December 30, 2009

Best Buds

Georgette and Elliot were some of the few animals ever to be born at Harmony Farm Sanctuary. While the residents at the farm will never have a baby (we've got enough unwanted animals in this world, right?) once in a while we get a pregnant mama in.

Taking on the responsibility of an expecting sheep, goat, pig or cow means a lot of extra planning, Vet bills, and space, but we all have that quiver of anticiaption and excitment waiting for the new ones to arrive. In short, it does not happen often, but when it does we love it!

Georgette and Elliot are not siblings, but are very close in age. They grew up together in the barn and had a blast jumping on hay bales, romping, and getting into as much trouble as possible. Throughout the last 4 years they have remained friends not only to each other, but especially to us.

December 29, 2009

Just One

Below is the story of 'Just One Person". This particular story did not happen at Angels of Assisi, but it happens in many places, by many people. Late night emails, "permission to crosspost" emails, transportation worked out from high kill shelters to foster homes, sponsor money donated, and the list goes on and on. Most of this rescue work is done in the late hours, after a full day of work and family.

In particular we would like to thank Anita, Melanie, Diane, Inglath, Dr. Spangler, and Jenny for their dedication to homeless animals- this one's for you. Thank you. Together we can make a difference.

December 28, 2009

Photo of the Week

Vickie Holt's photo of the week goes to Dozer- what a face! He is 2 years old and ready for a new family ♥♥♥

Meat Free Mondays- Not as Hard as You Think!

By making a simple change in the way you eat, you are taking part in a world changing campaign where what’s good for you is also good for the planet.

For instance: According to the Worldwatch Institute, globally some 56 billion animals are raised and slaughtered for food each year. Of these 67 per cent are grown on industrial ‘factory’ farms. Factory farms are sources of cruelty and waste on scales unimaginable to most of us. These facilities rely on commercial breeds of animals that gain weight quickly on unnatural diets of high-protein feeds. Here animals live in crowded, stressful and often unhygienic conditions. Many of the world's 17 billion chickens, for instance, each live in an area that is less than the size of a sheet of paper. Cattle in such farms often stand knee-high in their own waste.

Under such conditions, animals are kept ‘healthy’ with regular doses of antibiotics – traces of which can remain in the meat we eat, and which have been associated with the rise in antibiotic resistant bacteria in animals and humans.

This information was taken from the website Meat Free Monday- developed by Paul McCartney. Check it out for lots of good information and recipes!


December 24, 2009

Peace and Love

"And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?
It came without ribbons.
It came without tags.
It came without packages, boxes or bags.
And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before.
What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store.
What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more" ~Dr. Seuss

Wishing you all peace today and always.


December 23, 2009

Can You Hear The Music?

Have yourself a Merry little Christmas

Let your heart be light

From now on our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a Merry little Christmas

Make the yuletide gay
From now on our troubles will be miles away

Once again as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore

Faithful friends who are dear to us
will be near to us once more

Through the years we all will be together
If the fates allow

Hanging a shining star upon the highest bough
And have yourself a Merry little Christmas now

December 22, 2009

Meet the Artist

Chris Lorenz is a wonderful local artist that has a heart for the animals and rescue work. We appreciate her help at Angels of Assisi, and love her work! Check out her website here!


December 21, 2009

Thanks Deb!

Like most, a lot of the Angels of Assisi staff was not able to make it to work on Saturday. However, thanks to our very dedicated Office Manager, Deb Saunders, all of the animals were well taken care of. Deb had things under control on Friday afternoon with The Snow Plan, and had staff, volunteers, and even her grandson on reserve for the next day. Deb was up at 5 am Saturday morning, making calls, checking on employees, organizing the day, digging her car out, and making the scary drive through town.

She arrived at Angels of Assisi early and was helped by her grandson, our awesome Vet Assistant, Bobbie, and several dedicated volunteers who walked through the snow to help. The cats got cleaned, everyone got fed, and the dogs got some major fun time in the snow.

You know what the best part of The Snow Plan was? The part that wasn't planned- how Deb and these wonderful people pitched in to help the animals with a smile on their faces, lightness in their hearts, and a love for those innocent lives that depend on us. Now that, my friend, is the true meaning of Christmas.

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared. ~Buddha


December 18, 2009


We just got word that this little sweetheart will be coming to Angels of Assisi from the Franklin County Animal Shelter on Tuesday.

A very special thank you to Anita and Jenny from Franklin County for all they do for the pets at the shelter. We would also like to extend a very warm thank you to all of you who donate either your time or money to make a difference for dogs like the one above.

Just Another Day

While the rest of us humans are hunkering down for the snow headed our way, Hobo is preparing for the weather just like any other day. A good breakfast of hay, sweet feed, vitamins, a few carrots thrown in for good measure, and he is good to go! Bring it on, weatherman!


Lessons Learned from the Salvation Army Bell Ringer

I hate going to Wal-Mart, but sometimes it is a necessary evil. A few days ago, I had to make the dreaded trip, and my heart felt heavy. I navigated the crowded parking lot and parked as far away from the mass of cars weaving in and out for the perfect spot, clogging traffic waiting for someone to unload their bounty into the car. Really people, parking farther and increasing your walking time can actually be good for you!

The day was gloomy and everyone was hurrying in and out of the store. As I approached the front doors, I heard some really upbeat Christmas music playing- hmm, this was new. The source turned out to be an old “boom box” on top of a shopping cart. Through the blaring Christmas tunes I could hear the all too familiar ringing of the Salvation Army bell. Honestly, I have been avoiding the bell ringers like the plague this year; my extra money (and usually not so extra money) goes to the animals at Angels of Assisi- bunny food, heartworm medicine, Kongs, and cat room accessories have first dibs on my wallet.

That is until I saw the Bell Ringer of all Bell Ringers. He was dressed in a brown suit, with cowboy boots and a cowboy hat. He had set the boom box up and was enjoying his time outside of Wal-Mart very much. His feet kept the beat of the music, his eyes were twinkling, and he shook hands with the people coming in and out of the store. He was what you call “likeable”. I am sure being a bell ringer is not much fun- the weather is cold, the people can be grouchy and in a hurry (take it from me) and not many of us have extra change this year.

Yet this guy chose not to stand still and be cold and go through the motions. He chose to be heard by playing music, dancing a little, and reaching out to people. When he got tired, he rested against a pole, and then started all over again.

Life is short- if we are going to do something to help others, let’s do it well. My heart belongs in animal rescue, and sometimes it seems cold and sometimes it seems like people avoid the issues like the plague. But today let’s choose to put the music on, keep our spirits up, and be a voice for those who can’t speak.

"There is a basic law that like attracts like. Negative thinking definitely attracts negative results. Conversely, if a person habitually thinks optimistically and hopefully, his positive thinking sets in motion creative forces -- and success instead of eluding him flows toward him" -Norman Vincent Peale


Pictured on the right is Hershey, who was adopted from Angels of Assisi last year. His family writes that he has been a complete blessing to them, and he certainly looks happy and well loved ♥


December 17, 2009

Christmas Lights

When you walk into the barn at Harmony Farm Sanctuary this time of the year, there is a soft red glow seeping out of each stall. This seasonal embellishment is not due to Farm Manager Jason hanging holiday lights (although we may need to suggest that for next year!). It is actually from the heat lamps installed in each stall for the comfort of any animals that need to be housed separately due to age or illness.

Jason does have the holiday music channel playing. The cheerful tunes combine with the warmth of the heat lamps, the knowledge that each animal at Harmony is safe from harm, and the love they give in return. Put that all together, and it's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.


December 16, 2009

If there were to be a universal sound depicting peace, I would surely vote for the purr. ~Barbara L. Diamond


Hemingway Cats

Ernest Hemingway was an amazing man, with many talents and interests. He was also an inveterate cat-lover, because he admired the spirit and independence of cats. Hemingway acquired his first cat from a ship's captain in Key West, Florida, where he made his home for a number of years. This cat, which may have been a Maine Coon, had extra toes (technically known as polydactyl, latin for "many digits").

Today, approximately 60 cats, half of them polydactyl, make their home in the Ernest Hemingway Museum and Home, in Key West, protected by the terms of his will. At least some of those cats are descendents of Hemingway's first cat, and are given fanciful names, as he once did, after movie stars and even characters in his book. The cats of the Hemingway Museum are so popular and so well-known, that the nickname "Hemingway Cats" has often been given to polydactyls.

What is Polydact?

The trait for polydact comes from a dominant gene, and only a polydactyl cat can parent another polydact. Although the Maine Coon (whose ancestors are also thought to have immigrated to the U.S. aboard ships) is believed to have been the first breed to have this trait, polydact is considered a fault in that breed, and indeed in every other breed except the Pixie Bob, a relatively new breed.

So, rather than a breed, polydact is just a genetic trait, somewhat like the genetics for the tabby pattern. Instead of the normal 18 toes (five on each front foot and four on the rear) found on most cats, polydacts have six or more toes on the front feet, and sometimes an extra toe on the rear. (The cat depicted in the photo has seven toes in front, which makes it easy to understand why they are sometimes called "Mitten Cats.") However, unlike the popular tabby, whose pattern can be found in many breeds, the polydact is frowned upon by breed registries. Why? According to Barbara French, although not inherently dangerous, there is a possibility that the extra toes could be malformed, either with two toes fusing, or with ingrown toenails.

Although not approved as "purebreds," polydacts are adored by their human companions. Whether called "polydactyls," "Hemingway Cats," or "Mittens," these many-toed cats warm the hearts and hearths of those people fortunate to share a home with one.

Bert, pictured above, is a beautiful polydactyl kitty. He gets along well with other cats, and is waiting to meet you at Angels of Assisi anyday between 2-6 pm!

Nella, pictured below, is also a pretty polydactyl. She loves to be with people and has the cutest little mitten paws! ♥♥

Hemingway info taken from

December 15, 2009

Pet Loss Support Group

Where To Bury A Dog

"There are various places within which a dog may be buried. Beneath a cherry tree, or an apple, or any flowering shrub of the garden, is an excellent place to bury a good dog. Beneath such trees, such shrubs, he slept in the drowsy summer, or gnawed at a flavorous bone, or lifted head to challenge some strange intruder. These are good places, in life or in death. Yet it is a small matter, and it touches sentiment more than anything else.

For if the dog be well remembered, if sometimes he leaps through your dreams actual as in life, eyes kindling, questing, asking, laughing, begging, it matters not at all where that dog sleeps at long and at last. On a hill where the wind is unrebuked and the trees are roaring, or beside a stream he knew in puppyhood, or somewhere in the flatness of a pasture land, where most exhilarating cattle graze. It is all one to the dog, and all one to you, and nothing is gained, and nothing lost -- if memory lives. But there is one best place to bury a dog. One place that is best of all.

If you bury him in this spot, the secret of which you must already have, he will come to you when you call -- come to you over the grim, dim frontiers of death, and down the well-remembered path, and to your side again. And though you call a dozen living dogs to heel they should not growl at him, nor resent his coming, for he is yours and he belongs there.

People may scoff at you, who see no lightest blade of grass bent by his footfall, who hear no whimper pitched too fine for mere audition, people who may never really have had a dog. Smile at them then, for you shall know something that is hidden from them, and which is well worth the knowing.

The one best place to bury a good dog is in the heart of his master".

by Ben Hur Lampman


Most of us have been through the terrible loss of a beloved pet. Pictured above is Ajax. Many years ago my now-husband, Mark, and I got him at a pound in Joliet, IL. We walked in "just to look" and Ajax was a little bundle of fur and the only dog in the entire place that was not barking. One look, and I knew we had to have him.

The adoption fee was $60, and we did not have the money to get him until payday at the end of the week. We dug through the car to get the $10 deposit fee, and signed the paperwork. A few days later, he changed the number of our family from 2 to 3.

Ajax went with us everywhere; he delivered pizzas with Mark, he rode the subway in Chicago with me. He joined us at the corner pub and hung out at a Grateful Dead concert. One of my fondest memories of his puppyhood is walking him down Halstead Avenue in Chicago. His tail was up and wagging, and he would glance up at me every few minutes, giving me a coy, secretive look like the two of us were just the Coolest Beings On Planet Earth.

Ajax was with us through our wedding, the birth of 2 great kids, the loss of my dad, and the all the usual ups and downs in life. During the early years, he ate whatever food was on sale, and never asked for a thing except to be with us. When he was 12 years old, we moved to Virginia, and I am glad he got to spend his last few years in the peaceful mountains, with a big backyard and a porch overlooking the view.

We lost him in January of his 17th year in this world, and I still miss him.

Angels of Assisi is joining with Oakey's Funeral Home to offer a pet loss support group. All are welcome- if you just lost a pet, or lost one many years ago. We will be meeting in January, and all suggestions for an agenda are welcome. Please contact us at for additional info or input.

December 12, 2009

Who Let The Dogs Out?

If you have not gone yet, you must check out the Roanoke Dog Park. It is a great place for your dog to run, romp, play and socialize. There is an area to walk your dog, and an awesome "off leash" area where your pup can be all that he can be.

The very best thing about the dog park? One exhausted dog!

As a side note, the dogs in the adoption center are available for a little dog park play anytime! Please contact us at if you would like to borrow one for a few hours of dog park fun!

The dog was created specially for children. He is the god of frolic." - Henry Ward Beecher


December 11, 2009


"If animals could speak, the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow; but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much" ~Mark Twain

Charity, pictured above, is ready for adoption! You can meet her and all her feline friends any day between 2 - 6 pm at the Angels of Assisi adoption center ♥


It's a Boy! And a Girl! And Some More Boys and Girls!

A few weeks ago a brown and white hound dog was brought to Angels of Assisi for spay surgery, and the staff discovered she was more than a little pregnant. We put out the SOS for a foster home, and a wonderful family came and picked her up the next day. They gave her a new name (Kelsey), a sense of belonging, and safe, warm place to have her babies.

We are happy to announce that Kelsey had 8 babies this afternoon. Mom and pups are doing well, and they will stay with their foster family for 2 months until the babies are ready for adoption.

Many thanks to the Valerga family for opening up their home and hearts to Kelsey and her new family ♥

Fostering a pregnant dog or cat is a great experience to teach children about the miracle of birth, without breeding your own pet and contributing to the overpopulation of dogs and cats in this world!

Foster Homes Needed

Buster is a little over a year old, and is looking for a foster home until Angels of Assisi has some openings in the adoption center. He is good with people and other dogs.

Sky also needs a foster home. He is a big boy at 9 months and already 90 pounds. His family was deployed to Germany, and they tried very hard to bring him along. However, time has run out and Sky cannot go with his family.

Please contact us at 400-2233 or if you can foster for a few weeks.

December 10, 2009

The Supervisor

If you are greeted in the Angels of Assisi lobby by this great guy, don't worry, he has not escaped. Fred was available for adoption for quite some time, and was probably overlooked (no pun intended) because of his strange right eye.

Fred has been now been adopted by the clinic and front desk staff, and during the busy times of the day he curls up on an office chair. When the office is closed to clients, he is out and about- walking on paperwork, stretched out across the front desk, rubbing his cheeks on the computers, and watching everything the staff does with great interest.

We tried getting him into volunteer orientation so he could pitch in and help, but he seems to like his job description just the way it is.


A Fix For Ferals

Pictured below are several feral cats getting ready for surgery at Angels of Assisi.

Feral cats may be brought to Angels of Assisi Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday for spay/neuter and rabies shot. The cost is $25 for feral cats, and $35 for barn cats. All cats MUST be brought in a trap and will be ready for pick up the same afternoon.

Angels of Assisi can loan traps for a $50 deposit (your check will be returned once you bring the trap back).

For some great information on feral cats, and the Trap, Neuter, Release program, please visit


Bringing Home The Bacon

Bacon started out his life as a backyard breeding project that did not prove to be very lucrative. His owners were a little late to cash in on the potbelly pig boom. According to PIGS Sanctuary, here is the history on potbelly pigs in the United States:


Before 1985, just about the only place anyone could see a Vietnamese potbellied pig was in a zoo or an exotic petting farm. However, all that changed in 1985 when Keith Connell, a zoo keeper from Canada, imported 18 Vietnamese potbellied pigs (4 boars, 14 sows) into the United States. This herd -- duped the Con-line -- was imported directly from Vietnam and was distinguished by their black color, swayed back, straight tail, and pronounced pot belly. From this limited gene pool, there are an estimated 200,000 to 500,000 plus potbellied pigs in the United States today and the number is increasing.

Within months, piglets from Connell's herd began showing up at exotic animal auctions and were being touted as the latest exotic house pet. Breeders and promoters of the Vietnamese potbellied pig blitzed the media with stories about this new house "pet" and the potbellied pig boom was on. Breeders were paying upward of $30,000 for a breeding pair and they were producing litters as often as they could to keep up with the demand for piglets. In the beginning stages of this boom, piglets could not be produced quickly enough and potential owners were placed on a waiting list of up to 1 1/2 years. Also, in order to "fill the orders," some breeders began cross-breeding with domestic pigs because these pigs produced larger litters, and people who thought they were purchasing a Vietnamese potbellied pig were, in fact, receiving a potbelly mix.

The people breeding or brokering pet pigs were making thousands of dollars. The initial frenzy of the "pet" pig market enabled people to buy new cars and homes from the direct profit made from a litter of piglets. We recently spoke with an ex-breeder who had purchased her first sow for $4,000.00, bred her, and made $24,000 from her first litter. At this time, it was not unheard of for breeders to receive $10,000 to $15,000 for a single pig. The highest price ever paid for a single pig is a reported $37,000. Today, pet pig owners are advertising their pet pig "free to good home" and are having a difficult time finding a home for the animal.


The last litter of Bacon’s babies went “with some guy” and “were picked up with the mama pig, but they never came back to get Bacon”. So he lived in a shed for several years, shown below.

We are thankful that Bacon made his way to Harmony Farm Sanctuary, and has since been named Billy. (We want bacon to be far from his mind). He is very sweet and one of our most friendly pigs. Billy will eat from your hand and also beg for an ear scratch.

The article from PIGS Sanctuary describes the 10 things that make pigs most happy, and we certainly see it with the pigs at Harmony. We are happy Billy will get to enjoy these simple pleasures as well.

1. Grazing on fresh grass, especially clover.

2. Rooting, especially after a rain storm.

3. Special treats such as apples, cantaloupes, watermelon, and fresh vegetables.

4. Sunbathing

5. Belly rubs and having their butts scratched -- it is their true weakness.

6. Scratching on trees, large rocks, fence posts, and each other.

7. Socializing with other pigs.

8. Wrapping up in blankets or burying themselves in straw during the cold months.

9. Wallowing in mud puddles or wading pools during the hot months.

10. Exploring the woods.

Welcome home, Billy.

Article information taken from PIGS Sanctuary