Grant Recipient: Angel’s Rest Animal Sanctuary

Posted by Jennifer on January 9th, 2014

Congratulations to Angel’s Rest Animal Sanctuary, they are a $1,000 grant recipient from the 2013 Veterinary Care Fund! We are so moved by the amazing lengths rescues and shelters go to give homeless pets a chance at getting healthy so they can be adopted – and think you will be too! Here’s how this grant will change the life of a pet or pets in their care. Click on the images below to see them full size.  Before you scroll, please know: images show open wounds.

Angel’s Rest Animal Sanctuary
New Richmond, OH

Describe how a $1,000 Veterinary Care Fund grant will change the life of a pet (or pets) in your care: The funding will help with the ongoing care of pets like Lewis or to help animals like Sampson, Bella and Wilson.


Angel’s Rest was alerted to a senior dog in Kentucky that was thought to have been shot in the head and was not expected to survive.  Shelter personnel had taken him to the vet in tears for immediate care or a fast euthanasia to end his suffering.  Upon inspection, it was found that the holes in his head were caused by maggots burrowing tunnels underneath his scalp.  A massive infection had set in that caused necrosis.  Lewis had his wounds cleaned superficially, maggots removed, was treated with antibiotics, neutered, vaccinated and released to Angel’s Rest.  Intensive wound care started at the home of Angel’s Rest’s founders for intensive care.  Shortly after his arrival to the sanctuary, Lewis’ “flap” of dead tissue started to slough off revealing a massive open wound on the top of his head and extending down the back of his neck.  Lewis was quickly rushed to Angel’s Rest’s veterinarians where he was hospitalized for several days.  His head wound was completely cleaned and debrided of dead tissue and signs of infection, and the cause ruled to be a bite that went untreated.   Lewis was out of the woods, but the open wound caused problems as it had to be packed with sugar or honey and bandaged and cleaned daily.  Due to its position on his head, it was hard to keep clean dressings in place.  The doctor stitched large loops around the perimeter of his wound so that bandages could be “tied” to his head.  While the “tying” concept worked in theory, one shake of the head sent the clean bandages flying.  Lewis quickly became a social media star and he received good wishes from all over the world.  People donated items for wound management and he even got a “helmet” specially designed for him so that it could hold the dressings in place.  This too did not work effectively.  Finally, stretchy tube bandaging did the trick and his dressings remained in place.  Lewis also had holes in his ears which kept tearing open with every shake of the head.   All Lewis needed now was time and patience.  He was the model patient and saw the daily wound cleaning as signs of attention, something he seemed to have been deprived of in his previous life.  He sat quietly and without movement as he was treated.   Slowly, the wound started granulating and healing.  However, Lewis’ medical issues did not end there.  A nagging cough and some large suspicious tumors on his back had to be taken care of now that he was out of immediate danger.  Lewis’ surgery pathology reports revealed that the tumors were not malignant and a chest x-ray was unremarkable.  Lewis is currently being treated with several antibiotics for his cough which, to date, has not completely resolved itself.  Further treatment and a bronchoscopy will be required to determine the cause of his persistent cough.

Lewis upon arrival (click to see full size):

Lewis “after” – in foster care awaiting adoption:


When Wilson, an eight-month old Great Dane, was picked up by animal control, his leg was snapped in half.  After being hit by a car and left on the side of the road, Wilson waited on the pound’s cold concrete floor for the mandatory 3-day hold without medical intervention until he could be released to Angel’s Rest.  Due to the severity of his condition, Wilson’s only other option was immediate euthanasia.  Because of the work Angel’s Rest is known for in dealing with critically ill or injured animals, they were called in. Wilson was quickly rushed to their surgeon for an assessment of the break and a determination of whether amputation was the only option.   Repair was risky as there wasn’t enough bone area to accommodate the screws that would be needed to hold the plate that would stabilize the broken bone.   Still Angel’s Rest opted for surgery so that Wilson could have a chance at a normal life.  Surgery was a success and now came time for rest and rehabilitation.  However, as Wilson convalesced, a massive infection caused by an adverse reaction to the plate and screws started brewing.  With each passing day, his leg became more swollen, red and painful.  Strong antibiotics were administered and, while they helped temporarily, they did not overcome the infection.  Wilson’s only option now became surgery to remove all the hardware that his body was rejecting.   The dilemma now became whether it was too soon to remove the plate that stabilized the broken bone.  Before the surgery could even be considered, his infection had to be brought under control.  Surgery was again successful and Wilson was again on his way to recovery and rehabilitation.  Once again, infection set in after the second surgery and, again, Wilson went on a course of strong antibiotics.  This last time worked for good.  Wilson was recovering and doing well.  In the meantime, Wilson’s forever home was found in Pennsylvania.  A home check was arranged through a local rescue which revealed that this was a perfect home for the young Dane who had been through so much in his short life.  The best part was that he would now have a Dane brother named Dozer as a companion.  On March 17th, Wilson’s new family came to Ohio to pick him up and take him home, but not before he marched in the Cincinnati St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  Wilson and his new family led the Angel’s Rest contingent.  It was a proud day for Wilson and Angel’s Rest as Wilson marched along with his brother and new parents.  When the only option was thought to be euthanasia or amputation, Wilson proved everyone wrong with his strong will.  No longer relegated to a cold concrete floor, Wilson now sleeps on a warm soft bed that he shares with his parents and Dozer.  He will be spending the holidays in a loving home where he is revered as a member of a caring family.




Sampson arrived at Angel’s Rest on the verge of death from a Kentucky kill shelter where he was scheduled to be euthanized.  He was too weak to stand, intact, blind, deaf, emaciated and his head and ears were infected.  Wounds on his head and neck had gone untreated.  Sampson was so weak that he had trouble keeping his head up.  Warm fluids and food were administered immediately.  He was covered in mud, dried blood, feces, urine, and pus, but a bath was not an option because of his weak condition.  Sampson got immediate medical treatment which revealed that most of his condition was due to advancing age and severe neglect, all avoidable had whoever owned him previously paid attention to the needs of a geriatric dog.  Instead, Sampson was chained for the better part of his estimated 13 years to a stationary object.  In fact, at the time of his surrender to the pound, he still had a thick logging chain padlocked around his neck.   Sampson’s critical care continued and, with time, his body slowly started to recover–his body, but not his mind.  Still blind and mostly deaf, Sampson started appreciating kind human touch.  He spent hours on an enclosed sunny porch so he could get air and sun, supplements were added to his food to bolster his strength and he rested his old bones on a warm comfortable bed.   However, the imprinting of being confined to a small circle defined by the length of a short heavy chain left Sampson emotionally scarred.   Sampson spent every waking moment pacing in a small circle.  No matter where he was, he paced.  Volunteers found watching Sampson very stressful as they assimilated the pacing with pain and discomfort, but Sampson wasn’t uncomfortable or in pain.   He paced because that is all he knew how to do.  The only time Sampson stopped pacing was when someone would pet him or touch him.  Angel’s Rest understands that, even though it tries to emulate the “home environment” to the best of its ability, nothing equals the love and comfort of a real home.  Sampson soon developed a huge following on social media and while many were invested in Sampson’s care, none offered to open their home to such a special-needs older animal until Sandy stepped in.  Sandy became his human mother.  She cooks for, cuddles, and worries about him, tucks him in at night, and tends to his every need.  She researched ways to help him live the best life possible for however long he has left.   Sampson now knows his home routine.  He has his favorite places in his home and he knows that, when food is being prepared, he gets a treat and a place at the foot of the dining table.  Best of all, for the first time in his life, Sampson has a real home, a sense of belonging and a human mother that cares about him, something he never had before.  Sampson is now a happy, healthy, loved old dog.




Bella, a young husky, was the victim of severe abuse.  Her sad story began when a 22 year old got her as his pet and died shortly after from brain cancer.  His father took Bella in.  Instead of honoring his son’s memory by caring for Bella, he proceeded to physically and emotionally abuse her.  This man not only dropped a crate on Bella’s head causing injury, but proceeded to punch her repeatedly in the head every time he drank.  The constant blows to an already injured head caused severe deformities and slight retardation.  As a result, Bella’s jaw is forever twisted to one side and she cannot close her mouth.  Her tongue usually hangs to one side and becomes extremely dry.   Immediately after arriving at Angel’s Rest, Bella got a full medical examination, was spayed, vaccinated and micro-chipped.  Amazingly, Doctors did not predict serious complications from her injuries as she got older.  The worst had already been inflicted on this poor young husky.  Bella soon became the darling of Angel’s Rest.  Everyone could not help but be outraged at what was done to her and, still, Bella held no grudges and loved everyone she met.  At this time, it was unclear whether her injuries affected her behavior and trainability.  Still, volunteers persevered and worked with her on a daily basis to ensure she picked up good manners.  In the meantime, while a a nationwide search to find Bella the perfect home started, Bella had to be hospitalized due to a case of parvo.  Angel’s Rest networked and posted her story.  And, while recuperating, the perfect home was found for this precious pup.  Bella was going to Arkansas to live with a war veteran who had served two tours in Iraq.  A victim of trauma himself, it was the perfect match.  Volunteers banded together determined to get Bella to her new home.  Each leg of her transport was quickly committed to by a volunteer as, by now, everyone was invested in Bella’s bright future.  Angel’s Rest even found a rescue volunteer in Arkansas who performed the home check in order to ensure that Bella ended up in the best home possible.  The interstate trip was full of attention for Bella as transporters showered her with love, treats and tasty fast food.  Even the local news covered her story as her journey began.  Once the journey ended, Bella was greeted by her new dad Paul along with several canine brothers and sisters.  Bella was indeed home.  Thanks to so many that worked to help Bella, she will be spending this holiday in her new home.  As a result of Bella’s transformation, Angel’s Rest Animal Sanctuary was inspired to start the Little Soldiers Program, a program designed and dedicated to match returning war veterans with homeless pets.  Bella was the first to be placed under this program and will forever be the original Little Soldier.  Angel’s Rest hopes that many “perfect matches” will result from their Little Soldiers Program and they all have fairy-tale endings as Bella did.




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