1-year-old Ashley only ever wanted to be loved. The pit bull puppy was rarely fed, hardly taken outside, and eventually abandoned in a house.
Luckily for Ashley, Erica Mahnken of No More Pain Rescue rescued Ashley last January.
"We got a phone call from somebody that there was a couple living in an abandoned house. They had no heat or electricity, and they had a dog there," Mahnken said. "There was no electricity in the house — it was freezing. No food, no water for her. The house was a disaster. The windows were broken, and there was feces all over the place."
Ashley's owners had fled to find warmer housing after a snowstorm hit, but they didn't choose to bring Ashley with them.
"All you saw were her ribs — she was so skinny. And the vet later said she was 25 pounds underweight," said Mahnken.
Ashley also had cigarette burns on the top of her head. But that didn't stop her from being a loveable pup.
"She came running down, super happy," Mahnken said. "She jumped straight into my car."
The No More Pain Rescue doesn't have a physical shelter, so Erica and her fiance needed to get Ashley to a foster home. They had friends at the Fort Pitt station of the New York City Fire Department, so they asked if Ashley could stay with them. Since Fort Pitt had previously had a dog, they were more than happy to welcome the pit bull to their station.
"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 after fostering Ashley, the firefighting team called Erica and asked if they could keep Ashley for good.
"They said, 'We're going to adopt her. We just love her so much. She is at home here,'" Mahnken said. "So I was thrilled. And as soon as I walked her in there, I knew that that's where she belonged."
"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. She has the life over there."