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


Table of Contents

A Big Year Ahead…Our 40th!

2017 promises to be a BIG year, in many ways. Politics, financial crisis, worldwide unrest, crime, dangerously unbalanced budgets, rising taxes, healthcare crisis…the list goes on and on and on. So, where do homeless and abused animals fit in? Where does Animals In Distress fit in? In all the headlines, few stories report on the sad fate of animals. Yes, some large, wealthy animals groups are spending tens of millions of dollars on expensive television ads and mass mailings (and they are taking in HUGE amounts of money), but they do not represent the REAL work that is going on in shelters and rescues across the country.

Animals In Distress is celebrating its 40th year by surviving in all of these kinds of crises, without ever taking one dollar of tax money. The philosophy of our organization is simple: To bring kindness and caring into the small part of the world that we occupy. We have been, and continue to be, a place of Hope and Unconditional Love for those who need help the most. And YOU, our supporters, have made all of that possible – for 40 years!

During the past holiday season, we were overwhelmed with so many acts of kindness, generosity, and thoughtfulness. The lovely notes on greeting cards, generous donations and gifts for our shelter animals, the special collections done by businesses and schools and churches and scouts and so many others – all of these true expressions of the holiday spirit of caring – are proof that kindness, and hope, and community still exist and can make a huge difference in our quality of life.

As Animals In Distress enters its 40th year of saving lives, we are very aware of how blessed we are. When we first started back in 1977, most folks thought that the idea of not killing unwanted pets was unrealistic and foolish. The expedient and cost saving way to handle surplus and unwanted pets was to dispose of them – nationally, when we started to operate Animals In Distress in 1977, 12,500 cats and dogs – and puppies and kittens – were killed EVERY HOUR, 24/7. That statistic is horrifying. Today, estimates vary, but it appears that nationally, shelters are killing (many prefer the term euthanizing) between 3.5 and 5 million pets PER YEAR. Most shelters did not enjoy being put in the position of killing millions of animals, but they were overwhelmed. Today, many shelters are trying very hard to reduce their kill rates, and that is wonderful news.

Killing has been, and always will be, cheaper than keeping someone alive. Some people might ask: who cares about these unwanted pets anyway? The answer to that question was (and is) that “WE do.” And so Animals In Distress was born, as a way to help animals who were deemed “unadoptable” or “too hard to adopt” because they were too old, too ill too whatever…Animals In Distress started as – and remains – a life=saving organization that values the lives of the most hopeless and forlorn: the older pet, the special needs pet, the abused pet.

Did that decision to help animals change anything? Well, we think that it changed a lot. Many people have become our friends and supporters. With their help, we have been able to go from a rented garage in Emmaus to a wonderful shelter facility near Coopersburg, just about 7 minutes from Center City Allentown and about 14 minutes from Bethlehem. How did all that happen?

First thing to happen was that a small group of animal lovers decided to create an alternative kind of shelter. They didn’t have much money, or a kennel, or even much public support: instead, they had a dream, a vision of what could be if they put kindness and hope and dedication into their everyday actions. Such a mindset is the first step to making a change. If you think you can, then you can. Will it be easy? No. Will it be worth the effort? Yes.

In the case of Animals in Distress, after 40 years, and thousands and thousands of animals saved, and thousands of people touched by our work, the dream and vision continue. The good work continues. The hope and love continue.

So, to get back to the opening thought: will 2017 be a “good” year? Our answer is yes. Yes, to hope. Yes, to trying our best. Yes, to making the most of every dollar we receive. Yes, to believing in the goodness of people. Yes, to being a positive and proactive force in change and for compassion.

We are every mindful of the fact that we cannot do our work alone. We need the help and prayers of our friends. We need to trust that good deeds and good intentions still matter.

Thank you for your friendship and support. To all our friends, Happy New Year. May you and those you love be blessed with health, peace and hope.

Just a Kitten…

lindseyThe reason we do what we do is very simple: every life deserves a chance. The more forlorn and hopeless, the more we need to offer kindness and hope. Imagine a world without kindness…without hope. Imagine a world where people answer suffering with indifference. Sometimes, we hear people say that the animals don’t matter. After all, “It’s just a dog..or a cat…or a kitten.” How scary are such people, for their hearts are incapable of empathy, of caring about the fear, pain and sadness of others. Research has proven, time and time again, that how we treat animals is a good indication of our values and treatment of people. One act of kindness sends a positive message, that lifts the hearts and hopes of others who hear of that kind deed. Our world gets better with each act of kindness.

In the past month, a mother and her children found two orphaned, very sick kittens. The male was in terrible condition, with his eyes bulging, infected, and oozing pus. His sister seemed in comparatively better shape, with a bad upper respiratory infection and eye infection. Both were rushed to the veterinary hospital. We named the female Lindsey, after the daughter of the woman, and the male Logan, after her unborn son. Lindsey responded well to treatment, while Logan struggled. Surgery to remove his eyeballs was discussed when the infection appeared to worsen, and he even was considered critical for several days. He cried out when his sister was removed from his cage, since she was his only comfort and the only thing familiar in his dark, sad little world. Lindsey was left with him in the hospital to comfort him and keep him company.

To everyone’s surprise, Lindsey, who seemed recovered and playing, went into a violent seizure. Then she had more. Various medications were used to try to stabilize her. Ironically, between seizures, she was happy and playful. She was so full of life and hope: how could we just give up on her? How could we look into her eyes, full of sparkle and life, and say she had no value? After all, she was “just a kitten!”

As of the writing of this newsletter, Lindsey is doing well on the medications she has been taking. Our hope is that she can gradually be tapered down, or even off, those meds. No one knows what cased her seizures – infection, injury, brain tumor, etc. But the good news is that she has responded to treatment. And Logan is doing well. He will probably be blind, or maybe just see shadows, but he is doing much better than anyone expected a few weeks ago

Kelly Hartnett will be fostering both kittens for awhile, since they are still too tiny and fragile to be in the shelter. But they are ALIVE! They have a chance. Two little lives that were on the brink of a painful and ugly death have a chance to know kindness, love, and hope. And the family of the people who rescued these kittens know that there are people, like those who make our work possible, who care. People who don’t turn their backs on the helpless and friendless.

Please keep Lindsey and Logan in your prayers. These two lives are so much more than “just a kitten.”


Spook at Animals In DistressI would like to just add my comments on this “Just a Kitten…” comment. From up here in Heaven, I have learned that EVERY act of kindness, no matter how small, matters. Here in Heaven, the angels smile with joy to see people being kind to each other and to us animals. When I was just a tiny kitten, paralyzed, Animals In Distress didn’t give up on me. I know many folks would have said that I was too much bother, that I wasn’t worth the effort, but my friends at Animals In Distress never felt that way about me or the other special animals they rescued. Old, blind, handicapped, diabetic…the list goes on and on. We all got to know what unconditional love is all about. We never felt like “just a kitten”…or “just a cat (or a dog)…” We only felt LOVED. May everyone reading this message from me feel the same way. May you feel loved and accepted for who you are…with all your impurrfections, whatever they may be.

I was so upset when I saw how much Lindsey and Logan were struggling to live, but I saw how hard the veterinary staff worked to help them. And I heard the prayers of the people at Animals In Distress for these two kittens and many other animals who were struggling to survive. Purrs and Love to all of you who feel the same way, for you are the Angels who walk the earth.

Your Guardian Angel,

It Takes Money

The reality of doing the kind of work we do is that it takes money…and we cannot do this work without your constant support. Wishing won’t mend broken bones, heat kennels, or buy medicine. Cold, hard cash is a constant concern fo those of us who work, day after day, to keep the shelter running, and the animals safe and cared for.

Bless those who send regular donations, which are the lifeblood of our funding.

Another key resource is the unselfish, often impassioned volunteerism that allows us to use 100% of every dollar donated for animal care, NOT for administrative salaries, fundraising, bookkeeping, and many other jobs normally paid for in many nonprofits.

And still another invaluable source of income is bequests and memorials when someone dies. Without bequests from people who remember us in their wills, we would never have been able to build our shelter or pay our bills in months when demands for our help far exceed our income from donations and fundraisers, and we are running tens of thousands of dollars in the red. Roof repairs, heating repairs, replacing the well pump, water heater repair, and many other unexpected expenses create huge stress on our budget and demand more from us as the building ages.

And mentioning fundraising events, we have several in upcoming months. We hope you will support them generously. Maybe your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, church groups, scout groups, etc. would like to join you in running your own fundraiser, or supporting one or more of ours?

In this newsletter are dates and details of upcoming events. Please be part of these fun events, if you can.

You might notice that we are not spending huge amounts of money on catered events, expensive places like hotels and resorts, and professional organizers. Our volunteers do a great job of putting events together, with love and attention to detail. They do that so that 100% of every dollar raised will go to the shelter – 100% goes to the animals.

Raffles to Celebrate #40

In honor of our 40 years, we would like to share with our friends a chance to win some of the wonderful, and VALUABLE, items that have been donated to us over the past few years. These items include art, sculpture, designer clothing and accessories, expensive jewelry, and other such goodies.

There will be a total of 40 prizes, spread across 4 separate raffles. The Spring Raffle drawing will be at our Bingo on April 23. Our Summer Raffle drawing will be during Radiothon on Sunday, July 16. And the Fall Raffle drawing will be at the Blessing of the Animals or the Walk Walk (dates to be confirmed later), and the Holiday Raffle drawing will be held in mid December.

There will be 10 prizes per raffle, for a total of 40 in all four raffles – in other words, one prize for every year we have been saving animals!

Due to the high value of these prizes, the raffle tickets will be $5 each, or 3 tickets for $10.

The Spring Raffle prizes include:

  • Designer Fendi handbag valued at $600 – 700
  • Signed book AND picture by Hessam Abrishami, valued at $1100
  • Other artwork of various kinds
  • Handblown, hand painted European glass decanter and goblets for cordials like sherry – valued at $120
  • Gift certificates
  • Collectibles (for example, Elvis items including plates, Disney items, etc.)
  • Many more items

Winners do not have to be present to win.

Get your tickets at the shelter or download tickets here.



New and renewals. Download a membership form here.

SPRING 40TH Anniversary Raffle

Drawing on Sunday, April 23
At Animals In Distress Bingo

$5 per ticket or 3 for $10. See Bingo information below.


Sunday, March 26
Saturday, April 8

At Animals In Distress
1:00 PM – 3:30 PM

No appointments are needed. Props are available or bring your own.

Visit our gift shop in the shelter’s Hospitality Center for all kinds of Easter items. You will also find one of the largest selection of dog and cat related gifts in the area. The Easter Bazaar is open through Easter Sunday during our public hours: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 1 pm to 4 pm.


Thursday, April 6
At Talbots
Shops At 3900 Hamilton Center
3900 Hamilton Boulevard, Allentown, PA

3:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Animals In Distress will get 10% of sales. Shopping to benefit a great cause!


2017-04-23-bingoSunday, April 23
At Lehigh Valley Active Life
(formerly Lehigh County Senior Center)

1633 Elm Street
Allentown, PA
Doors open at 5:00 PM
Bingo starts at 6:00 PM

In addition to 20 games of bingo, there will be a Silent Auction, 50/50 Raffle, Door Prizes, Refreshments and fun for all! Come out and have fun while supporting a great cause. All proceeds benefit Animals In Distress.

Click here for more information.

Click here to download a flyer to share with family, friends and coworkers!


Saturday, May 6
At Applebee’s
Crest Plaza Shopping Center

1510 N Cedar Crest Blvd,
Allentown, PA 18104
8:00 AM – 10:00 AM

Check our website in the near future for more information.


Sunday, June 4
Registration at 10:00 am
Walkathon starts at 10:30 am
At Animals In Distress
5075 Limeport Pike
Coopersburg, PA 18036

Check our next newsletter and web site (in the near future) for more information.


Sunday, June 4
Noon to 4:00 pm

At Animals In Distress
5075 Limeport Pike
Coopersburg, PA 18036

Set this date aside now. Enjoy live music, games, a basket social and much more.

Check our next newsletter and web site (in the near future) for more information.


Starts Monday, July 10
Final event at the shelter Sunday, July 16

Check our next newsletter and web site (in the near future) for more information.

This is our biggest fundraiser of the year and is essential to our ability to continue our work.



rednerslogoThanks to 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.

Click here for more information about how saving your Redner’s receipts can benefit Animals In Distress.


As of the end of January, we had collected 6,560 pounds of aluminum and received $2,833.25 in exchange. Just think: that’s over 3 TONS saved from a landfill and much needed funds for the animals. If you can collect aluminum at work, or anywhere else (including your home, of course), please continue to donate your collected aluminum to us. Sally and Danny Searfass are working very hard to keep the program moving along and would love your help!


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 complete and send in the following coupon to indicate which of four membership categories you wish to be listed under, and if your membership is a new one or a renewal. Gift memberships are also available. Provide the necessary information on a separate sheet of paper and we’ll inform the recipient of your thoughtfulness.

Click here to download a Membership Renewal/Enrollment form.