Wink and Pinky

Wink & I, before his eye surgery
A couple months ago, I approved an adoption application for the Clearman family. Soon thereafter, they came to Lucky Dog Rescue to adopt their new baby.

While they'd fallen in love with the photos and stories of a couple different Lucky Dogs, they still wanted to meet all of my other babies as well, in order to find the perfect fit for their family.

Well... as it turns out... one of those "other" babies managed to steal their hearts: Wink.

Of course, I understood exactly how they felt. Wink did the same to me. In fact, Wink was my extra-special baby, and everyone around here knew it. He was basically "my dog," and honestly, I planned to adopt him as my own one day.

So, when they chose Wink, I was devastated.
Even though I had every right to say "No," I knew they were a great family and the perfect fit for him. Yet... I just couldn't imagine my life without my Winkle-Jinks. And even though I was insanely happy for him... I simply wasn't prepared to say goodbye to him, because I'd never planned to let him go.

Regardless, I decided to release my selfish desires, in order to give Wink the forever that he deserved.

Even still... after Wink left that day, I sobbed for hours. That night, I cried myself to sleep. For the next few days, I couldn't even pass by his kennel, without immense pain and tears.

Wink, with his new "brother"
But... over time, the photos of Wink with his new family began to slowly heal my heart. Seeing those pictures, I couldn't deny that I made the right decision for him, no matter how painful it was for me.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, Wink's new family was going out of town for a few days, so they brought Wink to Lucky Dog Retreat for boarding. I was so excited to see him, and the feeling was clearly mutual. Tears filled my eyes, as he jumped and squealed upon arrival, showering me with those special kisses I love so much.

That week, my baby boy was here once again, just like old times. That week, Wink slept in the bed with me. He snuggled on the couch. He ate my leftovers.

Best of all, he was able to reunite with his best friend, Pinky. They were so excited to see each other again, and my heart was so happy, as I watched them run and play in the yard.

One week later, the family came to take Wink home. Of course, Wink was so excited to see them, which truly touched my heart.

And yet... I couldn't stop crying. Even though I was so happy to send him back home, it honestly felt like I was losing him... all over again.

Through my tears, I looked at Wink's new mom, Meagan, and said: "I promise I'm so happy for him. I'm just sad for me. It's just... I miss him so much."

She gave me a big hug, saying: "I'm so sorry. I know you do. But I can't thank you enough for allowing us to make him a part of our family."

I responded: "Thank you so much for letting me keep him this week. It meant the world to me... and to his best friend, Pinky. They had the best time playing together again. I wish you could've seen them. They're so funny to watch, and they love each other so much."

She wanted to hear more about Pinky, so I told her more about Wink and Pinky's special relationship. She said: "I'll have to bring him back to visit soon, so they can play together again!"

Hearing those words, my heart was on fire. Then, they loaded Wink in the car... and drove away. Of course, I cried all over again.

But... as I sat there, sobbing in my office, I never could've imagined what would happen next...

The next day, Meagan sent me a text.
It said: "Could we foster Pinky for a couple of days?"

Reading those words, I screamed out loud: "SHUT UP!"
Then, I quickly responded: "OMG YES!!!"

Pinky & I
On July 3rd, the family came to take Pinky to her new foster home.
Before they arrived, I gave Pinky a nice, long bath... and a pep talk: "Okay, baby girl. Be good, play hard, and no matter what... steal their freaking hearts."

Well... it looks like she heard me...

Over the next few days, Meagan sent me constant texts and photos, telling me how much fun they were having together, and how much they loved Pinky. She asked if they could foster her for a little bit longer. I said: "Of course! As long as you like!"

Then, last weekend, the Clearmans were leaving town for a couple of days, so they brought Wink and Pinky here for boarding.

Wink & Pinky, 4th of July
I was so excited to keep my babies, but I was also worried for Pinky, knowing that she may feel abandoned, once again. In the past, Pinky has lived in several foster homes. Since those were temporary fosters, Pinky always stayed with them for a while, and then... she came back to me. Of course, she couldn't understand why they always brought her back.

Therefore, Pinky learned what to expect: When they leave me here, they're never coming back. At this point, even though she's insanely loving, gentle, and fun, with each and every person she meets... she's also afraid to trust... anyone other than me.

So... when the Clearmans came back... to take Wink and Pinky home, I watched for Pinky's reaction. I just couldn't wait to see her face, when she realized what was happening that day:  For the very first time in her life... a family dropped her off... and they came back for her.

It's a moment I'll never forget... as I watched her run into the arms of her family... the family she never expected to see again. In that moment, as the smile crossed her face, every bit of pain in her heart was erased.

Before they left, I loved on my 2 babies, as they showered me with goodbye kisses.

But as they headed out the door, Pinky stopped...

Then, she turned around, looked up at me, and smiled.

So, I bent down, gave her one more hug, and whispered: "Told ya they'd come back for you."

It was a life changing moment... for both of us...

Even still, as she left that day, Pinky was still a "foster dog." Yet, I held onto the undying hope that the Clearmans would decide to adopt her one day. While I rarely get my hopes up anymore...  this time, something told me it was okay.

Then, yesterday Meagan wrote a touching note on facebook about her adoption and foster experience with Wink and Pinky of Lucky Dog Rescue. Her beautiful words brought tears to my eyes.

As I was reading through the sweet comments under her note, I got to the last comment, which was written by Meagan.

Then... my heart stopped.

Pinky... finally home
Her comment said: "I haven't told Ashley yet, but Pinky is a keeper :)"

Suddenly, I was sobbing... tears of joy. I read that sentence several more times, just to be sure I wasn't crazy. Then, I grabbed my phone, and called Meagan.

Through my ridiculous mess of tears, I attempted to speak. I said: "I just saw your comment on facebook. Does that mean your family wants to officially adopt Pinky???"

She replied: "Absolutely! We love her so much! She's part of the family now!"

Hearing those words, I just couldn't control my tears. I said: "You just can't know what this means to me... but most importantly, to Pinky. All 3 years of her life, and she's been waiting for a family of her own. Knowing that she's finally home...  living with the most amazing family ever... AND with her best friend, Wink! That's just more than I ever dreamed possible! I mean... I just don't even know what to say! You adopted TWO of my babies!!! 'Thank you' could never be enough!"

Her response: "Ashley, our experience with these 2 amazing Pit Bull mixes has truly changed our lives. I should be the one thanking you."

Just like that... the Clearmans joined the Lucky Dog Family... and Pinky joined Wink with the Clearman Family.

Wink & Pinky sleeping with their new brother
And once again... I found the strength... to let go... and keep going.

That's what I do. That's rescue.

*If you'd like to help give other dogs like Wink & Pinky their chance at forever, please click the link below to donate!

*Special thanks to the Clearman family, who adopted TWO of my special babies. And an extra-special thank you to Tuscaloosa Metro Shelter for sending Wink to me, and to ARF... the rescue who lovingly saved and cared for Pinky, before BSL sent Pinky to me, more than one year ago. Without these amazing people, this story wouldn't be possible. Love, Ash


  1. Tears of joy here, too. Wink and Pinky have an amazing family together. And best of all, they have "Auntie Ashley" to babysit!!!!

  2. You are the most amazing person...Thank you so much for all that you do.

    1. ASHLEY YOU ARE AN AWESOME WOMAN I THANK YOU AND I KNOW THAT GOD WILL BLESS YOU AND OTHERS LIKE YOU!!!! It is OUR DUTY as Humans to take care of Gods Creations and you my Dear have been doing your part. If Only More like you would do this there would NOT be any many animals sentenced to death!!! I Thank God for YOU!!!!!! I Do what I can here in WV And love reading what you do there. My belief is we are ALL here for a Reason and we need to do what we are here for !!! Your Friend Linda

  3. I was reading this between the tears of happiness. God bless all of you for what you do.They are such a beautiful dog i wish i could help,maybe someday i will be able to.Keep up the good work

  4. Such an awesome story!!!

  5. We adopted a 3 year-old yellow lab in March. She had been left in a yard in North Dakota in January. She had never been an inside dog, flinched whenever we played Wii or dropped something, didn't understand that she was allowed in the house, was skinny, had no up to date shots and wasn't spayed. She shed like crazy. While she is past some of those issues and knows she can lie on the couch or the bed, has her shots and is spayed, we recently went away and boarded her with her WEim and Heeler brothers. When we went to pick them up out came this very subdued yellow lab. I looked down becasue I hadn't heard the mad scramble that normally announces our dogs arrival, and there she stood head down, quite clearly believing we were not coming back for her. I called her and the change was instantaneous - she went mad. She jumped, she licked, she twirled and twisted and wagged and vibrated with joy... it was truly a happy/sad moment. Now she knows we will always come back for her - no matter how long we are away, we will alwys come back and now Pinky knows that too. <3

  6. I've been following Pet Pardons for a while now, and I had to read this when it was posted on FB. What an incredible story. I've been in rescue for six years now, and had many fosters come through my home. It is very much one of the hardest things EVER for people like us. Because we love these animals with everything we have. I'm glad things worked out, and impressed you were able to let go in the end. Somehow, when you meet the family, and they are just beautiful people, it helps give you the strength to do what's best. Even though you know you would have been just as 'best' lol.
    I'm sending you a hug, and I will be following your work :)

  7. This is such an awesome story thank you for sharing.. I am crying tears of joy for these 2 dogs. What a wonderful family and Ashley you are a wonderful person. All the heartache and loss you experience, you truly are an angel.

  8. Ashley,
    I was so happy to read your story about wink and pinky. You have the patience of a saint in helping these babies. They know that they can trust you and that you will do right by them. Your there angel here on earth. I admire you and wish you well with the rescues that you be continuing to help.

  9. This is such a wonderful story and such a happy ending for both Wink and Pinkie. I read it through tears of joy for the both of them.

  10. Aw... I love this story, I'm so glad that both Wink and Pinky found a home and together no less! I'm all smiley now!

  11. ashley and the clearmans what a beutiful outcome and story for a change u all r truely angels, ashley i know it must have taken alot to let go but that shows how much you care knowing the clearman's r a great loving forever home i have tears reading this well JUST THANKYOU TO U ALL i am so happy for you and pinky and wink!!! :)

  12. God bless you for what you do! The homeless and abused animals need more people like you! I have adopted 2 homeless dogs and if I could I would adopt more! Rescue dogs are the best! They seem to know that you have saved them and truly love them! I live in a city that has a fabulous NO-KILL animal shelter! Our community is always there to help if they need it! We also have numerous foster homes and agencies for animals! I consider our small city way ahead of the fight to stop abuse but there still abuse happening here! But it is great to know that there are lots of eyes watching! I only pray that more people like you come to the aid of these animals! I wish it was law that all Humane Societies and Animal Shelter were NO-KILL and that the laws were much stricter on animal abusers! After all these companion animals are gifts to man from God! All animals are GIFTS FROM GOD!

  13. You always make me cry,then again letting my fosters go does the same thing.

  14. Ashley, I know your heart broke to let them go but at the same time your heart soared with happiness. Pinky and Wink will never forget all the love you gave them. You are such an amazing woman

  15. Oh my goodness...best.story.ever!!!!
    So happy that they get to spend "forever" together. What a wonderful adoption!!!!!

  16. Ashley you have now made me cry!!! You are truly an amazing person and so glad we are part of the lucky dog family !!!pinky and wink have stolen our hearts!!! Thank you for all you do !!!

  17. I am so happy for Wink and Pinky. I had seriously thought of making the road trip down from Massachusetts several times each time I read Wink's "adopt me" post. It warms my heart to know that they have found a loving family together. Your work is so wonderful and important.

  18. Bless you for what you do, and bless the Clearmans and most of all bless Wink and Pinky

  19. When you love animals as much as we all do here...it's easy to see why one cries when you know they have a good home, you love them, but you don't want to part with them...and do...ahhhhh....wonderful story...thanks

  20. Too early in the morning to be sobbing...however,I loved this story. Ive rehomed 3 dogs this past year. I cried each time, but knowing that they are now a part of amazing families eases the heartache. you're such a kind woman. Thanks for all you do for these animals.

  21. Omg, another wonderful ending or should I say new beginning for 2 precious pets. Your stories always bring the tears. This world surely needs more people like you. Someone that shares love, caring and compassion.
    Thank you from a real fan and animal lover...

  22. OHHH MY GOSH ! CRIED MY EYES OUT ! I LOVED THIS !! Thank you for sharing it ! *cry, cry, cry* Happy tears like yours...♥♥♥

  23. I always have to read your posts before I have put on makeup! Such a beautiful story. Thank you for all you do.

  24. Best wishes to Wink and Pinky and their new forever homes!

  25. Awww!! The part about Pinky never being returned for after getting dropped off broke my heart and made me cry. But, what a happy ending!! BFF's together forever with a loving family, how wonderful!! And they will never forget their Ashley Mom who made it all possible for them! <3 <3 <3

  26. That was lovely, Paula I cried for your loss as I know what it's like to part with an animal friend but I also cried tears of joy for Wink & Pinky that they had found a truly loving family and were still together.

  27. Ashley! This post makes my heart jump! :) And your posts always make me cry but I am so so so happy for Pinky and Wink and their new awesome home. Best part: it seems like you will get to see them if/when they board so it isn't a goodbye forever, just a goodbye until the next time!! <3

  28. Such a cute dog, looks like he's loving his new home.

  29. Loved this story! Thanks for all you do, Ashley! So happy for Wink and Pinky! :)

  30. I just loved this story :) Thank you for what you do and for sharing this...I'm crying happy tears!!

  31. Tears as I read this heartwarming story of yours. What a tremendous thing you do and were able to do in this particular story.

  32. What a beautiful story. I am so happy for Wink and Pinky to have found a loving forever home they can call their own. Keep up the wonderful work that you do because it is so very worth it.

  33. What an amazing and heart-touching story. While I know it broke your heart to see them go, you loved them unconditionally and knew they needed a family to call their own. I'm happy for everyone, the family, both Wink and Pinky and you. Everyone made these two babies a priority and that is the way it should always be; after all they are like our children and deserve the very best life possible.

  34. Wonderful story! You are one of the best!

  35. You're killing me!!! I always cry when I read your touching blog posts. Your enormous heart and bottomless compassion...you are a treasure to your dogs! Thank you for all you do and for sharing your and your dogs' stories with us.

  36. I cried tears of joy reading this story. Thank you for everything you do Ashley! If I ever meet you one day, I do not think that I will be able to control my enthusuasim for how much you do for our furr-buddies. You are such an inspiration!!!

  37. Sometimes I have to take breaks from reading the blog - simply because your entries are so touching that I have to be prepared to bawl like a baby. Don't get me wrong, Ash, I cry all of the time - over pictures of animals that have been abused - stories that seem far too unfair - and over all of the animals that I can't save. But these blog entries make me sob - it's the story behind the dog... as well as your amazing way of putting everything in writing. It's just so touching and amazing... and I feel like I know these dogs as well as you. So... every couple of months... I sit on the couch and pull up the blog to begin to read. I don't care how HAPPY the post is - I STILL CRY. That's okay... because who needs tissues when you have 4 rescue babies to lick away your tears? :-)

  38. Sometimes I have to take breaks from reading the blog - simply because your entries are so touching that I have to be prepared to bawl like a baby. Don't get me wrong, Ash, I cry all of the time - over pictures of animals that have been abused - stories that seem far too unfair - and over all of the animals that I can't save. But these blog entries make me sob - it's the story behind the dog... as well as your amazing way of putting everything in writing. It's just so touching and amazing... and I feel like I know these dogs as well as you. So... every couple of months... I sit on the couch and pull up the blog to begin to read. I don't care how HAPPY the post is - I STILL CRY. That's okay... because who needs tissues when you have 4 rescue babies to lick away your tears? :-)

  39. Thanks for giving this such great story of your lucky dog. I feel happy after read this post. You have done great work.

  40. thanks for posting. i am really glad of what you've for the dogs. keep it up. i am really happy after reading this. :)


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