July 29, 2010


Dear Shelter Dog,

I wanted to address this letter to you by name-but sadly, you do not have one.

First and foremost I want you to know that you are loved. You are thought of and prayed for each and every day by many kind people. I want you to know that you did nothing wrong: you simply couldn't, for wrong doing is not in your nature.

I don't know what cruel twist of fate brought you to this place, but I do know that you do not deserve to be here.

I don't know it if was decided that you were too large or too small, if you barked too much or too little, if someone became allergic to you or if it was simply decided one day that you were an inconvenience.

I don't know if the children that you were given to lost interest in you when you were not a puppy anymore and no longer considered cute or fun.

I don't know if you became too old or too sick or if your medical problems became too expensive.

I don't know if you simply lost your way one day. I am not sure if you were thrown from a car or dropped off by the side of a road, left behind-you may have waited patiently, bewildered, wondering why those you loved never came back. I don't know if your family moved away and decided not to take you.

I don't know if you were tortured-taught to fight against your will, and when you loyally obeyed you were punished further by being brought here. I don't know if your owner died not wanting to leave you behind.

What I do know is this: you are important and you are loved. I do know that I want to hold you and take away your pain. I want to show you the love and kindness that you deserve

I want you to know that it breaks my heart when I can't save you.

I want you to know that you are special. Just as special, just as important as any dog living in a home now-because any of those dogs could be you. You come in all sizes shapes and colors. You have unique personalities and behaviors.

It saddens me that the beauty of your kind soul will never be known and cannot be shared from your jail cell. You may not have a name but you do have a soul and I do know that one day there will be peace for you. God will shower you with the love and warmth you deserve. You will run through the greenest of pastures and feel the warm sun on your face. You will have your very own toys to play with and a comfortable bed to call your own. You will never be sick; feel pain or be lonely again. Your fur will shine and your tail will wag. You are loved, and you are wanted.

Your pleading eyes have burned holes in the hearts of all of us who love you; this is something that I really want you to know. I want to end my letter to you with a promise.

I promise that I will work towards putting an end to shelter life because this is not a place for a beautiful soul like yours.

I want to look into your loving warm eyes and tell you that there is hope; I want you to know that this fight will continue for as long as it takes-it will continue until you are free.


Someone who loves you-

Chris, Wendy, Patti, Mike, Trina, Kim, Diane, Wendy, Robyn, Wanda, Margot, Jill, Vee, Serena, Lee, Manny, Anita, Jenny, Inglath, Tonja, Pat, Amanda, Hannah, Vickie, Amanda H, Anita A, Barb, Crystal, Ayla, Beck, Betty, Bobbi, Deb, Tammy, Brittany, Debbie, Melanie, Kathy P, Ken, and all the staff, volunteers, and foster homes who work so hard.

** Please note all the dogs posted above are in kill shelters now. Click on their name or number to see their profiles.

July 27, 2010

Fearless Leader

Usually the animals take front and center in any Assisi communications, but it takes a whole lotta good people to make the wheels of  "The Preservation of Life for All Animals" turn, and here is one of them.

Meet Deb, Office Manager Extraordinaire (OME). Deb is in charge of, well, everything. She manages the staff, payroll, scheduling, hiring, firing, reprimanding and hands out the warm and fuzzies when needed. She does the ordering, inventory, and has learned to save Assisi money anywhere she can. This is on top of helping answer the 300+ phone calls we get each day (if you cannot get through, leave a message and we will call you back!).

Weekends will find Deb checking in on the adoption center and any animals staying overnight in the clinic. Her watchful eye scans to make sure trash is emptied, floors are swept, and the animals are in good shape. The floors at Assisi may be old, but ever notice that they shine? Chances are Deb herself ran the buffer over them.

When we heard about the Covington Dog Rescue, I sent Deb a message that we may be getting 21 large hound dogs in. This meant housing, medical care, court cases, and paperwork. Her response? "Of course. That's what we are here for. What time are they coming? We'll get the kennels ready."

Deb shares her home with her beloved Pit Bull, Tyson. Because of him, she has a keen sense of the plight of these often misunderstood dogs, and will be more than happy to share her words of wisdom with anyone in earshot. In a nut shell: "spay or neuter your pit bull. You don't want his or her babies and grandbabies being killed in a shelter, because chances are it will happen."

The OME at Assisi runs a tight ship, but under it all she has a heart of gold and a true understanding of the Assisi mission. We appreciate her resilience, patience, firmness, and most of all, her kind heart. She's also known for some of the best highlights and painted toenails in town. This girl has it all. Thank you, Deb.


Rescue Update

Over the last few weeks staff and volunteers at Angels of Assisi have been pretty much consumed with the rescued dogs from Covington. Most of them are making a wonderful recovery, but these 2 dachshunds have made slower progress than the rest. They are still very thin and disoriented, but each day shows a little more hope that they are going to catch up to their fellow housemates.

And seriously, how cute are they?


A very special thank you to photographer Vickie Holt for her hours of volunteer time each week. She's got a new website- check it out!


July 26, 2010


During the last year, among other dogs and cats, caring volunteers pulled 2 senior dogs from the Regional Center for Animal Control and Protection in Roanoke. The RCACP is basically a long way of saying "pound", and this is where strays/no longer wanted/can't care for animals end up. I'm not sure the definition of "shelter" (something that covers or affords protection) is something we as a community can claim about our RCACP, since over 4800 animals never left the facility alive last year alone.

Eunice was a small, 11 year old dog with a most unusual underbite. Not only her mother, but others were able to love the little face anyhow, and she was adopted by a wonderful family. Despite her age, despite her less than perfect behavior, despite the fact that she had a limited time on this earth, she had a home, a soft bed, and lots of love. She was a big part of a family.

Smiley was a senior Golden Retriever. He basically named himself, because he seemed to have a perpetual smile on his face, and you could almost see his heart busting at the seams wanting to love someone. Golden Retriever Rescue took him in a busting out heartbeat, and he also went to a loving home.

We got word today that both of these dogs passed away. Eunice's family wrote this message:

I just want to let everyone know that my precious friend Eunice is no longer in pain. She passed away last night in my arms with her family around her. I want to thank you all for your hard work. And even though we only had her for a short time my family and i loved her more than I could ever say. She was a part of our family and my friend. Thank you Angels of Assisi and everyone that helped Eunice find her way home.

Smiley's family sent us a note, with photos, and said what joy he brought them and how much they loved and cherished him.

These 2 senior dogs did find shelter and protection, not to mention a whole lotta love, in their final days. Some people say it cannot be done, you can't save them all. I bet Eunice and Smiley are glad someone tried. I bet their families, although sad and hurting at their loss, would not have had it any other way.


If you are considering adopting, please check out the RCACP. We also have several families that pick out a dog or cat from this facility and foster under Angels of Assisi, and they have made a huge difference for countless dogs and cats.


July 16, 2010

Unsung Heroes of Cat Colony Room Number 3

This last week, Angels of Assisi has been tremendously busy with the Covington dog rescue. The hallway that runs past Cat Colony Room Number 3 has been a flurry of activity- animal control officers, medical staff, and TV reporters all working hard to ensure a good future for the pups.

While the clinic staff and volunteers go back and forth in the halls with IV fluids, medical charts, extra food, dirty laundry, clean laundry, dirty laundry, clean laundry, they take time to give the dogs extra ear scratches and belly rubs.

Meanwhile. the cats in the colony rooms certainly know something is up. They peer through the door cracks and stick a paw under, as if to say "Hey! Count us in too!" Their routine has not changed much, and once you go in their room and shut the door, you've entered a cat's world. Lazy stretches in the sun, naps curled up in baskets, playful swats on tails. These guys may not be on the news, but each has their own story, their own past, and we have a hope for their future adoptions into loving family homes.


More Clinic Cuties

These 3 came to Assisi's Well Pet Clinic last week. Yep- they are all that, and a little more.