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Honor Grads



This is Ziggy, relaxing at home, waiting to carry out his next important assignment.  No, it’s not herding cats or mowing lawns, or anything ridiculous like that.  No, not that at all. Ziggy, you see, works part time as a therapy dog.  It didn’t start out that way for Ziggy.  He was just an ordinary little guy when he was surrendered to us at SOAR in 2013.  One of our most veteran volunteers, who up till then was exclusively a cat person, didn’t see the ordinary in Ziggy.  He never even made it into one of our kennels before she filled out the papers and snatched him up, so beginning their excellent adventure together.  Before too long, the decision was made to enroll Ziggy in Canine Academy in Bolivia.  He got his pet therapy dog certification from them this past June.  Twice monthly now, he visits with the folks at the Bolivia United Health Care facility, doing what he can to add a little joy to their lives.  And the cats and the lawns?  Well, it seems Ziggy has made a good choice.  “Life’s short”, he says…”do stuff that matters.”



His name is now “Oki”, but it was Mango back here in early November 2012.  That was just after he joined us as one of our first transfers from the newly named and newly managed Brunswick County Sheriffs Office Animal Protective Services facility in Supply. Mango entertained us – he really was entertaining! – until August of last year when some nice folks from Delaware (see homepage post) gave him another chance at the good life, and off he went.  We have just now heard from his adoptive Mom, Kelsey, who reports that he is a lovable boy who gets along fine with the family’s other dog and their 6-month old baby.  He wasn’t wild about the snowy Delaware winter, she says though.  Well Oki, you’re a lot more hound than husky, so what do you expect?  Happy times, boy.


Emily2 Emily


So, what were you doing in 2010?  Well, if you began the year with us at SOAR, you were witnessing a procession of managers as Patty Green departed and we went through some instability with Holly and then Michael, finally seeing us settle down under Karen Kreitzbender’s direction.  If you were still with us in December, you may have waved goodbye to Oliver the Rottie mix, as at long last he was adopted after calling SOAR his home since January 2004.  And, if you worked with our cats, you were most likely taking care of the then little 3-year old Emily, pictured above.

Emily was surrendered to us early in the year with her housemate Abby (“the Tabby”). Both were declawed.  They stayed in the back cage on the left side of the cattery, space now occupied by the small add-on room.  Actually, Miss Emily mostly stayed in the distinctive mail box carrier she was brought in with, and which is pictured in our homepage post.  Well, Abby was adopted first, and then Emily eventually found a new home with one of my neighbors in January 2011.

In the 3+ years since, Nancy and I have had the pleasure of taking care of Emily at times when her humans are away.  She is now a healthy 6-year old who likes to play with the string, lounge on laps (that one is mine in the bottom picture), and “inflict” the occasional ‘love nip’ if you are not quick enough, just like she used to do back in her days at SOAR. Some things never change.


Alice030814 Honor Grad

Here’s sweet Alice, SOAR class of 2013, in her favorite basket on the porch of her home in Martin County, Florida.  Many of our volunteers should remember Alice as the happy-go-lucky three-legged girl who lived with us in the space now occupied by Cami.  Alice joined us as a surrender in January 2013.  Jeannine told a friend of hers in Florida about Alice and the wheels soon went into motion.  Some friends of SOAR agreed to transport the 4-year old and by last August, Alice was embarking on a new life in the Sunshine State with her adoptive mom, Denise.  Great to see you again, Alice.  Thanks again for adopting, Denise.



By Anne Lewis

Many a parent has experienced the moment when their child has uttered the dreaded phrase “I want a puppy” knowing full well the ramifications and responsibilities of such an endeavor. The morning walks, the cost of veterinary bills, the inevitable “oops” that is found yet never claimed; not to mention the actual daunting task of selecting a breed that fits the needs or desires of their family. The concept is mind boggling yet many a parent will eventually heed this call from the family for a four legged friend to love and bring into their home only later to find they were not prepared for such a task. Instead of working through the issues with persistent training, guidance and love for the animal, many simply give in and take the dog to a shelter. Those are the better case scenarios. Others will be bad dog owners and abuse and neglect their pet, causing horrific emotional and physical damage to these loving, trusting animals. Again, these dogs end up in our local shelters through no fault of their own. All these dogs want is love and guidance and a chance to be a part of your “pack”, dog lingo for family.

Rescue shelters tackle the thankless job of housing and reintegrating these dogs with loving families that will give the dogs the lives they so richly deserve; lives of love, free from abuse and pain. It is a 24/7 occupation that receives little or no funding in many communities, and still, they continue to fight the good fight for the sake of the lives of the rescued animals. I admire the people that selflessly run these shelters immensely. They are the unspoken heroes of our communities providing a service for all of us that is valuable beyond measure and they ask nothing in return.

How are they providing a service for “all of us” one may wonder, especially if they do not have a shelter adopted pet? The answer is simple yet complex because these shelter animals are quietly all around us in our communities doing their loving best with their new families and they do not ask for praise, so we never really hear of all the good they do. It is much more newsworthy to report the negative so many news crews seek out the salacious stories, not the beauty and majesty of these animals. Ask many families that have adopted shelter pets and you will find a very different story. Our dog Thor is a rescue pet from our local shelter SOAR and we wanted to share just what a profoundly amazing member of our family and community he has become.

Thor is a Rottweiler-pitt bull mix that we adopted from the shelter just two years ago. He was one of the lucky unlucky ones in that he had been neglected and abused by his previous owner already in his short five months of life. He was lucky because he had been rescued, yet unlucky because of his abuse and the bad reputation the breed often suffers from due to being in the hands of bad dog owners improperly caring for or training these dogs. Many dogs of these breeds are hard to adopt out due to the misconceptions and unfortunately that will sometimes end in a perfectly loving animal having to be euthanized because of shelter overcrowding, etc. Although I say Thor was the lucky one to be adopted I have to say our family was the lucky one to be able to have Thor in our lives, truth be told.

Ever since his first tentative steps into our home he has steadily grown into an amazing invaluable member of our family, and our community. He has provided us with endless hours of love joy and amusement. Having suffered from PTSD for the past 18 years, I immediately felt my stress levels lowered simply by being in his presence, which in turn has healed my heart and my family in so many ways. The same may be said for all of our family, even our chickens, which he guards protectively having watched them grow from babies. Never once has he harmed another dog or human but he has chased foxes and coyotes from our yard and even survived a copperhead bite that could have easily been one of us had he not found it first. He took instantly to his training and is both hand and voice trained to follow instructions. He has sat beside us when we were sick and scared away intruders. He is truly a magnificent dog and we have SOAR to thank for allowing us to have him in our lives. He has been worth every minute of every day that he has been with us. We love him immensely, but that is only part of the story.

Saturday, September 3, 2011, Thor showed us all just how much of a valuable member of our community he actually is by doing something natural to him but heroic to us humans, he saved a life. Just as many rescue dogs become therapy dogs and members of local rescue teams Thor gave back to his community with his love and instinct.

As our family was preparing for the holiday trip to visit family out of town my husband, Colin, took Thor out to do his “business”. As it was customary, Thor followed instructions but for some reason kept turning and looking up the road. It being extremely hot outside, my husband called him back indoors, Thor, of course, complied but he kept looking back down the road. Once inside Thor began to scratch at the door at first then suddenly began to throw his front paws against the door trying to open it himself until my husband took him back out again.

Upon being let outside this time, Thor took off running down the street, and after my husband called for him to stop, he did, only to look back and bark, then continue out of sight. My husband Colin followed the dog, but Thor came back, and barked again, and then returned to the point of interest.

Upon arriving Colin saw that Thor had detected (almost a block away) that our elderly neighbor had fallen in her driveway after slipping, while collecting her mail. She was injured, and unable to lift herself. Colin then called 911, and then he called us to retrieve the dog, who had run to her, had sniffed her, and then laid down beside her, whimpering. Thor had never met Mrs. Simmons before and he certainly didn’t know where she lived but somehow he knew she was there and she needed help.

Ms. Simmons had fallen some time before she was found, and had been calling for help, getting weaker in the intense heat, and due to the fact that few people in the neighborhood were home, and the noises of lawn mowers in the distance were drowning out her cries for help, no one heard her. But Thor did hear, and he found a person who needed help, and then he returned to his master to alert him of the fact. Needless to say, Thor made a new friend that day and we are very happy to report Ms. Simmons is doing well and recovering from her injuries.

Thor and other rescue dogs that serve our communities are prime reasons why these animals should be adopted by caring people, properly socialized, trained, and loved, and SOAR being supported. You never know. An animal you rescue may save your life one day, or the life of someone you care about. Find out ways to support our local shelter, SOAR, by visiting their website. Every little bit you do really does add up to a lot in the end. You can make a difference and in your assistance, these loving animals can also continue to make a difference in our lives and communities.

Presto’s Legacy

How many people are able to live a life that leaves a positive influence on others that lasts for fifty years or more and keeps on going and growing? Probably not very many. How many animals can do that? No doubt the number is much smaller. This story is about an animal who taught an entire family lessons in love that are still affecting the lives of people and animals today. It is a story about a dog that was never at SOAR. In fact he died 40 years before SOAR was even born. However, if it weren’t for this one dog that died 50 years ago, SOAR would never have been born. This is the story of that dog, a family in Northern Ireland, and how SOAR came to be.

The year was 1946. Presto was eight years old and had just retired from the British Army. Or rather he got retired because he was getting older and was becoming a little

 Jean, Presto, Hugh

Jean, Presto, Hugh

shell shocked. In earlier days loud noises like the guns of war did not bother him but in the latter stages of the war he became ‘gun shy’ and it was adversely affecting his performance. In a way it was good timing as just as his performance as declining; so was the war. Presto was a ‘messenger’ dog. He carried messages between units. He was a full-fledged member of the British Army and had been so all of his adult life. He was trained in England and had served in Italy and Africa. He was given awards the same as human soldiers and had a medal for bravery.

A person, whose name has now been lost, was Presto’s caretaker/handler. He had to find a good home for Presto and he gave Presto to a gentleman whom he knew would provide this good home. The gentleman’s name was Mr. Blondell and he lived in Portrush, Northern Ireland. Portrush is a small fishing village on the very northern tip of Northern Ireland just across the North Channel from Scotland. Mr. Blondell brought Presto home to Portrush in 1946.

 Henry, Isobel, Jeannine, Jean, Liz, Georgie
Henry, Isobel, Jeannine, Jean, Liz, Georgie

Mr. Blondell lived down the street a little ways from the McCandless family, Hugh and Jean and their six children; in order, Moneta, Georgina, Jeannine, Henry, Elizabeth, and Isobel. Mr. Blondell was a good friend of the McCandless family and they saw each other frequently. Maybe because of all the McCandless children Presto decided he liked that family better. He ‘adopted’ them and was spending more time at their house than his own. A special bond quickly developed between Presto and the children, especially Moneta, and Mr. McCandless and Mr. Blondell decided to formalize a different living arrangement for Presto. Formalize is almost definitely too strong a word because what probably happened was Mr. Blondell said to Mr. McCandless, ‘you keep him’. And so it came to pass that Presto became a McCandless.

Presto was an Alsatian, or, as they are more commonly known, a German Shepherd. The strongest of bonds were quickly formed between every member of the family and Presto. He was a friend and a protector. No one would ever threaten the family and especially the children.

Presto was the kids’ constant companion. Well, almost constant. Liz and Isobel were walking with him one day when a man stopped and asked the children if Presto liked to

 Presto, Liz, Tonya, Isobel

Presto, Liz, Tonya, Isobel

ride in cars. Presto answered that question himself by bounding into the car. To the girls’ surprise and dismay, the man drove off with Presto. Liz and Isobel had no choice but to continue walking home and when they got there they were too scared to tell what had happened so they didn’t. They just said they didn’t know where Presto was. Which was actually very true, they didn’t. Thank goodness, in a day or so, Presto came home none the worse for his journey. No one ever knew who this man was or where Presto had been but it was pretty certain that no one would be able to keep Presto from returning home.

Jeannine, even now, 50 years later still gets a sparkle in her eye and her face lights up remembering that little escapade and some of the other things that Presto did. Her memory is as sharp as if these things happened yesterday.

Presto, probably harkening back to his former life as a messenger dog would run errands for Mrs. McCandless. She would give Presto a basket with a note in it listing the groceries she needed and Presto would go to the grocery store where the proprietor would put those items in the basket and Presto would bring them home. One day when Presto was returning home a bad dog named Red decided he wanted those groceries. Well, Presto made short work of Red but in the process the groceries got scattered. Presto gathered them and brought them home but got a scolding from Mom because they were dirty. A family friend who had witnessed the incident showed up and told Mom what had happened and saved Presto from further scolding.

There was another time that Presto got scolded and had to later be apologized to. A man came to the house and Presto growled at him. Mr. McCandless reprimanded Presto but it turned out later that this man was a thief. Mr. McCandless said he would never again doubt Presto’s instincts.

Presto would go golfing with Mr. McCandless and would help him find his golf balls. Of course, he wasn’t good at recognizing Mr. McCandless’es golf balls so, to the other golfers’ dismay, he ‘found’ their balls too and brought them to Mr. McCandless.

He would also accompany the kid’s grandfather to the cemetery every Sunday. For one hour every Sunday Presto would be with Grandpa at the cemetery. It was a tradition.

Another tradition was a common summertime activity in Portrush. Local kids would give diving exhibitions to the tourists. Jeannine was a good diver and she would perform. The tourists loved Jeannine’s performance; but, they loved Presto’s more. Presto would follow Jeannine off of the diving board to the great delight of the spectators.

Presto died in 1952 at the age of 14. To this day each of the McCandless children has an abiding love for animals and will tell you that it was Presto who gave them this gift. Mom and Dad taught them to respect life, and animals were always in their awareness, but it was Presto that gave this love and respect real meaning.

Shortly after Presto’s death his family moved to the United States.

Presto is gone but his legacy is very much alive today. Flash forward 40 years to 1992. Moneta was visiting Jeannine who was living on Oak Island at the time and in a conversation told her about a place in England called Reprieve that gave shelter and rehabilitation to homeless and injured animals. Knowing Jeannine’s love for animals she suggested that Jeannine consider opening such a place. Jeannine felt that Southport and Oak Island needed an animal shelter and that was it; SOAR was born on a three acre parcel of land near the airport. Jeannine will tell you that Presto instilled within her this love for animals that ultimately made it possible for her to open SOAR and care for the thousands of animals that have called SOAR home. So, in a very real way, Presto’s gift has been manifested in the improved lives of many, many animals. And not only animals. There have been hundreds of volunteers at SOAR over the years that have also had their lives improved by caring for the animals. New animals and new volunteers come all the time. And adopters too. So many families have had their lives enriched because they have made a SOAR animal a part of their family.

For reasons that have their roots back to a German shepherd that lived over 50 years ago in a small fishing village in Northern Ireland, countless animals and people now have better lives.


 Wilma L.T. FredDarlin'


L. T.



 Tom T. Hall once wrote a song about ‘Old Dogs, Children, and Watermelon Wine’, three things dear to his heart. Well, if he likes old dogs he would love our four honorees; our oldest dogs in both chronological age and ‘time at SOAR’.

These dogs are not SOAR graduates. In fact, barring a miracle, they will never be SOAR graduates. They are all teenagers (fall 2003) and SOAR is the only home they have ever known. Despite SOAR’s best efforts they have never been adopted. Their names are Wilma, L. T., Fred, and Darlin’.

How They Came to Be At SOAR

L. T.

One day in 1990, Jeannine got a call from two young girls on Oak Island with word that a dog had just been run over by a car. The girls told Jeannine that it was a puppy and was lying in the road but miraculously, was still alive. Jeannine asked the girls to be very gentle and to pick the dog up and bring it to her, which they did. Jeannine examined the dog and found not even a scratch on her. She seemed fine except for being very scared. Maybe it had been just dropped from the car instead of being run over by it. Jeannine told the girls she would take the dog, nurse it to good health, and try to find someone to adopt her. She named her L. T. She took L. T. to the vet, got her checked out, treated for worms, and got all necessary shots. And, as she had for so many other animals, she kept L. T. in the house until she was a bit older and healthier.

Fred, Wilma, and Darlin’

These siblings’ introduction to SOAR also started with a phone call. There is a mobile home park (Villanova) on Long Beach Road about a mile before you get to the airport heading towards Oak Island. A dog lived there but she didn’t belong to anyone; she just hung around the trailer park. She was a tall dog, rather fearsome looking but gentle, and she wouldn’t come close to anyone. She lived off of the food that residents would put out for her and whatever else she was able to scavenge. And, she had a lot of puppies…littler after litter.

One night, a woman phoned Jeannine and said that a litter of her puppies was stuck in a drain pipe on the property and that she was very afraid that they would die soon if they weren’t freed. It was raining and the woman felt there was a good possibility that the puppies would drown. Jeannine hurried there and after a quick examination of the situation could see that it was becoming dire. Jeannine could hear little whimpers as it began to rain harder and harder. She called 911 for help. Soon the rain was torrential and Jeannine knew those puppies had to be freed without delay and that there wasn’t time to wait for help. Her back was hurting and it was hard for her to bend down to where the puppies were but, probably with an adrenaline rush, she was able to get down, grab the pipe and break it. After the pipe was broken, Jeannine, and the woman who called her, reached into it and pulled the puppies out. All seven of them. ‘Mama’ dog watched all this activity with mild fascination but didn’t protest in any way.

Jeannine dried the puppies off, put them in her car, and took them to SOAR. Just like with L. T., and with all animals that come to be at SOAR, they got excellent care and attention. She kept them in her house, cleaned them, and took them to the vet for medical care. L. T. was living in the house at the time and she became good friends with the puppies, especially Wilma. So, Jeannine not only had her outside kennels full of dogs; she also had her house full. Adoptions needed to occur.

And adoptions did occur. The puppies were lab/pit bull mixes and four of them were more handsome than our honorees. They got adopted fairly quickly. Our honorees were not so lucky. No one seemed to want them, so they stayed at SOAR. And stayed, and stayed, and stayed.


It is now 2003, 12 years have passed and they are still with us. Even though they have always been sweet, gentle dogs, no one has ever adopted them. Often dogs will be adopted on a trial basis only later to be returned to SOAR. For one reason or another things don’t work out in their new family. Our honorees, rather unbelievably, have not even been adopted on such a basis. So, SOAR continues to do what it has always done, love them and take care of them.

In the case of L. T., Wilma, and Fred it is not hard to believe they are as old as they are. They look and act their age. L. T. is the oldest and her age definitely shows. Her gait is a little unsteady and she has arthritis or rheumatism. She stays in the same kennel as Wilma and they look after each other. Only on rare occasions will they go outside of the main dog enclosure. SOAR has approximately 15 individual kennels. These kennels, and the dog common area, are enclosed by a fence with two entry/exit points. Fred, Wilma, and L. T. do like to come outside of their individual

 Dog Common Area

Dog Common Area

kennels for a short time but they stay inside the fenced common area. They are content to feel the grass under their feet for just a little while and then will go back into their kennels. Both Wilma and L. T. will often scratch out a little hole in the ground and then lay in it until you ask them to return to their kennel which they will do without argument. They must like the combination of the cool dirt under their bellies and the warm sun on their backs. Fred will come out into the common area for just a little while and often goes back to his kennel without any coaxing. If you do ask him to return to his kennel he will do so without any fuss.

Darlin’ both looks and acts much younger than her litter mates. She runs very fast from one end of the common area to the other in much the same way that puppies and much younger dogs do. You don’t believe she is as old as she is when you see her bounding around. Darlin’, unlike the others, will go for walks with the volunteers. But, there is a certain radius from SOAR that she will not exceed. Maybe she doesn’t want to go far from SOAR or maybe far from Fred, her kennel mate. Who knows? When she reaches this ‘radius point’ she puts on the brakes and that is it, she isn’t going any further. All you can do is turn around and take her back.

Wilma and L. T. live closest to the entrance of the common area that the volunteers use. It is they whom we see first. It gives us a good feeling to see them and know that they are present and accounted for. Tammy, the Oak Island animal control officer likes to visit them and she tells them they’ve been taking their ‘pretty pills’. Tammy worked at SOAR during the years when these dogs were young so a special bond exists between them.

They are doing great but we worry about them because they are exposed to outside temperatures and winter will soon be here. SOAR is not fortunate enough to have a temperature controlled facility for the dogs. Whatever the outside temperature is; that is what they get. It gets very hot in North Carolina. And, it gets very cold. A Minnesotan or New Yorker may disagree with this statement about getting cold but most people believe 15 and 16 degrees F is on the chilly side. As senior citizens they cannot cope as well with temperature extremes as can some of their younger compatriots. L. T.’s arthritis is exacerbated by cold temperatures. But, they do not complain. They have lived through 2 or 3 hurricanes, every temperature extreme you can imagine, and countless terrifying thunderstorms. Yet, they are still with us and still doing well.

 SOAR Cemetery

SOAR Cemetery

We would love to have them adopted but it would take a very special person or family to adopt them at this late stage. There is a beautiful little cemetery on SOAR property where animals that die at SOAR are buried. In all likelihood our four honorees will some day be interred there. That will be a very sad day for us so let’s hope that it is in the distant future.

If you would like to meet them in person they would love to meet you. Come to SOAR and personnel there will introduce you. All four will be there; you can count on it.


Aug. 2004

Well, we said in the preceding paragraph that all four dogs would be at SOAR. Wrong. We are so happy to tell you that Wilma and L. T. have been adopted. We’re stunned to say the least. You can imagine our surprise when, after 14 years of trying to find them a home, we finally did. A most wonderful woman, Gisela, (the same woman who adopted Faith) said that she wanted to give them lots of love before they died. She wanted to take them home. We told her that L. T. was incontinent and this would be problematic. She said not to to worry, she would put diapers on her. Our owner Jeannine decided that Wilma and L. T. deserved this chance. And, with Gisela’s love for them things are working out great. They are sleeping on the bed and sofa, going out the doggy door when they want to go outside, enjoying Gisela’s other dogs, and basically living in the lap of luxury. We’re so happy. They haven’t had to deal with the extremely hot temperatures we’ve had this summer and hurricane Charley which was very difficult for SOAR was nothing for Wilma and L. T. All of us, humans and canines alike, are fortunate to have a friend like Gisela.

Fred and Darlin’ are still with us and still doing good. Darlin’ got hit in the head with a small tree limb during hurricane Charley but she’s fine. Is there someone out there that will take them home?

November 3, 2004

L. T. died today and we’re very sad. L. T. was 15. She was at home with Gisela and her best friend Wilma. She collapsed and Gisela rushed her to the vet but nothing could be done to save her. L. T. will be cremated and her ashes spread in the SOAR cemetery.

January 13, 2005

Fred has just been diagnosed with cancer. We’re very worried about him and only hoping it is very slow growing. He is feeling fine today and you would never know that he has cancer from observing him. He just hangs out with Darlin’ and is his regular self. We’ll keep you posted on his condition.

June 20, 2005

And now there are just two. Wilma was put to sleep today. Her arthritis had gotten so bad that she could no longer stand or walk. We are very sad about losing Wilma but glad that she lived the last year of her life in the comfort and love of Gisela’s home. Wilma is now with her best friend, L. T.

August 16, 2005

Fred and Darlin’ are still alive and managing to survive this terrible heat wave we’re having. Darlin’ is not looking good; she has lost a lot of weight. A trip to the vet could not confirm any specific illness. Fred, despite a cancer diagnosis eight months ago seems to be doing fine.

October 20, 2005

Fred and Darlin’ went to live with Gisela yesterday. Gisela is the most wonderful woman who is giving love and a home to our beloved Fred and Darlin’. They are so old and they need the attention and love that Gisela will give them. We are hoping that they will thrive and be very happy and have their lives greatly extended by being in Gisela’s care. Thank you Gisela, again.

February 8, 2006

Fred had not been able to eat for a few days because of acute kidney failure and on this day, Gisela took him to the vet and he was euthanized. Fred, at the age of 15, was gone. So now there is just one of our most beloved dogs left; Darlin’. Darlin’ continues to live in comfort and happiness with Gisela. Gisela has to endure heartbreak time and time again because the dogs that she prefers to adopt are those that are old or have disabilities. She is an angel.

August 2, 2006

Darlin’ died today. She held on for as long as she could but it was her time. She is now in heaven with Fred, L.T., and Wilma.


It’s hard to believe that this December will mark one year since Oliver (Class of 2010) has last lived with us at SOAR.  After an incredible 6 years and 11 months, and a few trial home visits, Oliver left us for the greener pastures of the home of SOAR volunteer Steve Salerno, wife Nancy, and their three cats.  Steve tells us he has settled quite comfortably into his new home as evidenced by his greeting visitors with that same protective “woof-woof” with which he welcomed visitors to his domain at SOAR.  He has slowly adapted to alpha cat Larissa (SOAR Class of 2005), and her two cohorts Maxine and Shelly.  This past February, Oliver celebrated his birthday – his 8th – outside of our gates for the first time in his life. Oliver arrived at SOAR as a “surrender” in late January 2004.  From what we can tell a lady from Wilmington had adopted him (then known as “Jack”) from the New Hanover Humane Society only a couple of weeks earlier.  Why she brought him to us seems unclear.  But with us he was when Steve began volunteering in February 2005, and commenced to make him his special friend.  Oliver’s ‘bark and back away’ ways discouraged would be adopters.  Not actually aggressive at all, but often fearful and anxious around strangers, and in unfamiliar places and circumstances, he ironically made visitors and new volunteers fearful and anxious themselves. Steve gained Oliver’s confidence and enjoyed some success with a ‘tough love’ approach in working him through his insecurities.  There were some rough spots along the way, like the time in July 2006 when Oliver nipped Steve in the back and ended up at Brunswick County Animal Services.  Oliver’s future was looking very bleak, but Steve bought him another chance, and the way things turned out in the end, we can be happy he prevailed.Steve and others made strides with Oliver over the years, but still it looked like if anyone was going to take him home, it was going to be only after a significant time investment in gaining his confidence and loyalty.  Steve, having already made that investment, pretty much decided it was going to be him or nobody.  The rest, as they say, is history.  We hear that Oliver is now a loving, loyal, mostly obedient and seemingly very happy member of the Salerno clan, and although he has not, and likely never will, completely exorcise his demons, he has surprised many a first time visitor to the house with a willingness to “buddy up” to them after an obligatory “woof-woof” or two.   On any given day, he can be seen giving Steve a face wash while lying on top of him, begging (successfully) Nancy for a treat under heavy tail wagging, or sprinting youthfully about the back yard.


Izzie (top) and Maddie (bottom) are wonderful girls. They were with SOAR for a couple months. Both of whom were adopted to special people to SOAR. Kristi and Evan adopted Izzie and she is so good with little Evan. Izzie and Evan are the best of friends.  Kristie says they could never of picked out a better dog!!

Maddie with Bob and Lisa. Bob has since passed and is missed greatly! His caretaker and “mom” to Maddie has welcomed Maddie into her home. Well, Maddie stole her heart too when Bob adopted her. She was just as much in love with her as Bob was. Bob continued to support SOAR after adopting Maddie.


GRACIE, GRACIE, GRACIE, such a good girl. Back in March, Randy and Amiee witnessed her get hit by a van that never even stopped. Her owner was going to have her “put down”, but her Angels wouldnt have that. Her owner surrendered her and she was taken to the vet. She had a dislocated hip, fractured pelvis and many cuts and scrapes.  Randy and Amiee fostered her and nursed her back. She was adopted by a great couple and Im sure she will live a happy and loved life thanks to her Angels, Randy and Amiee!!!

Gracie and her foster dad

Gracie and her new parents