December 31, 2011


New Year's Eve morning, 2011, found me at my home away from home, visiting some of my favorite four legged friends. Some may say taking care of a group of animals is a lot of work, but I call it rejuvenating the soul with those who love back unconditionally.

It was a beautiful start to the end of the year, with an oxymoron of bright sunshine and dark clouds, mixed with just enough rain to make everything sparkle. The addition of this double rainbow made all in the world seem right.  

It was symbolic- the old year fading out, a memory of goals accomplished, and some dreams not quite into fruition yet. And a new year coming in, loud and clear. Beautiful. Another chance to make it right, or at least better, led off with an inspiration of  wonder, hope, and promise.

It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with you all this year. We cherish each friend and your individual contributions to the common goal of making this world a better one for the innocent animals in our care. Together, we'll make this trip around the sun the best ever for them, and in the process, better for ourselves as well.

Happy New Year. With grateful hearts, we wish you all the peace and happiness there is.

Bunny Love

At Angels of Assisi, bunnies are always part of the adoption floor landscape. Floppy ears and fuzzy tails, who can resist? We are very fortunate to have a good friend named Holly, who fosters and promotes them for adoption. Frances is her right hand lady in the process, and the bunnies are definitely benefiting from their efforts. Here's the story of Buddy:

Thought you would like to know how much Buddy has become a part of our family. He loves to roam around in the living room with us every evening & is so cute when he (literally) follows my 3 year old grandson around like a puppy (under supervision of course). When I am sitting on the floor he jumps up on my lap & puts his front paws on my chest. My husband loves how he comes up & puts his paws up on his leg so he will pick him up. He really is the most remarkable bunny I've ever seen. Thank you so much for what you do & rest assured this bunny has been placed in a good home.

The difference between friends and pets is that friends we allow into our company,
pets we allow into our solitude.  
~Robert Brault


December 28, 2011


This little fellow was reportedly left on a chain outside, and abused by his former owner. He needs medical care, and will benefit greatly from the Biscuit Fund.

Rumor has it that our very own Jill Nelson can't wait to get her hands on him and work her magic, so he's pretty much guaranteed a happy ending. 

Love unlocks doors and opens windows that weren't even there before.  
~Mignon McLaughlin

December 27, 2011

And To All A Good Night

"Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, 
the genial flame of charity in the heart."
~Washington Irving

Our little building on 415 Campbell Avenue certainly felt the warmth of the holiday season, with a record number of donations and adoptions. Thank you to all who pitched in for the animals: food donations, on-line donations, toys and gifts for the pets, volunteer hours and foster homes, all were extraordinary and very much appreciated. 

We were also touched by those who brought nourishment for the staff, in the form of holiday treats, cards, and kind words. We've been lucky to add some wonderful people to the team this year. In particular, Dr. Phillips has made our Assisi family feel complete; if you have not met her yet, you need to. She is a delightful combination of cowboy boots, enthusiasm, some type of southern drawl that us Yankees find seriously charming, and a knowledge and passion for the animals that fits in with the Assisi mission like white on rice.   

Most of all, we have been relieved and overjoyed with the number of pets who now know the meaning of the word "home", especially some of our long timers: 

Boomer - arrived at Angels of Assisi in October 2010, and is now enjoying the comforts of a warm stove and loving family.

Buster- one of 103 animals from the Bedford Rescue. Happy in foster this holiday.

Butterscotch- recently rescued from the Roanoke pound, where she was terrified to the point that she had to be carried out of her kennel. She is now happy in a long term foster home, and loves playing and soaking up much needed TLC.

Krispy- long term resident at Angels of Assisi, now home and apparently loving her new bed!

Mabel- senior pit bull from the Franklin County pound. The Franklin County Society never gave up on her, and she was recently adopted form Angels of Assisi to an awesome family up north.

And Ms. Piggy- sprung from the confines of a cat kennel in the adoption center, and is now the official Office Cat. She is doing an awesome job of assessing all the donations, monitoring the front window, and napping on Dr. Spangler's office chair.

We have enjoyed our time with you all this last year very much. Thank you for showing the true meaning of Christmas, not only this December, but all the year through. 


December 21, 2011

Christmas Biscuits

These 2 girls will be arriving from the Roanoke pound today, and will benefit from the Biscuit Fund.  They are in rough shape, and also heartworm positive. A foster home and time to heal is what they need. (For additional information, please call or text 540-400-2233)

Behind the scared eyes, protruding ribs and hip bones, notice the tail wag on the first one... heartwarming for sure. 

Little do these homeless souls know that as the Assisi clinic is preparing for their medical needs, a community is rallying together to provide everything else they have been deprived of- food, shelter, toys, beds, and a family of their own.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

A special thank you to Chris, Tina, Inglath, and Danny. You all hold a tremendous place in our hearts. Thank you for utilizing your gifts to make this world a better place.


December 13, 2011

The Person I Admire

Camryn Sullivan is an average kid in Southwest Virginia, with an extraordinary heart. She follows the stories of homeless pets in our area, especially the ones at Angels of Assisi. We tend to have the "less desirable" pets: the old ones, the one-eyed ones, the hairless ones, the sick and neglected ones.

Yet in Camryn's view, these are the Ones that are even more precious and deserving of love. This girl and her sister have made scrapbooks of such animals and followed their journey, and I give her parents a lot of credit for their encouragement and letting her follow her heart (and also for the tremendous amount of printer ink she uses!). They have opened their home to several needy pets, and for that we are very grateful.

I admire Camryn Sullivan because she embraces the flaws in these animals as beyond special. She loves them, and does everything in her youthful optimism and power to not only save them, but give each a sense of belonging. She believes that they are unique and absolutely matter, and because of that, they do.  

The world of rescue is a tough one, filled with heartbreak and loss. I personally know many people in this realm who work tirelessly to ensure a safe future for neglected, abused and just plain homeless pets. It's at times frustrating and always hard. What you need to know is that you are laying a solid foundation for the Camryn's who are watching, learning, and will carry on the mission. Our job is to outline a blueprint for the next generation and trust that they will run with it and make this earth a safe place, filled with companionship and respect for those who have no voice.

Camryn represents the hope that it will happen. She's not going to lose her kind heart, the one that seeks out those that need her most. She will continue to be inspired by those less fortunate, and act to make a change for the better. She gives the phrase "together we can make a difference" a new meaning, a depth, a future. It's not just us in this crazy world trying to do good, but a whole new group of caring citizens getting ready to take it the next level, and I believe they are going to do it. In so many ways, they already have.

The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible, and achieve it, generation after generation. 
Pearl S Buck


December 7, 2011


The following note came from Leanna, accompanied by a donation to Angels of Assisi. Once again, we are inspired by the kids in our world who are doing good.

December 6, 2011


Mama Beagle, on her first day in foster. Looks like she is getting the hang of things just fine.

The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.
~ Maya Angelou

December 5, 2011


The Beagle Biscuits- a mama and nine puppies- were seized and brought to Angels of Assisi last July. They arrived in a Botetourt Animal Control truck, confused and in need of serious medical care.

While Dr. Spangler checked each pup, Mama Beagle stayed close to the officer's feet, seeming to know she was safe and help had finally arrived. Little did we know how symbolic this photo of her would be.

We named her Patience, because that is exactly what she was. She helped her puppies heal, but her process was slower. Mama loved being with people, and was constantly at your feet, like a shadow, never wanting to be left alone. Try as we might, the clinic was no replacement for a real family... except when Amanda came.

Ever have a person in your life whom you can count on no matter what? That's Amanda. She is our biggest cheerleader, a steadfast foster home, and a friendly force behind the mission. If Amanda says she is going to do something, she'll toss up a batch of persistence, reliability, and kindness, and hit an ace every time. 

Amanda and her wonderful husband made special trips to take Patience for walks, but quickly learned that sitting together on the floor was exactly what the little beagle needed most. Life in those moments was good, and since she could not leave our building, it was family time. For the months between July and December, it had to be enough. 

The big court day finally arrived last Thursday and the proceedings ended fast and in the best possible case scenario; the beagles were turned over to Angels of Assisi. Free at last- free to go outside, free to go to the dog park, free to go home. And how fitting is it that Mama Beagle, Patience, was the first to go.

Here she is on her way home with a wonderful new foster mom. Her definition of "family" will now extend from Amanda's lap to the comforts of a real home. Fortunately, she's got a solid foundation to build on, and we wish her every happiness there is.


It was a scary time, but I had my parachute on and I was prepared…..
~ Steve Fossett (April 22, 1944 - September 3, 2007


Update On Rosey Biscuit

Rosey Biscuit is on the mend! She is in a wonderful foster home, and is flourishing with the all extra care and love that she is receiving. What a difference a few weeks has made, not only on the outside, but for healing her soul as well.

We think she looks absolutely beautiful in her green sweater, and seeing photos like this make all the heartache involved with rescue so very worthwhile. It also helps negate the 'irresponsible public' argument once again. Yes, there were awful circumstances that allowed Rosey to get in the condition she was in. Perhaps an awful owner, or perhaps someone who did not know better: that is up to the court system to decide. But for that one awful person, many more stepped up to help- including her wonderful foster parents- and they have made all the difference in her world.

This is our first partnership with Roanoke Animal Control, and we look forward to working together in the future. Thank you all for your dedication and hard work.

When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile.  
~Author Unknown


December 2, 2011

Bouncing Beagle Biscuit Bonanza

On July 6, 2011, Angels of Assisi received 9 baby beagles and their mama from a neglect/cruelty case. Check out their story and initial photos here

After a series of legal proceedings, they had another very important court date yesterday. Much was at stake, and many worried about their future.

We'll let the beagles tell you themselves how it went...

Pssst,,, did you hear?

We're safe.... 

What? Really?

 Yay!! Free at last!!

It's true!! The baby beagles and mama are finally ready for adoption. Please come meet them, take them to the dog park, give them lots of TLC, and consider fostering or adopting. These babies have grown up in the shelter, and are very sweet and smart. 

We will post more of their story in the coming week. For now, we thank Vickie Holt for the photos that made all the difference in court, along with Beverly, Inglath, Amanda, Sarah, Trish, Zach, Tim, Courtney, Alex, Bobbie, Dr. Spangler, and Jill. Together each of you has played an enormous part in saving these innocent lives, and our hearts are forever grateful.

Now come get yourselves a beagle, you won't be sorry!


The Transformation of Dobbie Biscuit

October 15
Dobbie arrived at the Roanoke Pound (RCACP) as a stray.

November 30
Aa compassionate RCACP staff member asked of he could be transferred to Angels of Assisi.

December 1 
12 pm
Dobbie arrived at Angels of Assisi

And later that day... 

Than you to Leane and her wonderful family for giving Dobbie the best Christmas present ever- a loving home and a chance to heal. The loss of hair on his face made it easy for them to see his soul, and they found it to be a beautiful one. We can't wait for his outer transformation to be complete and match the inner one we all love.


December 1, 2011


This young lad was transferred to Angels of Assisi from the Roanoke pound today. At 6 months old, he has a happy spirit and good heart under this severe skin infection. His foster home is waiting with a new bed and toys, and he'll be given that chance to heal.

A special thank you to Libby and Bobbie for being relentless in saving him- you did it. Now for the job of rehabilitation and finding a new home.

Once again, we are thankful for those that support the Biscuit Fund and make happy endings for neglected and sick animals.

It Was A Very Good Day

All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: 
freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.
~ Winston Churchill

The Time Between 2200 and 2300

The arrival of 2 small dogs from South Carolina sent me to Angels of Assisi late tonight, and sometimes staying up past bedtime is pretty darn rewarding. 

Carter and Lilly arrived around 10 pm, and they are wonderful. Lilly is a little Chihuahua mix who was rescued by a former Humane Society worker. This compassionate lady now works for the utility company, and uses her position to watch out for the animals on her route. She found Lilly tethered with a huge chain weighing down her tiny body, and convinced the owners to sign her over to safety.

Carter was rescued with several other Pomeranian dogs, and he actually has black and white stripes around his body- so cute. He seems to love being held and is very laid back and sweet; he even stayed still for me to take this horrible cell phone shot:

On the drive to Assisi, my phone was buzzing with messages about a dog that needs foster, a pending cat rescue, and an important message from Vickie Holt. She had just sent updated pictures of the 10 beagles that were seized last July. They have a very special day tomorrow that will most likely decide their fate. I do not doubt that Vickie had been working on the photos all evening.

Our building at 415 Campbell Avenue was dark when I arrived, and after the alarm was silenced and lights turned on, our office cat, Miss Piggy, gave me a sleepy salutation from her perch on the counter. She was sharing her space with the clipboards neatly lined up, ready and waiting for a full spay/neuter clinic tomorrow.

The cat colony rooms were quiet and peaceful. In the back hallway one of our newest additions, Mowgli the bull dog, snored away in his kennel. Turns out that Dr. Spengler's foster dog has some pretty serious skin issues, and he is staying with us to receive treatment. Next to his kennel lay a new leash, treats, and special dog food. Watching him sleep, one word pops into my mind: innocent. I wonder how long he had been out own his own, and am grateful that he is safe.

Next stop was through the break room, where notes for staff adorn a bulletin board and Miss Piggy has a pretty sweet set up in the front window. Someone had brought in cake, and there is perhaps a little tiny piece missing (thanks!).

A visit to mama beagle was next, and she was delighted for the company. She has lived in the clinic since last July, and the staff loves her and takes very good care of her. I hugged our girl tight, and gave her an extra smooch from Amanda. Mama always has a worried look on her face, and I tried to tell her how hard people have been working to ensure she has a better life. The folks in charge of her future have worried right along with her. However, at some point, you have to believe that diligence will pay off, and right will win over wrong. Tomorrow will tell.

As I ventured down to the adoption center, the dogs and cats started perking up- they are certainty not used to company in the middle of the night. Kittens were snuggled up next to each other in cushy beds, and puppies stretched and yawned. Most of the cats gave me a one eyed look, while others pushed to the fronts of their cages and purred for attention. The fact that they are so trusting and sure that I won't hurt them is not lost on me.

I settled the new guys in, made sure Lilly had her sweater and beloved toy duck, and turned off the lights once again. Heading back to the front door, I stopped, took a mental picture and inhaled the enormity of what happens in our building and beyond everyday.

Just tonight, a snapshot in time, there was a network of staff and volunteers working on court cases, looking for foster homes, taking care of their own foster pets, and planning a major meeting with other rescue groups to take place in a week. We have a clinic that is ready and waiting for a full day of spay and neuter surgeries tomorrow, not to mention wellness appointments booked every 15 minutes. In other words, the clinic staff is ready to serve the responsible pet owners in our community, while the adoption staff and volunteers care for the animals that are our responsibility. These duties often overlap, and are always handled with care. 

More than anything, we love the people who get it all done, everyday, and enjoy what they do. Are we perfect? No. Is there room for improvement and growth? Of course. But we will grow and improve, and along the way we'll embrace each other and the animals we love. And we'll believe that diligence will pay off, and the right thing will happen for all the innocent lives that are trusting in us.