Ashley St. Thomas

submission by ashleyjeanne81
Ashley St. Thomas

Your Pet's Name

:

Ralph

Date and Location of Photo

:

August 2012
Washington, DC

How Does your pet add value to your life and community?

:

Ralph was a stray, picked up on the street and taken to a shelter near Washington, DC. Pit bulls are banned in the area, so he was already on death row when I found his mug shot a few weeks later. Although, technically, mine was a no-dogs-allowed apartment and, realistically, my studio couldn't accommodate a lapdog let alone an energetic, fifty-pound, one-year-old -- part beagle, part pit bull, part wild thing -- I was powerless against his shelter photo: that goofy grin, those velvety ears, the yin and yang of markings on his face. I went to see him that day -- this happy-go-lucky, exceptionally strong, playful puppy -- and I felt the simultaneous joy and vulnerability that is love-at-first-sight. He came home with me later that week.

Although he's the one called "a rescue," Ralph saved me just as much as I saved him. Here are a few of the things he's taught me.

Ralph's Rules
1. Make pleasure and peace a priority.
What can't be cured by fresh air and fetch will surely feel better after a nap.

2. Remember that every day is the best day ever.
Even if you wake up, and today smells just like yesterday, realize instead that it's time wholly new and demanding to be fiercely lived.

3. Be fearless but not foolish.
Have the courage to lead the pack at times and the sense, at others, to follow it.

4. Roll in the mess.
Whether it's duck poop or a broken heart, dive headfirst into the yuck of life.

5. Love ferociously.
Find your people. Adore them unconditionally. Be cherished in return, and happy.

Which Shelter would you like the $1,500 donation to be made to on your behalf?

Shelter: HALO Animal Rescue Uno por Uno

Discussion
23 Pink-talk-bubble-tail

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Ashley I was wondering if you ever lived in Kalamazoo,MI? I am searching for my friend and you are the only Ashley St.Thomas that comes up...by the way you have an absolutely adorable pup! If this is the Ashley I am looking for from childhood please email me: ashmillsmishra@gmail.com or find me on facebook.

by ashleyemishra
2 months ago | Reply

I did Pit rescue in California 10 years ago and found out first hand how loving they are as companions. Thank you for stepping up and bucking the senseless discrimination against this truly American dog breed.(see photos of Pits as babysitters early 20th century). Plus my Dad's name was Ralph. Thanks also for sharing Ralph's great set of rules. My rescue Merlin has a very similar set we live by.

by Flowwoman
11 months ago | Reply

Thanks for sharing your story and for your rescue work. Merlin is a perfect dog name! All the best to you both.

by ashleyjeanne81
10 months ago | Reply

It seems to me that as compelling as all the finalists are, a poster child that could illustrate the murderous fallacies of BSL is the best medicine for our insanely cruel society that is killing 10 million pets a year in USA alone.

by aminahyaquin
11 months ago | Reply

I couldn't agree more. There's so much to be done to stop breed discrimination and overcrowded animal shelters, it's overwhelming. Adoption and advocacy are a good place to start. Thanks for your support, and I love the phrase "darling moosh"!

by ashleyjeanne81
10 months ago | Reply

AND, BTW RALPH is a darling moosh with a wonderful story

by aminahyaquin
11 months ago | Reply

I'm so glad his "part pit bull" didn't stop you from adopting him. I rescued a pit from the pound in my area last year and he is one of the smartest, most loving dogs I've ever known. Pit bulls and pit mixes get a bad rep and it's so important to share stories of what wonderful dogs they are. thanks for sharing Ralph with us!

by mlpcarolina
11 months ago | Reply

Yes, pit bulls get a bad rap even though they're typically such affectionate dogs. Speaking of bad rap, this organization does great work to ban breed discrimination laws: www.badrap.org. Best Friends Animal Society also does a lot to rehabilitate former fighting pit bulls: http://bestfriends.org/Pit-Bulls.

Thanks for your comment and glad you have a loving pit bull of your own!

by ashleyjeanne81
11 months ago | Reply

Who could not love that face. As a pet lover myself "Ralps Rules" are the best! It is so amazing that they can always love us back unconditionally no matter how crappy we may act/feel some days. "Raph's Rules" are now on the fridge as our family's mission statement.

by mtmwesthoff@msn.com
11 months ago | Reply

Unconditional love is a powerful thing. After I'd had Ralph for almost a year, I quit my desk job in Washington, DC, to intern at Best Friends Animal Society's DogTown in southern Utah. It's the nation's largest no-kill animal sanctuary - just an amazing place. Anyway, I'm so glad Ralph charmed his way into your heart too & wish you and your family all the best.

by ashleyjeanne81
11 months ago | Reply

Cutest monster ever!

by lindasthomas@cox.net
11 months ago | Reply

...said the lady who spoils him with "just a little taste" of everything she eats. Thanks, Mom.

by ashleyjeanne81
11 months ago | Reply

If I could I would vote 100 times for Ralph. Most lovable and funny dog I've seen in a very long time.

by bigsaint
11 months ago | Reply

Well, he certainly misses you. And so do I!

by ashleyjeanne81
11 months ago | Reply

We should all live by Ralph's Rules. I've printed them out as a daily reminder. Thank you for sharing.

by katy.change
11 months ago | Reply

That's wonderful. Thanks for your comment, and enjoy "the rules."

by ashleyjeanne81
11 months ago | Reply

Anyone named Ralph has my vote!! Plus he is adorable.

by srmargaretmary
11 months ago | Reply

Thank you! Ralph's shelter name was "Saint," which suited him in an ironic way, but he's definitely more of a Ralph to me.

by ashleyjeanne81
11 months ago | Reply

Ralph is beyond adorable, an original little rascal.

by dianekane
11 months ago | Reply

Thanks, Diane. He's definitely a rascal...

by ashleyjeanne81
11 months ago | Reply

Go Ralphie!

by pattistern
11 months ago | Reply

Thanks, Patti. Let's enter Ricky in the next one.

by ashleyjeanne81
11 months ago | Reply

Thanks, everyone! Ralph is celebrating his nomination by chasing birds in the backyard.

by ashleyjeanne81
11 months ago | Reply

Pink-ribbon-award-box-icon
Award_topvotedidea
$1,500
Circle-1-inactive Step1-title-submission-inactive

Submission Began
Wednesday, July 31

Submission Ended
Wednesday, August 14
at 12:00 PM PDT

Circle-2-inactive Step2-title-voting-inactive

Voting Began
Tuesday, September 03

Voting Ended
Tuesday, September 17
at 12:00 PM PDT

Circle-3 Step3-title
Jeanette Cereske
Jeanette Cereske

Winner Announced
Tuesday, October 01

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