Hallmark’s Ashley Williams Reveals Unexpected Addition to Family: ‘Secret is Out!’

Ashley Williams

Heavy/Getty Hallmark actress and director Ashley Williams

Longtime Hallmark star Ashley Williams just gained a new four-legged family member — a rescue dog named Alma — thanks to what she jokingly called a “foster fail.”

The actress and her family — husband Neal Dodson and sons Gus, 9, and Odie, 6 — periodically take in rescue dogs at their newly-renovated Los Angeles home, fostering them until a family is available to adopt them. But Williams and her family quickly bonded with Alma, so much so that they wound up adopting her, she revealed in an Instagram post on November 7, 2023.

She wrote, “Secret is out!! I’m so proud to announce my foster fail! This weekend at the @bfas_la #superadoption our family officially welcomed Alma into our home forever!”

The new addition comes at a particularly busy time for Williams, who turns 44 on November 12, the same day she and fellow Hallmark star Nikki DeLoach are set to host the Dance Party to End ALZ in Nashville.

Here’s what you need to know:

Ashley Williams Called New Pup an ‘Absolute Wonder of a Dog’ Before Adoption

Williams first introduced Alma to her social media followers with a post on October 17, writing that her family was fostering “this absolute wonder of a dog.”

“The belly rubs go on and on and on and my boys are in heaven,” she wrote. “She looks deep in our eyes and brings us all peace in a time when our hearts need it so badly.”

Alma arrived via the Best Friends Animal Society, which bills itself as the “largest no-kill sanctuary” in the U.S. Williams has been a supporter of the organization for years.

As part of a celebrity supporter profile on their site, Williams said, “I am a dog person, through and through, and I love how Best Friends has made adoption the easy and responsible choice for ownership. They have been a force in decreasing the amount of magical dogs who go unloved in the country.”

Last weekend, Williams participated in the organization’s “Super Adoption” event in L.A., with hundreds of dogs available for adoption. In an Instagram video on November 3, Williams was clearly smitten with Alma, who was happy to get belly rubs as her foster mom promoted the event.

In her latest post about her family’s decision to adopt Alma, Williams wrote, “This lady has had a long road and was quiet and slept a lot the first week she was with us — the shelter said she’d been exhibiting signs of depression.”

“She has fully come to life now and we take long hikes together and cuddle for hours,” she continued. “She’s so gentle with my rowdy boys and we couldn’t love her more. Best part? Best friends waved all adoption fees of dogs five and older so this was freeeee! Jackpot!”

In the past, Williams and her family have taken care of other rescues while they waited to be adopted. For instance, in August, she shared a video of a puppy who stayed with them for a week, during which she said her kids happily taught him how to “shake.”

Ashley Williams Will Celebrate Her Birthday Hosting Fundraiser for Alzheimer’s Association

In addition to fostering dogs and supporting Best Friends Animal Society, Williams is also passionate about raising funds for research to end Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related diseases. In 2016, Williams and her siblings, including actress Kimberley Williams-Paisley, lost their mom to a a form of dementia called primary progressive aphasia, according to Brain & Life.

Six years ago, Williams-Paisley founded the Dance Party to End ALZ in Nashville, with help from Williams and their brother, Jay. Together, they have raised $1.8 million through the event for research grants devoted to treating and preventing various types of dementia.

For the 2023 fundraiser on November 12, Williams will serve as host alongside her good friend DeLoach, who lost her dad in 2021 to another form of dementia called Pick’s disease. They also recruited Hallmark’s Andrew Walker to be part of the planning committee, given that his mom died in March after a long journey with Alzheimer’s.

Other Hallmark stars planning to dance the night away include Benjamin Ayres, whose Romance University initiative helped raise $5,400 for the event, Erin Cahill, Cindy Busby, Brooke D’Orsay, Paul Greene, Alicia Witt, and Ginna Claire Mason. Tickets to the event at Nashville’s Wildhorse Saloon are available here.

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