Unconditional love: South Tahoe man travels country with his dogs promoting adoption
Special to The Union
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — For South Lake resident Lee Asher, the solution to most of life’s woes is some quality time with his dogs.
Asher wanted to help people find similar joy. That’s why, three years ago, he started the Asher House.
“I hit a point in my life where I really just wanted to focus on doing what made me happy, which has always been saving animals and helping people,” Asher said.
Asher and his dogs have been to every state, except Hawaii, and many parts of Canada. They help shelters and humane societies set up adoption events where they help encourage and promote adoption of shelter pets.
“We’ve gotten over 600 dogs adopted at our adoption events and thousands of dogs adopted through social media,” Asher said.
He currently has nine dogs as pets; Tony the German shepherd, Lillie the Saint Bernard, Callie the golden retriever, Bo the chocolate lab, Sam the pit bull and four Chihuahuas named Butters, Queen, Molly and Penny. He is also fostering Tobi the Rhodesian ridgeback, Kai the Chihuahua and Pom Pom the Pomeranian.
The 13 of them drive around the country and Canada in his campervan spreading joy.
“The biggest thing that people want, even the people who are most spiteful and hateful, all anyone wants is love and connection,” Asher said. “Like, at the end of the day, if you drop the ego and just get to the point of what humans need, it’s love and connection. And that’s what’s so beautiful about dogs is that they love you unconditionally.”
His love for dogs started when he was a child. He said he was actually allergic of dogs when he was a kid but still turned to them for comfort.
“There was a school that I went to where I was bullied, I wasn’t really welcomed by friends or anything and right by the school was an animal shelter,” Asher said. “So, I used to run away from school and spend my time at the shelter.”
He said it was then when he developed his compassion and as a kid, he didn’t understand why all the dogs were in cages.
“I really kind of made a promise to myself and to the animals at such a young age that one day I would save them all,” Asher said.
When the Asher House goes on tour, they can be on the road anywhere from three to five months, depending on what part of the country they are visiting or if they are going into Canada.
He stops driving every two to three hours to let the dogs out and they stop at campsites or public land to sleep.
“I don’t want to say it’s easy because I know that we make it look easy but it’s just so meaningful that we don’t really focus on the hard parts of it,” Asher said.
He said that he has a good relationship with the dogs so they don’t have to be on leashes when he stops.
The Asher House has a huge following on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube and donations from his followers, as well as sales from his online store help pay for his trips.
He is currently home in South Lake Tahoe but new tour dates will be announced on the website, http://www.theasherhouse.com.
“I don’t look at my social media supporters as followers, I look at them as supporters and family,” Asher said.
“I don’t promote the language that people suck, I think people are amazing. When you’re a compassionate person, you don’t only show compassion to dogs, you show compassion to all living things, including humans.”
Laney Griffo is a reporter for the Tahoe Daily Tribune, a sister publication of The Union.
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