Picking Up Reece's Pieces

On Wednesday, I received a desperate answering machine message from a woman named Pat in Gulfport, Mississippi.

The neighbor's Pit Bull mix had finally broken loose from the rope used to tie her to a tree, and the dog immediately fled to Pat's home... and stayed there... seeking refuge. When Pat walked outside that morning, the dog was sleeping on her porch, right next to her cat.

Reece's neck
That's when Pat saw the dog's painful, horrific injuries.
The dog's tie-out rope had clearly been embedded in her neck for quite some time, and the wound was at least 2 inches deep. She also had other scars covering her body.

Seeing the dog's condition, Pat refused to risk the chance that the dog may be returned to the owner, but she also couldn't stand the thought of the dog facing euthanasia.

So, Pat started calling animal shelters and rescues, in search of immediate, legitimate help for this dog.

Of course, due to the "Pit Bull mix" label --coupled with the dog's severe injuries-- Animal Control informed Pat that euthanasia would be their only option for this pup. Therefore, she attempted to contact any animal rescue group she could find.

She left tons of messages, but since rescues are always full and/or overloaded, most of them never called her back. Every other rescue told her, "We don't take Pit Bulls. Try Lucky Dog Rescue."

Again... as I've said many times, Lucky Dog Rescue is NOT a "Pit Bull rescue."
While most of my rescue dogs are, in fact, Pit Bulls, I also rescue many other breeds, and mixes of those breeds. However, since I focus on the worst-cases... and the least adoptable dogs (due to societal bias), then, yes... most of my rescue pups are Pit Bulls. (Plus, I just-so-happen to freaking LOVE Pit Bulls!)

Further, because many animal rescue groups in Mississippi are unable to take Pit Bulls due to Breed Specific Legislation (BSL), and most of the other Mississippi rescues will not take them (for one reason or another), I tend to be the "fall-back."

"If the dog is a Pit Bull, call Lucky Dog Rescue."

So, after Pat exhausted her search for a rescue located somewhere closer to her area than mine, she contacted me.

I was walking a dog when she called, so she left a message. When I got back, I checked the answering machine... and heard the desperation in Pat's voice, as she said: "Please, please, PLEASE call me! I'm so desperate to save this dog! She needs help right away, and I've been told you're the only person who will help me! Please!!!"

So, I took a deep breath, picked up the phone, and returned her call.

When she answered, I said: "Hey, Ms. Pat. It's Ashley with Lucky Dog Rescue, returning your call."

Reece, when she arrived at Lucky Dog Rescue
Through obvious tears, she responded: "Oh, Ashley!!! Thank you for calling me back, honey! I've left messages with rescues all over the state this morning... begging people to call me back. You're the only one who did."

I said: "Ms. Pat, I have to be honest with you. As much as I want to help this poor dog, I'm beyond over-loaded with rescue dogs right now, so I'm not really sure that I can help. But I promise I'm willing to do everything I can to try and find someone else who can."

Then... I heard sobbing on the other end of the line.

She cried: "Ashley, please! I am begging you! I've already tried everyone else. Anyone who was willing to talk to me... was only willing to help... by giving me your number. If you can't help this dog... you and I both know... no one will... and she will die!"

I knew she was right, but I just needed a minute to think. So, I promised to call her back, and then, I hung up.

Shortly thereafter, with no plan in mind... I picked up the phone and called Pat again. Honestly, at that moment, I had no idea what I was even going to say to her... but I knew she was desperate for help, so I didn't want to make her wait any longer.

Well, before I could even give her an answer about whether or not I was able to help, Pat said: "Ashley, I want you to know... if you're willing to help this baby, then I'm willing to make the 3 hour trip from here to Meridian to bring this dog to you."

Suddenly, without another thought, I simply said: "When can you be here?"

Reece, on our way to the vet
The next morning, Pat and her husband drove more than 3 hours to deliver my new baby to Lucky Dog Rescue.

When they arrived, it was love at first sight.
I named her Reece.

That day, I began the process of picking-up the pieces of Reece's broken heart... and putting her back together again...

And in return, Reece's smile reminded me... of what I do... and why I do it. It's never about me. It's always about them. And when they really need you... you always find a way...

*Reece has a long road of recovery ahead of her. In addition to her severe injuries & massive level of infection, she is also heartworm positive, which requires extensive, costly treatment. If you'd like to contribute to Reece's care and her future, please click the link below to donate:


  1. The Forgotten Dog will raise you $500 toward this. You have my word.

  2. Thank you for taking in yet another one. Reece looks so much like our pitbull mix, Maggie. We found Maggie when she was a four month old pup wandering a dark rural road with a gapping wound all the way down her back from neck to tail. Vet suspected it was the result of having a flammable poured down her back and then set on fire. She's a happy healthy energetic girl now and just gorgeous despite the scar. I hope that Reece's outcome will be as good!

    1. Oh how horrible! Poor baby! :(. I'm so glad you were there to find and rescue Maggie and make her part of your family! <3

  3. Oh this broke my heart! But very lucky baby to have people like you and this amazing woman to have another chance at happiness!

  4. She is beautiful!

  5. Such a beautiful dog. Thank you and Pat for saving her!!!!

  6. I will donate for her vet bills How about someone else to match my $10.00 Thank you Trisha from the Forgotten Dog

    1. We've set up a chip in directly to AOH and Lucky Dog :) thank you for donating also!

    2. I will match your $10 with pleasure & if u want to donate another $15 or someone else does I will match that with pleasure,Sara Burgoyne

  7. I donated $10.00 also towards Reece's Care

  8. She's the color of a lab! Not many pits with that deep chocolate color, if I'm not mistaken. I wonder what else she has in there...

    I've always wanted to donate to you before, and haven't had the means. This month I do :) A small drop in the bucket coming your way.


  9. She will make someone very happy! God Bless you and your for doing such wonderful things!!!

  10. What painful picture - thank you for stretching your resources one more time to help this poor thing.


  11. Her pictures brought tears to my eyes. I can only imagine Pat's desperation but I know Reece's was even greater. Reece knew exactly where to go and Pat thank you for not giving up. You are an angel on earth! And by the 'smile' on Reece's face I think she knows just how lucky she is to have Ashley too. God Bless you and all you do!

  12. $25 coming your way... :)

  13. I think she could easily be adopted as a chocolate lab cross, which might give her a better chance. She looks a lot like my black lab cross. I wouldn't have even guessed Pit Bull cross by looking at her pictures. She looks so happy to be with you! I will send a donation once I get my paycheck this week. This girl definitely deserves a second chance. It's amazing that Pat was so willing to help her. Bless both of you for saving this beautiful girl's life!

  14. She looks so much like my chocolate lab in color and in some of her facial features. The photos of her injuries were a punch in the gut. Poor, poor baby. Thank you for taking the baton from Pat and making sure this baby girl has the shot she deserves.

  15. Thank you for saving her life!!!

  16. Donated! Hope she finds a wonderful home. Thank you for all you do!

  17. $15 donated for this one! I wish the best for this beautiful dog. Thanks for saving another one, Ashley!

  18. Thanks to Ashley and to Pat. So many people don't want to get involved. Some would have returned her to the neighbor just to save themselves trouble. Thanks to everyone who cares, even giving $5 when your budget is tight is meaningful! It adds up. So happy for this sweetie. Hate thinking of other animals not so lucky. Let's all keep our eyes open! Thanks again Ashley and Pat! Will donate tonight.

  19. so happy to donate to this awesome rescue for this precious angel. Thank you Pat, Ashley and EVERYONE who has a heart for pups. God Bless you.

  20. I sent $100 in hopes this covers the heartworm meds. I don't know how much the meds will cost so I hope it will help. She is the sweetest looking little bug I have seen in a long time. Give her a kiss and hug please. Thanks,


  21. Just donated $25 towards Reece's medical bills. Thank you Pat and Ashley for saving another beautiful innocent creature. I can never understand why there are such cruel people who tie their animals up to trees! How would they like to be tied up to trees ... I think there should be stricter laws in place so people such as these will not be allowed to have animals. But I realize that will never happen so it's up to people such as us who are kind hearted enough to help these poor creatures. Please everyone help Reece out so she can have a great future. She already escaped her past life of misery so now let's give her a great beautiful future ;) Ashley, please keep us updated as to her recovery and post photos of her. Rose

  22. Dear Ashley, You have 3 more donations coming..one for $50..one for $15 & not sure how much other will be. I am still working on getting more & if it goes over amount needed for Reeces please keep it for all the great work you do each & everyday..I post & advocate for Pet Pardons & have been doing for quite some time as an advocate for over 35 years I do know how attached & overwhelmed we can get & I know you just went through some personal grief of your own. You are always in my heart & prayers & I added you a long time ago to our healing candle. God bless you each & everyday..u set the example for all of us to follow,Sara

  23. Thank you Ashley and Pat for saving this sweet baby! Shame on whoever let her hurt. :( Now she will never have to hurt again, only know healing and love. <3

  24. Sending you a check for $100. I have a rescue pit mix that was left on the side of the road beaten when he was 6 months old. I have had him for eight amazing years and I continue to be thankful every minute that he came into my life.

  25. Dear Ashley, My check went in morning mail as did 3 more of my friends. Thank you for doing what you do & allowing us to be a small part of it. I have been an advocate for over 35 years for animals,children,elderly & past few years have taken on Domestic Violence,Missing,Cold caes & I know how overwhelming it can get but at the end of the day we can sit back & know ..We made a difference for just 1 day..Then we start all back over the next day. We have to be the voice who have none & we have to stand up for those who can not stand for themselves. Bless u & know you are always in my prayers & heart & Thank you to all who helped raise the money for Reece's surgery & please keep us all informed,Sara

  26. Pat and Ashley. Thank you both. You are angels! Breaks my heart to see such suffering this little baby has endured along with the others you have rescued Ashley. Donation is on the way to help out. You rock girl!

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  28. I practically cried reading this story. I'm so happy for Reece

  29. I was choked up reading the story and seeing the pictures... :( Thanks for doing what you do. Pitbulls are so misunderstood. I strive to be able to open my own rescue one day. I hope you can follow me and spread the word as well. www.dogsofagoodsociety.blogspot.com Thanks for all you do, it is truly inspiring! :)

  30. Ashley,

    Thank you so much for helping Reece! She is a beautiful dog and I hope she learns to fully trust humans again. Also, bless Pat for seeing this dog in need and taking action.

  31. Dog Death I have never ever come across such a wonderful piece of information. Today I am proud to say that I have finally gain knowledge on this topic and here on I shall also spread the same preaching ahead so that the world become a better place to live in.

  32. This comment has been removed by the author.

  33. Hi this is Myrna and Dezirae from Houston Texas,
    We really enjoyed reading your blog and all the things you do for Pitbulls in particular. We would like to become veterinarians in the future and start a rescue shelter of our own and we were wondering if you had any tips for us. We were also wondering what inspired you to start your rescue shelter. Again we love your blog and thank you for everything.
    Myrna and Dezirae

  34. Ashley, you are one remarkable humanoid! Glad to know you! :D

  35. Thank you, thank you, thank you! It is what make each dog unique that makes them all the more special in our eyes and in our hearts. Give me unique, different, “special needs”, shy any day. What we receive in return is so much greater.
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  36. This sorry brought tears to my eyes. It is a story we here over and over. Thank you for saving Reeces and for sharing your story. I volunteer at my local animal control and am also a huge lover of pitbulls!

  37. ohh my..'poor dog.Reece looks like my pitbull mix.'I dont't want it to happen to my dog.This story is very touching..Thank you guys for saving reeces. I love this blog and thank you for everything, for posting this..

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