May 31, 2011

Partners and Friends

The Pulaski County Humane Society is doing a knock out fantastic job of saving pets in their community. So far this year, they have an over 95 percent save rate - a number that defines a No Kill Shelter. Definitive traits in their programs include education and spay/neuter, but, most importantly, they have a very proactive adoption program. They don't use "lack of space" and "the irresponsible public" as excuses to kill animals.

The most telling sign of their success was a conscience decision to become No Kill, and then not being afraid of the hard work it takes to achieve it. Even more impressive is that their mission includes the Pulaski Pound:

"The Pulaski County Humane Society office is located in the Pulaski County Animal Shelter & Humane Education Center, which allows us to work side-by-side with Pulaski County Animal Control. 

We help provide medical care and other needs to make both PCHS and Animal Control animals as comfortable as possible during their stay at the shelter. Unfortunately, the tragedy of pet overpopulation in the United States even spreads to our small community, so PCHS works to promote the adoption and rescue of these animals. 

We do everything we can to help prevent the euthanasia of adoptable pets" 

Last week, Angels of Assisi was honored to help support their mission with the arrival of 10 dogs, most of whom came from a puppy mill situation. 

Check out the cuteness below ♥

We would like to thank the dedicated staff and volunteers in Pulaski County, who are absolutely making a difference in their community. Keep up the good work, and here in Roanoke we're aspiring to follow in your footsteps.

"It's a question of discipline," the little prince told me later on.  "When you've finished washing and dressing each morning, you must tend your planet."  
~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince, 1943, translated from French by Richard Howard

Biscuits New & Old

Last weekend, we had several new dogs brought to us by Botetourt Animal Control.

Sweet Edna arrived with a high fever and heat stroke. We cooled her off as best as possible, and took her to Emergency Vet Services. One of our all time favorite Vets, Dr. Eric Krauss, was on duty, and he did a great job in making her feel better.

One week later, she is much stronger, and will be ready for adoption soon.

Along with Edna came big old Brutus. He arrived a little dirty and a little thin, but is also doing well, and a ton of fun to be around ♥

Edna and Brutus will both benefit from the Biscuit Fund, one that gives hope and help to animals in need. The fund was started in honor of 2 sweet beagles, named Scout and Frost. You can read more about them here, and, drum roll please....  we are looking forward to a Biscuit Reunion on August 6th! Details to follow! 

May 18, 2011

Throwing Stones

Yesterday afternoon a man walked in to our lobby with a dog who had a bad ear infection and needed to be surrendered. Like now.

Needless to say, our adoption center is full, and we have several dogs on the waiting list to come in. We tried to explain to the man that it takes more than a day to find a home or even a foster home for a dog. This dog, named Rock, had been a family pet for 6 years, and didn't he deserve a better shot than this?

The lobby was packed with people waiting for wellness visits, buying frontline, and scheduling appointments. One could say they were responsible people who had actually made appointments for pet care. And the guy with the dog was not leaving.

Frustrations were running high, and a call was made to Franklin County Humane Society volunteer, Anita Scott. Anita is one of those rare and wonderful people who can find a solution to almost any situation. She got a photo of Rock up on the internet right away, made some calls, and next thing you know Pat Shaver from the League for Animal Protection said she would take him.

The plan was set- he would stay the night at Assisi, be neutered, updated on shots and receive ear surgery in the morning, then be transferred to LAP.

What we did not know at the time, was that the owner had taken a day off of work to find the Rock a place. Due to circumstances that he would not have wished on anyone, he was moving to an apartment.

What we did not know at the time, was that he had just fought for and gained custody of his young son. He had planned to sneak the dog into the apartment that did not allow dogs, but family members talked him out of it, saying he could not risk losing another home and his son's security. They were right.

What we did not know at the time, was that he really could not afford to take a day off of work, but he did.

What we did not know at the time, was that he was told by the RVSPCA that if he turned his pet into the Roanoke pound, he would most likely be killed. Especially with a medical condition.

What the man did not know at the time, was what he was going to tell his son when he arrived home without the dog. His son thought Rock was going to a Vet appointment for his ear infection.

We don't know how that conversation transpired, but thankfully he was able to tell him that Rock will be safe.

A heartfelt thank you to Anita and Pat for stepping in and helping when we were at our wit's end. You both are true friends to Angels of Assisi and the animals in our community, and make this world a better place. Thank you for a being a testament to what partnerships are all about, and someone we can count on.

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."
~Plato G (427 BC - 347 BC)

Sussex Hounds

Click here for a wonderful rescue story about some hounds in Sussex. Thank you to Inglath Cooper for assisting these dogs in many ways, including Jinny who came to Angels of Assisi (she is the 4th dog on the bottom row).

Jinny is the second hound we have received from Sussex. The first was Eddie, who arrived several years ago with the number 13 spray painted on his side.

Both of these wonderful hounds were adopted into loving homes. Sadly Eddie is no longer with us, but his family cared for and loved him very much. They have honored his memory in many ways, and we appreciate all those that help these beloved ole' hounds dogs.

May 17, 2011

Goat Love

One doesn't know, till one is a bit at odds with the world, how much one's friends who believe in one rather generously, mean to one.  ~D.H. Lawrence


An Update On Lucky

Lucky was discharged from Virginia Tech yesterday, with a the good news that he will not need liver surgery! Diagnostic tests show that his little body got very low on blood sugar for a long time, and had a hard time catching up.

He is now in foster care with a strict feeding schedule of eating special food every 3 hours. Apparently he is also giving his foster mom, Hannah, a run for her money. He hates to be held, he barks quite a bit, and still has to be force fed. Good thing he is so dang cute!! We believe he will grow out of all of this soon, and thank Hannah for her patience. ♥♥♥

A rare moment of peace and quiet :)

An awesome gift basket waiting for him at Assisi! 

And back on the move!

Thank you all for your well wishes and support- more to follow!


Kids Doing Good

Last February, a wonderful family came in and adopted one of our special needs cats, named Patience. (Click here for the original story).

Over the weekend, Kalley came in and presented us with a very special book she had made. She has been keeping track of all the animals in the Guardian Angels Program, and makes note of when they are adopted. She included the following update on her beloved pet:


Patience is doing fine. (the cat I adopted here in the guardian angel program and has an eye problem) She loves her new home and is a playful and the most out- going, active, funny, and lovable cat! She eats cheetos! We have now named her Precious but we still call her Patience sometimes. Her nick names are Pay Pay and Pre Pre! She is now the proincess and my other cat Sassy has now taught her how to beg for wet food at like 6:00 in the morning (but that does not mean we do not like her) Thank you for being a no kill shelter so I could have this wonderful cat and so are all the other cats there!!

And then she included the following:

Dear Angels of Assisi: 

I love you guys and all that you do! You make everything special and make every one happy. You are a great place that everyone should know about and you should be 100,000,000 and be on TV everyday. But one place you are is in my heart! I want to follow your footsteps to be the awesome people like you! I suggest you to be the #1 place in the world for being not just any animal shelter... a No Kill Shelter, awesome shelter, a cool shelter, a 100% the best animal shelter in the world! :) :) :)

A big thank you to the Sullivan family for all your support, and for having such great kids!!

May 13, 2011

Matters Of The Heart

Early last evening, a family arrived with a very tiny, very sick puppy, named Lucky. They were unable to provide the care he needed, and with heavy hearts signed him over to our adoption center.

After an assessment by the Assisi medical staff, he was immediately taken to the Emergency Vet Clinic for overnight care. Lucky had a dangerously low blood sugar, and was having seizures.

We picked him up this morning, and he was not any better. Dr. Emily worked on keeping him stable and called Virginia Tech for an emergency admission. Around 10:30 am he was cleared for the trip, and packed up with a warm water bottle, charts, meds, and a soft baby blanket.

I put his carrier in the front seat of the car, took a deep breath, and we were off. "Hang in there buddy, let's go get you some help".

At mile marker 128, he started having seizures again. Twitch twitch, shake shake. With one hand I pried the top off the carrier so I could get to him easily. Twitch shake, shake twitch.

I put my hand on his little body to try and keep it still, and felt his heartbeat, thump thump. Steady and strong, thump thump.

The seizures continued, and I kept one hand on the wheel and one hand on the heartbeat. As twitches and shakes continued erratically, the heartbeat was consistent and comforting. Thump thump. We can do this. Thump thump.

Within minutes of arriving at Virginia Tech, he was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit.

The staff at Tech thinks he has some liver issues, and his blood is not getting cleaned properly through the liver. The hope and plan is to stabilize him this weekend, and then let him heal and grow before a necessary surgical procedure.

We will keep you posted. Thank you for your thoughts, prayers, and support.

It is hard to see cases like Lucky- we never know when an animal in need will cross our doorstep, either by a concerned owner or from a neglect or abuse case. They hit us erratically, with no rhyme or reason. Twitch shake, twitch shake.

Fortunately, we have a solid base to pull from- the heartbeat of Angels of Assisi.  Knowledgeable staff, caring volunteers, family, and friends. Steady and strong. Thump thump. We can do this. Thump thump.


May 12, 2011


I talk to him when I'm lonesome like; and I'm sure he understands. When he looks at me so attentively, and gently licks my hands; then he rubs his nose on my tailored clothes, but I never say naught thereat.  For the good Lord knows I can buy more clothes, but never a friend like that.
~W. Dayton Wedgefarth


May 10, 2011

And Another Shout Out To The Seniors

George is also from the Roanoke pound. When we first saw her, she was trembling in the back of her cage with her face planted into the wall. Naturally we put a hold on her and were a little surprised at how old she was when we came back to pick her up. And perhaps more surprised to discover that she was actually a he, and, you know, deaf and blind. Sigh. And perhaps even more surprised that she ended up in the emergency Vet clinic for the next 2 days.

Anyhow, all is well that ends well, and George quickly found his happy ending. So much so that he is spreading the cheer for other old dogs. His awesome family started a facebook page called George the Old Dog (please friend him!) and did a fantastic fundraiser for the other old dogs at Angels of Assisi through the Biscuit Fund. Here he is dropping off the donations, and seriously, how cute is he?!?  ♥

Posted below is his story, as sent in by his adopted family. Once again, we are extremely grateful and touched by the kind people that make a difference in the lives of animals like George. Thank you ♥

I used to say all the time that I could never adopt a shelter dog because it would be too difficult for me to "pick just one".  As I have aged (and become wiser) I've come the realize the responsibility that lies on the entire community to take care of these unwanted dogs and cats in whatever way we can.

I am a true animal lover, but was becoming ashamed at my lack of fortitude to do anything about our ever growing population of strays and unwanted animals.  Then one day I was over at my friend Tyson's for a cookout.  We were discussing getting more involved with the community and finding organizations to volunteer with.  He mentioned Angels of Assisi.  My friend, Tyson, who doesn't have any pets, and who hasn't had any pets since childhood (but does love animals) was willing to volunteer his time at the shelter to give the animals a reprieve while I was sitting by and doing nothing.  This conversation was all the spark I needed to ignite my fire.

My involvement with Angels started slowly -- I began by just dropping off items of need, towels, bleach, food, etc.  Then I began to monitor the website and the blog.  My friend Tyson and I had decided to attend the next volunteer orientation in January and I was contemplating the idea of even fostering a dog (and more importantly, convincing Joe to foster!). 
That was when "Clair" (aka George) had a story on the Angles of Assisi blog and from there became a permanent fixture in our lives. I read "Clair's" story and had such a strong emotional reaction that I knew I had to help.  I immediately called Joe and asked if we could foster this dog, just for a few weeks, until it could get stable and comfortable.  He agreed that I could go to Angels and meet the dog.
I came by on my lunch hour and meet "Clair". What I found out was Clair was a George, blind, deaf, between the ages of 13 and 15, gum disease, a large mass on his right side, a tumor on his tail, severe arthritis in his hips and back, and ear infection and horribly dry skin.  What can I say, it was love at first sight.  I remember calling Joe after the meeting with tears in my eyes and saying, "He just needs a place to be comfortable for the next couple of weeks.  I'll be surprised if he lives long enough to meet your kids on their next visit." We made arrangements for Joe came to meet George in the afternoon and give his ok (like he ever really had a choice)!

After just a couple of weeks with us, we knew that we needed to adopt George.  We had the ability to care for him and keep him comfortable.  We had the perfect set up for a deaf and blind dog who can sometimes barely get out of bed.  So, we made George an official member of our family.

It has been a beautiful thing to watch this senior dog come out of his shell, to watch him trust us, to watch him come to love us. I'll never forget the first time I got a tail wag out of him because he recognized my scent! As each day passes, it's like the clock is rolling backwards for George.  He got a much needed hair cut this week and when I came home last night he was actually playful! It's amazing what the most basic care and affection will do for a dog's spirit.

It has also been a beautiful thing to watch how this dog also transformed all of us as well.  Joe has three children, 9, 12 and 14.  They immediately took to George and fell in love with everything about him, right down to the tumor on his tail.  His 9  year old daughter loves the fact that George is content to sit on her lap and let her pet him for HOURS on end.  The 12 year old has made it his personal mission to be George's caregiver.  He carried George lovingly up and down the stairs, cleaned and medicated his ears and would lay on the floor and pet him, just so the dog would be comfortable.  We occasionally even catch Joe's teenager giving George the sweetest of affection.
And my friends! My friends support the "do-gooder" in me.  They patiently listen to me rant and acknowledge my passion, but in general don't feel compelled. Until they met George. George has a way of gripping people. He has brought out a loving and compassionate side of my friends that even I was delightfully surprised to see.  Which brings this story full circle.

My friend, Tyson, could NEVER remember the names of my two cocker spaniels, Cozmo (black) and Benis (blond) so he called them "Black Dog" and "Gold Dog". In sticking with tradition, Tyson dubbed George "Old Dog".  One evening he jokingly said, "I think you should make a Facebook page for George".  We all got a kick out of it, but I took the ball and ran with it.  The next day, I created a Facebook page for George and called it "George the Old Dog".
Initially I wanted to use the page as a way to help promote Angels of Assisi, but most importantly to promote senior dogs who are in need of a home.  I wanted to remind everyone that OLD DOGS ROCK! I just needed to figure out a way to get George linked in.  What better way than through cold hard cash! I told my friends that I was going to donate $1 for every person that liked George's page the following day.

The next morning I put the announcement on my Facebook page and waited.  By noon George had around 50 likes.  To help stir the pot, Joe announced he would match my donation.  By 6:00 p.m. that evening, we were refreshing the page every 10 minutes or so because George's friends were adding up quickly; he was averaging about one like a minute for a couple of hours! What struck me most were all the messages people were posting on his page; either a shout out from another senior or a post in memory of a senior that had passed.  By 8 p.m. it moved our friend Mike so much he announced that he would also match the donation!
By midnight George had 321 new friends and had raised $963! The next morning I made a plea to everyone to make a small donation so we could get the total to an even $1,000.  George's friends stepped up to the challenge. One of George's new friends (from Minnesota!) pledged $200 and presented a challenge to increase the donation to $2,000!

This task that started as a joke amongst friends has currently raised over $1,200 for Angles of Assisi! George has 357 "likes" on his Facebook page from people all over the country. If his page can compel at least one person to consider adopting or even fostering a senior dog, then I've done George proud.  It's my way of thanking George for the beautiful life lesson he has taught me and the true joy he has brought to so many lives.


A few weeks ago, we did a walk through the Roanoke pound, and could not leave these senior dogs behind. They came to us with matted hair, sores, and medical conditions, and we transferred them to our care on a little thing called faith.

Past rescues have proved that our community will step up and volunteer, foster, sponsor, and above all else, provide loving homes to old and sick animals.

We're once again grateful and overwhelmed that you all have done it again. In the last week, the following dogs have either been adopted or gone to loving foster homes.

Cate- senior dog in need of special food, eye drops, and skin care. We hear she is rocking a pretty new pink collar and getting spoiled rotten.

Clair- came to us with horrible skin infections. Yesterday she was shaved down, had some teeth pulled, and is feeling much better. 

Dorothy- another senior who found a quiet home with a lot of TLC to live out her remaining years. 

Helen- a totally blind senior. She also had to be shaved all the way down, and is feeling much better. (Helen was rescued by Botetourt Animal Control and brought to Angels of Assisi, not the pound)

Stanford- another Botetourt Animal Control dog brought to Angels of Assisi. He is also blind, and should be going to foster today!

To all that have helped... thank you. You have the ability to see beyond the sores, gray muzzles, and cloudy eyes, and instead envision all the animals can be, and make it happen. The extra effort it takes is not lost on us, and we appreciate you.

"Faith makes things possible, not easy."  
~Author Unknown



Angels of Assisi has an extraordinary group of volunteers and foster homes, and we appreciate them each and every day.

Last week, one of our bestest of the best foster moms, Wendy, sent me a text. "Is it OK if I pull Scooter from the Roanoke pound and foster him under Assisi?"

Knowing that Wendy has a house full of fosters already, I was a little surprised, but told her that was fine. After a few calls, arrangements for Wendy to pick him up were finalized.

Later on, I saw Wendy and asked "What made you decide to take on other one? And why Scooter?"

Her answer was simple: "His eyes."

'Nuff said. Welcome to the family, little man.


May 4, 2011

And A Final Update

After a very hard night at the Virginia Tech ICU, sweet Zoey died this morning.

We'll remember her soft brown eyes looking up at us and trembling. We'll remember her looking around her kennel in a state of confusion. We'll remember her shaking so hard that her head hit each side of the carrier as we transported her to Assisi.

We'll remember her especially as we pursue change for the animals in our community.

To the staff at the Roanoke pound, Jackie, Trish, and Carol, thank you. You did everything you could under the policies, procedures and leadership in place. We can imagine how helpless you must feel at times when innocent lives are at stake.

Rest in peace, Zoey. We'll remember you as the fight for change continues.

We hope you will have a memory of the love that surrounded you in your final hours.

Angels Amongst Us

More on Zoey:

After her fever and seizures stabilized, she was carefully transported to Virginia Tech. One of the Virginia Tech Vet students (who is doing a clinical rotation at Angels of Assisi) drove her down, with Vet Assistant Brittany riding along to monitor Zoey on the trip. Dr. Gallagher followed behind, and was able to give Brittany a ride back to Roanoke.

Once again, a huge thank you to the Assisi staff. Our clinic is a high volume spay/neuter one, and heaven knows we keep them very busy. It happens frequently and seemingly more often every week that we surprise the clinic staff with an emergency case. And they always jump right in, with expertise, care and an overwhelming sense of  compassion.

We appreciate you more than words can say. Thank you for being there, for being you, and making the difference in the lives of countless innocent animals.

One can pay back the loan of gold, but one dies forever in debt to those who are kind.  
~Malayan Proverb

May 3, 2011

Calling All Angels

While picking up another dog from the Roanoke pound (RCACP) today, we saw this little 8 month old puppy, named Zoey. She was shaking and swaying from side to side. A few phone calls were made, paperwork signed, and she was packed up and on her way to Angels of Assisi.

Dr. Spangler took one look at her and knew she was having horrible seizures. Zoey was started on meds immediately. Her temperature was a staggering 107.5, and she was patted down with alcohol wipes to lower her fever.

Right now she is at the Angels of Assisi clinic on IV Valium, and her fever has improved. She has a spot waiting at the Virginia Tech ICU, and will be transported as soon as she is stable enough to go.

Thank you to Dr. Spangler and the Assisi staff for going into immediate action in the middle of a busy day. You all never cease to amaze us.

Please send Zoey every prayer, good thought and best wish you can- she's going to need it.

May 2, 2011


I know it is Monday, and there are eight millions things on the agenda. In addition, there was a planet changing event that happened yesterday afternoon, and the magnitute of it has yet to sink in.

As our little world and the bigger one around us change and evolve, take a moment today and appreciate all that we have. Life is certainly precious.

"We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures." ~Thornton Wilder