The “Angels for America Swim Suit Calendars 2019” are here! All net proceeds will benefit “Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet” and “Clear Path for Veterans” 501c3 public charities that support our military and veterans.
The proceeds received by Guardian Angels for Soldier’s pet will be allocated to our MVP Sanctuary program/capital project. Please help us spread the word and share with others. Calendar sales will continue through the end of December.
30 June 2018 – Krueger reunited with his dad after being in our “Pet Foster Home” program over the past eight months. For those who may not know, Krueger was attacked by other dogs during his foster term in April. He almost lost a paw due to an event with the neighbors’ furbabies when he placed his paw through a chain link fence. Luckily his paw was able to be repaired thanks to the wonderful care by Sugar Land Veterinary Specialists in Texas.
Welcome home to Krueger’s dad! Our sincere thanks and appreciation for his service, plus our sincere thanks to Krueger’s “Guardian Angels” (Larry and Carol) who went above and beyond in caring for Krueger. This is what “Guardian Angels for Solder’s Pet” is all about and WE couldn’t do what we do without everyone’s support.
We have three precious Georgia furbabies that need to be fostered for about 45 days (in and around Atlanta, GA preferred) while their veteran mom gets much needed medical care. They are Bichon mixes (picture above) ages 7, 12 and 14 – one female and two males. We would like to keep them in the same home if possible, as they have never been apart from each other.
In and around Colorado Springs, CO needed by April 16, 2018 – Deploying service member has beloved kitty:
“Clarence Whiskers” 1-year old-male, “Domestic Long Hair” kitty, neutered, current on vaccinations, FeLV negative, litter box trained, not declawed but owner uses “kitty caps” when Clarence loves to ride on your shoulders. No allergies and not special needs, good around other animals and kids over 6-years-old.
In and around Sacramento, CA needed by March 15, 2018 – Deploying service member has two beloved kitties:
“Bosco”, 5-year-old Bengal male, neutered, current on vaccinations, FeLV-Negative, good with other animals and kids over age of 6, litter box trained, special needs – FLUTD managed with diet and medications.
“Nahla”, 6-year-old female, spayed, current on vaccinations, litter box trained, no special needs, good with other animals and kids over age of 6.
We are trying to keep these furbabies together in same home. Foster term anticipated up to nine months. If you are interested in caring for these beloved kitties visit https://guardianangelsforsoldierspet.org/ways-to-get-involved/fostering/. To learn what is expected and submit requested info via our “Foster Home Application” toward the end of the page. Please share with others who may be interested in helping.
Great news! Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet (GAfSP) just earned the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar, the world’s largest source of nonprofit information. By sharing these metrics, we’re helping the sector move beyond simplistic financial ratios to assess nonprofit progress.
We’re proud to use GuideStar Platinum to share our full and complete story with the world.
To reach the Platinum level, GAfSP added extensive information to its Nonprofit Profile on GuideStar: basic contact and organizational information; in-depth financial information; qualitative information about goals, strategies, and capabilities; and quantitative information about results and progress toward its mission. By taking the time to provide this information, GAfSP has demonstrated its commitment to transparency and to giving donors and funders meaningful data to evaluate GAfSP.
We encourage other nonprofits to take advantage of GuideStar Platinum to share key metrics with the world and highlight the changes you’re making. Updating is free. To learn more about GuideStar Platinum please feel free to visit www.guidestar.org/platinum. To learn more about GuideStar, feel free to visit www.guidestar.org
How many of you adore your dog and treat him as if he were your child? I know I do. I talk to him, I feed him, I walk him, I hug him and I generally spoil him rotten. In return he follows me wherever I go, he licks my face, sleeps next to me, protects me and loves me unconditionally.
Now imagine that you have to decide whether to give your dog up or become homeless to keep him? How many of you would choose homelessness?
For veteran Airman, Clarence, the answer was clear. Go homeless. He would not leave Zeus behind no matter what. “We’d been together for 8 or 9 years and basically he’s the only friend I got.”
Clarence had fallen on hard times after being injured on the job as a corrections officer. “I got injured in Lebanon prison. I was a CO (corrections officer) up there for a couple of years and I got into a fight in a phone booth with an inmate. And what happened when I came out? I got two vertebrae’s touching a nerve and I got another chipped vertebrae.”
Despite being unable to return to work Clarence was denied disability. “If I get in an accident or if I slip and fall I could be paralyzed for the rest of my life.”
After losing most of his income Clarence moved in with his sister for a short time, but she wasn’t allowed to have dogs in her apartment so he eventually got kicked out. “We stayed down the street in an open field in a tent for a couple of days.”
Clarence had been working with Gentry, a case worker with the Veteran’s Affairs office so he gave him a call. “I told him what was going on and he hooked me up with you and Martha and a few other people. And we put him (Zeus) in a kennel for a while.”
Victoria S., the Northeast Regional Director, put Jamie M., the Pennsylvania Foster Coordination Liaison in charge of finding Zeus a foster home. According to Jamie, “It was fairly urgent that we got him (Zeus) out of there just for the cost and for Zeus’s well-being. Unfortunately Clarence thought Zeus needed to be an only pet so that limited our search. It was even harder in that a lot of people shy away from Akitas.”
And so the search began. “So I called I think every single person in the Ohio workbook. I reached out to VA’s I reached out to VFW’s American Legion, you know, all types of veteran organizations in Ohio. I sent out flyers.” Jamie got a couple of responses but each family already had other pets. “I opened up the search to Pennsylvania as well as New Jersey and I thought that if we found the perfect place we’d figure out how to get Zeus to his home.”
According to Jamie, “It wasn’t just me. I had an army of people.” Some of those most involved include Liz D., the New York Foster Coordination Liaison, Victoria S., the Northeast Regional Director, Jamie even recruited her mom and dad into helping.
Putting the word out finally paid off when a friend of Jamie’s recommended a friend of his who was a veteran himself who loved dogs. Thinking this was the ideal solution Jaime sent her husband, David, to Dayton, Ohio, to pick up Zeus while she went to do a home visit. What she discovered was shocking. “It turned out that he was a hoarder and there was not even one path through his rooms, he lived alone and things just unfortunately got out of hand. So I was panicking. I would not leave my dog there; it was dangerous. It was dangerous even for him (the hoarder) and I didn’t feel comfortable.”
Meanwhile David was almost to Columbus and thankfully Jamie’s father lived there so David was able to put his trip on hold and stay the night in Columbus. Once again Jamie was in a panic. “I called everybody I knew, every single dog person I knew…got the word out there because we needed a home right away.” Luckily Jamie found a woman in New Jersey who had just signed up to be a foster and although she wasn’t 100% comfortable at first knowing that Zeus was such a large dog, she finally came around when Jamie explained that Zeus was an older dog and he was a big teddy bear and a couch potato. For the first time in a long time Jamie was finally able to sleep easy without worrying about where Zeus would go.
“So I called my husband and said instead of coming back home with him you’re going to Cape May, New Jersey with Zeus. He said yup that’s fine.” About an hour later disaster would strike once again. “Like an hour later I get a call from the woman in Cape May in tears.” It turns out she lives in a community where they can’t have dogs that weigh over 50 pounds. “So at that point we’re back to square one and Zeus is in the truck.”
Jamie immediately began calling more people in her Pennsylvania workbook including calling people that had pets. With little hope of finding a home that would work, Jamie made one more call to a woman named Martha. “She’s a brilliant doctor that does a lot of volunteering with different humane societies and her local shelters. She has horses and goats and dogs and cats and I said no way it’s gonna work there and she said yea drop him off it’s fine. She (Martha) just stepped up, like there was no thought involved. I told her this whole desperate story and she was like yea drop him off, no big deal. Like “well” you don’t understand he’s an Akita. Yea that’s fine. You don’t understand he’s 8 and he doesn’t get along with anybody. Yup that’ll work.” So once again Jamie called her husband and had him change directions. He was now headed away from New Jersey and toward Pennsylvania.
Zeus finally arrived at his new foster home and the big test was going to be seeing how he would get along with all of the various animals that lived on Martha’s farm. As Martha so eloquently put it, “I knew it was a big risk because I didn’t know anything about this dog because he’s big and potentially he could have eaten me and eaten everybody else here but he was a lovely dog.” (I have to say I was relieved to hear that Zeus didn’t eat anybody or any of the animals at Martha’s farm!)
Back in Dayton, Clarence tried not to worry about Zeus as he moved into transitional housing at Volunteers of America. He was working at Kroger as a greeter and saving up money so that he could get back into an apartment or house where he could keep Zeus. He would periodically make calls to Martha to check on Zeus and they would exchange emails, but he said it was emotionally difficult to have Zeus so far away.
But despite missing Zeus, Clarence needn’t have worried about Zeus’s care. Martha was making sure that all of his veterinary needs were taken care of and he had plenty of pals to play with. “He (Zeus) and the goat and sheep played a lot. The sheep and goat would chase him and then he’d chase them.” Zeus was also a gentleman when it came to the chickens, horses, cats and other dogs. According to Martha, “He was probably the best trained dog that I’ve ever had. So even though he was huge he was very nice which made it much easier.”
Jamie also stayed in contact with Martha and made sure to send her heart-worm and any other supplies she needed.
What was originally supposed to be a 4 month stay turned into 10 months. But eventually the day came to take Zeus back home and Jamie was determined to get him there. “So finally when he got an apartment, I thought, whatever we need to do to get Zeus back home let’s do it and Martha’s like I’ll drive him out, no big deal. And she did. She drove him 5 hours one way and met him, did the whole reunion thing, drove back all in one day. She is awesome.”
Martha told me that she wanted to drive Zeus home. She wanted to meet Clarence and let him know about some health issues that he (Zeus) developed and make sure he had food and any other items he might need.
When she arrived she said, “I was like totally excited and just almost in tears when I saw he had a lovely quiet little cottage with a little nice yard around it and trees and, oh my gosh, Clarence is a wonderful man, beautiful man.”
When Zeus got out of the car Martha said, “He just jumped on Clarence’s shoulders, put his paws up there and danced around at his feet!” After that she jokingly said he was so excited he had to stop and do his business! Clarence described his reunion like this. “I thought it was great! A week later I became a granddad for the first time and it’s kind of like the same experience.”
Martha and Clarence both experienced something special from this arrangement. Clarence said of Martha, “Can’t ask for a better friend and I just don’t really know why people do things for you like that; it’s just amazing.”
But Martha shared a mutual respect for Clarence. “He’s a real gentleman, nice guy, and I really was just amazed and thankful that everything’s gonna…I think he’ll be okay.”
As for Jamie, she still keeps in touch with Clarence to make sure he’s doing well. She has even helped Clarence with some vet bills for Zeus when he didn’t have the money because he’d just paid his rent. She told Clarence, “I don’t want you to have to worry about giving him up again because of some silly $200.00 thing.” She added, “It’s Clarence’s dog, he’s had him since he was a puppy. They need each other at this point.”
Clarence says he will be forever grateful to Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet, Martha and Jamie. “It kept me from losing him (Zeus) and we reunited and I’m passing the word on to other people at the VA.”
I would like to personally congratulate Jamie, her husband David, Victoria, Liz and all of those who assisted Jamie in getting the word out, Martha and Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet for a job well done and giving Airman Clarence and Zeus their happily ever after!
And to Clarence, God bless you for serving our great country!
Nancy Emma, who now serves on the board of directors for Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet, was once a recipient of the organization’s programs.
According to Nancy, a Major in the Army at the time, she was on her second tour in Afghanistan when she was notified that her dogs were being abused by their caretaker. “She’d keep them caged up all day, go overnight with some guy.” Upset and furious Nancy began looking for help right away. “I had to do a lot of research. I didn’t know about Guardian Angels back then. I e-mailed everybody in the world.” Shortly after sending out her e-mail, a friend of hers back on base in Fort Hood, TX gave her Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet name. Nancy contacted the organization explaining the situation and was elated by the response she got. “Within two days, somebody was at my house to get the dogs.” Pedro, Loretta and Snowball were immediately placed in foster homes approved by Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet. Snowball was eventually taken in by Linda Spurlin-Dominik, CEO, herself.
When asked how she felt once her dogs were safe Nancy said, “I was truly relieved. Happy.” Another benefit of fostering with the organization was the contact she received from each of the foster families. “I loved seeing the pictures of the dogs.” Nancy became especially close with Linda whom she said, “Acted like a mother to my dog.”
Obviously pleased with the care her dogs received with Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet, Nancy fostered her dogs with them again for her third and final tour.
Now Nancy has become one of the organization’s biggest advocates. When asked if she has recommended Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet to anybody else she told me, “Everybody. Everybody. I used to hand out fliers at Fort Hood at the vet’s office.” She also told me, “I’d do anything for Guardian Angels.” And she does.
As part of the board, Nancy now helps come up with ways to raise money for Guardian Angel’s various programs. She also donates money every month as a way of paying back the organization that helped her so much.
Nancy also feels it’s important to spread the word about Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet. “We’ve got to let people know that there is someone out there to help them.”
Nancy also has a message for all of the volunteers with Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet. “For the people who volunteer, like the ones who took my dogs, all I can say is ‘thank you’ and God bless them because they give a lot of peace of mind to a lot of people.”