June 30, 2014

Kids Doing Good!

We've got some amazing kids in our community, doing good stuff everyday. At Angels of Assisi, we're the lucky ones who get to witness it.

Maddie was not able to adopt a pet, but she wanted to give Kiah an extra boost with  a lot of TLC and an awesome photo shoot. She's got a smile that lights up the world, and we know Kiah was feeling the love.

Four year old Dakota arrived with 4 dollars, and a specific request- that his donated money go for toys for the fat "plump with love" cats in the adoption center. Consider it done, buddy!

To all the kids out there doing your thing, and doing good, keep up the good work! We're proud to call you friends!

Our greatest national resource is the minds of our children.                
— Walt Disney Company

June 27, 2014

Window To The World

My desk at Angels of Assisi faces away from the window, and my view from there is a big red chair, given to us by my friend Vickie. Although only knowing each for a relatively short time, Vickie and I have lived through a lifetime together. Not too long ago, we were simultaneously on the opposite and yet the same side of changing the fate for thousands of homeless dogs and cats in Roanoke, all housed at our local pound. Vickie was doing it her way, within barriers placed upon on her, and I was doing it my way, gathering the facts and then going balls out to expose them, without a boundary in sight.

In the end, we turned our clashes into collaborations, and with the efforts of many, reached our common goal. The RCACP now offers a volunteer program, an adoption program, and animals are going home, instead of ending up a deadly statistic.

I think of Vickie often, and how her big red chair is symbolic of all that she wanted for the animals. A place for homeless pets to exhale, decompress, and feel safe, and also a place for people to come share their hopes and ideas on how to make it all better. I get to see the things she worked for and cared about everyday.

I purposely set my desk facing away from the window and towards the big red chair, to see the world that comes to us. Sometimes it's shy dogs rehabilitating, sometimes it's Jane Brown throwing herself onto it for a mid morning re-group session, sometimes it's a stray pup having a moment to catch his breath, sometimes it's Diane to talk about improving the adoption rates for cats, and sometimes it's the England girls nursing another injured animal back to health. One thing it always is though, is an amazing view, and I am thankful to each person who has made it that way.

If I had a view like this to look down on every day,
I would have the energy and inspiration to conquer the world. 

~ Jennifer Egan

June 18, 2014

It's A Win-Win, Times Infinity

We've recently became a partner with the Valley View PetSmart, meaning Angels of Assisi cats and kittens call the store near the mall a temporary home, as they wait for a permanent adoption. Our friends from the Franklin County Humane Society have joined with us, and what a wonderful start we've shared!

The first week was filled with anticipation, some extra hard work, and reaching our goal- adoptions, adoptions, adoptions- breaking a district PetSmart store record. Kittens and cats, big and small, all found new homes.

Our favorite story was Viola, now 2 years old, who has been at Angels of Assisi since she was a kitten. We took her to PetSmart for a better chance at finding a home, and so she did. A few days ago, a little girl and her mom came in looking for a kitten. We didn't have any available for adoption at the time, but we did have this little black cat who was hiding in the back of her cage. She used to be a kitten, but grew up in our shelter, kinda missing out on a lot of that fun kitten stuff. The little girl and her sweet mom decided that Viola must have been waiting all this time just for them, for their family specifically, and took her home that day.

Viola's story is a special one, and so is each and every feline who has found a new home via a short stop at PetSmart. It's been an amazing opportunity to work side by side with the Franklin County Humane Society; we've always shared a mission and goals, and now, for the first time, we're sharing a physical space. One that is making a difference. I know we both share gratitude to Greg and his wonderful PetSmart staff at Valley View, who have made the transition easy and cheered us on all the way.

The day of announcing our community a no kill one is very close, and we believe that the relationship with PetSmart, and all of the wonderful people who adopt cats and kittens from there, is going to get us there even faster. Thank you to all!


In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too)
those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.  
-  Charles Darwin

A special thank you also goes to the new PetSmart located next to Kohls- they have kitties from the Regional Center for Animal Care and Protection, and are also doing amazingly well with adoptions. It's been a tremendous spring and summer for the cats! Three cheers!

June 10, 2014

Wrapping & Reasons

A small, wide-eyed dog was carried into our lobby yesterday by the Roanoke City Sherriff's department. He had been hit by a car, and they found him listless on the sidewalk with a little girl, his girl, hovering over him.

Our staff quickly took action, trying to stabilizing him enough to get him to the Emergency Veterinary Clinic. Animal Control was notified and arrived as we were monitoring vital signs and administering fluids and oxygen.

To get him to the emergency clinic, a basket was lined with towels and he was gently lowered into it accompanied by his IV bag. All the while, he looked at us with trusting eyes, seeming to know we were helping. We were all he had, and for him at that time and that place, it was enough. Having a fragile, innocent, and completely dependent being trust you that much is a responsibility not to be taken lightly, and it squeezes your heart and adrenaline into overdrive.

Once at EVS, it was determined that his injuries were extensive. Angels of Assisi offered to take him back if no family was found, or if the family could not afford the treatment. Soon after, his little girl's family did arrive, the ones authorized to make decisions regarding his care. We don't know what transpired during that time, but their choice was to have him humanly euthanized.

And that was that. The adrenaline in it's entirety was exhaled with a defeated whoosh.

This time yesterday, what we believe was a happy, healthy little dog got into the wrong place at the wrong time, and now he is gone. We can't change that, accidents happen, and life can change in a split second; it always has and it always will.

What we can change, however, is how we are prepared to handle these situations. Many, many people cannot afford hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of vet bills. Does this mean they cannot and should not have pets? Some would say yes, we would say no. Our vision at Angels of Assisi is to have a community hospital for pets, one that provides affordable or free veterinary care. One that can keep little girls and their wide-eyed, trusting, in the wrong place at the wrong time pets together.

We're in the beginning stages of making this vision a reality, with a solid base of our wellness clinic, the additions of sick animal visits, and now in-house lab equipment. When you support Angels of Assisi, by adopting, volunteering, donating, you're supporting the next stage of a pet hospital that can help those who need it most.

Rest in peace, little friend. It's hard for us to wrap our minds around why you aren't here today. Instead of passing judgment of any kind, our goal is to make it easier for the ones behind you to make it back home.

Vision is the art of seeing things invisible.   
― Jonathan Swift

June 5, 2014


With the onset of the ASPCA adoption challenge, all eyes are on happy going home stories, the stats, and the newcomers from area pounds that will now get their own opportunity to be in the spotlight. In a separate part of our building, however, on a different level from the prize wheels, plinco boards, banners, and adoptions, is our Veterinary clinic, making some pretty good strides lately as well.

We've added in-house laboratory equipment, meaning we can get lab results back in a matter of minutes. Other upgrades include the ability to see results on exam room iPads, new and improved flea/tick medications, and continued sick animal services.

Of all of the added technology and improvements, one stands out more than the rest, in the form of a lady named Bo. She's changed her role at Angels of Assisi and now spends the afternoon watching your animals as they recover from surgery. It's not unusual for a dog or cat to wake up in her arms, and she hugs them, and loves them, and keeps makes them feel safe.

To all that support our clinic by bringing your pets here for medical care, our staff thanks you for entrusting us with your beloved family member. We promise to keep doing our best to bring them the latest advances in care, with the added bonus of hugs and such.