April 23, 2015


Since January of 2011, we have transferred 2185 animals from the RCACP to Angels of Assisi. Number 2186 arrived yesterday. We've been doing this a long time now, and while receiving animals from RCACP is very different than it used to be, in some ways it is still very much the same.

Gone are the days when we would happen upon a convulsing dog, transfer her emergently to Angels of Assisi, discover she had a 107+ fever, pack her in ice, and rush her to Virginia Tech for medical care. Back then she was not treated at RCACP because there was not "diagnostic equipment" - a thermometer- that the overseeing leadership was willing to utilize.

The difference now is that animals are transferred to us after receiving medical care, medicines, and often times even spayed or neutered. They are combo tested and rabies vaccinated- not mandated by any law, but as a much appreciated courtesy to partnering rescues. RCACP has the animals prepped and ready to go at a moments notice, and it's not unusual  for the staff to deliver them right to our adoption center. The dogs and cats have had interaction with volunteers, pretty pictures taken, and are given the opportunity to go to events and day outings. What a change from the era of no volunteers, adoptions, or allowing animals out of building.

The similarities of days past is in the animals themselves, like number 2186 we pulled yesterday.

He arrived to RCACP via animal control, and his name was Stupid.

He's not the first elderly, neglected, filthy dog that has crossed the doorstep of RCACP, and then on to us. I've seen the hollowed, cloudy eyes many times before, some staring at the walls, and some making a connection into mine, and each is equally haunting. The long curled toenails clacking the floors are not a novel sound, but fortunately neither is the ever so cautious tail wag as they follow us blindly and trustingly to their new digs at Angels of Assisi, and then on to a new home.

The histories and conditions of the homeless animals in our community are so similar: mange, no basic house manners, little to no preventative care, poor skin, and matted and overgrown coats. However, the stats show these numbers are decreasing. We're working hard at Angels of Assisi to offer affordable preventative and sick pet care; one look into our lobby will show you that it's well received. As we work on these preventative measures, RCACP and the municipalities are working on taking care of the animals who fall through the cracks, and together we're working on getting them adopted.

RCACP gave our new guy a new name, because he's not Stupid. He now goes by Zeke, derived from the Hebrew yehezq'ēl, meaning God strengthens.

As our progress and resolve have strengthened, so will Zeke. He's heading to a foster home very soon, where he won't be dirty and neglected anymore, and where his tail can wag with confidence.

A special thank you goes out to all who worked so hard from- Angels of Assisi pull number 1 to Angels of Assisi pull number 2186. It's been a joy to see the changes, and we resolve continue and combine our efforts to make this community a safe place for our animals. Welcome to your family, Zeke.

Scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue. Realize the strength, move on.
- Henry Rollins

April 9, 2015


The first quarter statistics are in from the Regional Center for Animal Care and Protection. Of the 818 animals that were brought to the pound, over 82% left alive, either by adoption or transfer to another rescue. We would like to see that number increase to 90- 95%, so while very proud of the improvements, there is still work to be done. And we're putting it in.  

Of all the animals transferred to rescue, Angels of Assisi took over 42%, thank you to everyone who helped make it possible- great work! 

We have made a conscience effort not to post "freedom ride" photos of animals leaving RCACP on their way to Angels of Assisi. The social media "freedom ride" blitzes tend to cause quite a competition between rescues and feed a lot of egos. WHO IS SAVING MORE? Today it is this rescue, tomorrow it is that rescue, and so this one needs to catch up, and on and on and on.

There is another important reason for the absence of the freedom ride posts - we do not feel the RCACP animals are automatically given a death sentence. Are we freedom-ing them from a qualified adoption center, where they have a great chance of finding a home after all of their veterinarian work has been provided for a very reasonable cost?

Posting freedom rides and declaring on social media that the rescue review animals "will die at 11 am!" is not doing RCACP any favors, especially because that is not what rescue review means. It means that these animals "on review" need to go to rescue for various reasons, usually health or behavior. It's not meant to create chaos and an "I saved him saved minutes before death!!" photo op.

We want RCACP to be viewed as a positive, adoption friendly facility; a place where families of all facets feel comfortable visiting. You know that little rush that surges through you when visiting an open and friendly adoption center or sanctuary, or anywhere you get to interact with animals in need? Especially with the possibility of taking one home? Let RCACP be one of those places, not one wrongly labeled as a death camp.

We are more optimistic than ever about the future for the homeless animals in our community, especially since there are far less of them. Angels of Assisi has always wanted to see RCACP shine by offering adoptions, enlisting a caring staff, and having volunteers work their magic. That day is here, and we are are closer than ever to an adoption guarantee community. Now that, my friends, feels freeing.

If you work really hard, and you're kind, amazing things will happen.
― Conan O'Brien