November 30, 2009

Hope for Harley

Harley is a great old guy who had to be given up due to his owner's illness. He arrived at Angels of Assisi this morning a little confused, but overall in great spirits.

He will be updated on all his shots and get a much needed pedicure before leaving for Basset Hound Rescue this week. We appreciate Anita Scott for connecting us with the great folks at Basset Rescue of the Old Dominion (BROOD).

Volunteer Orientation

Volunteer orientation will be held Tuesday, December 15 at 6:30 pm. We will give a tour of Angels of Assisi, then break into 2 groups- one for dog walkers, and one for cat helpers.

Please meet us at 415 Campbell Avenue to join the fun!

Ready for a New Start

Because of her unusual color (she is actually a Doberman Pincher), Pink was used for breeding and we’re sure her former owner made quite a bit of money from her puppies. Unfortunately, she was surrendered to Angels of Assisi with a cut on her side, thin, and full of worms.

She’s on the mend now, and will be spayed this week. With a little TLC and nutrition, Pink should be ready for her new home soon.

A Timely Entrance Into The World

Reba, Regan, and Reilly’s mom was a feral cat. She had been trapped and was waiting to be spayed when she decided to have her 3 babies before she went to surgery. These 3 cuties were born in the trap- not an ideal place, but desperate times call for desperate measures!

They were taken to foster home to be raised, and are now ready for adoption. It is safe to say they are the exact opposite of their feral mama and love dogs, cats, kids and people. Please contact Diane at for more information ♥

November 28, 2009

Out in the Cold

Yesterday, we learned that 9 small dogs had been left to fend for themselves after their owner went to a nursing home last week. They have been outside in the cold, rain, sleet and wind for the last 6 days.

Thanks to some quick thinking and many hours of work from the volunteers at the Animal Welfare League of Pittsylvania County, 5 of the 9 dogs are safe and sound tonight at Angels of Assisi. Volunteers spent hours catching them and will go back tomorrow for the last 4 dogs. Meanwhile, they have left a shelter and food for them outside.

We would like to thank Melanie Schlaginhaufen for her expertise in catching and assessing the dogs. She and Tonja Reynolds from AWLOPC spent their Saturday evening making the long drive to Roanoke, then bathing the dogs and treating them for fleas.

The 5 little ones are settled in for the night- bathed, dried, and tucked in with warm blankets. We hope to bring good news of their vagabond friends tomorrow.


Freckles, one of the residents at Harmony.


Who, Me?

Heidi the pony always had quite a fascination with the pigs at Harmony Farm Sanctuary, and would hang out next to them and watch their every move. However, once she thought anyone was watching her, she would quickly move away as if socializing the pigs was way beneath her ☺

November 26, 2009

We Second That Emotion

Nona Nelson posted the following article in her blog, The Happy Wag, and we could not agree more. We are privileged to be part of a wonderful network of people, and we appreciate all the hard work for the pets in our community.

Today I would really like to thank the people in this community who give tirelessly and endlessly to make life better for animals, and to those who work with animals to make our community a safer, better place to live. I firmly believe how we treat animals is an expression of how deep our compassion runs for humanity.

This incomplete list of includes:

• Sara Orrick of Star City Greyhound Adoptions and her merry and dedicated band of volunteers

• Lisa O'Neill and all the staff and volunteers at Angels of Assisi, who never say never

• Shirley Fainter, Thelma Marienfeldt and FERAL, who do so much for homeless kitties

• Diane Novack of Barn Cat Buddies, who will not rest until there's at least one cat in every barn

• Dr. Maureen and the staff at Emergency Veterinary Service, who save pets lives in the odd hours, including my dog Coral

• The puppy raisers and trainers as Saint Francis Service Dogs, who create lifelines for people with great dogs

• Lauren Ellerman, Vickie McCormick, Amy Morgan, Seth Marlow, Sherry Wallace and all the other Roanoke Dog Park Committee members for having a vision and making it real

• Christa Hall Stephens and Black Dog Salvage for being a pet-friendly business and overall cool people

• Kathy Perdue, Anne Marie Sweeney, Gael Dixon and everyone at the RVSPCA for being a presence for pet welfare and awareness in Roanoke

• All the foster families that take in wee pups and kitties for the RVSPCA and Angels and allow these babies to have a chance

• The League of Animal Protection in Botetourt, for their dedication and love on behalf of some hard-to-place pets

• Donna Essig, Anita Scott and everyone at the Franklin County Humane Society for moving mountains in that community and beyond

• The volunteers who train their pets for search-and-rescue missions for their dedication and hard work that saves lives

• To all the K9 police officers and their four-legged partners, who put public safety before their own

• Katie Halsted, Kristi Lilly, Sue Grimm and everyone else at Six Wags Dogs Park, for just being awesome

• All the responsible, loving pet parents of pit bulls, because it takes some tough love to break down the stereotypes and make good homes for these great dogs

• Every pet owner who spays and neuters their critters and thus does not contribute to the problem of pet overpopulation

And we also thank Vickie Holt for the awesome photos like "the twins" above!!

November 24, 2009

Why We Do The Things We Do

The following blurb was sent to us by a family who has rescued dogs far and wide. From the gas chambers in Georgia, to the rural pounds of Virginia, these wonderful dogs now have a safe place to call home.

Since our family became involved in dog rescue several years ago, we have been a temporary home for dogs of all shapes, size, breed and age. Every single one of these dogs touched our hearts in some special way, but the ones that linger longest are those that came to us with the absolute resignation that they would never again know happiness.

If you’ve never seen a dog who has reached this point, it is a sobering realization. Rosie was one such dog. Hit by a car on a county road, it was a miracle that she survived the accident with little more than a few scrapes on her back. Given her size and advanced age, the veterinarian who treated her said he could not explain why she was still alive. Aside from those minor injuries though, his examination revealed that Rosie was in starvation mode and had an old injury on her hip that was severely infected.

The most notable thing about Rosie though was her complete lack of expression. One of the vet techs who helped take care of her while she was at the clinic did her best to ply Rosie with treats and good food, anything to bring a smile to her face. But none of it worked. For the first week or so after we brought Rosie home to foster, she showed little interest in her food, treats or toys. It was as if she didn’t believe any of it would last, and she didn’t want to get too hopeful about it.

But we kept trying until she wagged the tip of her tail one day and accepted a treat. We soon discovered that one of her favorite things in life is animal cookies. With every day, Rosie began to show a little more happiness for simple things like walks and back rubs. Her favorite dog is Teddy, a big old guy who out weighs her by some 50 pounds, but is happy to share his cookies with her.

Dogs like Rosie are why our family continues to be involved in dog rescue. It is a wonderful thing to know that you have helped to restore another living being’s trust in love and joy for life.

November 23, 2009


Through the end of the year, all tabby cats and black cats at Angels of Assisi have a special adoption rate.

For $40, you can adopt a tabby or black cat that has been spayed/neutered, updated on all vaccinations, and microchipped. If you would like to adopt two tabby or black cats (everyone needs a friend!) the adoption fee is $75.

Elliot, featured above, is rarin' to go! Please come meet him or any of the fabulous felines any day between 2 pm and 6 pm at 415 Campbell Avenue!

November 22, 2009

Taking a Moment to Regroup

We lost a wonderful dog yesterday.

“Gabe” was brought to Angels of Assisi last week after he was found starved and covered with mange. It’s still amazing to us that people will spend money to breed dogs, pay to crop their ears and dock their tails, and then let them nearly starve to death.

He was able spend the last week of his life with fresh food and water, a clean bed, and many kind words from staff and volunteers. Because his skin condition was contagious, we had to wear gloves and use precautions when touching him, and we regret that he was never able to get a good hug or pat without a protective layer of gloves or gowns.

Gabe had the glazed over, dull look in his eyes that dogs get when they have given up. He would gratefully come to the front of his kennel for a moment of human contact, but you could tell he never expected too much.

We have seen this look in many other dogs, and it is so rewarding to see light and hope slowly creep in, tails start to wag, and self confidence take over. In the week he was with us, Gabe never got to the point of having light and hope return to his eyes, and we sure wish he had.

Rest in peace, buddy.

We’re going to take a deep breath. Regroup. And then keep working to prevent this from happening to any other defenseless animal. We’ve got a piece of you, Gabe, in our hearts for inspiration.

"We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own, live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached. Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way.

We cherish memory as the only certain immortality, never fully understanding the necessary plan." Irving Townsend.


November 20, 2009

Visit From An Old Friend

Hobo came to Harmony Farm Sanctuary several years ago at the ripe old age of 25. He had spent the last 20 years of his life pulling a carriage for tourists in Alexandria, Va. Hobo was very popular around town, and both tourists and locals alike knew his favorite was peppermint candy. When he left, he was given the keys to the city for a job well done.

Because he was a city boy, we had teach him about fences and other animals (cows!). He had never been on a pasture before, and we had to slowly introduce him to grass. Basically, we had to let him know that it was OK to be a plain old horse and do horsey things.

After a first few stressful days at Harmony, he settled into retirement and never looked back. He loves to be out in the pasture, loves to be with other animals, and really loves eating grass. All day long. He hates being in a stall, and we had to buy special locks because he knows how to open the latch on the stall door. If he is feeling generous, he'll open the stall door for his best bud and fellow equine troublemaker, Heidi.

He is not much of a people horse anymore, but can't resist coming around for an apple or peppermint. Otherwise he is happy out in the pasture with his friends, and he frequently lets out one of those big, horsey sighs.

His past work partner, Ann (shown below), comes to visit him several times a year. He will look past her and see if his old work horse trailer is anywhere in sight, then stand for the obligatory photo session. He'll happily take the big apples she brings, and then calls it a day.

A Long Way From Tomatoes

We first told the story of the Tomato Cats here; 30 + cats living in "Sanford and Sons" conditions surviving off of tomatoes.

Thanks to the help of several volunteers, they have a new start in life. Pictured above is little Maggie on the right with her new sister, Wendy.

November 19, 2009

Joy Ride

"Dogs feel very strongly that they should always go with you in the car, in case the need should arise for them to bark violently at nothing right in your ear"  ~Dave Barry


Happy Cubes

Keeping the kitties in the adoption center occupied is not always an easy task. Angels of Assisi has 3 Kitty Colony rooms, and we try and keep them filled with toys and things to do. The latest gadgets are these cubes from Target. They stack nicely, are easy to clean, and the cats LOVE them!

We would like to provide a wall of cubes for the cats to hide in and play around. Each cube is $9.99 at Target and they are called Itsy Storage Cubes. They also come in a variety of neat colors. If you would like to help with Operation Kitty Cube, please feel free to donate one today!

November 18, 2009

Midnight Run

Not many people are aware of the extraordinary efforts that volunteers make to save the lives of homeless pets in our community. These volunteers find it unacceptable that last year in Roanoke alone, over 4000 dogs and cats were euthanized due to overcrowding in area shelters. (This number does not include pets euthanized in rural shelters outside of Roanoke.)

A lot of creativity goes into saving these pets- sometimes the pet goes to a foster home. Sometimes they go to No Kill shelter like Angels of Assisi or the League for Animal Protection. Sometimes they get adopted from the shelter to a new family.

Another option- and this is where a lot of hard work and creativity come in- is to transfer the dog or cat to a Humane Society that is out of state. There are actually rescue pet transports that run up and down our highways every day of the week, transporting pets from high kill shelters to rescue groups who will find them a safe and loving home. Two Angels of Assisi dogs joined ten other dogs from Franklin County tonight. Although we are a No Kill shelter, Whitley and Spanky joined the group as we felt they would be a good fit and have a great chance for a new life.

Whitley and Spanky are headed to a Humane Society in New Hampshire; one who succeeds in matching dogs with new families, and we know they will be safe and well cared for. They left us at 6 pm and will arrive tomorrow morning, ready for a new start.

We appreciate a special volunteer named Anita who works relentlessly to save these wonderful pets. We also appreciate the drivers, the coordinators, the sponsors, the transporters, the shelter staff, our own Dr. Spangler, and the Angels of Assisi staff who helped on short notice. It seems like it takes a Village to save these pets, and it’s one we are proud to be a part of.

Photo of the Week

Every weekend our wonderful volunteer photographer, Vickie Holt, comes to the adoption center armed with lights, props, a big heart and a creative eye. She photographs all the new animals in the adoption center, and Quart earned photo of the week.

Vickie can also take pet portraits of your favorite pet- visit her website for more info!

Quart is available for adoption and you can visit her anyday between 2 - 6 pm ♥


Sneakers was brought to Angels of Assisi to be euthanized because her owner did not want her anymore. We thought she had a quite a few happy years left, and appreciate the kindness of an Assisi volunteer for offering to foster her.

Sneakers is a sweet kitty still looking for her forever home- please contact us at for more info.

Box Pups

These 3 adorable puppies were found in a box in the middle of a busy road. The box was hit by a car, but by some miracle they all survived. One of the siblings suffers a broken leg and is staying at a Veterinarian clinic for recovery.

Despite their ordeal, Luke, Bo and Daisy are all happy, healthy pups, and will be ready for adoption soon.


"Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace."

-- Milan Kundera

November 16, 2009

Mama's Watching You!

Cody is one of the few babies born at Harmony Farm Sanctuary. His mom was pregnant when she arrived, and we were thrilled to have a baby cow at the farm. He is shown here just a few days old, while his worried mom looks in through the barn door.


Golden Girl

Goldie was an older dog turned in to Angels of Assisi when it was discovered she had cancer. She was such a sweet and gentle girl, that we kept her in the "people" area of the adoption center. Goldie spent her days hanging out with the staff and visitors until she was fostered by a kind family for her remaining days. She died with peace and dignity, surrounded by people who cared about her. Rest in peace, Goldie Girl.


Living Art

"There's no need for a piece of sculpture in a home that has a cat." Wesley Bates

The above photo by Vickie Holt is of Danny. This great looking boy came in with his fur terribly matted, and it all had to be shaved off. Enjoying his buzz cut, Danny made a lot of new friends and found himself a great new family.


The Youngsters

Two of the youngest cats from the Giles County cat rescue went home last weekend. Waffle and Pancake's mom was one of 80 cats living in the same house, and they were born after her arrival to Angels of Assisi. Many of the cats from this rescue have a trademark patch of gray on their heads, and these two are no exception!

A special thank you to their foster mom, Deb, for taking such good care of them! ♥♥♥

Home Alone

Sasha and Rufus were left to fend for themselves after their owner moved away and left them in the yard. It's a mystery to us how anyone could leave a living creature that depends on us for food, water, shelter and care behind, but it happens all too frequently.

We appreciate Officer Kevin Crowder with Botetourt Animal Control for his care and concern for these wonderful dogs. They have been updated on all their shots and are ready for a new family and a second chance. The adoption center is open from 2-6 pm everyday!


Foster Home Needed

This very sweet girl is now living at the Franklin County Pound. She will be getting hip surgery this week, and needs a foster home during her recovery time. The volunteer taking her photo said she could not get any better ones because she was trying to sit in her lap the entire time.

If you can help, please contact us ay 400-2233 or


November 15, 2009

Behind the Eyelashes

Sisters Scout and Frost were found in a ditch nine days ago and brought to Angels of Assisi by some kind volunteers. They were suffering from a horrible skin condition, smelled terrible, and Frost could barely lift her head she was in so much pain. The odd thing was that they had been well fed, so we believe they were in someone's care and allowed to get in the condition we found them in. In other words, someone was feeding them and never bothered to take them to a Vet for treatment as their skin infection got worse and worse.

Dr. Spangler examined both pups, discovered they suffered from  a type of mange called demodicosis, and started them on numerous medicines right away. She warned us they would feel worse before they started feeling better, and she was right. The next few days were very rough, especially for Frost, the smaller of the two babies. Although she lost most of the hair on her head, she still had her eyelashes and her sad eyes would look into ours and trust that no one else would hurt her. They both spent last weekend being hand fed, bathed several times a day, medicated, and given lots and lots of TLC.

It was a long, hard week for Scout and Frost. They are on strong medications, and need to be soaked and bathed several times each day. Scout is the stronger of the two, and was able to venture out on her own more. However, she always kept Frost in site, and checked on her frequently.

Throughout the week, their caregivers have seen signs of improvement- tails wagged and feet moved faster. The dejected eyes behind the eyelashes are showing signs of life, hope and puppy mischief for the first time, and we are grateful for their resilience. Over the weekend Scout and Frost have been outside enjoying the beautiful weather, and doing normal puppy things- romping, pouncing on sticks, and chasing leaves.

Scout and Frost are expected to make a full recovery, and it is because of the dedication and love of their caretakers who have adopted them. Their future is bright and they will never be mistreated again.

We are eternally grateful for wonderful people who are able to look past all the bald, smelly, mangy skin in this world, value the souls behind the pretty eyelashes, and have the courage to fight for those who have no voice.