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


Table of Contents


This year has been a chance for a new start …to learn from the past and plan for a brighter, kinder future. Maybe that’s why some people make such a big deal out of the start of a new year: it’s another chance, a fresh beginning, a chance to leave the disappointments of the past behind.

Here at Animals in Distress, we have great memories of all the kindnesses shown to us by our friends and supporters. Nothing more embodies that than the mail and donations we received over the holidays. Such kind messages written on cards, such heartfelt tributes to loved ones past and present that filled our Hospitality center during the holidays, such thoughtful gifts given to loved ones – Take-A-Pet sponsorships of one of our shelter residents, special items from our gift shop and Holiday Bazaar, and monetary gifts in honor or memory of a special person, pet, or family. Those gifts give life and hope to homeless pets and don’t have to be exchanged for a different size or color!

Every dollar donated or spent on gift items and Basket Social, every dollar, goes 100% to saving animals and giving them a second chance in a world that seldom gives second chances.

You may have noticed the avalanche of charitable solicitations from larger organizations that spend tens of millions of dollars on mailings, gifts like mailing labels and calendars, and on television and social media advertising. Some of the appeals have run literally hundreds of times, especially on television, and continue even a month after the end of the holidays. Why? Because the sad pictures and sad stories and sad music and sad voice all, together, create sympathy in the audience and may even cause a guilt trip to get people to donate to the cause.

Many of us in animal rescue work have stopped listening to these appeals because they upset us too. What’s even more disturbing is that these national appeals that cost tens of millions of dollars take funds away from local, grass roots shelters like Animals in Distress. And donors seldom, if ever, get a chance to visit and actually meet the animals their donations are helping.

Add to the enormous expenditures for marketing and promotion the chaos and divisiveness in the news, and the hopelessness of many situations, and some people have an understandable tendency to become “down” and pessimistic about life, the world, and the future. Understandable, yes, BUT not inevitable. We CAN choose to break the spiral into negativity and hopelessness, and here’s how: choose to make a difference.

Few people will be able rock the world with great innovations and mind boggling achievements. But each person can make a difference. Each person can show kindness. Each person can be a hero. How do we know this to be true? Because Animals in Distress has existed for almost 42 years…defying predictions that a shelter with a true no kill policy could survive without killing animals who were deemed unadoptable, either because of age, health, or temperament. And who was the wind beneath our wings for those decades? YOU and friends like you…

YOU believed in our mission and have made our rescue and rehabilitation work possible. Donating money, and/or time, and/or other things like merchandise, according to your means and ability, YOU have made a difference in the lives of thousands of animals who have sought refuge in our sanctuary.

In this newsletter, we want to share with you some specific examples of how much good your support and prayers have done. Don’t worry: we’re not going to prey on your kindness by focusing on all the horrible things that happened. Yes, bad things happen. Sad beyond words. BUT…we can choose to do something to make things better. To help animals (and people?) move forward in a positive way. Many of these stories have happy endings because we were able to help. Please visit us and see many of these animals in person: let them thank you for their lives. Let them show you how much your kindness matters. See, for yourself, why you are our hero.


Let’s start with an update on two dogs we reported on in the previous newsletter.

Penny, an 8 year old dachshund, was rescued from a neglectful situation. The most serious medical problem she had, mostly due to never being spayed, was a huge mammary tumor almost the size of a grapefruit. Given her age and prognosis, she would have been euthanized by many rescues and shelters. However, we do not separate animals into those who are marketable and young, and those who are older and have issues. A life is valuable. A life deserves a chance.

When Penny underwent surgery to remove the mass and spay her (stopping the hormones usually deprives the tumors of an incentive to keep growing), we suspected that the biopsy results would show the mass was cancerous. Our suspicions were confirmed: Penny had cancer cells, but the report said they were localized (not likely to have spread throughout her body). To give her the best chance possible, we consulted a cancer specialist. A second surgery was recommended to remove any marginal tissue that might still harbor cancer cells. The surgery was successful, and the biopsy report was good news: no cancer cells were present.

Through all of this, Penny has remained a loving and trusting dog. She has put up with a lot of pain and discomfort, but has never shown anything but gratitude and love to her caregivers. What will the future bring for her? Will the cancer return? There are tests that can be run periodically to catch any cancer before it develops into something life threatening. In the meantime, Penny is enjoying life—she isn’t obsessed with what happened in the past. She is loving life, feeling good, and is a perfect example of why we have to try to help those who are friendless and hopeless without us.

The other update from the past newsletter concerns an 11 year old beagle we call Buddy B. His story has some similarities to Penny’s in that he had a huge tumor from not being neutered when he was younger. Signs of years of neglect were all over Buddy B, but the large tumor hanging between his hind legs was an omen of something that perhaps could not be treated: advanced prostatic cancer. Again, did Buddy B have a chance?

After a thorough examination by our vets, we made the decision to remove and biopsy the mass and take care of a long list of other physical problems caused by years of neglect. This sweet dog deserved a chance.

Imagine our surprise and delight when Buddy B’s biopsy results came back NEGATIVE!! This sweet pup would have some really good years ahead of him. He is available for adoption, and one or two people have visited him. Maybe someone reading this newsletter will be inspired to consider him as an addition to their family. In the meantime, Buddy B is a shelter favorite with staff and volunteers. He’s feeling better than he probably ever has, and is another example of what can be achieved if we don’t give up without trying, just accepting a sad, hopeless ending. Yes, sometimes, the miracles we work and pray for don’t happen. But we try our best, with your help and support. And most of the time, good, positive outcomes happen. Nothing is guaranteed, but miracles can and do happen—with lots of help from those who truly care!

There’s no denying that a lot of the animals we rescue are in desperate need of immediate medical care. There is no time to send out appeals for funding. No time to wait and see who donates. Much of what we deal with is life and death decisions. And we are very aware that the options for most of the animals in such crisis will be death, either slow and agonizing, or euthanasia of some kind, if we don’t help – or at least try.

The animals whose stories are told in this newsletter are presently alive and well at Animals in Distress, along with 350+ others who would not be alive if not for all of us. As you think about the violence and negativity and hopelessness of many stories in the news, remember that together, we can do something positive and kind. Our power to make a difference is amazing. Our ability to demonstrate and encourage kindness to all, hope, and acceptance despite age or handicap is limitless. We can make a difference, together: one life at a time.


Over the past year, many people, businesses, and others have thought up creative ways to donate to the animals in our sanctuary. One newer way of raising funds is over the Internet. This way of fundraising is highly susceptible to fraud and false claims, but it does reach a lot of people and has raised substantial funds for honest and worthwhile charities and causes.

Some of our friends and supporters have chosen Facebook fundraising as a way of helping. For a birthday or anniversary or holiday gift, some of our supporters have asked that donations to Animals in Distress, instead of gifts, be given to celebrate the event and honor a special loved one.

For several of our friends, raising funds that will literally save lives is more meaningful and long lasting than things bought in a store. We appreciate these shared celebrations and think that there is no better way to celebrate and honor the achievements and existence of a loved one than by saving lives in their name/honor.

Special thanks to For Cats Only Veterinary Hospital, who put a challenge fundraiser for us on Facebook, inviting clients and friends to meet the amount of challenge money the hospital had put up.

Several groups – school, church, scout, and others – brought in donations of money and items for cleaning and animal care. Some of the donations were part of the Morning Call Be An Angel program for local charities, but many were done by people who want to support our lifesaving efforts.

Of course, an amazing number of people donate baskets for our various basket socials. These baskets rival the baskets in any fundraiser anywhere, in creativity, contents, and quality. And some people ran fundraisers for us, like a painting party, pancake breakfast, yard sale, wine event, and so on.

A special category of donations comes to us in the form of bequests in wills. We could not exist without these funds. Each bequest is greatly appreciated, and we are deeply touched that some of our friends have such a deep belief in our mission that they would leave us their lifelong savings so we may continue to help the most desperate and friendless animals.

In the spirit of thinking about the fact that we all can leave a legacy, we want to stress the absolute importance of making sure your pets are provided for in your estate planning. Way too often, we are asked to take in pets of people who have died or have serious problems, and we try to help when we can. However, so much more is possible if the pets have been provided for in writing.

Still another, growing way to donate and also extend the amount of the donation is through Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs). Good old Uncle Sam does not want people who saved up for retirement to sit on their savings indefinitely. At age 70 1/2, a certain percentage of retirement accounts must be withdrawn as taxable income. By now, most people know about this. However, a real tax break exists if the RMD is sent directly to a qualifying charity instead of passing through the donor’s hands directly. The donation is NOT taxed as income but still remains a deduction. Some supporters have donated this way, and we hope more consider doing so.

Our income is also supplemented by donation cans placed in various businesses. A special program created by Steve Homick places cans in people’s homes and allows people to collect their spare change on a regular basis. It’s amazing how much comes in from these canisters. If you’re interested, just contact us at aidpa@enter.net.

There have been some big changes to our aluminum can recycling program which, to date, has collected 16,294 lbs. of product and raised $6,846.23. Sally and Danny Searfass, who run the program, note the following changes and clarifications from the recycling center:

  • Labels must be removed from cat food cans.
  • Beer/soda cans must be kept separate from cat food cans.
  • Please do not include 9Lives cat food cans, Special Kitty cat food cans, or tall cans of any kind (soup, vegetable, etc.) because they are steel, not aluminum.
  • Lastly, please do not include aluminum foil or foil products. We do not recycle those.

Thank You for your continued support and cooperation with our recycling program. EVERY DOLLAR COUNTS!!


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 register so your tapes can be counted 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. To maximize your donation, wait until you have a substantial number of tapes before mailing them to us. With the cost of postage so high, you might be spending on postage much more than the tapes will gen-erate. Best idea is to drop the tapes off at the shelter. That way, we will get 100% of the possible amount, and you will save the postage – especially at today’s first class rates!


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 form 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.

Download membership form here



New and renewals – find out more about it here.

Memberships make nice gifts too!


& EASter gift bazaar

Sunday, April 7
Saturday, April 13
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.



Saturday, May 4 
At Emmaus Fire Co. No. 1
50 S. 6th Street, Unit 1
Emmaus, PA 18049

Doors open at 12:00 noon
Bingo starts at 1:00 pm

Only 135 tickets available!

$20 per person

Join us for a fun afternoon 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:

Get your tickets at Animals In DIstress or 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 2 
At Animals In Distress
Starting at 10:00 am

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



Sunday, June 2 
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 21 
At Animals In Distress
Starting at 8:00 am

This is our biggest fundraiser of the year. It starts on July 15 with the daily WAEB early morning broadcasts and ends with an all-day event at the shelter on Sunday, July 21. More information in upcoming newsletters or check the web site for updates.

Bobby Gunther Walsh of WAEB 790AM is celebrating his 35th year at the station. Bobby has established himself as an advocate for some local charities, and Animals in Distress has been one of those charities for all 35 years. Our WAEB Radiothon is our single largest fundraiser. We are deeply grateful to Bobby and the WAEB Family for their kindness to us and their dedication to helping those without a voice.


Often, the animals we help arrive in horrible condition. Some are literally closer to death than life. A very recent example is a 5 month old shih tzu mix puppy who came in with an ugly, infected, tumor of some kind in her umbilical area. She was running a temperature, hadn’t gone to the bathroom in 3 days, and had stopped eating. Her owners said they could not afford vet care but didn’t want to see her dying slowly and in horrible pain. Although her chances were very slim, we rushed her to Perkiomen Animal Hospital. Tests showed that surgery was her only hope, and this little pup found herself on the operating table for hours. We will spare you the technical medical details about the surgery, but are happy to report that after several days of intensive care and medical support, Nala survived and got better to the point that she could be released from the hospital. She is such a cutie…to look at her now, you would never know how close she came to dying just a few weeks ago.


These pictures are from our holiday open house festivities. Let’s try to keep the Christmas spirit alive every day of the year. Don’t lose the spirit of love, hope and well being. Keep the light shining in your heart as we do at Animals In Distress.