest jerks, and that's probably for the best.

Just don't be an asshole... especially for no good reason... especially to people you don't even freaking know.

Maybe you think that you're better than others. Well... you aren't.
Rude isn't cute.
Jerks aren't cool.
Status ain't everything, boo.

No matter who you are... you're human... just like the rest of us.
Act like it.

(PS- If someone is blatantly disrespectful to you --on multiple occasions-- then all bets are off. Do your thing, girl.)

3) Slander

If you don't know someone on any personal level, then maybe... just maybe... you shouldn't bash them to others.

Because maybe... just maybe... what you "heard" about them... is not true.

So... you should either find out the truth for yourself, or maybe... just maybe... you should shut your damn mouth.

Then again, if you know someone --yet... you openly hate them-- well... that sounds like a personal problem to me.

Regardless, it's ridiculous and immature for you to make up lies about them... just to get others to hate them with you. This isn't 4th friggin grade.
And even back then... it wasn't that cool, dude.

Find something better to do. Or maybe... just maybe... go away.

4) Lying

Lying is for liars.
Stop it.

5) Greed

Greed is gross.

It's okay to be frugal and smart with your money. Most of us have to be that way, and there's nothing wrong with it. It's simply how we survive.

Frugal is one thing...
Greed takes it to another level.
A selfish level.
A ridiculous level.
An embarassing level.

Yep. That's right. I said it.
If you're greedy... then you should be downright-embarassed.
Because I'm embarassed for you...
We all are.

My 2 biggest issues with greedy-meanies are: denying payment, & denying help.

First-- it's just plain wrong to withhold payment from those you owe. If you promised to pay someone, then pay them. Don't haggle, don't argue, don't belittle. Just freaking pay them already. 
Is your greed really worth more than your integrity? Your word? Your pride?

I mean... you love to flaunt your wealth, right? Well damn... then pay your f-ing bills.

Second-- if you have a little (or a lot) left over, it would be really amazing if you used those funds to help others. Seriously... if you could truly make a difference, by sharing just a little of what you have, wouldn't that feel incredible to you?

Oops. Nevermind. Probably not. 
Silly me... I forgot...
You're a greedy bastard.

*I could go on forever with this, but I'll leave it there for today.
If you'd like to give just a little something to my amazing dogs, please click below to donate today. Even $5, $10, or $20 would be life-changing for my babies.
And in advance... thanks for not being greedy bastards :) Love y'all! -Ash


Please Help ARF

Today, I'm doing something that most rescues never do.
I'm asking you to donate ... to another animal rescue group.
Actually, I'm begging you to.

Animal Rescue Fund of MS (ARF) is in desperate need of donations. They need your help, so I need your help... to help them.

ARF is a wonderful no-kill shelter in Pelahatchie, MS, run by my amazing friend, Pippa Jackson. 

Pippa is my mentor, my inspiration, and my sanity. She's also my best friend. I just love her to pieces.

I write about Pippa often, for obvious reasons. Pippa is more than just an amazing friend and rescuer... she's an incredible human being. She's loving, selfless, and ever-so giving.

Pippa is always there for me... and I mean always.

And trust me... I call her often, about anything and everything. Pippa always helps me, in any way that she can. If nothing else, she listens to me, she allows me to vent, and she says the things I need to hear. And no matter what's going on in my life... Pippa makes it all okay.

Now... Pippa needs my help... and YOUR help.

Pippa doesn't know that I'm writing this. Actually, she's gonna kill me when she sees this post, because she'd never, ever ask me to do this, or allow me to do this. But she needs help, she deserves help, and her dogs need and deserve help, too.

Sure, maybe some of you think that I'm an idiot... for asking others to help another animal rescue group. Maybe you even think that I'm being irresponsible, or neglectful, or reckless toward my own dogs.

But I'm not...

I just care...

Sooo... because I have no money to give to ARF, I'm asking everyone else (who can give) to give to ARF instead.

If you've ever wanted to give to me and my dogs... please, today, right now... give to Pippa and her dogs instead.

If you've ever wanted to help me and my dogs... please, today, right now... help Pippa and her dogs instead.

If you've ever wanted to make a difference... please, today, right now... make a difference for ARF. They deserve this.

Today, I'm writing a selfless plea for my best friend and her shelter. They need you.

Please... I'm begging you. Donate to ARF today. Give them the gift of hope. Give Pippa the strength she needs to go on... as she's done for me so many times before.

$5, $10, $20... these gifts will be life-changing... life-saving... for ARF.

Please share this post, & PLEASE CLICK BELOW TO DONATE TO ARF NOW!

*To donate via Paypal, visit the ARF website, http://www.arfms.com. Click "Give a dog a bone."

Pippa, please don't be mad at me. You never ask for the help you so desperately need and deserve. This is just my way of returning your many favors. I love you.


Lucky Update

*If you never had a chance to read my initial post about Lucky, READ THIS FIRST: http://luckydogrescueblog.blogspot.com/2011/08/lucky-boy.html 

On August 20, 2011, I rescued a terminally ill, elderly dog named Lucky.
Actually... that's the day I "adopted" him.
Lucky, first day at the vet

Lucky had lived all 10+ years of his life on the streets. He'd never had a family to love him.
Never a name of his own.
Never a place to call home.

For the last 2 years of his life, Lucky had lived outside of the local bank... with simple wishes for shelter, random scraps, and rain water. He was planning to live --and die-- there.

At some point along the way, Lucky was hit by a car. His injuries were severe: his leg was badly broken... his jaw nearly ripped from his face. Yet, no one ever stopped to help him...

So, Lucky's injuries would heal on their own... improperly, of course. His leg soon lost mobility. His jaw simply hangs from his face.

Then... one day, my friend, Kara, spotted Lucky at the bank. She saw the pain in his eyes. The limp in his step. The absence of his smile.

Kara and Marsha spent the next 2 hours trying to catch this dog. Well... he may be old and injured... but he's also fast when he needs to be. Throughout all those years of being ignored, broken, and taunted, Lucky had learned how to get away, and he'd become quite good at it. Honestly, it's how he'd survived this long.

Kara, Marsha, Lucky & I
But finally, they caught him. They drove him to the vet, where they heard the heartbreaking news: Very sick. Severe health issues, Heartworms. congestive heart failure, on and on. 1-2 years to live... maybe... if he's "lucky."

Then, they heard the vet's recommendation: euthanasia.

That's when Kara called me. And as you already know, I made an offer. Lucky lives here now. Lucky is mine now.

But... Lucky's arrival was just the beginning of his story...

Because the dog that I met then... and the dog that I know now... are 2 totally different dogs.

Yet, the changes in Lucky didn't happen overnight. Not even close

So... I'd like to share Lucky's journey with you... and soon... you'll understand why this particular story is one of the most life-changing experiences I've ever had...

In offering to take Lucky, I was more-than-aware of the challenges I'd likely face in trying to care for him, due to his years on the streets and his many health problems.  I knew what I was getting into...

But during his first few hours here, Lucky was suddenly this super-happy, very-outgoing, fun-loving dog... smiling, sniffing, enjoying the attention. That afternoon, he stayed inside with me... basking in the air conditioning, gazing up at me, loving the fresh food and water.

I remember thinking to myself: "Wow. That was easy..."

But I knew better.

Later that day... Lucky became extremely anxious about the idea of being indoors. He wanted out... now. Of course, I knew that he'd need plenty of time to adjust to his new life, so I let him out in the yard. Soon thereafter, he was okay again: smiling, sun bathing, rolling in the grass.

That night, I tried to bring him inside to sleep with me... just to see if he was even interested in the idea. He was not. He wanted out, so I took him back to the yard, gave him some food and water, and sat with him... until it was time for bed.

However, I couldn't sleep that night. I just couldn't stand the thought of Lucky being alone, outside in this new, strange place... even though it's what he needed and wanted at the moment. (Baby steps...)

So, at 10:00 pm, 12:00 am, 2:00 am, and around 4:00 am, I routinely went and checked on Lucky in the yard. He was sleeping, mostly. But clearly, I was not.

Well... only a couple of hours later, at 7:00 am, I headed up to the kennel for work. When I got there, I stopped dead in my tracks...

I saw that the main fence gate had been broken.
I was in shock, because the latch I'd used to lock it was still attached...

So... Lucky must've worked on this gate for a while... to be able to force his way through it like he did... despite its reinforcements. Trust me... I've had plenty of "escape artists" here. None of them have ever escaped from that fence...

As soon as I saw that gate... I knew, and I panicked. I started screaming his name: "LUCKY???!!!"

As I'm yelling for him, over and over again, I'm simultaneously calling myself a dumbass in my head: "You idiot. He doesn't even know his name yet. He's not going to come to you. Stop yelling, dummy."

But I couldn't stop. I ran around the building... calling for him... frantically checking all over the property.

Lucky was gone.

I jumped in my car, and started driving. I stopped at every house, every gas station, and every bank along the way. Meanwhile, I called a friend, who quickly printed some Missing Dog flyers for me. Soon, I was frantically posting those bad boys all over town.

Everywhere I looked, Lucky wasn't there. I spent all day --and more than a tank of gas-- searching for him.

Still no Lucky.

As I was driving, I called Pippa... hysterical, sobbing, worried sick.
She said: "Okay, calm down. Breathe. You will find him, or he will come back. Trust me. This will all be okay."
I said, "But he doesn't understand that this is his home yet! He doesn't trust me yet! He doesn't even know his own name yet! I'm never going to find him, Pippa!"
Pippa said: "Ash, breathe. You know better. You'll get him back. You will."

I should never question Pippa. The woman never fails me. But that day, I just couldn't believe her. Even though I hoped --more than anything-- that she was right, I was truly terrified that I'd never see him again. I'd wanted to save him, to care for him, to love him in his final years. I didn't want him wandering streets, searching for shelter, hoping for food all over again...

I felt like I'd failed him.

That day, and the next day, I had volunteers run the shelter. I drove around... all day long... in search of my Lucky. I didn't find him.

Every second of those 2 days, I was constantly wishing, hoping, and searching for him. Every minute, I was worried sick. Every hour, I broke down. All the while... I was beating myself up, like you wouldn't believe.

Those 2 nights, I just couldn't sleep. I kept looking around, checking for him, calling for him... had he come back? Of course, he hadn't. Then, I'd cry some more.

The next morning... at 7:00 am, my phone rang. After tossing and turning all night, I'd finally fallen asleep. So, who the heck is calling me right now?! Half asleep... I rolled over, checked my phone, and didn't recognize the number. I started to hit "ignore," when it hit me: "Lucky..."

I frantically answered: "Hello?!"
A man responded: "Are you the girl with the flyers for the missing dog?"
I sat straight up in bed: "Yes! Have you seen him? Where is he?!"

Before he could even answer the question... I was dressed, keys in hand, running out the door.
He said: "I think your dog is asleep behind the Chevron."
I quickly said: "Please don't wake him. I'm on my way..."

Before I hung up, I just had to say: "Hey mister... you don't know me, but my name is Ashley. For 2 days now, I've been hopelessly searching for my dog. I'm sure others have seen him around, but you're the only one who took the time to call me. I can never thank you enough. I've been praying for this phone call."

I drove as fast as I could to the Chevron. Meanwhile, I was plotting my ambush. I'd have to be quiet --and quick-- in order to get him. Even though I'd feel terrible having to scare him like that, I knew it had to be done. He was just so used to running... it was really the only way.

Then... as I pulled in, I saw him...
Asleep on the gas station concrete...

At that moment, my heart broke into a million tiny pieces...
Because I knew the truth...

Lucky had only stopped there... because that cold, concrete, parking lot... simply felt like home to him...

As tears filled my eyes, I made myself a promise: I don't care how long it takes --seconds, minutes, hours-- I'm not leaving here... without him.

So, with lightning speed... I opened my door, sprinted toward him, threw him over my shoulder, and ran back to the car. As I placed him inside, I could see that he was terrified. He honestly should have bitten me.

I looked into his eyes, and said: "I'm so sorry, buddy. But one day, you'll thank me for this. At least... I hope you will."

Then... I took him home.

That was the last time my Lucky ever tried to leave me.

Even still, he needed more time to adjust. It didn't happen overnight. He didn't trust me for a while. And honestly, early on, he didn't even like me that much. Especially after I'd ambushed him at the Chevron...

But I was okay with all of that. I knew what he needed from me: he needed space; he needed care; he needed love. But most of all, he needed time.

So... I was gentle. I was patient. I was kind. I never forced myself on Lucky. I never pushed him to do more. I never asked anything of him.  

Out in the yard, I'd let him roam as he pleased. I always stayed close-by... yet, I kept my distance. He seemed to be okay with that, so I was okay with it, too.

Soon, I'd see him looking around for me, just to make sure I hadn't left him.
In those moments, I'd stop... I'd reflect... and I'd smile.

He thinks I'm funny
Then... at some point, over the next few weeks... Lucky began to change. Lucky began to accept. Lucky began to trust. 

Lucky began to feel... lucky.

Slowly, he started to follow me, to smile at me, to love on me.
He started to bark, to chase, to play.
He started to become... a Lucky Dog.

I watched... as Lucky let go of the uncertainty, the worry, the pain.
I witnessed... every change, every nudge, every smile.
I became... his friend, his leader... his mom.

And one day, I suddenly realized... that it was happening. Lucky was slowly releasing more than 10 years of daily struggles, and the only life he'd ever known... for me, and because of me.

I apologized, and he forgave me.
I was trustworthy, so he trusted.
I loved him... and then... he loved me back.

It honestly changed my life.

Today, Lucky is the happiest dog I know. He's learned to walk on the leash, and it's one of his favorite things. He loves to play in the yard, and he never tries to escape. He also loves attention, affection, and sunshine.

Lucky loves the simple comforts, like knowing that food and water will always be there. He's realized that he doesn't have to beg, search, or fight for scraps any longer... and it helps him feel safe. 

In fact, Lucky is so comfortable with the food situation here, that he actually demands to have his breakfast served first thing. And if you don't feed him as quickly as he'd like, he will bark at you, until you get off your ass, and give him that bowl. I'm not kidding. It makes me laugh every single day.

Lucky loves Kongs with peanut butter. He loves smiling. He loves me, and I love him.

Lucky loves... life.

If only you could have seen the broken dog that came to me last year. The fear in his eyes, the pain in his heart, the uneasy smile. The dog who was dying... and waiting to die...

If only you could have known that dog...

Then you'd never believe the boy that's here today. I think you'd only believe me... if you'd witnessed it for yourself...

For those of us who were so lucky, his transformation has been nothing short of incredible. Lucky has saved us all.

To those who claim: "You can't teach an old dog new tricks..."
Well... I'm here to challenge that...

Because I took an OLD, 10+ year old, broken-boned, terminally-ill, super-untrusting, at-death's-door, lived-all-his-life-on-the-streets dog... and was able to teach him every trick he needs to know...

Most importantly... how to smile.

But of course... that's nothing compared to the lessons he's taught me: about trust, forgiveness, acceptance, letting go, moving forward....

And most of all: love...

While Lucky may have only days, weeks, or months left to live... he gives every bit of love in his heart... every bit of loyalty in his soul... to me... every single day that he's here.

Seriously... who's the lucky one?

*Lucky Dog Rescue focuses on the forgotten dogs... those with no other hope. If you wish to help other dogs like Lucky find the love they've always dreamed of... please click below to donate today... and please share this post, & ask others to do the same. Thanks -Ash


Animal Rescue Truths

***Written by Ashley Owen Hill, Lucky Dog Rescue Blog***

For animal lovers like me, animal rescue is the most incredible, rewarding job... in the history of ever.

At the same time... it's also the most heartbreaking...

My rescue baby, Noah
The truth is...
You see a lot of things... you never thought you'd see.
You witness a level of cruelty... you didn't think was possible.
You feel a degree of helplessness... you never thought you'd know.

You stare at painful images... soon burned into your memory... that will haunt your thoughts forever.
You try to pick up the pieces... so many pieces... of the damage you didn't do.
You do everything in your power... but even still... you'll never reach them all.

You'll try to stay strong... but you'll mostly feel weak.
You'll build walls to protect your heart... but they'll never keep you safe.
You'll place barriers around your soul... but the pain will always reach you.

And no matter how hard you try to fight it... over time... here's the truth about what happens in animal rescue...

My rescue baby, Chance
The neglect changes you.
The abuse hardens you.
The suffering breaks you.

The ignorance angers you.
The indifference disturbs you.  
The injustice destroys you.

On a daily basis... your faith will be tested.
Your heart will be wounded.
Your soul will be altered.

On a weekly basis... you'll question yourself.
You'll question your strength.
You'll question the world.

My Rudy
On a monthly basis... you'll fall down.
You'll get up.
You'll go on...

On a yearly basis... you'll look back...
You'll see faces... 
You couldn't save them.

You'll learn to mourn.
To grieve.
To sob.

You'll learn to trust a little less.
To do a little more.
To fight a little harder.

My rescue baby, Wonder

You'll learn to try.
To hope.
To pray.

You'll learn to fail.
To succeed.
To accept.

You'll learn when to hold on.
When to give up.
When to let go.

Wonder & I

You'll learn who you are.
What you stand for.
Why that matters.

Then... at times... you'll forget why you matter.
You'll question what you're doing.
You'll wonder if it's worth it.

But... here's the good news...

When you forget...
When you question...
When you wonder...

All you have to do...
Is take a look around...
And you'll see them.

Chance today

You'll see their faces.
You'll see their smiles.
You'll feel their love.

In their eyes, you'll see their journeys...
You'll remember their beginnings...
You'll know how far they've come...

You'll remember when they didn't know you...
When they didn't trust you...
When they'd given up.

You'll remember how you healed them...
How you loved them...
How they loved you, too.

And as you look back...
You'll want to move forward...
For them... and because of them.
Rudy & I

In your darkest hours, you'll look around...
To find the differences made... the hope given... and the lives saved...
Because you existed.

In those moments, when you look into their eyes... every doubt will be erased.
Every question will be answered.
Every worry will subside.

Because in that instant... in each of your hearts...
You both share the very same thought:
"Every bit of pain was worth it... for this moment here with you."

Noah today
And honestly... no matter what else happens...
Those moments hold all the strength you need...
To keep going.

Rescue is pain.
Rescue is joy.
Rescue is worth it... because they are worth it.

And that's the honest truth.

***Written by Ashley Owen Hill, Lucky Dog Rescue Blog***



Often... at our lowest points, a good friend is all we need.

We need their love to ease our pain.
We need their encouragement to relieve our worry.
We need their compassion to mend our hearts.

We need their comfort; we need their empathy.
We need their respect; we need their loyalty.
We need their advice; we need their honesty.

We need their humor, when we've lost our laughter.
We need their hugs, when we've lost our smile.
We need their perspective, when we've lost our way.

A good friend can make it okay.
A good friend can make it better.
A good friend can make it worth it.

I've been blessed with the most wonderful, amazing, incredible friends. Loyal, honest, true friends. Real friends. Lifelong friends. The very best friends I could ever ask for.

Me & Savannah

Friends that cry with me.
Friends that laugh with me.
Friends that love me through it all.

Friends that always celebrate my successes.
Friends that never delight in my failures.
Friends that inspire me to be a better me.

I'm so lucky to have such incredible friends in my life.
They are my sisters, my cheerleaders, my advisors.
My family, my sanity, my lifelines.

My best friends are always there to remind me of who I am... and why I matter. 
To push me forward, when I want to quit.
To act ridiculous, when I need to laugh.
To drink a beer, when I need to chill.
To lend their wisdom, when I need advice.

Kelt, Tiff, Me, Anna, Jess

Many of my best friends have known (and loved) me for more than 20 years of my life. We've truly been through everything together... love and loss... joy and pain... smiles and tears. I know everything about them... they know everything about me. They've seen me at my highest highs, and lowest lows. They've cheered me on... they've picked up pieces. And I've been honored to do the same for them.

Without these girls... I would be nothing.

Others came into my life in more recent years... and quickly became my family. These people have changed my life in the best ways, proving to me --time and time again-- that I can count on them for anything. To be honest, each showed up... at the exact moment that I needed them.

Without these friends, I would just crumble.

Me, Kelt, Jess, Anna
At one point or another, each of my friends has saved me in some way, both literally and figuratively...

On April 10, 2003, my best friend, Jessica, saved my life -- literally. If not for her, I honestly wouldn't be alive today. That's a damn good friend right there.

Me & Pippa
My BFF, Caycee, saves my ass on a daily basis. My sidekick, Chris, rescues me often, and my mentor, Pippa, always keeps me going. My best friends Tiff, Kelt, Savannah, Meagan, Anna, Laura, Dana, Maygen, Mary Ann, Katie P, Mary Frances, Lauren, Kim, Emily, AKC, Cathy, Hart, Sally, Adrian, Carla, Melissa, Kelley, Michelle S., Elsie, Rina, Amy, Maria, Catie, Jodie, Kirk (and on and on and on) have all saved me.

Each of my incredible friends has shaped me, changed me, and saved me in some way. Each has played a role in making my life whole... in making me whole.

Without them... nothing would be worth it.
Because of them... everything is.

To each of you (you know who you are), thank you for being the kind of friends who make my life worth living. Thank you for loving me, believing in me, and inspiring me. Thank you for being there, each and every time I need you.

I love y'all... more than words could ever say... more than you could ever know.

You are me... and I am you.
We are each other, because we are best friends.


Don't Forget to Remember Me

Life gets crazy sometimes...
It's been nearly a month since I wrote my last blog post. Pretty ridiculous. I know.

Every day since, I've wanted to write something.

But each day has passed... without me doing so.

I could try to explain all the reasons why this has happened, but I'm honestly not even sure myself.

Maybe it seems like there are just too many reasons to list... none of which are all that interesting.

Regardless, a lot has been going on around here lately: good, bad, and indifferent.

And in some strange way, it feels like everything --and nothing-- is the same.

Does that make sense?
Probably not.

Sooo anyway... today, I sat down to write again. It's weird, because I feel like I have so much to say, so much to tell... and yet... I have no idea what to write, or where to begin.

But I want to write, and I need to write.
I want to get back to "me."

Like I always say, writing is "my thing."

It allows me to connect with all of you. 
It allows me to share my thoughts, my views, and my experiences.
It allows me to continue the work that I love so much, for the dogs that I love so much.

It allows me to discuss, to vent, to be.
It allows me to reach, to touch, to change.
It allows me to try, to inspire, to do.

It allows me to be ... me.

I haven't felt much like "me" lately.
Mostly because I haven't been writing.

So... today is the day I decided to change that.
It's time.

At one point or another, life gets to each of us.
We get busy. We put things off. We place ourselves on hold.

Usually, when things get crazy, we deny ourselves of the very things we need most.
That's the craziest part of all.

Lately, I've been swamped with work, and dogs, and bills.
If I'm being honest, I've kinda been struggling, on many levels.

All the while, I wanted to write. I needed to write.
And actually, those rescue bills demanded that I write... since writing provides the opportunity for much-needed donations.

And yet... I didn't write.

This past month, I've just been trying to get by.
But as I attempted to remember the million things I need to do for others each day...
I forgot to remember ... me.

To those of you who donated to Lucky Dog Rescue while I was "gone," I want to say a massive thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Even when I forgot about myself, you didn't forget to remember me, because you gave to my deserving dogs. By doing so, you kept us afloat.

To anyone else... who sees this post today, and feels compelled to donate to my babies, I want to say thank you in advance... for giving us the gift of hope. Thank you for remembering the little rescue that could --Lucky Dog Rescue-- and the girl who sometimes gets lost in the craziness... me.

It's good to be back. I missed y'all.
Love, Ash