The newest member of a Lower East Side New York fire station is probably its most popular. With more than 11,000 followers on Instagram, Ashley — nicknamed "Ash" for short — is a pit bull rescued from what was likely a crack house.
Erica Mahnken and Mike Favor of No More Pain Rescue group got a call in January from someone who lived near an abandoned house on Staten Island. The caller knew that there was a dog living there, but its owners had left after a recent snowstorm, leaving the dog behind for at least two days with no food, no water and no heat.
"We went and nobody was there. I stayed in the car and my fiancé went inside by himself because he didn't know what he was going to run into," Mahnken tells MNN. "There were broken windows and the house was disgusting, with feces everywhere. She [the dog] had cigarette burns on her head and she was really skinny. But despite everything, she came running, super happy."
With no place to house the dog, they called some firefighter friends at a station nicknamed "Fort Pitt" and asked them if they would foster the dog temporarily.
"We took her over there and her tail was wagging the entire time," Mahnken says. "They all came running over to meet her and she was jumping on everybody, super happy, greeting them, licking everybody."
After just a couple of days, the firefighters said they wanted to keep her forever.
Ash has made a great addition to the firehouse, supervising in the kitchen, riding along on calls and even enjoying her own spot on the truck. Mahnken says the firefighters take her on "about 30 walks a day" and play with her all the time. When the couple picked her up, she weighed only about 20 pounds; now she's healthy at nearly 50 pounds.
Firefighters in the house share updates about her life on her popular Instagram account with thoughts on what the friendly pup might say:
"Reporting for doodie... ready to ride...I got the woof! (Roof)"
"I love my new job!"
"Thanks to all my friends and supporters for your kind words.. all this love ❤️is greatly appreciated!"