April 30, 2010

Rescue Today!

A few days ago, we received an email about a lady in Galax named Cindy. She ran a small animal rescue, and was now in hospice. Friends were frantically trying to get her pets into rescue. 13 big dogs and a 27 year old horse (ironically named May Day) were left.

Thankfully, we have a some open space at Harmony Farm Sanctuary, and a very resilient staff. We got word to Cindy at 2 pm on Wednesday that Angels of Assisi would take her remaining pets, and she passed away at 4 pm.

The dogs (including Spumoni below) and horse will arrive today- we'll keep updates coming. Volunteers and foster homes needed- please spread the word!

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Let's Try This Again, Wesley

Vickie saw the photo of Wes below, and sent us a much better shot. I think it does him justice; thanks Vickie!

April 23, 2010

Faces We Love

All is well at Harmony Farm Sanctuary today- cows grazing, goats bopping around, bunnies stretched out as long as they can be, noses perpetually twitching. There is no sense of TGIF! like the rest of us humans have today; I guess in a way everyday is like Friday to the residents at the farm.

Wes is one of the farm dogs. He always has a sense of what's happening and who is going where. Everytime he goes through the barn he sticks his head in each stall "Anything new here? Everyone accounted for? OK, cool. I'll be back to check on you in an hour or so." He was a adopted from Angels of Assisi, and is Jason's right hand man at the farm; we coudn't think of anyone better suited for the job.

Noah is our big baby. He was born at Harmony, and bottle fed from day one. He'll gently and gladly take an apple from you anytime. Watching him try to grab it with that big ole' tongue without nipping your fingers is something to see. If you've ever doubted that cows have feelings and personalities of their own, come meet Noah, and he'll set you straight.
Ace is another youngster. Botetourt Animal Control rescued him and 2 others at 2 am on a Sunday morning. We were warned they were all in bad shape, and it was true. Both of the other cows were starved and pregnant; one only lived for a day, the other mama died delivering her calf. The baby was whisked to Virginia Tech, but sadly did not live more than a few days either. That left Ace, who spent a good month in a stall gaining his strength back.
Now he is out and about with the others. While a little more skiddish around people than Noah, he is a gentle soul. I'm grateful he'll never be in a place where people can hurt him again.

April 22, 2010

Baron Needs Some TLC

Baron is a retired show kitty at the ripe old age of 2. He's got a papers and a bunch of ribbons; what he doesn't have is a good feeling about people (yet!).

This handsome boy was rescued from a breeder, and is looking for a foster home to help him come out of his shell. Please email Katie at for additional info.


April 21, 2010


"Mankind is drawn to dogs because they are so like ourselves - bumbling, affectionate, confused, easily disappointed, eager to be amused, grateful for kindness and the least attention" -Pam Brown

Below is a story from the Roanoke Times today. Not sure how I feel about this one, so I did a quick search for "Vick Dogs" and came up with the photo below. My conclusion? Sorry Mr. Vick, donating a "portion of the proceeds" is not enough. Thoughts?

When former Virginia Tech standout and convicted dog-fighter Michael Vick signs autographs this weekend at a Blacksburg bookstore, a local animal shelter could benefit.

The manager of Tech Bookstore, where Vick will sign autographs from 10:30 a.m. to noon Saturday prior to the Hokies' annual spring game, said the current Philadelphia Eagle will be donating "a portion of the proceeds" to a local charity.

George Daniels expects it to be a "substantial" donation, something in the "four figures," or greater than $1,000. But he admitted that was a guess. Autograph-seekers can pay $25 in advance or $30 at the door to Vick's management company in exchange for his signature.

Daniels said the preferred charity would be either the Humane Society of Montgomery County or the local animal shelter.

Neither organization had been in touch with Daniels or Vick's representatives as of Tuesday afternoon, possibly because the humane society is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

But Ron Brown, president of the humane society's board of directors, said the organization would be open to a Vick donation.

"I could go both ways on it," Brown said Tuesday. "My personal feeling is that he did his penance and he is making an effort."

Brown said he is aware that community service and awareness projects are part of Vick's comeback after spending 21 months in prison after pleading guilty to operating a dog-fighting ring.

"If [donating money] is part of that, and it will help animals in this community, then I would think we would be amenable to that," Brown said.

Brown, whose organization often receives donations of $50 to $100 from schoolchildren and adults, said a $1,000 gift would be a "big" donation.

While the humane society would be open to additional funds, Brown said you shouldn't expect his group to support Vick or his return in any way.

"We do not approve or condone anything that he did," he said.

Those sentiments were echoed Tuesday by Lila Borge Wills, president of VA Paws.

"We trust this donation will go to a local humane organization," said Wills, who said she hopes this will put a "positive pull" on the weekend's events.

"Whether we agree that he should be working for the NFL or being out of jail at all, is out of our control -- he is," she said.

"We as animal lovers need to continue to work to stop dog fighting and keep this subject in the media."

She said requiring Vick to educate young people, through numerous talks to students with the Humane Society of the United States' End Dog Fighting Campaign, is "one way to stop this horrendous practice."

April 15, 2010

Cuteness Invades the Wellness Clinic

How ridiculously gorgeous is this? (And no, I’m not talking about Logan’s new engagement ring from Zack, but I certainly could be! Logan and Zack are two of Assisi best employees, and they’ll be getting hitched soon. Congrats!)

This little puppy came into today for his first wellness visit, and we were certainly tempted to put him in our pocket and just let him live there for a while.


Hokie and Chyna were out in the yard last weekend when Vickie was getting some photos of the new guys. Hokie must have been jealous of Chyna's super cute pink collar, because he pulled it right off of her. Enjoy their antics shown below ♥

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


April 13, 2010

The Dogs In Our Life

The following post is another from Just Dogs With Sherri, and I admire her insight on this entry. Maybe it's just me, but I think we can apply a lot of this to our humane relationships as well. The photo is of Reef, recently adopted from the Franklin County Humane Society. He was on his way home- protected from the rain outside, protected from the reputation that pit bulls are evil, and protected from the lonliness of shelter life. May we all experience the feeling of safety he has in this photo.


I am often asked "how do you know its time for another?" Sadly our dogs only share a portion of our life; their life expectancy is only a fraction of our own. They come into our life; enrich and leave us with life experiences and memories. Each and every dog that passes through our life leaves a mark; alone they assist in our human/canine evolution. All of us; as in humans, have made mistakes with our dogs. Making mistakes is a part of our evolution. You are the dog person you are today because of all the dogs who have come through your life.

Many of the dogs that leave the most considerable and lasting mark on us are not even our own; they may have simply passed by leaving life lessons upon us. What we do with those life lessons are our own personal evolution. As a trainer I am constantly helping others to understand life with a canine. Countless owners over the years have been overwhelmed by a sense of wrong doing. "Sherri; I wish I'd known." Going back in time and beating oneself up about things you wish you would not have done; is counter productive. We cannot go back in time and undo all the wrongs that we have done; heck I wish I could many times. And I wish I'd known back then what I know today. But the fact is; life is a never ending education.

Many of the dogs that slip through our lives are what we call "heart dogs." A heart dog is the equivalent to a human soul mate. It can be the loss of a heart dog that stops us from adding another to our life. "How can I ever love another dog as much?" I have loved each and everyone of my dogs; but differently. They have all been individuals; each sharing their life with mine. An intertwined species relationship that can and should be equally beneficial although I strongly believe that we are the lucky ones.

When I look back at the dogs who have systematically molded me into the dog person I am today I have good and bad memories. Some of the saddest moments have the biggest impact on change and the passing of a canine can be that. It can leave you an empty shell mourning the loss but it can also be the catalyst into dogdom. A great love can supercharge an understanding that may have otherwise been lost to you. I cannot imagine not having a dog in my life and as much as I love the dogs that I share my life with now; I also know and look forward to the dogs I will know in my future. So make this day a great one; live, learn, love and move forward.

April 9, 2010


Shiloh seems to have gotten over whatever she was miffed at Tucker about last night. Whatever it was, he did not seem too concerned about it, and probably enjoyed a few hours of peace and quiet.  ♥


K92 Rocks!!

A SPECIAL thank you to Danny and Zack at K92 radio for organizing this fundraiser for Angels of Assisi. Proceeds from the Rob Thomas (!!!) concert will benefit our spay/neuter services and pets in the adoption center.

I've had the pleasure of meeting Danny and Zack several times, and am always amazed at how genuine and down to earth they are. When Danny calls you "friend", believe him, because he is a friend to people and pets alike.

Thanks guys, we appreciate you!!


Looks Like Somebody Has A Headache

Shiloh, who is usually snuggled right up next to Tucker, was not having any of it tonight. Perhaps she was a tad bit jealous of his TV appearance earlier today.


April 7, 2010

Old Guys Rule

From the ages of 7 to 18, I spent every summer with my grandparents in Philadelphia. My grandmother would plan educational trips for me- museums, the art institute, and day trips to Valley Forge. I would go to lunch with the ladies, learned about what fork to use when (start from the outside in!) and other etiquette rules that I suppose have me a more well rounded person. My grandmother was a true lady who literally showed me the world- she certainly had her work cut out trying to form me into a respectable adult, and I probably taught her something about patience and perseverance along the way.

Meanwhile, my grandfather, a podiatrist, worked. He had an office at home, an office in the city, and he made house calls to seven different nursing homes. Besides an occasional Phillies game, Dr. Mason did not have any hobbies except for work. He left early in the morning for his office in the city, stopped at a nursing home or two on the way home, and then had appointments in the home office after dinner.

When I was about 8, he started letting me help in the home office- sweeping toenails, cutting gauze, cleaning the sink and chair in between patients. Sounds crazy, but I was in heaven. Choosing between a ladies lunch and a day in the office working was a no brainer for me- bring on the toenails, and lots of 'em.

Over the next few years, I graduated to the city office and nursing home house calls as well. Duties included the never-ending toenail cleanup, instrument sterilization, bandaging, and Medicare forms. We fell into a comfortable routine; he would do the necessary medical work, and then go on to the next patient leaving me to clean up. As we both got older, I was the bag carrier (that big black doctor's bag started getting heavy for a 73 year old man) and official driver. Letting me drive allowed him to take a nap in the back seat, and he trusted me enough to do so.

My grandpa taught me a lot of things- how to drive in the city, how to fill out a medical form, the meaning of a good work ethic. But what I really learned from him was how to treat people, especially older people. We treated a wide variety of patients. Some were from very affluent homes filled with Lladro and art collections, diamond rings sparkling on gnarled fingers, and 24 hour nursing care.

On the other end of the spectrum, we also went to the inner city public aid nursing homes. I remember walking in and finding our patient sitting naked in a child's highchair, soiled and stripped of all decency. The stench in these places was terrible- especially with no air conditioning in the summer.

The thing about my grandpa was that he treated all these folks the same- with an everlasting smile and genuine happiness to be treating them. An awesome whistler, he would play 'Name That Tune" with his patients during an uncomfortable procedure. He would gossip with the ladies and tease the hired nursing help. When we found the naked lady in the high chair, he pulled her out, put a gown on her and settled her in bed, all the while telling her about the highlights of the baseball game from last night. I'm not sure if she cared about the game or not, but it distracted her from the embarrassment of what was happening. When he finished the story, she was covered and comfortable- both mentally and physically.

I guess it is due to these experiences that I am really comfortable and enjoy being around older people. I like them. And I as I get further and further into the animal rescue world, this has translated into a deep fondness for older animals as well. The gray muzzles, cataract covered eyes, and creaky joints are all part of the old souls that have put up with us humans through the good and bad.

At Angels of Assisi, we are lucky to have sponsors and donations to help cover the cost of caring for some of these senior pets in our adoption center. Older animals can and do get adopted into loving homes.

Snowball was over 10 when he went to his new family. Since he is in a home environment his inner kitten has emerged and he is not the grouchy old guy we knew when he was caged.

Rosie was rescued when her family lost their home. One of our volunteers had just lost her senior dog and saw Rosie a few days later. As a tribute to her dog, the volunteer took Rosie in as a foster, and has since adopted her.

We've got a few senior pets needing adoption or foster now, including cats Sandy and Memphis. Gray Muzzle Society dogs include Anna and Marley.

Some of these seniors came from awesome homes and were well cared for; some came in stinkly and stripped of all decency. All of them would like to be greeted with an everlasting smile, and know the feeling of someone who is genuinely happy to be caring for them. The thing of it is, they'll give this all back about a zillion times. Usually the new owners are the ones feeling better in the end, because old guys really do rule.


April 5, 2010

Sleeping With Dogs

Thought you might enjoy this interesting blog post from Just Dogs With Sherri

As I lay here in bed; the sun is not yet up. There is a chill in the air; but I am cozy with my very own Jack Russell foot warmer. She's snoring; she is snoring loudy under her down comforter and not far from her is Luke; silently keeping the left lower quadrant of the bed warm. Dogs in bed; the statement alone is controversial. Many guardians love nothing more than sharing their bed with their dog; but is that where dogs should be? There is a great divide on the subject and some of the biggest opponents are the dog trainers. So here's what I think about the subject.

My opinion on dogs sleeping in bed with you is clear cut; black and white. If you would like your dogs to sleep in your bed with you and your dog shows no signs of grumblings, complaining about being moved or ousted then that is where they should be. Enjoying the company of your dog in bed is one of the great joys we have with our dogs. Snuggling with your dog is wonderful; listening to sleep can be a huge stress reliever. But what if everytime you move; your growls. Or when asked to get off the bed; your dog objects, offering the "just try to move me," look? Let's face it; your bed is the prime piece of real estate in your home and in a pack the leader gets it.

Often a guardian will toss some information my way as a side note. "Oh ya; he growls everytime I move in bed." This is the line; the line I have drawn for dogs in they go. But this is not a life sentence; they can earn a spot back on the bed but "earn" is the important word here. Back when Luke was a young'n we had an incident with him growling at my son for couch rights. Luke is the type that thinks he is all that and a bag of chips and his couch priviledge was fueling this. I was present at the time of the growl and Luke left the couch abruptly; he was kicked off for 6 months. We worked on a new set of rules; asking permission. There has never been another incident.

Being that sleeping with dogs is suppose to be mutually enjoyable; having you avoid your dog in your sleep is not good. If your every move elicits a growl which inturn interferes with your sleep; then this is a clear sign that someone has to go. And that someone is not going to be you. It is your bed; you dished out your hard earned money to buy it, you are going to sleep in it. But now you are feeling guilty; poor Fido has to sleep on the floor? Put your guilt aside; buy a nice bed for your dog and put it right beside yours, this is the best thing you can do for your relationship.

My dogs all have a their own bed in our bedroom; and they use them. With the girls being 13 and 14; it is not safe to be up on the bed if I am not awake so they are safe and sound in their own beds. Most often Luke jumps up on the bed in the middle of the night and everyone joins us in the morning. I feel very strongly that dogs need comfort; and a floor isn't comfortable, not even for a dog. Make sure that if your dog is not sleeping in your bed that they have a very comfortable bed of their own.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are the folks who don't want their dog even in their room with them to sleep. Well; the best place for your dog to sleep is in your room, bottom line. Where you lay; your dog should lay. A pack sleeps together; they don't need to sleep on top of each other but they should all be in the same room. It makes me sad to think of a dog that lays alone at night; banished to the kitchen, garage or worse (outside) at night. Bonding occurs during these special times; in the absence of night bonding you are missing half your life with your dog.

Window Seat

JP is a little Pomeranian who was adopted from Angels of Assisi despite a bum leg needing major surgery. His cast is off, and things are certainly looking up for JP! We appreciate everything his new his family has done for him!!


Halo Goes to Foster

Little Halo went to a foster home over the weekend; here she is getting used to her new stable-mate, Heidi. With a fence dividing them, things are going well, and hopefully in the next day or so we can put them together.

Heidi thinks she is the BOSS of EVERYBODY, and so far Halo is cool with that. She seems to understand that sometimes it's easier to just keep the peace, and that kind of attitude makes her my kind of girl.


Grave Concerns- but in a good way- for Barn Cat Buddies

The Star City Playhouse in Roanoke is donating opening night ticket poceeds for the comedy Grave Concerns to the Barn Cat Buddies Program!

This original play is written by Playwright & Roanoker Karon Sue Semones Ferguson. Karon Sue and her husband Marlowe Ferguson are happy parents to a very lucky barn cat buddy.

GRAVE CONCERNS is a comedy written about the death of a director & his acting company who come back and make his funeral ‘quite’ the production.

OPENING NIGHT: April 23, 2010 7:00 pm The Star City Playhouse is located at 2914 Williamson Road (behind the French Thistle) Reservations must be made by calling 366-0060

If you are looking for your own Barn Cat Buddy, check out Eve in the photo below ♥