Tails of Hope: The Newsletter of Animals In Distress, Coopersburg, PA




It’s hard to know where to start in sharing the happenings of the past two months. The holidays came and went. A huge outpouring of Love from many people during the holidays made the end of 2013 very special. This newsletter will discuss a few of the events that touched all of us, but can’t begin to do justice to the outpouring of Love and Kindness that our shelter experienced.

The display of poinsettia and ornament tributes and memorials to pets and people created a visual reminder of how loved are the special pets and people in our lives. People would enter the Hospitality Center and look for the ribbons bearing the names of the pets and people being honored or remembered.

Again this year we did gift wrapping at Barnes & Noble and spent and evening at The Barrister’s Club in Allentown, coordinated by Karen Mesch. New this year was gift wrapping at Dan’s Camera City. The kind folks at Dublin Agway again donated to us all the proceeds from donations and pet photos with Santa, and several groups and families did collections and special events to generate money and items for the shelter.

Santa Paws and friends at Animals In Distress

Our Holiday Open House and Craft and Gift Bazaar were very well attended. Everyone raved about the food supplied by our hardworking and dedicated volunteers. Hot hors d’oevres and main entrees, a huge amount of munchies and desserts… yum, yum. The Pet Photos with Santa Paws were so much fun: there is no better entertainment than watching this event. It’s sometimes so funny that we wish we could have a video camera set up. Thanks to Lowell Linde for taking the pictures, to Denise Shaffer for being the best Santa ever, and to the many folks who helped at the photo sessions and the other holiday events.

Thanks also to all who made and donated baskets for theBasket Social. Everyone who saw the baskets praised them for their variety and creativity. Another thank you to all who made dog biscuits and baked goods, and who donated various craft and gift items for the bazaar. Most of all, thanks to all who attended or supported these events in any way. You made all of our efforts super successful and let us know how much you care about the animals at the shelter.

Special mention must be made of all the volunteers who setup the event and manned the tables. Kelly Hartnett coordinated endless details, and dozens of others assisted with the docorating, coordinating the Basket Social, and helping out in countless other ways.

Despite how busy the holidays are, so many people took time out to remember Animals in Distress with a donation, a nice card, or hours of volunteer effort. Nowhere is the holiday spirit more alive, and genuine, than at our shelter – not just at the holidays, but every day of the year. That’s why it was so difficult to take down the decorations and put all of them away. However, we did so because the holiday spirit lives in our hearts all year round, in every animal who is saved, in every perosn who is helped, and in every child who visits us and smiles with joy to realize how loved and well cared for are the pets at our Kennel of Hope.

Love is a force that can transcend sadness and death, disappointments and defeats, and Love can be a point of permanence in a world characterized by change. Our shelter is so blessed to be so loved, and our work is possible only because of the hundreds, indeed thousands, of people who share their hearts, their lives, their prayers, and their support with us.


Spook at Animals In Distress…But they are all we have to communicate with. Writing this page is one of the most emotionally difficult things I have ever done, and I have put it off for a long time, dreading this moment. However, I know that I must do this, and that you need to know and understand what has happened.

I am not inclined to postpone the sad new with much detail, so here it is: our beloved Spook has died. Nothing can fully explain how we all feel. He was such a spirit, had such energy, and fought so hard – so many times – to overcome his many health obstacles. Many times over the 6 1/2 years Spook was with us, since he was just a tiny kitten whose hind end was paralyzed, we thought he wasn’t going to make it – through the endless vet visits, surgeries, and other crises. But each time, Spook kept fighting to live, and we kept fighting to keep him going. When he recovered and was his incredible self, he was a force to reckon with: his bright saucer-like eyes didn’t miss anything that was going on around him, and he stationed himself in his playpen, in the middle of the cat wing, and was like a Guardian Spirit for the whole place.

spook002Since December 21, Spook was mostly in one hospital or another, and seemed to be gaining strength and hope. There were many ups and downs, and waiting for the daily reports and hoping for the best but expecting the worst was agonizing, and went on for weeks and weeks. When we visited him, he still had the same bright eyes, the same determination to live, but he was slowly getting weaker. In the end, his systems malfunctioned to the oint where he could not maintain hydration, body temperature, and other vital functions needed for life. He stopped eating…his veins shut down…he was dying.

A few of us were with him, holding him and speaking to him, when he passed. The last things he saw were some of the people whom he had known his whole life. The last thing he heard were their voices. The last thing he felt were their caresses…and their tears.

Spook at Animals In DistressAs I write this, reliving that moving, I am crying at the memory of what he was…and what we have lost. I don’t think I – or many of us – will ever get totally used to the idea that Spook is not in his playpen, with his bright eyes and spunky attitued, welcoming everyone. Never, never will we get used to that.

Spook visiting nursing homes. Spook entertaining children when they came to the shelter and presented him with the money they had raised from a birthday party or a lemonade stand (having Spook receive their donation was much more entertaining than having a human receiving it). Watching people’s faces when they were about to meet Spook: they were afraid to be saddened by seeing him. But once they saw him and his spunky attitude, they smiled with relief and joy at how happy he was – and how happy he made them.

Then there was Spook in his wheeled cart we named the SpookMobile (sort of like the PopeMobile but without the bulletproof glass and guards needed).

And then he was at the Blessing of the Animals and at Mardi Paws and at Alumni Day and at the Wag Walk and at theWAEB Radiothon and…well, the list goes on and on. Spook was present at everything. He touched tens of thousands of lives in his short life, and probably will be remembered – and loved – by people we have never met.

However, life must go on… and we have almost 400 animals here who need our care and our best efforts.

We are sad beyond words but have come to a sort of peace with his loss, and this is it: Spook is not gone. His body has not been able to survive, but his spirit is very much present. What he stood for – his energy, his courage, his sense of humor, his determination to fight to live – those forces live on in our hearts and in every inch of our shelter. Death can never afect those kinds of legacies.

Spook at Animals in DistressSo, as sad as we all are, we take solace in knowing that Spook’s spirit will continue to influence everything we do, and all that we are. In his memory and honor, we will continue to fight for the animals who are considered hopeless and worthless: those that are older, blind, crippled, and in many other ways “unadoptable.” Love is unconditional, hope is what moves us forward when all is dark and sad, and knowing that we can make a difference in this world of sadness and cruelty is the foundation for our celebration of Spook’s life and the precious 6 1/2 years that he filled our shelter – and our hearts – with his unforgettable spirit. His legacy must – and will – live on.

One final comment: our staff took care of Spook for those 6 1/2 years and never once complained that he was too much work or not worth the effort. Our veterinarians gave everything the could to keep Spook going, and our Board and volunteers and donors kept Hope alive. Thank you to all who were part of Spook’s life in any way. Some of you never met him in purrson but kept him in your hearts and prayers. In fact, Spook got more mail (and donations) than anyone else at Animals In Distress!

I am ending this message to you with mixed feelings: now you know that happened with Spook, but I don’t feel at all satisfied that I have fully said what needed to be said. However, since Spook will continue to communicate with us via HeavenNet (Heaven’s form of the Internet but with better clarity), we will still have the benefit of his unique and special purrspective on the shelter and life in general. He is alive and well in spirit, and that is wonderfully healing and helps with the sadness of knowing that we will nevr hold or pet him again.

A Message from Spook:
My First Hmail (Heaven Mail)

SpookI am not gone…my body quit on me, but I love all you folks…and my home, Animals In Distress…and I will NOT leave. God has given me purrmission to keep in touch via HeavenNet, so I will never be far away. How could I leave all of you? Never! So don’t be too sad, my friends. I tried to keep going. I tried really, really heard. But I just couldn’t get my body to work anymore.

I will spend eternity trying to show how grateful I am for the
6 1/2 years that I had. Honestly, I think I was so lucky – and blessed – to be where I could be loved and given a chance to live. Now I can walk again and feel my legs – but I would give anything, even be paralyzed again, if I could be back with all my friends. But I can’t so you guys hav to make sure that all my animal friends at AID are ok. Love them as you did me.

Animals In Distress is a home to so many who have been desperate and without hope. I will never forget tham and pray that all of you will never forget them – or me – either. Thank you for loving me…and them.

paw1Love Always, Your Little Angel
(I finally got my wings!)

Redner’s Tapes

Redner's Save-A-Tape Program benefits Animals In DistressThanks for all who send their Redner’s cash register receipts to the shelter. We redeem them for cash. You must go to the Customer Service Desk and obtain a Save-A-Tape card that will allow your tapes to participate in the program. Keep those tapes coming! They are providing a nice stream of income, since we receive 1% of the tapes’ totals, excluding sales tax, milk and cigarette items.


Membership Renewal/Enrollment Reminder

At the beginning of the year, we not only renew our commitment to a message of hope for all animals. We also renew our membership in the Kennel of Hope.

Members are welcome to all shelter events, receive the newsletter, nominate and vote for Board members, and go on record as supporting our work to preserve the dignity and life of animals forsaken by others.

Please download and complete the Membership Form and send it in. If you are giving gift memberships, just attach a separate sheet of paper with the necessary information, and we will inform the recipient of your kindness.

Click here to download a Membership Renewal/Enrollment form (PDF).


Sharing Our Hearts

aidlogo_redsmallFebruary is the month of love and our logo is a heart with a dog and cat sleeping together. It says share your heart with animals. For the months of February, March and April, anyone giving a $30 donation can have a heart tribute hung in our Hospitality Center. It can be in honor of a pet, in memory of a pet, or in memory or honor of a special person.

We will send an acknowledgement of your thoughtfulness.

Just download the HEARTS tribute form, send it along with your donation, and we’ll do the rest. These tributes make very nice gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, Happy Easter, Happy Spring, even Happy Mother’s Day.

Click here to download a HEARTS Tributes form (PDF).



Imagine for a moment a former pet being left behind when his family moved. Imagine him sitting on the sidewalk with no place to go, no food to eat, no one to care for him. People who abandon house pets like this are especially cruel because these animals don’t know how to live on the streets. He was attacked repeatedly by neighborhood animals, and eventually deteriorated to the point that his front leg was swollen and he was dying of wounds and massive infections. When he came to us, his temperature was over 107, he was weak, and he was suffering. Saddest thing of all, perhaps, is that he had been begging people to let him come inside, for months, but no one let him come in to safety. So he was doomed to stay on the streets, getting wounded and beat up repeatedly, and eventually becoming infected from the wounds and abscesses old and new. To make matters worse, he has become FIV positive, which is common among cats who get bitten by other cats.

However, thanks to Animals In Distress and all of its wonderful supporters, this sweet young cat has recovered from his wounds and now lives with other FIV positive cats. He no longer has to beg to come inside where it’s warm and safe. He no longer has to walk the streets with an empty belly and a heavy heart, looking over his shoulder for his next attacker. He is on the inside now, not ouside looking. Funds to help such desperate animals come from all of YOU. Thank you for allowing us to save Shawn and so many others like him.



Some people astonish us with their indifference to the welfare of their pets. Take Scooby, for example, a 3 year old tan and white shih-tzu who was offered to the first taker through Craig’s List. The other dogs in his home were picking on him, so he was expendable. When we rescued Scooby, he smelled of being kept where he soiled, and he had had no shots or neutering. Worst of all, he was blind. BUT his people did not even notice that he bumped into things… he was of so little value to them that they had him for 3 years without discovering that the little dog could not see.

This sweet little guy will get the medical care he needs and will eventually find a home where people understand that his blindness does not prevent him from having a happy and full life.



A couple was out for a winter walk when they noticed something lying under a pine tree in the tall mounds of snow. They investigated and found a tiger cat, very thin and weak, sprawled on the ground, unable to move. She was wearing a sweater that must have been on her for months, and underneath, her fur was matted into huge masses larger than two human hands put together. Some of her nails had grown into the pads of her feet, and a couple of them were so deep that they were bleeding. She was dehydrated, starving, and clearly unable to fend for herself. A the writing of this newsletter, she is in the hospital with a fever and upper respiratory infection. We named her Sweetie because of how gentle and loving she is. Time will tell what her fate is, but now she has a chance, now she has people who care about her. The day after she was found, we got another snowstorm. Imagine if she had not been rescued in time. Imagine her little body lying there, helpless, and no one know or cared. Well, someone does care about her… she has found Hope and Love.


Vera Bradley/Longaberger Basket Bingo

Sunday, April 6
Doors open at 5:00 pm
Bingo starts at 6:00 pm
Lehigh Valley Active Life
(formerly Lehigh Valley Senior Center)
1633 Elm Street
Allentown, PA

Only 125 tickets available so get yours now! Great prizes, refreshments, 50/50 Raffle, Door Prizes and more! Bring items for the shelter (food, treats, litter, cleaning supplies, etc.) and get 3 free raffle tickets. Check out our shelter wish list for suggestions.

For tickets, contact Kelly at 610-762-8553 or email her at khart70906@aol.com. You can also purchase your tickets at the shelter when we are open to the public: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. Don’t wait until the last minute. Tickets are limited and will sell fast!

Click here to download a flyer. Post it, share it with friends, family and coworkers.

Easter Craft and Gift Bazaar

April 5 through April 20
Every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday
1:00 – 4:00 pm
Animals In Distress

Visit our Hospitality Center Gift Shoppe for a large selection of Easter gifts, greeting cards, etc. We also have one of the largest pet-related gift selections around! All proceeds go to helping the animals at our Sanctuary.


Pet Photos with the Easter Bunny

Saturday, April 12
Sunday, April 13
1:00 – 3:00 pm
Animals In Distress

Hop on down to the shelter and have your pet’s picture taken with the Easter Bunny. Bring your own props our use some of ours.



Our Animals In Distress 2014 Calendar is still available, featuring stories of rescued animals. This is an original effort that goes way beyond being just a calendar: it reflects the heartbeat of Animals In Distress.

Calendars are available at the shelter and cost only $12. We can also mail them to you for a shipping fee of $4 each. Just stop in or write us if you want us to mail you some calendars and we’ll get them to you. They make great gifts, and also are special keepsakes of our work and your help to make that work possible.




This is Spook when we first rescued him. Even that young, he was determined to fight for his life. He didn’t give up,
and neither did we.

We have decided to create a Memorial Fund in Spook’s name, as a way to honor his memory. We couldn’t think of a better way to keep his spirit alive than to help other special needs animals like Spook.

Donations to Spook’s Memorial Fund are much needed and will be used 100% to help those animals who are considered unadoptable by some: the senior pets, those who are blind or diabetic or arthritic or crippled or in coutless other ways are less than perfect. We have become a society that values youth, perfection in body, and marketability. many people never look beyond the surface; they never see what is in someone’s heart or character. So Spook’s Fund will save lives, of course, and relieve suffering; but just as important, it will allow us to continue to give Love and hope to the most forsake animals.