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


Table of Contents


Here we are – 2+ months into 2018. Long forgotten are the bright lights and warm feelings of the holidays. Snowstorms, high winds, power outages, car accidents, school shootings, etc. Sometimes, we all want to just stop the craziness and return to simple values of kindness, decency, mutual respect, and peaceful coexistence.

One of the first ways to get back to the feelings of the holidays is to be aware of the power of our words, for words come from thoughts. Once we put words to our thoughts, we are giving them an existence that affects others. Saying cruel or divisive things leads to cruel and divisive behaviors.

Words can, therefore, become weapons, used for negative purposes. What a shame…and a waste. All during the holidays, we hear wishes of good will – of peace, and joy, and love. We see lights in windows breaking up the cold darkness of winter. we feel the love at Animals In Distress, because of all the kind wishes, donations, and gifts we receive at that time of year.

Saying “Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts for all your kindnesses,” seems so inadequate to tell you how much your cards, donations, and visits have meant to all of us. However, we promise more than just words: those words represent just the beginning of a message of hope, love, and renewal that exists every day of every year at Animals In Distress, not just in words but in deeds. Here, the holiday spirit lives on. It’s not just for one month out of the year.

We can only share a few of our rescue stories in this newsletter but want you to know how important your words, donations, and love are to our animals. Do you remember Dickens’ famous Christmas story of Scrooge, the miser, who begrudges every kindness that people show at Christmastime? Who hasn’t seen “A Christmas Carol” multiple times? Who isn’t relieved when the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge changes his ways? He starts giving rather than hoarding, and he sees the difference his kindness can make in the people around him.

You may wonder how this ties in with animal rescue…but it really does.

Just around Christmastime, someone brought a stray, dying kitten to us in horrible shape. None of us had ever seen anything so shocking as this tiny kitten with half its face eaten away and its eye gone. Half of the kitten’s skull was a huge mass of rotting flesh, infection and misery.

Here is where we need to stop and remember what we said earlier about the power of words: yes, the description is shocking and horrible. BUT the way we think and talk about such desperate and seemingly hopeless situations comes from the words and thoughts we embrace.

Animals In Distress was founded in 1977 as one of less than a dozen “no-kill” shelters in the United States. Dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and proper placement of cats and dogs who were the most friendless and desperate, we have operated by our original philosophy and commitment: NO animal is euthanized unless it is terminally ill and in unrelievable pain as determined by a veterinarian. This central philosophy has guided every decision we make.

While, 40+ years later, the no-kill philosophy has become quite popular (and marketable). However, the language within that movement has become blurred and unclear. Words like “healthy” and “adoptable” are now carefully woven into the text of many newsletters, websites, and mailings of various animal organizations who categorize themselves as “no-kill.”

Now, back to the kitten with the exploding, infected mass where his eye used to be.

He certainly was not “adoptable” or “healthy” when we first met him. But he had a beating heart, a life that needed hope and compassion and help.

For 40+ years, we have tried our best to help such forlorn and friendless animals, and this case was another of tens of thousands we have helped over 40+ years. Words, if we use them with clarity and meaning, lead to actions consistent with those words. And action we took, by getting that dying kitten to the veterinarian immediately. The kitten arrived at the veterinary hospital in serious condition. Weighing only a few pounds, and having been a starving, dying stray, the kitten’s tiny body was frail and weak. Could it be saved?

Well, for years, we have called ourselves “The Kennel of Hope.” Each rescue we do is a chance to save a life about to be lost. Some of our rescues have looked so hopeless. Some of the animals have been paralyzed or blinded or suffering from longtime illness. Killing them in the name of mercy (another word that has multiple meanings) is always an option. Killing is always cheaper and easier than trying to save a life.

The kitten was given supportive care to strengthen its body a little, and then surgery was performed. The veterinarian said she had never seen anything quite that bad, and horrified us when she said that what we saw on the outside of the kitten’s skull was the same condition she saw on the inside! The prognosis for the kitten was cautious and limited. All on the Animals In Distress team had done the best they could – now the kitten needed a miracle and a chance for his body to recover. We had done all within our power, including offering our prayers and continuing to hang on to a belief that miracles do happen – IF we help them to happen.

Imagine our shock and delight when about 36 hours after the surgery, the vet sent us a short video of the kitten in his recovery cage: the kitten wasn’t just alive – he was PLAYING!

Words cannot convey how happy – and relieved – we were. Yes, the kitten was going to live. And he needed a name. The kitten was called “Tiny Tim” after Dickens’ story “A Christmas Carol.” Like Tiny Tim in Dickens’ story, the kitten’s life was in jeopardy. Tiny Tim was frail and crippled, slowly dying in the harsh living conditions of Victorian London. Do you remember when the Ghost of Christmas Future escorts Scrooge to the Christmas celebration at Bob Cratchit’s house? An empty chair is at the table, and the family is very sad, because Tiny Tim has succumbed to his illness. Scrooge is horrified that Tim died – and shaken by the fact that Scrooge, as Bob Cratchit’s employer, could have made life better for the Cratchit family if only he had paid decent wages and been kinder to them. At the realization that he could have made a difference and changed this sad ending, Ebenezer Scrooge opens his heart (and his wallet) in acts of generosity and kindness that shocked – and pleased – everyone around him. The child lives and Scrooge is forever a kinder – and happier – person loved by the people who had previously disliked him because of his cruel indifference to the misery of others.

What better name to give this kitten – whose life was held in such a fragile and precarious balance? Tiny Tim it was – and Tiny Tim it is to this day.

Bottom line is that by opening our hearts and allowing hope, love, and kindness to guide our thoughts, words, and deeds, we can save lives AND make the world a better place for all creatures great and small.

Please visit Tiny Tim at Animals In Distress and see for yourself what a huge difference YOU can make by allowing us to do such rescues. Tim’s sweet purr of greeting is his way of saying “Thank you…for my life, and for caring about creatures like me.”

Animals speak in a language that is often more eloquent than the words that humans use. Anyone who has ever rescued an animal or adopted from a shelter knows how eloquently those animals can “speak” in a language that is not based on deceit. Their eyes and actions communicate with an honesty and elegance that mere words cannot equal.

The holidays aren’t just about gifts and decorations: they are about a spirit that can change the world – for the better – one life at a time! And that spirit must be alive and well every day of the year, not just during the holidays. And so it is – at Animals In Distress and in the hearts of the people who make our work possible.


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 for 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, 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 the upcoming months. We hope you will support them generously. Maybe your friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, 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 a part of these fun events, if you can.


Among the many nice things that people did for our shelter over the holidays, one is truly unique. A young lady named McKensie Ashner sold hot chocolate at her grandparents’ holiday light display. Rather than keeping the money for herself, she decided to donate it to Animals In Distress. She decided to sponsor a pet in our Take-A-Pet-To-Dinner Program and selected a cat named Jane for her special foster cat. Jane and McKensie are pictured here. How very kind of her and her family! By the way Jane JUST was adopted into a loving home!

McKensie also created the first Snow Cat we have ever seen, thanks to a recent snowfall. We wanted to share her kindness AND the Snow Cat with our friends…sharing kindness and goodness makes us all feel hopeful and happy about the future of the world, it is has people like McKensie in it!


One of our frequent adopters and loyal friends, Jeff Benner, suffered through a long power outage as did many of us. While many of Jeff’s neighbors moved to hotels and friends’ houses, Jeff stayed in his home because he would not leave his cats, many of whom are special needs cats adopted from Animals In Distress. A propane heater in the family room raised the temperature to a livable level, and Jeff and the cats camped out there. The cats formed a mutual support group, curling up with each other or piling on top of Jeff, for both companionship and warmth. Jeff noticed that some of his cats, especially the remarkable Anton (who was once paralyzed but regained the ability to walk) who Jeff nicknamed The Godfather, took matters into his own paws and made certain that the most timid and vulnerable cats had his purr-sonal attention. We thought our friends would enjoy one of the pictures Jeff sent. Remember: most of these cats would have been considered “unadoptable” by other people!



Thanks 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 to read more information about the Redner’s Tape Redemption Program.


If you have a business or favorite club or store, you can place a donation can there and collect donations for our shelter. It’s amazing how many people will donate their spare change or a few dollars. Also, volunteer Steve Homick has special cans he has created for people to use in their homes to collect spare change and donations from family and friends. Some people even deposit a certain amount if they do something like swearing or another action that is not desirable. Cans are available at the shelter. Please stop by and start collecting funds for the animals!


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, complete and send in the membership renewal enrollment form and 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 will inform the recipient of your thoughtfulness.

Download Membership Form Here


Lots of good news and upcoming fun events in this newsletter! From my purrspective here in Heaven, I can watch all my friends at Animals In Distress as they continue to save the most friendless and hopeless animals. You know, folks, sometimes I get so emotional when I think about how animals like me, with broken bodies and broken hearts, don’t get a chance to live.

In Heaven, we angels (yes, cats and dogs can be angels too, although our wings sometimes get in the way!), smile when we see kindness and love; and we weep when we see indifference and lack of compassion.

I can promise you one thing: If you attend any of the events listed in this newsletter, or if you send donations, you can be 100% sure that you are saving lives – and making a huge difference in the process.

Love you all – and missing my friends at Animals In Distress,

Your Guardian Angel



New and renewals – download a form here.

Memberships make nice gifts too!



Sunday, March 18
Saturday, March 24 

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

No appointments needed.
People are welcome to pose with their pet.

The Easter Gift Bazaar is open during our usual hours:

  • Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday
    1:00 – 4:00 pm through Easter.



Sunday, April 15 
At Lehigh Valley Active Life
1633 Elm Street
Allentown, PA

Doors open at 5:00 pm
Bingo starts at 6:00 pm

Only 125 tickets available!

$20 per person

Join us for a fun evening of Bingo to benefit Animals In Distress.

  • Chinese Auction
  • Refreshments
  • 50/50 Raffle Door Prizes!

Bring donations for the shelter (food, litter, treats, cleaning supplies, etc.) and get 3 free Chinese Auction tickets.

For more information:

Call or text Kelly at 610-762-8553 or email khart70906@aol.com

Click here to download a flyer to print and share!



Sunday, June 3 
At Animals In Distress
Starting at 10:00 am

Look for details in the next newsletter or here on our website.



Sunday, June 3 
At Animals In Distress
12:00 – 4:00 pm

Do not miss this major celebration of our lifesaving work!

More information coming soon!



Sunday, July 22 
At Animals In Distress
Starting at 8:00 am

This is our biggest fundraiser of the year. It starts on July 16 with the daily WAEB early morning broadcasts and ends with an all-day event at the shelter on Sunday, July 22. More information in upcoming newsletters or check the web site for updates.