February 26, 2010

Update on the SC Crew

The six dogs that arrived from South Carolina are settling in just fine, and everyone who meets them comments on how cute and good natured they are. The huskies had a great time playing in the snow drift out back, and these 2 below are the best of friends.

February 25, 2010


Early this morning a truck and trailer pulled out of Franklin County headed for Union, South Carolina to pick up 22 dogs that were scheduled to be put down tomorrow at the local shelter. The dogs will arrive this afternoon and go to various no kill shelters and rescue groups.

Some have asked WHY IN THE WORLD would we go all the way down to South Carolina, when dogs are in danger of euthanasia right here in SW Virginia?

It is a valid point, and while there are several different ways to look at it, the main, glaring fact is that this particular pound in South Carolina still uses a gas chamber to euthanize animals.

If you are not familiar with the process, you can read more about it here, here and here. Warning- it is very heartbreaking. (Virginia passed a law in 2008 prohibing the use of gas chamber, and for that we are very thankful).

So on this day, February 25, we have not changed the laws in South Carolina to prohibit gas chambers. We have not stopped the needless killing of thousands of pets in their state or in ours.

But on this day, February 25, an otherwise ordinary day, 22 dogs escaped the cruel fate of being gassed to death. 22 dogs have a second chance for a good life. Take a good look into their eyes, and it starts to make perfectly good sense.

A special thank you to Anita Scott and the Cooper family for making this happen. They are a true friend to the hundreds and hundreds of animals that now have a place to call home.

Angels of Assisi is expecting the following 6 dogs to arrive from South Carolina this afternoon. As always, we appreciate your donations to help with extra staff time and medical care. If Virginia is for Lovers, we are hopeful they will find the loving family they deserve.

Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.
~John Wooden, They Call Me Coach

Update 2:50 pm- with the puppies a total of 27 dogs were spared from the gas chamber tomorrow. They have arrived safely!



February 23, 2010

Smile Fido!

Fido's or Fluffy's bad breath could be more than a smelly annoyance; it might signify a serious health risk with the potential to damage not only the animal's teeth and gums but its internal organs as well. Click here for some information on pet dental care.

Angels of Assisi os now offering teeth cleaning services starting at $75. Please call 344-8707 for an appointment.

February 22, 2010

A Strong and Kind Voice

Angels of Assisi is very proud to work with the outstanding Animal Control Officers (ACO) of Botetourt County on a variety of animal neglect and cruelty cases. These ACOs are very attentive to the safety and care of the pets and livestock in their jurisdiction- sometimes it is a matter of educating pet owners on the proper care of a dog, sometimes it involves seizing emaciated cows in the middle of the night, and sometimes it involves rescuing 65 sick bunnies scheduled to be sold at Happy’s Flea Market.

Many of these animals are brought to Angels of Assisi or Harmony Farm Sanctuary for Veterinary care and a safe place to stay. One of our favorite memories is of ACO Kevin Crowder entering our front doors with a tiny kitten in his huge hands, and winking at staff member Tammy like he had just brought her a dozen roses and a diamond necklace. Little did he know that to Tammy, saving the life of this cat was by far more heartwarming. Officer Crowder will always have a special place in all of our hearts.

Whatever the issue is, the Botetourt ACOs do a thorough and professional job, and we appreciate their efforts and value our partnership. But if you ask any of them how they are able to succeed, they will tell you it is because of the Assistant Commonwealth Attorney in Botetourt, Jill Deegan.

In her position, Jill is the one that decides if a pet owner needs more education or is being abusive, she is the one who stayed up and arranged for 3 cows to be transported at 2 am to Harmony Farm Sanctuary because “we don’t leave emaciated cows in a field to die” and Jill is the one who worked relentlessly and got a lot of flack for saving the 65 bunnies (let’s face it, bunnies are not high on most priority lists).

Jill is the voice for those who cannot speak in the Botetourt Court System against abusive and neglectful owners.

Because of her expertise and dedication, Jill is often asked to help in animal welfare cases throughout the state of Virginia. This week she is also an honoree for the National Justice for Animals Week, because “without strong enforcement, even the best written laws are powerless to protect animals.”

You can see the honoree list here, and a New York Times article quoting Jill here.

Jill, we thank you for your dedication and compassion. When we look into the eyes and soul of an animal that has an uncertain future but is under the watch of you and the Botetourt County ACOs, we have a sense of peace knowing they have an awesome team pulling for them. Keep up the good work.

February 15, 2010

Jake's Journey

Jake is a big 'ole redbone coonhound who holds a special place in our hearts since he was found close to death from starvation last winter.

Since then, he has not only gained his weight back, but has overcome many other obstacles that were harder to achieve than his physical improvements

This wonderful dog had to learn how to be in a home and how to somehow trust people and believe that he was not going to be hurt again. After many months of rehab, kind foster homes, and a few very special dog walkers, Jake has come into his own and is enjoying his new family very much. We thank them for their patience and giving Jake a happy ending.

Meatless Monday

Tabouli Recipe

Makes 6 1-cup servings

A staple of Middle Eastern cuisine, tabouli is often accompanied by stuffed grape leaves, or pita bread with hummus dip.

1 cup dry bulgur

2 cups boiling water

2 medium tomatoes, diced

3 green onions, chopped (about 1 cup)

1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint

1 juice of 1-2 lemons

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 garlic clove, pressed or minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine bulgur and boiling water in a mixing bowl. Cover and let stand until bulgur is tender, about 25 minutes. Drain off any excess liquid and use a fork to fluff bulgur. Cool.

When bulgur is cool, add tomatoes, green onions, cucumber, parsley, and mint. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, oil, garlic, and salt. Add to bulgur mixture and toss gently to mix. Chill before serving if time allows.

Source: Healthy Eating for Life for Women by Kristine Kieswer; recipe by Jennifer Raymond, M.S., R.D.

February 14, 2010

Cats at CATS

Angels of Assisi has been invited to bring some adoptable felines to CATS at the Roanoke Civic Center on Thursday, February 18th. Hope to see you there, and in prep for the big night, here is a little teaser from Thomas Stearns Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats.

The Naming of Cats

The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.

First of all, there's the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey--
All of them sensible everyday names.

There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter--
But all of them sensible everyday names.

But I tell you, a cat needs a name that's particular,
A name that's peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?

Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum-
Names that never belong to more than one cat.

But above and beyond there's still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover--
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.

When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.

-TS Eliot

Pictured above is the new Angels of Assisi office kitty, Lil Bit. Wonder what her secret name is, and if she will ever share it with us?


February 13, 2010

Clean Chompers

Angels of Assisi is now offering canine dental cleanings for as low as $75. Please call us at 344-8707 for an appointment. Smile, Fido!

Hello Halo!

Halo was out and about for some exercise and socializing today, and she enjoyed the snow and visiting the cows and bunnies.  This sweet girl is our favorite pony at Harmony Farm Sanctuary. (OK, she is the only pony at Harmony, but still our favorite by far!)

Hang Tough, We're Getting There

For all of those struggling through ice, snow, and freezing winds to take care of your animals, we thank you. Many people have come to the aid of friends and neighbors to help with family pets and livestock, and those efforts are also greatly appreciated. Times are tough, and the weather has added an additional strain on all of us. Hang in there, friends, spring will be here soon.

"In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer"  -Albert Camus

Photo by Macey O'Neill

Like Some Pigs Over Troubled Waters

We're not sure why Snickers felt the need to stand on the pigs this afternoon, but he used them as sort of a porcine bridge and marched across all their backs to get to us and his afternoon treat. Crazy goat!


Gobble Gobble!

Harmony Farm Sanctuary has a new resident! Turk was on his way to the slaughter house a few years ago, when the truck he was riding in crashed and he escaped. Since then, he has been a family pet and they decided it was best for him to come to Harmony.

He is settling in nicely, and we all enjoyed his trademark turkey "gobble gobble" noise. Combine that with the squeals and whistles of the pigs, the bleating of the goats, and the soft nickering of Halo the pony, and we have our own barnyard symphony. Ahhh, music to the ears! Welcome, Turk!


Anyone Available Thursday?

Nautica needs a ride to Virginia Tech on Thursday. She has an appointment for the Orthopedic Vet to assess her leg. If you can help, please call 400-2233. You can see her story here.


Kids Helping Pets

The pets at Angels of Assisi had some very welcome visitors today! A group of kids from US Kids Care came to clean, brush, sweep, and spread some of their own "warm fuzzies" on this cold February morning. We always appreciate their enthusiasm and dedication to the pets in the adoption center. US Kids Care are faithful in coming every few weeks to help the adoption center staff, and we know the animals enjoy the extra attention. Pictured below are some of the group cleaning bunny cages.

As a bonus, we also got the help of Kiera and Macey today. They worked very hard constructing a new cat play area in one of the colony rooms.

As you can see, Pokey was enjoying the new digs and did a great job supervising the project!

A special thank you to all who came out and helped today ♥

February 12, 2010

Fun Friday Photos

Barn Cat Buddies Coordinator and Cat Matchmaker Diane sent in the following story about Quaker's adoption. Looks like she is fitting in with her new family very well!


The other day I was checking on Mort the Persian himmy when a year old cat poked her paws out at me in the next cage. A few minutes later a young family came in and was looking at kittens. Everyone loves kittens but I believe kittens should go in pairs. I introduced myself and asked if I could help. The family definitely wanted ONE cat as they already had ONE dog. I led them into the play room (getting to know you room) and said sit here and I'll bring back someone to meet you.

When I went to get Allie, Quakers in the cage next to her rolled on her back & also stuck her paws out ever so gently. Allie was sweet but a little too nervous for kids this young so I asked them to wait while I brought someone else in. I took Quakers out who felt like a little rag doll. Quakers has been with us since she was a kitten in June. It amazed me that she would be so willing and unafraid.

When I placed her on the older child's lap(4 or 5?) she just melted. Since Ryan the 3 year old was anxious for her turn I tried holding my breath since I wasn't sure if we'd have the same luck. The same thing happened. The little one squealed with delight, still Quakers was unfazed.

Their dad said 'we don't have to look further' that's how we found our dog. It was a magical moment!! Even though we spoke about gently introducing Quakers to the dog, it seems from these photos it wasn't needed!

- Diane 

February 10, 2010

Guest Blogger

Melanie Schlaginhaufen is a good friend to the pets and people in the Angels of Assisi family. She is a dog trainer, behavioral consultant, dog show exhibitor, groomer, rescue volunteer, and all around wonderful person. She has helped with many of our hard to place dogs, and offered much needed and timely advice to new dog owners.

You can visit her website:

We are also thrilled that Melanie started her own blog,  one that will be followed closely!

Here is her piece on Dog Rescue Groups:

Dog Rescue Groups, What's Missing?

When there is an active animal rescue group in a region, but shelter numbers aren't going down, what is missing from the solution?

Low cost spay/neuter is usually touted as the answer to all the problems. But it is not just puppies and kittens that are getting dumped at shelters. What about altered animals that are being given up? We all know when an "owner-surrender" call comes into a rescue group, it is, 99 times out of a 100, an adult animal and quite often, it is already altered.

This morning I had a light bulb moment. Here is a big part of the problem....we don't care about the people. What? Aren't animal rescue volunteer people some of the kindest people on earth? Sure they are, in relationship to animals. We love animals, or we wouldn't invest so much of our time and financial resources in helping them. But how many times do you hear from rescue volunteers the words: "I HATE PEOPLE." I hear it all the time, and I confess, I've even said it. Go on calls with a Humane Society cruelty investigator and pretty soon, those words start coming out of your mouth.

I think the key we have missed may be compassion towards people. We must learn to care enough about the pet's owner to take time to work with them on how to keep their pet. Sure, opening a low cost spay/neuter clinic will help some people, will help stop the flow of infant animals coming into shelters. But it will not help the people who are struggling to put up with a dog that jumps all over them, chews up all their furniture or has ruined their carpet with potty accidents. Believe it or not, sometimes people's marriage is on the line, due to a dog causing so much stress in the household. When they call for help, they are either referred to a dog trainer, which often they cannot afford ($25-100 per hour for a private trainer, depending on where you live) or they are lectured about not having made a commitment to the dog. So what do the people learn how to do? They learn how to state their story dramatically, how to use life circumstances to manipulate us to take the dog (my mother is dying, my kid has ADHD, my husband lost his job). Sometimes those stories are true, but many times that is not the reason they want to give up the dog. Most of these people could either find a way to keep the dog or find a home for the dog themselves, if the dog was valued and loved (and not such a pain in their rear end)!

Guess what? Maybe we should not even put the "blame" on these people, for wanting to give up the dog. Who's to blame then? THE PERSON WHO SOLD THEM THE DOG IN THE FIRST PLACE. The person who did not insist that they have a crate before they brought the pup home, the breeder who did not go over all the details of proper house training. The shelter who adopted out a Retriever mix puppy to someone who lived in an apartment and worked 10 hour days. The breeder of the Siberian Husky who did not explain that these dogs will run away if allowed off-leash, or the breeder of the Dachshund or Yorkie that did not explain that tiny dogs can be very difficult to housebreak. The person who adopted out the Aussie without revealing that herding dogs will chase and nip everything that moves if they are not managed properly and trained from day one.

Let's try something new. Let's try implementing programs that offer free, or "donation only" advice to dog owners. Not lectures on how they should have thought before buying the dog, but true, supportive COMPASSIONATE HELP after they get the dog. Let's advertise in every veterinarian's office in town the fact that we offer this service. Then let's reach the ones that cannot afford to be going to the vet on a regular basis by putting up flyers where they go to do their laundry, or on the bulletin board outside the Minute Mart where they stop to buy their gas. Remember, we need to reach them BEFORE they are so frustrated that they think the only solution, the only way out, is to dump the dog on someone else.

We'll have to realize that they may not want to do everything we tell them to do. If we feel the dog needs to be inside but they insist that their Beagle has to be an outside dog (but he is digging out and escaping), we need to teach them how to install an electric wire at the bottom of their fence. To reach them, we have to stop judging them and condemning them. We need to stop honestly believing that all we can do to help is to take their dog from them and find it a new, more perfect, owner. Why is this not the solution? Two reasons.....number one, there are not enough "perfect" new owners out there to meet the need and two, when we (or the local shelter) accept that digging Beagle or the Lab who chewed up the apartment, 9 times out of 10, the pet owner will get ANOTHER dog within months. So we did not really solve the problem, did we?

Let's try caring enough about the pet owner to help them keep their dogs. It just might be the missing piece of the puzzle!

February 6, 2010

Double Trouble

As it happens, our neighbors have a dog that looks a lot like Shiloh. They are close in age, and during the snow days they have had a lot of play time. Since there is literally no traffic on our street right now, the dogs have enjoyed their freedom and taken full advantage of the situation. Like a couple of little kids enjoying a day off from school, Trixie will show up in our front yard looking for Shiloh, and Shiloh does the same at her house.

Snow day + new neighbor friend = double the the trouble, double the fun!

The dog was created specially for children. He is a god of frolic.

Henry Ward Beecher.

February 3, 2010

Travlin' Man

We first told the story of this Golden Oldie here, and are happy to report he is leaving for rescue today. "Smiley" has been the perfect guest at Angels of Assisi. We are in love with his limpy walk, bow legs, and the way he completely cocks his head to the side when he looks at us. A very special thank you to the folks at GRREAT for making this possible.


XXV Felines

Yesterday we heard of a group of 25 cats that arrived together at the Regional Center for Animal Control and Protection in Roanoke (RCACP**).

Dr. Spangler, Director of Angels of Assisi, went over first thing this morning and evaluated the cats and made arrangements for many of them to be transferred to our adoption center. This afternoon, fifteen cats arrived dirty and scared, but very trusting and accepting of the new change in their lives. They have started a round of antibiotics and we expect them to be feeling better very soon.

The remaining cats have stayed at the RCACP because they have a form of feline leukemia. While this disease cannot be transmitted to humans, it can be transmitted to other cats. Normally a feline leukemia cat would have to be put to sleep in a shelter environment. Fortunately, a few phone calls found a rescue in Northern Virginia that has a special place in their facility and in their hearts for these special creatures. The cats will come to Angels of Assisi to receive their shots and any needed antibiotics, and we hope to have them transported by this weekend.

Those that remain will be up for adoption soon. Many of them are older cats, but very sweet. They have adopted us as their new caretakers already, and rub against us and beg for an ear rub. While trying to hear heart and lung sounds on one kitty named Puddin', Dr. Spangler could barely hear through her stethoscope for all the purring.

No senior pet that has been part of a family deserves to die in a shelter. These kitties will be ready for adoption soon. Meanwhile we appreciate any and all donations towards their care. It is because of the support of our volunteers and supporters that make rescues like this one possible. Thank you.

Tigger demanding an good ol' ear scratch before he gets his shots.

Tigger again.

Corky waiting patiently for her turn.

We will keep you posted on their progress.
Once again, thank you for helping save the needy pets in our community!


**We often get asked who the RCACP is. Per their website: "The Regional Center for Animal Control and Protection serves the City of Roanoke, the Counties of Botetourt and Roanoke, and the Town of Vinton, and is an “open intake facility”. The Regional Center primarily handles stray animals picked up by the Animal Control Officers employed by the municipalities, but also accepts strays found, and animals owned, by citizens of the municipalities".

The RCACP is located on the same property as the Roanoke Valley SPCA. The SPCA is an adoption and education center that takes some animals from the RCACP. However, last year over 4000 pets were euthanized in Roanoke. As a community, we need to address this problem. We find it completely unacceptable that nice, elderly cats like the ones above- who were once part of a family that gave and received love- who all have names including Puddin', Momma, Roscoe, Pepe and Reggie- were faced with euthanasia yesterday.



February 1, 2010

Window Seat

This window basically belongs to our Cocker Spaniel, Jessie. When we leave the house, she has her nose smooshed up against the glass, sadly watching us. When we return, she is in the same place, waiting patiently, and happy to welcome us home.


Meatless Mondays

We could do a lot of good for this planet we call home by cutting out meat- even for one day a week.

Next time you are at Kroger or any grocery store, check out the Quorn Chik'n patties- they are awesome! Used in a sandwhich or by themselves, it's hard to tell they are not real meat.

Here is a helpful recipe to try:

Chik'n Patties with Creamy Lemon Dill Sauce

1/4 cup light mayonnaise

1/4 cup low-fat sour cream

2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. dried dill

Salt & pepper to taste

4 Quorn patties, cooked

4 whole grain sandwich rolls

Lettuce and sliced, ripe avocado, as needed
Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, mustard and dill in a small bowl. Mix well. Season with salt & pepper. Place each patty on a roll. Top with desired amount of sauce, lettuce and avocado.

Bon app├ętit!

On the Mend

Little Duke found the foster of all foster homes last week. His new family fell in love with him at first site, and sponsored a very (very!) expensive surgery for his broken leg.

We are happy to report he is on the mend, and even gets to go to work with his new mom!


GRREAT- Living Up to Their Name

Last week we posted the below photo of this special boy at the Regional Center for Animal Control and Protection in Roanoke. Being a senior citizen, his chances for adoption were very slim, and he was not eligible for adoption at the SPCA. However, as we have learned time after time, where there is a will, there is a way!

We are fortunate to have contacts with a rescue group called GRREAT (Golden Retriever Rescue Education, and Training).

One email about the old Golden was all it took for them to get the wheels in motion.

The first response from intake coordinator, Mary, was "we have no age or health restrictions on bringing dogs in, so that's not a concern." The second response was asking for whatever information we could provide so they could admit him into their rescue. The third was arranging transport to his new foster home.

The old guy is getting picked up from the Regional Center for Animal Control and Protection today, and will stay at Angels of Assisi until he goes to his new foster home.

To the kind folks at GRREAT- we send our sincerest appreciation for saving another life. Thank you for being there, for your very fast email responses, and for seeing past his white face and stiff joints.

To you, old Golden boy- we know you may not be young and full of energy, but anyone can see the love and spirit behind those sparkly eyes. Have yourself a good last chapter in life, buddy. Can't wait to hear what your new name will be.