November 30, 2010

Getting Her Fair Share

Lil Bit is the official office cat at Angels of Assisi. Perhaps we could have picked a more laid back, mellow cat for the job, but what fun would that be? Who would mess up all the paperwork at the front desk? Who would dig all the dirt out of the flower pots? Who would knock over the display of sample treats in the lobby?

Her newest adventures include getting first dibs on many of the donations for the adoption center. Cat toys? The ones that were made for the 121 cats in the adoption center? Lil Bit felt the need to sort through them all first. I heard she actually snatched one out of the hand of the lady delivering them.

Here she is test driving a new dog bed. because, you know, that's what a good office cat does.

For The Love Of A Couch

Last week, we encouraged allowed Tucker to get on the couch for the first time. Since then, he gets on the beloved couch as often as possible. I guess for the dog that was found weak and cold outside last winter, the simple comforts are all he needs.


School Days

The great kids and teachers at Back Creek Elementary School invited us for a visit today. We had a wonderful time. and were really impressed with the entire 5th grade class. They asked a lot of great questions, and we loved how knowledgeable they are about animal care and compassionate living. Thanks a million for having us- we trust that each and every one is helping to make this world a better place for the animals we love.

Pictured above: fearless office manager with special needs kitty, Snuggles.

The Stork Strikes Again

We found this little kitty on our front doorstep this morning. He is a super friendly cat, and had his exam with Dr. Spangler today. Thankfully, he is in good health and will be up for adoption soon.


November 27, 2010


The horse through all its trials has preserved the sweetness of paradise in its blood.
~Johannes Jensen


November 26, 2010

Trooper- Then And Now

There has been a lot written about Thanksgiving the last few days. We would like to thank each and every person who contributes in their own way to the animals in this world. Keep up the good fight, and be the voice for those who cannot speak.

Trooper on the day he was found:

Through recovery:

More tubes and healing:

And today:

"If anger wells up within you, because people are the problem, remember your humanity and that people are also the solution."
From “We are Their Heroes” by Jim Willis


November 24, 2010

Barn Cat Buddies

Diane Novak is an Angels of Assisi volunteer and Director of the Barn Cat Buddies program. She wears many hats, but the bottom line is that she is an advocate for cats, especially those that would be deemed unadoptable. Most of the cats she helps place would be put down in shelters because they are skittish and would not make good pets. Instead, Diane works tirelessly to find them homes in barns where they will be taken care of, and their less than social personalities are not a problem.

For more information on Barn Cat Buddies, click here.

The reason for today's post is to share a letter of appreciation we received about the program. A great big thank you to Diane for all her hard work ♥


Trouble in Paradise

“ Promise me that when I die, you will take care of my cat”. Those words echoed in my mind as I heard the news that my grandfather had passed away. A mountain man who loved nature and all of its creatures, this was my grandfather's only request. I promised my grandfather that I would find a suitable home for this cat, and we even imagined a large farm with rolling hills and plenty of room for play and exploration, which my grandfather said would be perfect. How fortuitous that vision would be.

A stray, the cat had made quite a name for herself. Considered a nuisance, neighbors complained and the property manager even threatened to terminate my grandfather's lease if he continued to feed the stray, so my grandfather moved to a more remote unit and fed the animal at 4:00 each morning, for he could not bear for this animal to go hungry. He spent considerable time with this animal in the outdoors that they both loved, and the ravages of neglect and suffering were soon reversed with veterinarian care, love, and lots of patience.

The cat eventually ended up at the SPCA. My grandfather, who had been searching for days for the animal, officially adopted the cat and declared the stray off-limits to all concerned. My grandfather affectionately named the cat "Trouble", and Trouble was my grandfather's faithful companion for the remaining years of my grandfather's life.

I called around and learned that Angels of Assisi, the only no-kill organization in the area, had a "Barn Cat Buddies" group that places outdoor/feral cats near barns or warehouses - it sounded ideal. Diane, touched by the story of my grandfather and this stray, arranged for volunteers to leave food and water, and the first night, a volunteer named Ted left food, water and a sleeping box near my grandfather's unit. Diane also gave me the name and numbers of veterinarians, to whom my grandfather could have taken Trouble, so that I could obtain vaccination and sterilization records, which were necessary for placement. The cat was still waiting for my grandfather when it was found.

The dedication and commitment of this group eventually paid off, finding the most idyllic setting that was strikingly similar to the one that my grandfather and I had imagined: a large farm with acres of land and a heated area with food and water for feral/outdoor cats - a true paradise for a cat who had been through so much.

This story is deeply personal to me, because for years I have supported animal rights and rescue groups, and in the one moment that I desperately needed the help of such a group, I found this most amazing group of people, who came to the aid of a total stranger and a helpless animal. The help of this group made it easier to celebrate my grandfather's life, and his commitment to all of God's creatures.

A last wish honored, a promise fulfilled, and one very lucky girl named Trouble.

November 22, 2010

November 21, 2010

All The Comforts Of Home

Tucker has been a part of our family since last February. Since then he has overcome painful heartworm treatments, made the climb to McAfee's Knob, learned how to be around horses and cranky ponies, endured long softball games, and maneuvered his way into our routine and hearts with remarkable ease.

The one thing he has never done is attempt to get on the furniture. And I never pushed it because, well, he is 112 pounds and full of hair. That is until last night, the night which will be marked down in history as One Of The Greatest Nights In Tucker's Life.

It all started like any other evening- kids watching a movie and Tucker on the floor pillow. I plopped down on the couch and before I knew what was happening, the words "come on up here, Tuck" came spilling out. Maybe it was because one of my favorite movies was on; it was during the scene in Little Miss Sunshine where Olive is dancing to "Super Freak" and I was feeling a little on the wild side.

Anyhow, he looked at me, looked at the couch, looked at me, and looked at me again. Then in a single bound he was up on the darn thing and gave me a side glance asking "are you SURE???"

(Side note: the "up on the couch in a single bound" is pretty significant. This is the dog with the old hip fracture that has to be lifted into the car. The jump to the couch, however, did not seem to bother his old injury one iota. Interesting.)

A few pats on the head gave him all the reassurance he needed. He stretched out, then sat up and rolled over on me, obviously very happy with both of us for this new found freedom. Or maybe he was getting his groove on to Super Freak as well.

Either way, like every great American dog, he is exercising his couch freedom as often as possible. He is so big that one of his back legs usually flops over the side. The rest of him though, is seriously digging the comforts of the O'Neill Abode. And what's a little dog hair amongst friends, right?

November 19, 2010

Update on Trooper- Let's Get To Work

The following info on Trooper is from Steve, the wonderful guy who found Trooper and has followed and supported him every step along the way. Please take time to write to the agencies he has listed below. The Danville paper is writing another article, and we will post that as soon as it come out.

Good evening, everyone - a quick update on Trooper.

He had his eye removed back in October, and he is doing well & recovering from that. He has a great foster family, and a particular fondness for the couch.

He has had a setback though. I got an email last week from my contact at Angels of Assisi, saying that Trooper had to go BACK into surgery.He had a place in his jaw that was not healing properly.

They found a bullet fragment.

To me, this puts things on another level. It is bad enough for Law Enforcement to ignore things, but it is shameless to allow this kind of mistreatment to not even be worthy of investigation.

Trooper has his life, he's got a loving family, and support from around the country. But he needs justice.

Here are the addresses to surrounding law enforcement agencies on the page above. Please write to them. Maybe a combination of pressure, persistence, and shame will motivate someone to take some sort of action.

From what I have found, animal abuse occurs usually within a 5 mile radius of where an animal is found. In Trooper's case, this encompasses 3 different Law Enforcement Agencies.

Here are the addresses you need.

Sheriff Michael Taylor
Pittsylvania County VA
Post Office Box 407
Chatham Virginia 24531

(The above is the actual, physical location in which Trooper was found. Trooper was literally 50 feet inside this jurisdiction where I located him.)

Sheriff Lane Perry
Henry County VA
3250 Kings Mountain Road
Martinsville, VA 24112

(The above is the next closest jurisdiction, by literally 50 feet, from where he was found. It is a strong possibility that he actually was abused in this area, but that is just my own opinion & suspicion).

Sheriff Sam Page
Rockingham County, NC
Law & Order Bldg.
NC Hwy 65
Wentworth, NC 27375

(The above area is less than 2 miles from where Trooper was located).

It is bad enough for law enforcement to ignore things, but it is shameless to allow this kind of mistreatment to not even be worthy of investigation. I hope a combination of pressure, persistence & shame will motivate someone to take some sort of action.


Here is a summary of events:

An update on the Pit Bull that was used as a bait dog. His journey is nothing short of miraculous. IMO, one of his miracles came about with some real life Angels intervening to save him.

The Angels of Assisi (as well as other rescue organizations) get dogs in need of the type of care & surgery that Trooper got. If you would like to do something, please go to the Angels of Assisi & donate to their Biscuit fund: (

Check your area for local rescue groups if you'd prefer to donate locally.

Trooper arrived at Steve's farm on on September 26. Here are several links regarding Trooper's journey.

They're in the order of when they happened, so you can determine the chronology of events.

His first evening at Angels of Assisi, where they saved his life. This is when they discovered that his mouth was full of maggots (Dr.picked 100+ out of his mouth), infection all over, puncture wounds all over, and even a puncture wound that went through the skin on top of his head, through his skull and into the cranium

An update on his condition the next morning.

A quick update on 9/29 - he was trying to stand.

After he had been moved to Vinton Veterinary Hospital

Trooper's story is on WSLS 10, out of Roanoke from 9/30.

An update from 9/30, when he had to be taken back into surgery for infection

An EXCELLENT article in the Danville Register & Bee written by John Crane on 9/30

The aftermath of Trooper's Surgery on 9/30.

An update of his condition on 10/2 - significant surgery on 9/30, still recovering.

An update of Trooper on 10/5. He is beginning to bounce back.

Another EXCELLENT article by John Crane that was on the front page of the Danville Register & Bee on 10/5.

An update on 10/8. Trooper is improving - the vets could not be more pleased with his progress.


Trooper was back in the clinic on 10/12 to get neutered & was on TV. He's had some more work done to his face.

Trooper had to go to Virginia Tech today to have his eye looked at. They've determined that he is already blind in that eye, and they made the decision to remove the eye within a couple days (10/20). There was some apprehension about doing a painful eye exam on a pit bull that had been used as a bait dog, but Trooper let the vets do their thing, all the while not moving a muscle while they were examining him. Before he left, 3 of the vet students asked about adopting him.

On 10/21, we went to Roanoke for the evening, and on our way, stopped to see Trooper where he was being fostered. This was one day after he'd had his eye removed, so he still looks rough, and he was on some pretty heavy duty pain medication that day. His foster mom said he was pretty mellow & not his normal self that day - a puppy who is constantly in motion & is into everything. Donations have come from all over the country to help with his medical care, as well as from as far away as Scotland. Where he is today is nowhere near how he was when I found him.

And then, just when Trooper was beginning to trust people, this happened. I thought I'd seen him at his worst. I had not. This was at his worst.

I will post some more updates & pictures as I get them. Sad to say, but despite several articles in the newspaper, as well as Trooper appearing on 2 regional newscasts multiple times, there has not been one whit of interest or action by local law enforcement.

Wonder WHY all sorts of animal protection groups regard Pittsylvania County as a haven for dog fighting??? To not have even made any inquiries is an embarrassment. When local law enforcement refuses to act or even take any interest, does that in itself not give the appearance of impropriety?

I will try to keep you posted with more info as I get it. Thank you to everyone who has taken an interest in Trooper, especially those kind enough to donate to Angels of Assisi for his care.


November 18, 2010

Shalom at the Dog Park

Shalom (שָׁלוֹם): a Hebrew word meaning peace, completeness, and welfare and can be used idiomatically to mean both hello and goodbye. As it does in English, it can refer to either peace between two entities, or to the well-being, welfare or safety of an individual or a group of individuals.

Last Sunday, Rabbi Fabian Werbin and Beth Israel Synagogue hosted a Bark Mitzvah at the Roanoke Dog Park. We all had a blast, and suffice it to say there was plenty of Shalom for everyone.

Jenny pictured below, is a wonderful dog and up for adoption. She is from the Covington rescue last summer.

More family fun...

Queen Elizabeth, on the left, is also from the Covington rescue and available for adoption. She is a lot of fun and loves other dogs.

Queen Elizabeth again, with long time Assisi resident Brendon. Brendon was actually adopted a few weeks ago, and we happened to run into him and many other Assisi alumni that day. Vickie Holt, who took these photos, said this shot looks like Brendon is telling Queenie what it is like to have a home and he knows she will have one soo too ♥

Sweet Matrix below. Talk about some long legs! He is more than ready for a new home and lots of TLC! His adoption fee has been paid by some great folks who want the best for him.

Many thanks to Vickie Holt for the photos, and volunteers Manny, Rose, Diane, Grant, Ed. And a special thank you to Rabbi Werbin for sharing the Shalom with our four-legged friends.

November 15, 2010

Taking A Load Off

Hubris- Number 1 of the Bedford Rescue. Whenever he come through the adoption center on his way in and out for play time/potty breaks, he jumped up on one of the chairs. Bo, the adoption center manager, decided he needed his own, and moved this one into his kennel. He loves it.

I bet he'd love a chair in someone's home even more- come on and visit him anyday between 2 and 6 pm....


Alumni Monday

Sweet Flower- this dog has a special place in all of our hearts. She came to Assisi with ears that had been cut off with a razor blade, and a heart of gold.

Here she is happy at home ♥


Trooper had the bullet removed at Big Lick Veterinary Services in Roanoke. Sorry for the confusion- updates and new photos coming tomorrow!

November 12, 2010

Update On Trooper- A New Level

Trooper has been doing well and recovering from his eye surgery. He continues to heal both inside and out with his loving foster family. He has developed a fondness for the couch and all the good things life has to offer.

While his wounds continue to improve, there was one place under his jaw that was not healing. The good folks at Big Lick Veterinary Services took him back for another surgery, and found this, a bullet fragment.

Wow- for me the story has taken on another level. Trooper has now lost his eye and part of his lip. He also had a broken leg from a puncture wound that will most likely cause him problems in the future.

Trooper did not lose his heart, his dignity, or his will to live. 

He has gained a loving family, an outpouring of support from around the country, and a trust in other living creatures, both animals and humans. 

Let's add some justice to the above list of positives. The person or people that did this to Trooper are still out there, and the same scenario could and may have happened to other dogs. Enough is enough.

We will get some more information from the Vet and report it to the authorities and media in the community where he was found. The more people that demand some answers, the better response we'll have, and we need some help. Any takers?



One of the Bedford Rescue cats, Nutmeg, tested positive for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus:

Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is a virus that affects domesticated housecats worldwide and is the causative agent of feline AIDS.  From 2.5% up to 4.4% of cats worldwide, and about 2.5% of cats in the USA,are infected with FIV. FIV differs taxonomically from two other feline retroviruses, feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline foamy virus (FFV), and is more closely related to human immunodeficiency virus HIV... FIV is not typically fatal for cats, as they can live relatively healthily as carriers and transmitters of the disease for many years (you can read more about it here).

There is a lot of discussion and controversy about adopting cats out with FIV, but they can be adopted into homes if they are the only cat. As fate would have it, a very nice young lady came into the adoption center and fell in love with Nutmeg. She just got her own place, and has been waiting for the right time to adopt a cat; Nutmeg fit the bill perfectly, and went home a few days ago ♥

November 8, 2010

Take Time To Hug Your Best Friend

LONE OAK, TX – Wayne’s Lawnmower Shop is about more than an honest repair at an honest price; it’s about lasting friendships. Wayne’s son, Paul Giroux, runs the business. He learned the business and took over from his father in June, when Wayne Giroux was killed by a drunk driver.

As much as Paul Giroux misses his father, there is one other friend who does not seem ready to accept his passing: his dog Spot. In a scene reminiscent of Hachi, at the same time, every day, Spot hangs around this quiet country road waiting for Wayne to come home. It’s a bittersweet reminder of the power of dog devotion, and is likely to touch many with an appreciation for man’s true best friend.

Alumni Monday

Lola was adopted from Angels of Assisi a few years ago. She lives in Roanoke with a wondeful and special mom who loves her very much.

From the looks of things, the feeling is mutual ♥

November 5, 2010

Past Due Appreciation

"Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.”
Dr. Minor Myers, Jr.


As a huge fan of quotes, this one caught my eye today- how perfect for all of us in the rescue world; go forth and petition against puppy mills! Spread the word about feral cats! Blog about the statistics of euthanasia in our community! Network on Facebook to save pets from high kill shelters!

As all these thoughts were racing through my mind, the author of the quote caught my eye. Minor Myers was the President of my Alma Mater, Illinois Wesleyan University. Huh.

I spent 4 years at IWU in the nursing program, and quite frankly, none of the faculty particularly inspired me. At all. I don't know what it is about nursing instructors, but they are a tough bunch. My shoes were never white enough and my nursing student patch was sewn on crooked. My 15 page handwritten "Plan Of Care" on how to apply a butterfly bandage (15 pages? Was that really necessary?) was missing a step.

On the first day of clinicals sophomore year, my instructor asked me about the compatibility of a certain IV solution with a certain IV drug. I did not know the answer, and told her I did not know the answer. Isn't that better than a potential fatal reaction? I asked where the drug interaction book was, and she grabbed my ear and pulled me through the crowded nurses’ station to the book. Thanks for that, Ms. Wilson. Thanks a million.

My reason for becoming a nurse was to help people, plain and simple. Forgive me while I digress, but another fond memory is of the Dean of Nursing giving a major speech to all of us low life students about how You Can Never Be Friends With Your Patients. Huh. Really? I still keep in contact with some of my former patients and their families. And we are good friends thankyouverymuch.

"Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.”

I'm going to keep these words close to me for a while. Maybe when I was busy memorizing every bone (including origin and insertion!) of the body I missed out on some of the philosophical aspects of college life.

For today, I am not going to petition against puppy mills, protect feral cats, blog about kill stats, or network on Facebook. I have done these things and absolutely will again. Probably tomorrow.

But for today, I am going to gather my strength by doing good to those closest to me- the ones most often overlooked. I think I'll start by hugging Shiloh.

Bedford Biscuits

The dogs and cats from the Bedford Rescue are doing well. About 40 of them need dental work, and we are the process of doing those now. A few have been adopted, and the rest are ready for adoption.

Almond, picured below, loves to be held and petted, and she will rub all over you. She is one that needed some major dental work, but she is much better and ready for a new home.

Bess- who is actually a boy- will crawl up into your arms and roll all over you, give face rubs and otherwise be a big sweetheart. On the floor, he investigates with good naured curiosity, but when you pat your hand on the floor, he will run back and dive his nose to the floor to rub his face along the hand that called him. He is very gentle, despite his big and muscular frame.


All cat adoption this month are $40, and the adoption center is open from 2-6 everyday. Hope to see you soon!!

Good Stuff Happening in Franklin County

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be.
Now put foundations under them.

Henry David Thoreau


Hardworking. Resilient. Determined. Compassionate. These are just a few words that can describe the wonderful staff and volunteers of Planned Pethood and the Franklin County Humane Society. Several years back, the news covered a story about the very high kill rate of pets in their community. A group of people came together, laid out a plan that included a new adoption center, and decided that enough was enough.

They work relentlessly to adopt out animals and have succeeded in dramatically reducing their county's kill rate of cats and dogs.

To date in 2010 they have placed ‎731 dogs, 270 cats for a total (and counting) of 1001. Awesome.

Many of these are adopted through their beautiful facility on Virgil H. Goode Highway. It is a warm and welcoming place for both pets and humans. The cats have a bright and spacious play area. The dog dens are state of the art with glass doors to reduce the noise, Kuranda beds, and a relaxed atmosphere. The dogs also have an awesome play area outside. If you have not seen the new facility, check it out!

The overflow of pets is often transferred to other No Kill facilities. Many of these are as far as New Hampshire, and dedicated volunteers make the necessary plans and travel arrangements. It is a tremendous amount of work and frustration, but part of the daily routine for these volunteers.

Here is where I have to thank Anita Scott. She is truly a miracle worker- not with a magic wand, but with perseverance and a love for the animals. Anita knows every breed specific and non breed specific rescue group up and down the eastern shore; I am sure she has used them all at one time or another. She has also helped many of us in surrounding counties place animals, and we are forever inspired and grateful to her.

Please click here to see a few of their success stories, including Harley, picured below. He was shot twice in the leg before coming to FCHS, and he is now safe and happy with his new family.

A very special thank you to all the folks in Franklin County working hard for their homeless pets. Keep up the awesome work!

November 4, 2010


May Day slipped in the field today, and had a hard time getting up. After close examination, all that was hurt seems to be her ego. Getting old sucks. However, as a precaution, she is grounded to her stall for a while, and she is not too happy about it.


Sprucing Up the Place

Same old box truck with a new look. This is the truck used for transporting animals to Assisi for spay and neuter services and also for rescue operations.

The new awning looks pretty darn good, and everyone keeps saying they never knew the clinic occupied this much space. Our entire building is about 7000 square feet, but we have absolutely outgrown it. For now we are utilizing the space as best we can... however talks are in progress for a more spacious building. More to follow...

Bunny Love

This little bunny came from Roanoke's Regional Center for Animal Control and Protection last week. This photo was taken after her spay surgery, and she is too cute for words.


A Back Up Plan For Some, A Welcoming Home For All

Last week at the adoption center, Angels of Assisi had to face some tough decisions. One of our dogs, Nicholas, has turned more and more unpredictable in his behavior. He can be sweet as pie one minute, and in a flash he can - and will - turn around and bite. (To our beloved and dedicated dog walking volunteers, thank you for your understanding and support).

It was simply not safe for him to be adopted into a family, and we gradually accepted the fact that he could not even be placed in an adult only home.

At the same time, a very sweet cat named Luckey was diagnosed with a type of feline virus that can spread to other cats. She would be able to be placed in a single cat home, but with no immediate takers we were concerned about the other cats in the adoption center.

I'm sure many other adoption centers and no kill facilities are faced with the same issues everyday. However, most do not have a "safety net", and we are eternally grateful for our partner, Harmony Farm Sanctuary.

Harmony is home to cows, pigs, chickens, goats, sheep and bunnies. And now Nicholas and Luckey are also safe from a fate that could have been tragic.

Nicholas is much more relaxed and happy, and has made a fast friend with farm manager, Jason. Luckey is also settling in nicely in the spacious feed room, and has a favorite warm spot to nap when she is not busy checking out the daily activity from her screen door viewing area.

A home is supposed to feel safe and welcoming, and Nicholas and Luckey have found theirs.

November 1, 2010

May Day

May Day was part of the Galax rescue last summer; sixteen dogs went to Angels of Assisi, and she came to Harmony Farm Sanctuary. (One of the dogs, Kelly, will be featured on Channel 10's Pet of the Week at noon today.)

At 35 years old, her days consist of lots of pasture time, special senior feed, and snuggling up in her new blanket.

The horse through all its trials has preserved the sweetness of paradise in its blood.
~Johannes Jensen

Alumni Monday

A wonderful update from Benny's family:

We adopted Benny, a Schnauzer mix and he is a delight and we are blessed without measure. Again Bo, I thank you so much for this very special Angel....

And an awesome update on Nellie ♥

I am fostering a Mini Pin named Nellie. I just wanted to let you know she is doing fantastic. She loves her new home, and her and Chloe (our other dog) have become best friends. I have attached a few photos for you.

I cannot begin to thank you enough for rescuing her and allowing me to adopt her. We love her more than you can imagine and she is everything and more than we could have wanted in a sister for our other dog.