I will let today’s guest blogger introduce herself. She has written a powerful, heartbreaking, inspirational piece for the Dogster blog. Please pass it around to anyone who might benefit from it, anyone who might reach out to save a life, as she has done with so many dogs…
My name is Ashley Owen Hill, and I am an animal rescuer. I was born an animal rescuer. It is truly my purpose in life. I have my own animal rescue group, Lucky Dog Rescue, in Meridian, Mississippi. Lucky Dog Rescue is focused on saving dogs from death row, abuse cases, and those who are sick. I write about my rescue experiences on my blog, Lucky Dog Rescue Blog.
I see a dog, and my heart breaks, into a million tiny pieces that fall at my feet as teardrops. The dog is skin and bones, and his spirit is completely shattered. The dog has been beaten, tortured, and starved. The dog has been subjected to the bone-chilling cold, the scorching heat. The dog knows all too well the feeling of hunger, pain, and suffering.
This dog has lived his entire existence on a 3-foot chain. Never touched by a caring hand. Never hearing the words, Good boy. Never free to run or play. Never able to escape the abuse
This dog has been beaten every single day, for as long as he can remember. This dog has lived his entire life in a state of sheer terror never knowing when the next blow would come. Never knowing what he would do, to trigger the next beating
This dog watched as his family packed up all of their belongings, and moved away without him. This dog waited for weeks on a chain for them to return for him. They would never return for him. This dog waited with hopes, dreams, and love he waited
This dog ends up at the pound where he is immediately placed on death row. He is again restricted from running and playing, this time by a cage. He is again terrified for his life as he should be he doesnt have much time
This dog waits, as day after day, no one stops at his cage. He sees the children run for the cages with the cute little puppies, and then watches the pups leave with their new families. He sees a family pass him by, to visit the dog in the next cage over. At first, he thinks they are stopping for him, and he goes to greet them, tail wagging. As they play with the neighboring dog, he sits watching waiting longing for his turn. And then, he watches, as the other dog joyfully prances past him, on her way to a new home.
For days, this boy gets up to greet every family that comes past his cage. He waits eagerly by the gate for his turn to show that hes special. And no one ever stops for him
Eventually, he stops getting up.
Day after day, this dog waits. He sees the others, one-by-one, heading out the door but its never his turn. He watches each person pass him by, but he doesnt understand He doesnt know that his emaciated frame makes others look away. He doesnt know that his eyes dont shine due to the years of torture. He doesnt know that his coat is dull from improper care, or that he smells because hes never had a bath.
He doesnt know that he is of a breed that doesnt stand a chance. And of a color that is all too common. He just knows that he wants to go home, and he is beginning to understand that it will never happen for him. And so he waits with shattered hopes, dreams, and love he waits to die.
On the day his time runs out, I arrive for him. As I approach his cage, he doesnt even lift his head. Whats the use? No one is here for me. No one wants me. Why doesnt anyone want me? When I stop at his kennel, he barely looks up at me. He is certain that I couldnt be there for him. No one has ever been there for him.
I look into his cage. I see a dog, and my heart breaks, into a million tiny pieces that fall at my feet as teardrops. I see a soul so wounded, so broken, that he has given up all hope.
On this day, I am there for no other reason than to save his life. I know that I am there to take him, but he doesnt know that. He waits for me to keep walking on to the next dog, but Im not going anywhere without him.
I open the gate, and say, Come on, buddy. Lets go home. He has no idea what this means. He is unsure, afraid, and heartbroken. For days, he has waited for someone to come for him, and no one ever did. Now, he is waiting to die he assumes thats why Im here.
So, I bend down. I gently touch his head. And I say, Its your turn, buddy. Lets break outta this joint. As I loop the leash around his head, his tail slowly begins to wag. He follows me, timidly, with uncertainty of where I will lead him
On death row, you walk one way to die, and the other way to live. He and I, headed down the path of the living.
And I watched the smile spread across his face, as we stepped out into the sunlight
This dog was my Rudy. The dog who would eventually steal my heart more than any other pup I have ever known. This dog, was the most special boy that ever lived. And he was sitting on death row, waiting to die.
Until that day, Rudy had only known abuse and heartbreak. From that moment on, he never knew pain again. Rudys time with me was so full of happiness, that he never stopped smiling. Every day, he thanked me, with a love so powerful, it will stay with me forever.
On July 8, 2010, Rudy died of a sudden, unexpected heart attack. It was the worst day of my life. But on that day, I stood over Rudys lifeless body, and I didnt see a dog. I saw my son. I saw my child, my heart, my life. I saw a once-forgotten soul, who will be remembered forever. I saw the reason for everything I am, and everything I do. I saw a boy who didnt die in the pound, but rather lived in my heart.
And so, on every trip to the pound, I look for him. Another Rudy, is waiting to die. Another broken spirit has given up. Another lost soul will become yet another statistic. Unless we save them.