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December 16, 2014

Captured

Last weekend we had the much anticipated volunteer party. A little bit of dancing, some good and wonderfully bad singing, and a surprise visit from foster dog Trooper added up to an amazing night. Before the party got too far off the ground, the Assisi staff gathered for a photo-op with Santa.




I love this photo because it is so symbolic of who we all are. It wasn't planned or posed, we all just fell into place for a cute little holiday snapshot, but how telling it turned out to be. Let's break it down:

Deb- front and center- and loving it- all the while a little flirty with twinkling eyes and smiles.

Bobbie- strong and tall and having our backs. There is nobody I'd rather have behind me.

John- the new guy, leaning more and more into our crazy world with his endearing smile and easy ways.

Chelsea- usually on the bottom floor, not so much in the middle of anything, but straight up and always there for us. She's also showing off that smile that lights up the room, and there ain't nothing better.

Me- wanting to stay out of the limelight, yet somehow always in the middle, sincerely enjoying the heck out of our Assisi family and plotting the next mountains to collectively conquer.

Santa- a volunteer, epitomizing what volunteers are- wish granters for all of the extra specials given to the animals in our care. Angels of Assisi provides the foundation of our mission, and the volunteers come in and light it all up, bearing the gifts of their time and talents, and forever making us believers in the good side of humankind.

The most symbolic part of this photo, however, is the one that is not seen- it's the lady behind the camera, our friend Carrie French. All of those personalities perfectly captured and made to look darn good are because of her.

You haven't seen Carrie's name associated with the beautiful images that come from Angels of Assisi, but she's always in the background creating them. Carrie has an amazing way of blending in with the surroundings, not drawing any attention to herself, and with a kind heart and sharp mind capturing the spirit of these precious moments in time. She's always there for the animals, and it's not uncommon to see her with a squeaky toy in one hand, treats in her hip pocket, one of her amazing kids at her feet, while the other hand holds a clicking camera to her eye. She embodies the true sense of giving back with all of her heart.

Carrie is by far one of the smartest and overall most amazing people I've had the pleasure of meeting in this journey called animal rescue. I am honored to call her friend, and I know many others that share that honor, probably better than she does. From the bottom of our hearts we thank her for innately bringing out the inner beauty and giving those who needs her most a real shot at life and love.














A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense,
about what is being photographed.
— Ansel Adams










December 10, 2014

Limbo


Last month, 55 dogs arrived at Angels of Assisi as the result of a seizure. We picked them up from a designated holding area, and since then we have housed them, bathed them, performed dental work, kept detailed records, sweatered and blanketed them, and rejoiced at the simple things, like the much anticipated, slow and deliberated tail wag.













Most of all, we've given them our hearts, and, based on increasingly trusting eyes that follow our every move, we believe they have given us some of theirs as well. Recent court proceedings have not resolved who gets custody of the dogs, and for now they are floating on the uncertainties of their future, with a real possibility of going right back where they came from.

Limbo is not the place we'd like to be with these 55 hearts and souls right now, but it's where we are. Our job is to keep the creeping feelings of dread far away from their daily routine, and let them bask in the attention and care given by staff and volunteers. We trust that the authorities handling their outcomes will be fair and consistent, and arrive at a resolution soon. Until then, we'll live in the moment with them because sometimes a day at a time is all one can muster. We'll keep our hearts open, while knowing they may get broken, and do our very, very best in their interest, because they deserve nothing less.



You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.
― Margery Williams






November 21, 2014

Here We Go

Labels- check.
Tape- check.
Gloves- check.
Name Tags- check.
Camera- check.
Towels- check.
More towels- check.
Full tank of gas- check.
Caring and efficient transporters- check.
Clinic staff and volunteers on standby- check.
A caring community ready to toss in a healthy dose of TLC- check.










We're doing a puppy mill rescue tomorrow, and expecting around 50 dogs. They only know how to eat if their food is thrown on the floor- right now bowls are foreign to them. They were matted to point of not being able to open their mouths, and we suspect they are in a little bit of shock right now. We're warming up the dental machine, the bath water, the clippers, the blankets, and our hearts to welcome them here tomorrow night. Hang tight, little ones, things are going to get better.





Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike.
— J.K. Rowling









November 18, 2014

Once and Always

Our handsome boy, Big Head Todd, paying tribute to the few and proud.










Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world.
The Marines don't have that problem.

― Ronald Reagan

November 12, 2014

The Visitor

We're holding on to several small dogs for a family in need. It was one of those situations where there was little time for talk or consideration, just an immediate decision that yes, we would help these dogs for the sake of safety. They have been great little guests, but like many new guys you can see the wheels turning, trying to figure out why they are here, who we are, and just how they will fit in.

Today they got a break from the wondering, as a man carrying an oxygen tank, a cane, and a smile arrived at our door. He came just to see them, to give them a familiar face, some one on one, and a reassurance to hang in there, and trust that every little thing is going to be alright. And for the time he spent with them, it was beyond alright, it was spins and grins and hey! We know you! And you're here just to see us! A kind and familiar face goes an awfully long way in this big old world, especially when yours has been turned upside-down.


 
 

 


We're expecting our guests to go home soon, and are ever so grateful that they got to let it all hang loose with their friend today. His visit took a tremendous amount of effort, but for these dogs it meant everything, and we think it did for him too.


If a friend is in trouble, don’t annoy him by asking if there is anything you can do.
Think up something appropriate and do it.
~Edgar Watson Howe







October 31, 2014

At The End Of The Day

It's been a huge day of community involvement- Wag O'Ween!- all wrapped around dogs in costumes escorted to local businesses by our faithful volunteers. These generous folks donated and gathered over 2000 pounds of food and litter, plus treats, toys, copy paper, bleach, laundry detergent, paper towels, and checks for our programs at Angels of Assisi. Best of all, we got to meet a lot of nice folks, and you all showed us, once again, how much our community cares about animals.





 
It's hard to express the extent of our gratefulness, but this email from one of our clients may help you understand. He is one of the recipients of your time and generosity, and at the end of the day, this right here is what it's all about.
 
 


Thank you, again, for a wonderful event today, and for making a difference. 


When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.
Maya Angelou















October 27, 2014

3 Cheers For Animal Control!

Roanoke City Animal Control Officer Billanti recently contacted us about a dog needing help- she had some serious skin issues that needed attention, along with a general health exam. There was one hang up, the owner was unable to transport her. There was also a solution, and for that we are very grateful- Officer Billanti picked up the dog, a sweet girl named Lola, and brought her in for treatment. A few hours later, she came back for Lola, and we sent her home with some much needed medications and a brand new dog bed.




Thanks to all of our animal control officers who go above and beyond for the pets in our community. We know it's a tough job, but we also know you are making a big difference- not only for the pets, but for their people too.

Compassion is a verb.  
Thích Nhất Hạnh




October 26, 2014

Meeting People Where They Are

We're officially up and running with our Pets for Life program! Our goal is to build a humane community by bringing animal services, resources, and information to under-served areas. By addressing the critical need for accessible, affordable pet care, this program will help our community animals by empowering the people who care for them.

How? How does it all work? By picking a neighborhood, and knocking on doors. We were lucky with the beautiful weather yesterday, and got to meet quite a few folks who were sitting outside. The first guy we encountered was Bear, and he's going to have his skin issues addressed on Tuesday when he comes in for a neuter appointment.



As we worked our way through the neighborhood, most folks were happy to talk to us, and a few even invited us in, like this gentleman. He is deaf, but we communicated pretty well via notes on scrap paper. He's done a great job taking care of his 14 year old dog, and we're going to pick her up on Tuesday for a check up, along with a relatively new housemate- a cat who showed up on the doorstep- who will also come to Angels of Assisi for neuter, shots, and microchip.





Along with some wonderful progress of getting animals signed up for clinic visits came sights of dogs on chains, as many as 3 in a yard, and stray cats. Knowing this gives us something to work towards, and it will come together as we get to know folks, and they get to know us. We're not there to take animals away from people, we are there to give them resources and information to make things better- for both pets and humans.

Animal rescue is so much more than swooping in and taking them all away from their owners. It's also keeping pets in their existing homes, and helping those homes along the way. Are these all perfect situations with white picket fences and jeweled collars? No, but you can't let perfect take the place of good, and sometimes, most times, good is more than enough.



October 2, 2014

Left

This little girl was brought to our clinic today, in hopes that what ailed her would be an easy fix. An exam revealed emaciation, infections, unhealed wounds, hair loss, and the need for extensive treatment. She was signed over to our care, and became another benefitting from the Biscuit Fund.



I brought her back to my office, to the red therapy chair, and she never moved. In fact, she stayed glued to one spot, staring at the door. I believe she was waiting for those that left her with us to come back, right through it, at any moment.


 
The realization that they were not seemed to slowly sink in, and as it did, I sent her photo to my friend, Chelsea.
 


You see, my friend Chelsea has also had someone recently leave her, unexpectedly and filled with pain. And my friend Chelsea knows that while nobody can fill that void, this little dog needs her to need her, and take care of her, and fill the spaces- those between her protruding back bones and those in her heart. And while Chelsea works on her, little Biscuit dog will do her own sort of healing, the kind that only neglected rescued animals can reciprocate with. We're looking forward to seeing the results, for both of them, in the days to come.





October 1, 2014

Nelson & Co

I had the pleasure of helping check in for surgery this morning, and it was a wonderful experience to see how much you all care about your animals. Each one was gently brought in, by leash, carrier, or in your arms, and each was bid a sad, albeit temporary, farewell. The goodbyes were peppered with "you'll be fine" "I know a part of you will be missing when I come back, but it'll be OK" and a few tears here and there. Nelson, pictured below, got to hang with dad as he filled out his paperwork.



Thank you to all, today and everyday, for bringing your beloved pets to Angels of Assisi for shots, check ups, spay/neuter, surgery, and dental work. Thank you for waiting patiently for your turn, and for understanding the busy flow of our building. We appreciate your support very much, and we love the fact that you love your pets like you do.



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