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


Table of Contents



Have you ever thought that something was impossible? Of course, you have. Everyone feels like that from time to time. The real issue is: what do you do when you feel that way? Give up? Become depressed? Find your inner strength and keep going anyway?

When Animals in Distress was founded 40 years ago, its philosophy was based on a single principle: Every life matters. Every animal deserves a chance, a life free of pain and fear and loneliness. No matter how old, or sick, or scared, every animal would get as much time as it needed to heal its emotional scars as well as its physical scars.

In 1977, when Animals in Distress was an “impossible dream” in the eyes of most (including some of its original founders), they chose “To right the unrightable wrong” they saw nationwide, with 12,500 cats and dogs, puppies and kittens, being killed nationwide EVERY HOUR across the United States. They were willing “To march into hell for a heavenly cause…” “To try when [their] arms were too weary…” in an act of pure determination “To reach the unreachable star.”

Since the last newsletter, we have been swamped with requests for help. In fact, we have exceeded all past records for requests to help people and animals. In meeting those requests, we have stretched our resources beyond capacity. Most times, when there is a life or death situation confronting us, we don’t have the time to weigh the pros and cons of various options. We either act quickly, or allow an animal to die in unspeakable pain and horror.
This whole newsletter is devoted to reporting on major events we recently held, events that raise much needed funds for our shelter but also events that bring people together to celebrate family, hope, rescue, and life.

Our upcoming Radiothon, our biggest fundraising event of the year, starts on July 10 as Bobby Gunther Walsh of WAEB 790AM, 5 to 10 am, Monday thru Friday, shares stories of our rescues and has our animals in the studio with him as living proof of the importance of our life saving work. Part of the Radiothon is an emphasis on THEN and NOW: the animals we rescued were in desperate and hopeless situations THEN (when we rescued them) but they are NOW safe, loved, and hopeful in our shelter or in the home of a family who adopted them.

What power we all have in working together to save lives. YOU are the only source of funding we have. YOU ultimately make the difference between life and death. YOU determine the ending of many stories with sad beginnings.

Please take a few moments to reflect on what we can do, together. Please support our work. We can’t raise the $50,000+ it takes to run our shelter every month without your help. In fact, if not for our volunteers, that cost would be much higher. We pledge to you that 100% of every dollar you donate is used directly for animal care – not for inflated salaries, marketing through tv commercials and expensive mailings, not for “administrative” expenses that hide a multitude of expenses having nothing to do with true animal rescue and rehabilitation. We get NO money from any public sources – not local, state, or federal. YOU are the only source of the money it takes to save lives.

The impossible dream IS now a reality in the case of Animals in Distress. Thousands of hopeless lives were saved and thousands more to come because so many volunteers, supporters, and friends have made the impossible into a reality.


We remain dedicated to that basic philosophy today: everybody is somebody at our sanctuary. Everybody deserves respect, love, and dignity. Everybody deserves Kindness, Love, and Hope. Please help us continue to make miracles happen for those who will never reach their dream without all of us.

A Message from Spook

SpookHi, Folks! This is the busiest time of the year for the workers at Animals in Distress: lots of rescues (it’s “kitten season,” of course), several big events – including planning for the upcoming Radiothon, and lots of ongoing kennel and administrative tasks. With our WAEB Radiothon right around the corner, I need to explain why we need everyone’s help.

Folks, we need the money – to pay vet bills, utility bills, and…well, you get the idea. But mostly MEDICAL bills.

It is cheap to kill, and expensive to save a life – to mend broken bones, treat infections and wounds, remove tumors…..and provide medication for animals who are diabetic, have liver or kidney problems, treat thyroid problems, and rebuild bodies weakened due to parasites, starvation, and abuse.

Why should you donate? I can answer that question by saying that you literally make the difference between life and death for the animals you read about in this newsletter or see when you visit the shelter. Each newsletter includes a few stories of such animals (remember: I was also such a desperate soul – paralyzed when I was just a baby). For 6 1/2 years – years I would never have had without your help, I oversaw the cat kennel, wrote a column for the newsletter, and inspired others to always have hope – to believe in miracles.

From my cloud here in Heaven, I watched with such happiness how so many friends and former shelter residents gathered to celebrate the shelter’s 40th Anniversary Alumni Day on June 4. Despite some drip drops, there was a good turnout and lots of reunions of shelter animals with the staff and volunteers who cared for them at Animals in Distress.

Thanks and PAWS UP!!! to everyone who participated in the Laps of Love and in Alumni Day, and a very special thanks to those who sent donations to sponsor Team Spook (it is so nice to know that I have not been forgotten!!!). Special thanks to our top Laps walker Karen Winston and her pup Macie, who won first prize for raising the most money in pledges.

Thanks also to all the volunteers who made Alumni Day a huge success—the people who set up everything, the food prep folks, Donna Fisher and Friends for the music, the Commemorative Journal sponsors, the donors of the baskets for the social, all those who attended, the dog biscuit bakers, all the Laps volunteers…the list goes on and on.

Bottom line is that we can’t survive here without the help of ALL of our friends. Our Radiothon and other events are the lifeline for us – and you always respond with love and generosity. Sometimes, I get a little weepy when I think about how much we all appreciate the kindness of our friends. To them, all of us here at Animals in Distress are Somebody, not a Nobody as we would be anywhere else.

I looked at all the happy and well cared for animals who came to the Laps and to Alumni Day, and I thought: all this happiness is surrounded by approximately 350 to 400 shelter animals in need of care and love until they can heal and, if lucky, be adopted. Several shelter dogs walked in the Laps, thanks to the volunteers who entered them. And dozens of shelter cats looked out the windows, watching all the activities from their homes in the cat wing. I wonder if some of them were hoping that someday soon, they would have families to love them.

Seeing little Lovey, a elderly tiny dog adopted by Marie Smythe, or Hershey, a senior chocolate cocker who was adopted by the Schneider family even though he is blind and has chronic ear issues, or Manny, a delicate and sensitive senior Italian greyhound/chihuahua type mix – one of several animals adopted from us by the Jacobs family, or Marilyn Monroe – the diva Pomeranian/spitz mix who was with us for several years on and off, and so on…..these animals and their loving families are real proof that our hard work to help such “unadoptable” pets is worth the effort.

You see, love…time…hope….are what the Radiothon is all about. I pray that you can help us out – so many lives depend on it. Plus I would purrsonally appreciate your help too. As a former lifer here, I know really well that the line between life and death is very fragile.

Love and Licks,
Your friend Spook

By the way, all the photos in the collage were taken by Anita Bielecki. Thanks, Anita, for allowing us to share many special moments of the day with those who weren’t there and those who will enjoy sweet memories of their visit to the shelter on Alumni Day 2017.

Animals In Distress - Alumni Day 2017


One of the greatest challenges for any shelter or rescue is this time of year, called “Kitten Season.” Many abandoned and stray cats, who have not been spayed, start producing litters of kittens – innocent souls whose only “crime” was being born. If something happens to the mother cat, or a predator or disease or parasites or cruel people come upon the helpless kittens, they are doomed to die, often in a painful and prolonged way. Because of the people who make our work possible – and because of a group of dedicated volunteers (especially Rose Yanger) – we are sometimes able to save such lives, lives that we hold in the palm of our hand.

ashRecent rescues reflecting this dedication are two sibling kittens we named Ash (pictured at right after a week in the hospital) and Dusty. Both were in very bad shape when they arrived: only about 4 weeks old, they had experienced a lifetime of sadness. Their mother had been killed. Having no place to go, they clung to her dead body. Something, probably a predator animal, attacked the litter – killing one kitten and badly injuring the surviving two, breaking or dislocating one leg on each kitten. Abscesses filled with infection added to the kittens’ misery. Because they were so tiny, and their wounds so severe, nothing could be done to splint or set their legs. The vet hospital kept Ash for several days, trying to build up her strength and also get a large wound on her face to heal. The veterinarian treating Ash emailed us this update:

“She has a facial laceration and wounds on her hind legs. The Upper Respiratory Infection is resolved but the wound on the face will take time to heal – it is a full thickness shearing of the left side of the muzzle and has traumatized and occluded the left nostril. The nostril is intact and had good airflow after starting on antibiotics. She is on pain medication for the wounds. The left hind leg is swollen at the hock and the joint has significant laxity. I am concerned about dislocation vs. fracture. Radiographs are difficult to interpret since most of the bones are still mineralizing…I haven’t splinted the hind leg yet since there is still a significant amount of inflammation…I think she will still have a good quality of life allowing it to heal on its own, but the limb may not have full function. Please advise how you want to proceed with Ash.”

Yes, how do we proceed? What will happen to Ash from this point forward? And her brother Dusty, who has similar injuries except for the face laceration? Or Han Solo (pictured below), another tiny kitten who came to us in horrible condition. He and his litter mate were found under a car in a parking lot – very sick with parasites, dehydration, and a severe upper respiratory infection. The kittens were taken to a nearby shelter. The shelter staff took the kittens “in the back.” A few minutes later, the staff person came out with one kitten – the other had just been euthanized. The kitten was handed back to the people who found it. There was nothing the shelter could (or would) do to help the surviving kitten.

hansoloThe people were stunned: they did not have the skills or funds to take care of the kitten.

When we heard the story, and looked at the kitten dying of pneumonia and other problems, we agreed to take on yet another rescue. In a “business sense,” taking in another sick animal isn’t a good decision. In a “marketing sense,” with so many kittens available this time a year, taking in a sick kitten whose future and status were unknown didn’t make a lot of strategic sense. BUT in a moral sense, in a sense of compassion and kindness in a world sorely lacking in both, taking in this kitten made a lot of ETHICAL sense. We named him Han Solo, Solo because he was now alone in the world (if not for Animals in Distress and the people who make our work possible).

What would YOU want the answer to be when asked: “Please advise how you want to proceed with Ash?” Or Han Solo? Or Dusty? Or any of hundreds of desperate, hopeless, and needy pets we have rescued over the past 40 years? Please help us continue to answer that question with Love, Kindness, and Hope for those who will die alone and in pain and fear if we don’t help them. Together, we can make the world a better place -one life at a time.


Monday through Friday, July 10 – 14

Listen to our WAEB 790AM Radiothon on the Bobby Gunther Walsh Show, which airs weekdays from 5:00 to 10:00 am. Listen at these times for latest news, prizes, events, and rescue updates. Phoned in pledges can be made all through the show, at the number announced by Bobby. It is crucial that many people call in and support this major fund raising event.

Pledge line in the studio: 610-841-4999

AID President Lois Gadek will be calling in each hour during the week, with stories of rescues and other matters related to why donations are urgently needed. In the studio will be various pets and their handlers (some are people who have adopted from us, and some are people who work with our sanctuary residents and volunteer their efforts in so many ways). Service Electric’s Channel 50 carries Bobby’s show live, so you can actually see the pets in the studio. You can also check Gunther’s website at WAEB.com, and our website at animalsindistress-pa.org for updates.


Over the weekend, July 15 and 16, Bobby will be on air live with appeals and announcements at intervals in the regularly scheduled broadcasts. During the weekend, pledges will be taken by phone at 610-967-4417, from 8 am to 6 pm, as well as in person at our sanctuary.

SAT & SUN 8am-6pM


Basket Social and Silent Auction

at Animals in Distress Sanctuary
July 15 and 16, from 8 am to 4 pm.

Baskets and items should be delivered to the sanctuary by before 4 pm on Thursday, July 13.
Phone 610-966-9383, ext. 8, if you have questions or need to make arrangements to get your donations to us before Saturday, July 15.



Saturday, July 15
8 am to 12 pm

38 Main Street
Hellertown, PA

Stop by, meet Bobby, make a pledge.


Live Broadcast from KOSPIA FARMS

Saturday, July 15
12 pm to 4 pm

2288 State Street
Alburtis, PA

Stop by, meet Bobby, make a pledge

Click here for more information about what’s happening at Kospia Farms.


Continental Breakfast with COFFEE & DONUTS

at Animals In Distress Sanctuary
Saturday, July 15
Starting at 8:00 am

The Basket Social and Silent Auction continue through Sunday at 4:00 pm.
The Craft and Gift Bazaar starts on Saturday morning and continues through Sunday at 4:00 pm.


Delicious Breakfast and Picnic

at Animals In Distress Sanctuary
Sunday, July 16, starting at 8:00 am

Breakfast from 8:30 – 11:30
Hot picnic/lunch 12:30 – 3:00

Tune in from 1:00 to 3:00 pm for a 2-hour live broadcast from our shelter, thanks to ResQ products.

The Basket Social and Silent Auction continue until 4:00 pm.

The Craft and Gift Bazaar is open until 6:00 pm.

Special thanks to Ironton Telephone Company for providing the extra lines for the pledges at the station and at our shelter. And thanks to Vinart Pet Friendly Auto Dealerships for sponsoring the Radiothon and the food being served at Sunday’s events. Smokin’ Smitty’s Catering will prepare that food – everything they server is super!


The Power of Challenge Hours

The Power of Your Donation is multiplied when you offer a $500 Challenge Hour

Much of the success of our Radiothon is finding Challenge Hours money. Basically, when someone donates money for a challenge, the understanding is that the listeners are urged to donate an amount equal to or greater than the amount of the challenge, and must do so within the stipulated time. Challenges stimulate calls and provide some important funding.

In addition, Challenge Hours have been subsidized by families who have adopted pets and by people who want a memorial to honor a deceased loved one. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone who has adopted a pet from us over the years would offer a donation (or Challenge Hour money, if you prefer) in honor and/or in memory of their pets? There is no more fitting way to honor a special pet’s gifts of Love and Companionship to us than by helping those who need help, and hope.

To offer a challenge, please contact us by email at aidpa@enter.net, or by phone at 610-966-9383 ext. 8 (someone will return your call as soon as possible), or by mail at:

    Animals In Distress
    P.O. Box 609
    Coopersburg, PA 18036

You can also donate to the Radiothon by returning the donation coupon in our printed newsletter.



We know that you donate only to help needy animals. However, due to the generosity of the following business and individuals, we are able to offer these incentive prizes in various categories. This list is not inclusive, since more prizes will be added as the Radiothon progresses.

Donors of $100 or more are eligible for a drawing to
win one of these two fabulous prize packages:

Donors of $50 or more are eligible for a drawing to win one of the following prizes:

  • A “Getaway” at Oliver’s Salon and Day Spa in Allentown, including a massage, manicure and pedicure
  • Sunday Brunch for 4 at the historic Hotel Bethlehem
  • A foursome day of golf at Wedgewood Golf Course
  • Full Car Maintenance by Steve’s Roadside Service (Kutztown) including oil & filter, all fluids, check tires, etc. at your home
  • Other prizes to be announced

Donors of $25 or more are eligible for a drawing to win one of the following prizes:

To Our Out-of-Town Friends:

You can listen to our WAEB 790AM Radiothon from anywhere in the world
through “streaming” on the WAEB web site, WAEB.COM.
You can tune in to Gunther weekdays from 5:00 to 10:00 am.

The show can also be seen on Service Electric‘s channel 50.

Monday through Friday 5:00 to 10:00 am

Please patronize the businesses that support us. Some of these businesses have been friends of our shelter for more than 28 years, and we deeply appreciate their generosity in allowing us to raise funds that go totally to support the work that we do. Throughout this newsletter, you will see many names of businesses that are making this year’s Radiothon possible. When you visit them, thank them for their support of our Kennel of Hope.


zinkaImagine spending 6 years penned outside with your dog sister. Often not fed. Starving. Covered in ticks and fleas. Filthy. Cold in the winter, sweltering in the summer. Well, that is the story of two husky mixes named Zinka and Mya. Both dogs were eventually taken to be killed. Their owner no longer wanted to be bothered with them. Fortunately, one of the hospital employees offered to take the dogs to save their lives, but she could not keep them. After reaching out to several shelters and rescues, all of whom said no to the two dogs, she called Animals in Distress. After hearing of their plight, we agreed to take them in and give them the medical care they desperately needed. Of the two dogs, Zinka was in worse shape. She had some sort of wound under her eye and a chain of tumors along her mammary glands on the left side. She was extremely thin and loaded with parasites. Both dogs tested positive for lyme disease and were treated for that. Zinka underwent surgery to be spayed and to remove and biopsy the mammary masses. We were so relieved to hear that they were benign!

Both dogs have become favorites at our sanctuary. They are very sweet and loving, although Zinka is more shy. She is afraid of different things, like the jingle of car keys. And she cringes if you reach over top of her. Obviously, she has been hit.

Zinka and Mya will have time to recuperate and to find their forever homes. It never ceases to amaze us that pets who have been so badly treated can somehow find the courage to trust again—to go on with their lives and move beyond the sadness and despair of their previous existence.