December 15, 2017

Changing Circles

"I don't know first hand what Dante's Inner Circle looked like, but I imagine it was much like this" said the Patrick County Judge as he looked through evidence photos of a hoarding case where 58 dogs had been living in filth for years.

I was there that day in court, and I was there a few weeks before when we picked the dogs up from a dilapidated house that sat surprisingly close to the road and neighbors. You can always smell the rancidness of a hoarding situation before your mind can wrap itself around what you are seeing, and then the horror of it all starts to sink in. This day proved no different.

One by one the animal control officers picked up dogs and placed them into carriers. They reckoned there were about 30. No, wait, here's some more in the bathroom, Now this little bugger was found caught up in in mattress box spring. Damn, here's another one in a kitchen cabinet. A few more locked in the kennel shown above- the door was stuck shut and took about 30 minutes to unhinge and gather the dogs trapped in there. The final number was 58.

Our rescue transport vehicle is large, prominently labeled, and can't be missed. Pulling out of the driveway I could see that neighbors had gathered on their perspective driveways to watch, and wondered what their thoughts were. One flashed me a thumbs up, another the peace sign, and another was clapping- I guess they were as relieved that the cruelty of the hoarding gig was up as much as we were.

The dogs and I were met at Angels of Assisi by an army of staff and volunteers, and in their usual endless burst of energy, they wrapped them up blankets and treatments and care. Since then many have been adopted. Some are still being rehabilitated And one was a cherished guest performer of the Roanoke City Ballet

Tucker made his debut in The Nutcracker last weekend, and was completely at ease in the crackling excitement backstage. After several rehearsals he knew his way to the dressing room, and watching  his little legs hustling towards it with tail up and wagging, eager to get to his couch, was a calming force for all.

He was also a natural on stage- partly because he's simply an awesome little guy, but mostly because our volunteers gave him the confidence to know it. 

Photo courtesy of McDilda Photography

Photo courtesy of McDilda Photography

As much as he enjoyed his time in the spotlight, we know it was the time spent surrounded by his new stage friends that meant the most, for all of us. Our heartfelt thank you to the Assisi family for bringing this boy into a new Inner Circle: one of love- healthy and safe.

Claim your space. Draw a circle of light around it. Push back against the dark.
Don't just survive. Celebrate. 
Charles Frazier 

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