Making sure a dog’s final days are filled with love

The Means Report

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Canine Hospice Animal Rescue hopes that you will consider them as you make plans for your end of year giving. Angela Wilson shares how they make sure dogs have the best end to their life surrounded by love.

Brad Means: Angela, thank you for what you do for our animals and thanks for being with me today.

Angela Wilson: Thank you, I appreciate you spotlighting us.

Brad Means: Well, I want you to take a moment and just tell folks what Canine Hospice Animal Rescue is all about. It is pretty much the more I learned about you all, exactly as the name indicates, you usher these sweet animals through the end of their lives, right?

Angela Wilson: Yes sir, we hope to work with our area shelters, we’ve reached out to the Aiken Shelters and hoping that they will work with us. What we are trying to do is keep dogs from being put to sleep in a cold sterile environment. We want to bring them home, if they need medical help, we get them that, if our vet says that there’s just nothing, nothing we can do to make their life better, we give them their last best day, which is another program we have, we take them and we go to the Buddhist temple, we go to the Lake, we go to McDonald’s, Starbucks, we just do give them a steak, give them a hamburger, give them their very best last day that they could have.

Brad Means: So in some cases there are animals that you can rescue and find homes for, is that true?

Angela Wilson: Yes, if we can get them healthy, enough to where they can have a helpful line, we will absolutely. We have one right now that maybe she will be able to be, her name is Daisy, she has a cancer, we already know what it is, but we may be able to remove her leg and her have many more years.

Brad Means: Who brings you these dogs, is it shelters only? Or do people ever say, “Look, I can’t handle this part, it’s too hard, you take over.”

Angela Wilson: Well, right now we’ve had a couple of shelters, we had to go like three hours away to get our first one and she was in very, very, very bad shape. And we gave her her last best day, this one came from shoot, it came from over in Columbia County.

Brad Means: Yeah.

Angela Wilson: We transported her over, we are willing to be able to… If it’s a true hospice case Brad, they need to talk to us and let us evaluate it. And if it’s a true hospice case, we will consider taking it. Even if it’s from a private individual.

Brad Means: What’s-

Angela Wilson: We’re hoping-

Brad Means: Yeah, I was just gonna ask you real quick, what determines hospice? Is there a timetable that you think the animal has to meet? There’s no real way to say this I guess that would make you say “Yes, this animal needs hospice care.”

Angela Wilson: It’s kinda like with humans Brad, if it’s to where they’re coming to the end of their earthly life.

Brad Means: Yeah.

Angela Wilson: Then we will take that and we will give them as much love as possible. Everyone on my board are loving, we take them and we do things, if one of us can’t do it at one point another one steps in, we just don’t see the use for dogs to not have a loving ending.

Brad Means: What made you notice this need? Is it just kind of the kind of human being you are? You woke up one day and said, “That’s not how a dog should go out on a cold steel table.” What tugged at your heart?

Angela Wilson: Well, rescue started with… My rescue journey started with a dog that I rescued in Hawaii, from the shelter there and it has boiled over and I came home and we were stationed in Georgia and I helped with a couple of rescues and at that point I said, “I wanna do it my way, my vision.” I want them to be to where somebody is loving them.

Brad Means: Yeah.

Angela Wilson: Puppies, somebody is gonna always adopt a puppy, somebody is gonna adopt a two or three year old dog, but when shelters get in dogs that are dying, nobody wants them, we want them, we will do whatever we can, just to help them.

Brad Means: I’m one of those people who believes that dogs understand us, I believe that-

Angela Wilson: Absolutely.

Brad Means: They can communicate with us in their own way.

Angela Wilson: If we listen, they will talk.

Brad Means: Yeah, no, I agree with you. Have you seen any signs from these animals when you’re holding their paws through these final days that let you know that your work is appreciated?

Angela Wilson: My passion began when I moved to South Carolina to wait… To come to fruition when I moved to South Carolina and my first dog that I had, his name was Forest, who became a hospice foster and he never left my house. We thought he was going to die quickly, he lasted four years and that dog is my wine, he is the reason that I do it all. And I know when I was laying there, holding his hand, telling him it’s okay, I know that he knew that I loved him and I wanted to honor him by helping him.

Brad Means: Oh, I know he knew that too and he’s looking down at you with a full heart today, does it ever get to be too much? I would ask a hospice worker for humans the same question where you just say, “I can’t take another sad day.”

Angela Wilson: You know what sad days… There’s not a whole sad day, we have a lot of joy because on our way to take them to be put to sleep, we are getting them their puppuccino, we’re gonna get them another hamburger, they really… They think that they’re just being spoiled in which they are. And whenever I take them, normally I end up having to carry them into the vet because they just can’t and I talk to them the whole way. Do I cry? I cry buckets full.

Brad Means: Yeah.

Angela Wilson: But they’re worth it, their tears are worth it.

Brad Means: Does anybody ever try to bring you a cat or any other animals or do you have a dog’s only policy?

Angela Wilson: No, totally we would do a cat. The cat would have to go into one of our bedrooms, ’cause our dogs, most of them don’t like other people, they don’t like… I mean, they don’t like other dogs, so we make special accommodations in our home if we know that it’s gonna happen. And that’s just what we are. We call ourselves CHARS for Canine Hospice Animal Rescue. And we all do whatever needs to be done. In fact, this wasn’t a hospice case that we would think, but I had a squirrel come into rescue and she was hurt, we thought we were gonna loose her, her name is Stella and she’s still at home.

Brad Means: Stella the squirrel is thriving today?

Angela Wilson: She sure is, she’s happy, she will never be released.

Brad Means: How can people help you?

Angela Wilson: And that’s just-

Brad Means: What do you need from this community? Just should people just mail you checks? And we’re gonna put your information on the screen before we’re finished with you, but should they mail you money or can they volunteer and help you in that regard?

Angela Wilson: Eventually we are gonna have fosters, and I will put that out on our website and our Facebook page when that does happen, right now, I’m the one that’s fostering, ’cause everybody else has a day job, so my day job is dogs, we do need funds, I’m not going to lie about it.

Brad Means: Yeah.

Angela Wilson: It’s not cheap to take them to the vet to see if we can save them. And if we can save them, we’re gonna, if not, we’re gonna make their life the best it can be.

Brad Means: How many dogs do you have around you right now? Are you at a low number, medium, high?

Angela Wilson: I’m right now sitting in South Arkansas with my mom for Thanksgiving, so we have two with us. We have my service dog and my mom’s little Min Pin who was mine and she loved my mom so much, she’s here, I have seven at home and one of them being Daisy, who is… She’s being evaluated to what we can do with her, should we get to find out she had mouth cancer, so that’s gonna be expensive.

Brad Means: Do the vets ever give you a break? Do they ever… I’m not saying comp their services, but at least cut you a deal because of what you’re doing and the good that you’re carrying out every day?

Angela Wilson: The vet we use and we use exclusively, is North Augusta Animal Hospital. That’s Dr. Jamie, she does less than the bill, as much as she can, because she sees what we have the ability to do in our communities and she wants to help. She’s very, very straightforward, she’ll tell you, “Angela there’s nothing we can do, make her comfortable.” And that’s what we do.

Brad Means: Yeah, I think we’ve had her on the news before, she seems like an angel. Let me ask you this, what about dog food or leashes or supplies, anything like that that might help you? And certainly Starbucks Gift Card and things like that, but what about leashes and food?

Angela Wilson: We actually, thank you for asking about food, we are going to be setting up a community dog food bank. Our community may need help, some people, the difference in them having to put their dog in a shelter and keeping their dog, is a 25 pound bag of dog food, we want to feed their dog. We will facilitate in any way we can, we need dog food, people have cats, we need cat food, dry and wet, and it will do a great service to our communities in the local area.

Brad Means: I just want to thank you-

Angela Wilson: Other than-

Brad Means: No, no, you go ahead, you finish go ahead.

Angela Wilson: The leashes, we need leashes collars, Halters, sometimes, yes towels, used towels that we can bleach because the dogs, if they have tumors, the tumors may bleed, anything that you don’t need, we do.

Brad Means: Angela Wilson, I just can’t thank you enough for what you’re doing for the dogs of this world, the animals of this world, you just have a wonderful heart and I can see it coming through the screen all the way from the great State of Arkansas. And I appreciate you so much and hopefully we’ll generate some interest and some help, for Canine Hospice Animal Rescue AKA CHAR, I appreciate you.

Angela Wilson: Yes.

Brad Means: You have a safe trip back-

Angela Wilson: We appreciate you.

Brad Means: Yeah, you have a safe trip back when you come home, okay?

Angela Wilson: Alright, thank you so much.

Brad Means: Thanks, Angela Wilson with Canine Hospice Animal Rescue.

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The Means Report first aired in January of 2009 offering coverage that you cannot get from a daily newscast. Forget about quick soundbytes -- we deliver an in-depth perspective on the biggest stories. If they are making news on the local or national level, you will find them on the set of The Means Report. Hosted by WJBF NewsChannel 6 anchor, Brad Means, The Means Report covers the topics impacting your life, your town, your state, and your future.