Mission Statement: To care for homeless, abused, neglected and abandoned animals and educate the community to instill an increased awareness and commitment to the responsibility of animal ownership and protection.
Angel's Story: When an underweight, frightened terrier mix arrived at SHS this winter she was named “Ellie.” She had protruding ribs and engorged mammary glands that beckoned for the puppies that weren’t delivered to the shelter with her. As fate would have it, a mere 24 hours prior, 4 unweaned puppies had arrived at the shelter without a mother. Frequently an inner office bathroom is converted into a temporary nursing room for vulnerable puppies and the mothers nursing them – be it their own mother or not. When Angel was introduced to the puppies, the 5 homeless souls took to one another. Ellie quickly became an angel by becoming a surrogate mother. And so it is, Ellie became “Angel.”
As the puppies grow and begin to toddle about, their playful expressions of contentment and wellness penetrate the walls of their confinement and the hearts of those who care for them. Even Angel has somehow made herself at home and learned to trust that here she will be fed regularly and handled with kindness. She seems to be comforted by staff as they quietly whisper to her, “Just a little while longer girl, we’ll get you home.” She no longer withdraws from human touch but instead stands in watchful, tail-wagging anticipation of the next person to rub her ears and kiss her nose. Although it’s believed she appreciates her 10-pound weight gain since coming under our care, one must wonder if she knows that she has heartworms. Perhaps she attributes the fullness of her heart to the volume of love she receives from the kind humans she has come to know. We know she is sick and treatment is required to get her home. Yet another challenge for dog and staff alike, we invest in the promise of life and march forward with the plan for a homecoming. After all, this is no “Ellie,” this is an “Angel” in the bathroom! She may think she is in heaven but we know her heaven has yet to come.
Like the countless angels that came before her, she patiently waits for the promise of “home” to be realized. To Shelby Humane Society staff, she is not just a chore requiring daily attention, but a pair of big brown eyes eager to see the world in a different light. She is more than a surrogate mother to the 4 puppies she is nursing; she is the matron that epitomizes the hope of all who care for her. She is a beating heart keeping time with the days that pass before she finds her way home. She is a saint who fell victim to those who couldn’t appreciate her value but discovered herself worthy of being an angel. She is our angel in the bathroom, a temporary companion who makes all labor-intensive efforts worth the investment. And staff members embrace the hope that she will find her home. And sweet irony is enjoyed in realizing that although she may find heaven in any home, we know it is “Angel” who will make any home a heaven.