December 30, 2010


Our good friends from the Franklin County Humane Society posted this today- foster home needed. If you can help, please contact them here. They are a wonderful group to work with!

Please meet Bessie. There are moments in this endeavor that are totally heartbreaking. One of those moments involves Bessie and her best friend Cloris, another hound girl who we sent on to another group in Northern Virginia last weekend. Bessie and Cloris have both been with us at the Adoption Center since August,... and when this group offered to take Cloris and find a home for her outside of our area, we felt it was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up for her. Sadly, Bessie is having a very hard time in losing her friend’s companionship. Bessie is a sweet girl who came to us having been attacked by another dog. She is so deserving of a loving home. If you could offer her some temporary comfort as a foster home, we know she would be so grateful.

All Snug In Their Beds

A few weeks ago, we placed a link to Kuranda beds for cats on the Angels of Assisi website. Once again, we are overwhelmed as the response has been wonderful... thanks to some very generous folks, almost all of the kitties in the adoption center have a new bed that they can sleep on or under. The beds give them some extra vertical space in their kennels, and a comfy place to sleep.

Next on the agenda, cat scratchers for each cat. You can see how they work here:

These are small but steady steps for shelter enrichment. We've also made some progress in our goal of getting as many cats as possible out of small kennels, and we'll post some photos soon.

The Angels of Assisi adoption center is a far cry from a real family for these felines, but it's home for now. And the staff, volunteers, and supporters bring it a lot of heart ♥ thank you!

December 29, 2010

The Biscuit Fund- A Photo Speaks A Thousand Words

Buttermilk was originally from a high kill shelter in Kentucky; late last August, she arrived at Angels of Assisi along with 2 yellow labs. Kind volunteers and sponsors arranged for the 8 hour trip, and the dogs arrived with varying stages of medical need.

The yellow labs, Mellie and Scarlet, had been very ill. We were told that when they arrived at the shelter in KY, one of them was so weak that she had to be carried in. Once they arrived at Angels of Assisi, it was discovered they had heartworm disease. Mellie and Scarlet have now finished the 3 month treatment, and are available for adoption. (They are very attached to one another, and love to go to the dog park!).

Buttermilk had severe mange and underlying infections. Despite being in a lot of pain, she was very sweet and eager to fit in and please. Here she is last September:

And here she is today:

Yes, that IS the same dog! As you can see, she has thrived with her wonderful new family, and become as beautiful on the outside as she is on the inside.

The Biscuit Fund was established to help dogs like Buttermilk, and it is awesome to see success stories like this one. As always, thank you for another happy ending ♥

December 21, 2010

Everyone Has Someone

Good news in the adoption center! Elliot is one of our long term residents; he was rescued along with 86 other cats from Giles County in the summer of 2009. He has been making cat colony room number 2 his home for quite a while, but it's not the same as a real home. Yesterday, he found that special someone and was adopted into a loving family.

It was also a good day for Baby Boo. She was found by volunteer Jill Nelson with an arrow through her ear- ouch! As always, Botetourt County Animal Control was helpful in her rescue and got her to Angels of Assisi for medical treatment. We're very happy that she will be going home tomorrow- good for you, Baby Boo!

Thanks to all of you who don't focus on the imperfections, but see their inner beauty shining through. A heartbeat is a wonderful thing.

December 20, 2010

Alumni Monday

Pepsi was pulled from the Franklin County animal shelter. He could have easily been deemed "unadoptable" due to some major fear issues. Instead of walking, he literally crawled on his belly and cowered in the back of his kennel. Here he is below, waiting for adoption.

Thankfully, the Franklin County Humane Society works very hard to give each pet a chance for a new and happy life. Jenny Richardson from the FCHS saw a lot of potential in those big brown eyes, and drove him up to Angels of Assisi. Shortly after, he was fostered and then adopted by a wonderful family. His new name is Jake, and he is a rough and tumble happy boy. No more cowering and crawling for this guy.

Jake's new mom has a huge soft spot for shelter animals. And she is doing her part to give back- she came to Angels of Assisi and spent a few days with Vickie Holt, our photographer. Now Jess is taking her tips and techniques back to the Pulaski Humane Society and getting some great new shots of their adoptable pets.

Jake has ties with the Franklin County animal shelter, the Franklin County Humane Society, Angels of Assisi, and now the Pulaski County Humane Society. He is a true testament that collaboration works, and together we can make a difference...

December 18, 2010

Local Pets In Danger

These pets are at the Regional Center for Animal Control and Protection in Roanoke, and their time is limited. If you cannot adopt, please consider fostering. You may be able to foster through the Roanoke Valley SPCA (their foster coordinator is Anne Marie Sweeney) or Angels of Assisi (contact us here).

December 17, 2010

One Broken Heart Leads To Others

Boomer- Number 97 of the Bedford Rescue. I was told that he was sitting in the front window when animal control officers arrived at the double wide trailer that housed over 100 animals. I often wondered if he had been waiting to see if anyone would ever come and save them all, and if so, how long that wait had been.

As the fateful day last September progressed, we waited for news of how many animals were coming to Angels of Assisi- first the number was 25-30, then over 40, whoops- make that 75, no they just found 10 cats under a bed. Oh boy... now 5 more cats in kitchen cabinet. And a final number of 102. (The next day one more cat was found, for a total of 103).

We were also anxious to hear about the condition of the animals- after all, one can get wrapped up in the number, the volume, the magnitude of what was happening. But in reality we were taking on the awesome responsibility of 103 heartbeats- living, sentient beings- that had ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time. That needed to change.

As the day turned into night, we heard that there were no emergency situations, except for one dog. Number 97. He had a bad heart, and probably needed to be put down immediately.

When he arrived, he was all ribs and a big belly. Dr. Shelley examined him, and decided to give him a few days to see how he progressed. We housed him upstairs in the clinic, where staff could keep a close eye on him and make sure he was comfortable.

Boomer stabilized in those next few days. Yes, he had a very bad heart, but along with it he had an incredible appreciation to be alive. He loved to be with people, knew how to sit and shake, and offered his paw to anyone that would take it. His damaged but pure heart captured all of ours.

The staff would take him outside to go potty, and discovered that he really wanted to go for a car ride. In the first few weeks, due to the pending court case, he was not allowed to leave the property. So he would sit in Dr. Spangler's parked car. The car was not moving, but I guess in Boomer's mind he was going for the ride of a lifetime, far, far away from the cramped doublewide he had spent so long in.

In working out a plan for Boomer, it was decided that a good foster home would do him well. We knew he did not have much time left, but a comfy couch, a loving family, and a chance to be a real dog seemed fair and reasonable to all.

Boomer did find a wonderful foster family, who were very patient with his special food needs and accidents that were beyond his control. Our wish was for Boomer was to live his last days cared for, loved, and to be more than a number. And it was a wish that came true.

A few days ago, the family called and said things were not good with Boomer. His weight continued to drop, and he could not hold any food down. They brought him back to Angels of Assisi, and Dr. Emily and Dr. Shelley agreed that the broken but pure heart had had enough, and it was Boomer's time to go.

We waited until the end of the day, when the clinic was empty and quiet. We gave Boomer all the treats and food his heart desired- mostly the types that were not included in his special diet. We shook his paw. Then we sat in a circle around him, and cried. As Dr. Emily sedated him, he had 6 pairs of hands on him. Brittany held him in her lap as the sedation slowly kicked in. We cried some more. Boomer became totally relaxed, but I hope he could sense the love that surrounded him. Then Dr. Emily administered the medicine that would put his bad heart to rest for the last time. I know a piece of her heart stopped when his did.

We sat there for a few moments after Boomer died. Then slowly people got up, hugged, cried some more. I was mostly proud of Tim, our kennel attendant. He can be a little gruff on the outside, but underneath he has a real a soft spot for the animals in his care. During our last few moments with Boomer, he went and got the tissues and cried with us. When it was time to deal with the awful task of taking care of the body the heart had left behind, Tim handled everything.

Many special thanks are in order- first of all to Boomer's foster family for letting him be a real dog, and loving him through his last days.

Second, to the Angels of Assisi staff, for always going the extra mile. Thank you for not only loving Boomer, but for giving him the dignity that every living and sentient being deserves.

And last, but far from least, a thank you to Boomer, Number 97, Boom Boom. Thank you for representing those animals who are in the wrong place at the wrong time, through no fault of your own. Thanks for showing us that each of you has a unique personality, and may even know how to sit and shake. Thank you for opening our hearts. Our love for you brought us closer as a staff; we needed that. We're still grieving for you, but that will turn into a resolution to keep fighting the good fight, being the voice for those who cannot speak.

Boomer, I hope your journey to the Rainbow Bridge was in a car, with all the windows down and the wind in your ears. I hope the radio had Sugarland's "These Are The Days" blasting. I hope you had some of those treats you like so much waiting for you.

We miss you, Buddy. Know that you left us closer as a group, and we've got a piece of you embedded into our hearts and our mission is stronger because of you.

December 16, 2010

The New Guy

His name is Winn Dixie, and he came with all his toys, crate, food, and a long list of bullet points that include:

I go by Dixie for short, even though I am a boy!

I can sit, shake, and play catch.

I really like to sleep under the covers at night.

Please take good care of me, my owners did everything they could to keep me, but after a while they could not. My mom was so sad that she could work things out, and she is praying that the right family comes to adopt me.


Don't worry. Mr. Dixie. We know a family for you is coming soon, and you'll get to sleep under those covers once again.

Thank You!

A special thank you to the Salem VA Medical Center staff for organizing a food drive for Angels of Assisi! Hundreds of pounds of food and kitty litter filled the box truck, along with cleaning supplies, copy paper, and blankets. This was in addition to over $750 that will go towards the care of pets awaiting new homes in our adoption center.

We appreciate each and every item, and our storage area is very full- what a great feeling. Thank you.

December 9, 2010

Doing Their Part. Thank You Jill Nelson and Officer Stewart

Jill Nelson is an Angels of Assisi volunteer, and a few days ago, a stray dog showed up on her porch. It was during the super cold and windy spell, so Jill called Botetourt Animal Control. Officer Charlie Stewart arrived promptly, and took the dog to the Regional Center for Animal Control and Protection. (The RCACP is the place where stray animals are taken; they are located next to the Roanoke Valley SPCA, and you can read about them here).

In the short time he was at her house, Jill got attached to the big fella, and asked Officer Stewart to keep an eye on the dog and let her know when his hold time was over. True to his word, Officer Stewart did keep an eye on the dog, who was given case # 190466.

Yesterday we received a call from Officer Stewart that case # 190466 was having some health issues, and in our opinion did he need to see a Vet? After hearing the symptoms, it was agreed that the dog would come to Angels of Assisi to be seen by Dr. Spangler.

It turns out the dog, now named Charlie, had a bad case of worms. He was treated and admitted into the adoption center. This was after he made friends with every man, woman, child and dog in our crowded waiting room. He's another "leaner"  and happiest when he is pressed into your legs for extra love and attention.

Due to the above and beyond efforts of Officer Stewart and Jill, this dog has a chance for a new life. Last year in our community, 4,894 dogs and cats did not get a second chance.

I think we all agree these numbers are not acceptable. According to the RCACP website, in November 2010 our community RCACP took in around 200 dogs and over 400 cats. Today, RCACP Petfinder site lists 15 dogs for adoption. Certainly some of these have been transferred to the Roanoke Valley SPCA or other organizations, but certainly some have not.

Other communities in Virginia have become No Kill communities, including the Charlottesville - Albemarle SPCA (click here and here) and Richmond SPCA (click here).

I believe Roanoke has enough caring and concerned citizens to stop the killing of innocent lives, our pets, our beloved friends. It is not up to one organization or one individual, and cannot be solved in one day. But if we each do our part, like Officer Stewart and Jill Nelson, it makes a difference.

For today, let's start with owning up to what our community statistics are, and they are nothing to be proud of.

December 8, 2010

Clinic Cuties

Gizmo came in for his shots today. A really nice man, Mr. Davis, brought him in for a favor to his friend who has a hard time getting out of the house. Gizmo did really well and is all up to date!

December 6, 2010

It's About The People Too

We got word from a friend about a man living at the homeless shelter in Roanoke. He recently lost his house, and refused to leave his 2 dogs behind, or take them to the pound. The shelter would not let him have the dogs inside, so he housed them in his car overnight. And it's getting cold.

A few phone calls and a lot of follow up from our friend Jamie resulted in this man coming to Angels of Assisi tonight. His name is Dave and we discussed an agreement- Angels of Assisi will provide housing, shots, and food for his dogs, and Dave will walk them and keep their kennel clean. After Dave requested we throw in a box of Milk Bones too, a deal was made.

Dave spent a long time acclimating his dogs to the new smells, sights and sounds at Assisi. He asked if they could be housed together so they would feel safe. He brought in their blanket from the car so they would have a familiar smell. He wrote down their names for us- Zeb and Twinkle.

Twinkle's sweater was too small, and has certainly seen better days. But Dave was doing what he could to keep her warm.

Neither dog had a proper leash, but Dave has been keeping them safe around the city and in and out of the car each night.

After the dogs got situated and Dave went back to the shelter, we were all overwhelmed with the lengths he has gone to keep his family intact. Dave, Zeb, and Twinkle.

Even more overwhelming is the fact that Angels of Assisi has the foundation of strong volunteers and supporters to help people like Dave through a tough patch in life. Tomorrow, Zeb and Twinkle will get new collars, leashes, and a sweater. They will get a bath and any necessary shots. Dave will have peace of mind. And because of caring people, this little family has shelter from the cold. Thank you.

This One's For You

Dedicated to everyone who contributes their talents, time and love, in each individual and unique way. Together, we can make a difference.

"The majority of us lead quiet, unheralded lives as we pass through this world. There will most likely be no ticker-tape parades for us, no monuments created in our honor. But that does not lessen our possible impact, for there are scores of people waiting for someone just like us to come along; people who will appreciate our compassion, our unique talents.

Someone who will live a happier life merely because we took the time to share what we had to give. Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have a potential to turn a life around. It's overwhelming to consider the continuous opportunities there are to make our love felt"

 ~Leo Buscaglia

Good Prices, Awesome Shopping, Wagging Tails- Purrfect Treasures!

If you have not stopped by Purrfect Treasures in Franklin County, you're missing out! The store is a wonderful addition to the Franklin County Humane Society- click here for more info!

And Another New Biscuit

This poor girl was found not too far from Angels of Assisi, rooting through the grass for something to eat. Our adoption manger, Bo, was on her way home for lunch when she spotted her. An invitation of an open car door was all she needed, and Bo brought her back to the adoption center.

We did notify the Regional Center for Animal Control and Protection, in case someone is looking for her. My guess is they are not. She'll need some major surgery to remove the tumors, and we hope she will be OK.

The new Biscuit is a very sweet girl, one that our friend Inglath would call "a leaner"- meaning she leans into your legs, looking for affection. As always, thank you for supporting the Biscuit Fund, and in turn helping the animals in our community.

Clinic Cuties

This sweet girl came in for her spay surgery today. Do they get any cuter than this???

Update on Jingle Biscuit

Jingle is doing well, and has gained 3 pounds since Saturday! We've discovered that he loves people, and wants to be the center of attention. A very special thank you to Animal Control Officer Kevin Crowder for saving this great boy!

Here is getting a healthy dose of TLC-

And kind of posing. You can see his bones sticking out of his bottom here.

And smiling for the camera... actually he is desparate to get to the other side of the room to see his new friends. Thank you for your support of Jingle- he is certainly worth it ♥

Kids Doing Good

A big thank you to Christopher Cole for his donation to Angels of Assisi. Christopher and his family came for a tour over the weekend. We had a great time meeting them, and got a special treat seeing Christopher's version of Michael Jackson moonwalk; not only does he have a big heart, this kid can dance! 

Click here for the story on channel 7.

December 5, 2010

Jingle Biscuit

This poor guy was brought in yesterday from Botetourt Animal Control. He was found with a flea collar and nothing else- including any body weight to keep him warm.

We named him Jingle in honor of the holidays, and have started him on a program to help him gain his weight back. He stands as tall as my knee, and weighs 26 pounds. Last night he seemed very grateful for a warm bed and a good meal.

Jingle will benefit from the Biscuit Fund, and as always, we appreciate any donations for the neglect and cruelty victims that we are all pulling for. Thank you-

December 2, 2010

The New Guy

This little declawed kitty has been living outside for a long time. During his exam, he had to have his much too tight collar removed.

Tonight he is warm and dry. His belly is full and his neck is feeling a lot better. A big shout out to everyone who supports Angels of Assisi to ensure happy endings like this good boy will have. Thank you ♥

Missing The Couch

Somehow, Shiloh tricked Tucker back on to the regular old dog bed. I'm sure it won't last long. Guessing by her downtrodden look, I think she realizes their time together is short lived.


December 1, 2010


"Now I can look at you in peace; I don't eat you any more."
Franz Kafka

The above photo is from the Ellen DeGeneres facebook page. How cute is he? For some easy steps on vegetarian eating, click here- it's easier than you think! We also have free copies in the Angels of Assisi waiting room.