Ashley the pit bull didn’t have an easy life. Her previous owners hardly fed her, rarely took her outside, and abandoned her in the middle of a storm.
Luckily, No More Pain Rescue cofounder Erica Mahnken and her fiancé, Michael Favor, found the one-year-old dog in January 2017.
“We got a phone call from somebody that there was a couple living in an abandoned house,” Mahnken told The Dodo. “They had no heat or electricity, and they had a dog there.”
When a snowstorm hit, they left Ashley alone to fend for herself.
“I guess they went to find somewhere warm to stay, and they had left the dog behind. So as soon as we got the phone call, we ran and got her,” Mahnken said.
The couple drove to the location to rescue Ashley. When they arrived, Favor asked Mahnken to stay in the car while he went inside the home to find the dog.
Later, he told Mahnken about how bad the conditions inside the home were. Favor said there was no electricity, and it was freezing. Ashley’s owners didn’t even leave food or water for her.
The entire house was a disaster, with broken windows and feces all over the place. In other words, it was no place to live.
Despite her poor living conditions, Ashley was relatively unharmed. When Favor finally walked her out of the abandoned home, the dog couldn’t hide her excitement.
“She came running down, super happy,” Mahnken recalled. “She jumped straight into my car.”
Ashley’s owners neglected her, and it manifested on her physically. The pup was thin and malnourished, with her ribs sticking out of her skin. A checkup with a veterinarian revealed that she was 25 pounds underweight.
Worse, they discovered that Ashley had cigarette burns on the top of her head.
No More Pain Rescue doesn’t have a physical shelter where Ashley could stay, so Mahnken and Favor had to find her a foster home immediately. Luckily, they had friends in the New York City Fire Department (FDNY).
The couple knew that Fort Pitt station used to have a dog, so they asked the firefighters if they were willing to foster Ashley until they could find her a good home.
“As soon as she walked into the firehouse, her tail was wagging, and she was licking and greeting everybody,” Mahnken said. “She was super happy. From where she came from, you wouldn’t really expect that. You would think that she’d be a little skittish, but she wasn’t at all.”
A few days later, the FDNY called Mahnken to ask if they could keep Ashley.
“They said, ‘We’re going to adopt her. We just love her so much. She is at home here.’ So I was thrilled. And as soon as I walked her in there, I knew that that’s where she belonged,” Mahnken said.
Since then, Ashley has been living her best life at the firehouse.
“She’s constantly on the go – she goes on smaller runs with them, she goes on the fire truck with them,” Mahnken said. “They walk her about 30 times a day. They bring her on the roof to play. She’s constantly in the kitchen watching them eat. She has endless supplies of treats.”
The firefighters even have a designated seat for her in the fire truck. She is truly one special girl!
“I’m so glad we got her into a home that will show her nothing but love, and not make her into the pit bull that people love to hate so quickly,” Mahnken said. “It was an unbelievable feeling to know that that’s where she belonged.”
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