By Alyssa Schor
Stella weighed only 2.9 lbs when she was rescued from Smyth County, Va. in early January 2015. The 8-year-old teacup Chihuahua needed many of her teeth and several lumps removed. She had a massive flea infestation. Much of her hair was gone, and she carried a bad odor, too.
But when Michelle Nottingham, a friend of City Dogs Rescue’s fundraising events coordinator John Benedetto, first saw a photo of the dog online, she knew she wanted to meet her. After having Stella in her home for a week at the end of January, Michelle decided to adopt her.
“I just knew I was gonna keep her,” Michelle said. “She just clung to me ever since I got her. She loves me.”
Unfortunately, Stella faced more medical problems. She had a heart murmur, and she would occasionally collapse from lack of oxygen to the brain. Michelle brought Stella to a cardiologist, who ran several tests on the dog - as it turned out, she actually had bronchitis.
Michelle said Stella also was not receiving enough quality food, which may have contributed to the hair loss and odor.
“You could feel every bone on her body, and that was from having no muscle,” Michelle said.
Stella now weighs 4 lbs. Most of her hair has grown back on its own; the odor is gone. Her coughing from the bronchitis has stopped, and the collapses are far less frequent, thanks to all her medications.
Her teeth are still a work in progress, Michelle said. Stella can only eat soft treats and dog foods, as she only has three teeth – all on one side of her mouth. One of those teeth is infected.
Next month, Michelle will take Stella to see a specialist. The dog’s teeth cannot be removed unless grafts are put in, which are fillers needed inside the mouth to keep the jaw in place.
Although Stella still needs help fixing some of her medical issues, Michelle said her dog has come a long way in the few months she’s had her.
“She’s in tip-top shape,” Michelle said. “It’s amazing what she looks like compared to what she did.”
When adopted, Stella joined another dog, Vivian, in Michelle’s home. Michelle said the two dogs get along very well and keep each other company – Vivian has even taught her “little sister” to be a real city dog.
“She acclimated really well,” Michelle said of Stella.
Michelle said her favorite thing about Stella is her affection. Stella sleeps with Michelle and often sits on her chest when she’s lying down – traits of a true Chihuahua.
“She has to be near me, sit on me all the time,” Michelle said.
Stella loves to wag her tail, run in the grass and travel. Michelle said Stella loves to give her kisses.
“She’s such a good girl,” Michelle said. “I just can’t believe her transformation.”
by Meredith Raimondi (CDR Director)
"No group has more fun for a great cause." That was what Angela Oakley always said about City Dogs Rescue. The truth is that no one has more fun because we had Angela and she lit a spark in everyone she crossed paths with in her life.
We sadly learned that Angela (age 44) passed away last night after a courageous fight against breast cancer.
It is impossible to summarize the impact of Angela Oakley on City Dogs Rescue. To begin, it's important to know that Angela was there no matter what. Angela was there for the dogs and the people.
Angela started as a volunteer dog walker on March 24, 2012 after she saw a Facebook post from her friend Matt Tosiello. She was the first person to ever sign up for CDR's just-launched dog walking program and after her first walk, she signed up to help every free Saturday she had available through the remainder of the summer. If it was a Saturday morning in Dupont, you could expect to spot Angela in her Blue NC Tarheel T-shirt walking a City Dog.
Once diagnosed with cancer just a year ago, Angela never stopped volunteering for CDR. From the start, she was always one of the first to raise her hand to help (especially for the less glamorous sides of dog rescue like looking for a lost dog at 11:00 PM on a weekday or picking up a dog in the middle of Maryland at 1:00 AM). I can't begin to think of how many times Angela opened her car door to a dog in need of a ride and said, "Hop in!" In her first summer as a volunteer, Angela was joined by CDR co-founders Dave and Darren on a transport with dogs from Bladen County, NC. It was the first of countless road trips near or far that Angela made for rescue dogs.
Everyone knew Angela in the City Dogs Rescue family. Countless volunteers and adopters remember her as the first smiling face that welcomed them to our community. Angela served tirelessly in her role as Adoption Events Coordinator oftentimes transporting dogs without fosters who needed exposure most and braving hot summer days or freezing cold weather. Amanda Schwartz, a fellow CDR volunteer, said that everyone saw Angela as a friend because "Angela is the best of CDR". This could not be more true. No person or dog ever felt unwanted in Angela's presence.
Angela was one of CDR's biggest cheerleaders. She probably bought more shirts from CDRKid Ethan Katz's fundraiser than anyone else so that she could share her love of dog rescue with her friends and family.
Here are some Angela-isms from her Facebook page:
On City Dogs Rescue:
Here are some of the countless dogs that Angela walked or drove for CDR:
Angela always had the best descriptions of the dogs she met and made light of their goofier qualities as well:
When asked about her favorite dog, Angela said every time she met a dog she would think, "This is my favorite dog, but they’re all my favorite." Angela never picked favorites among people or animals, but it's no secret that to all of us at CDR, Angela was everyone's favorite.
To all of us at CDR, Angela was everyone's favorite.
Angela is survived by her mom Joyce and her brother Lee. She will be forever missed by everyone lucky enough to know her. CDR will be #TeamAngelaForever.
Help us spread the word about our online auction!
We are looking for gift certificates or tickets for restaurants, hotels, sporting events, performances, shows, concerts. Everyone knows someone!
If you'd like to help us contact places to donate, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested donors are asked to fill out the form below. (If the form isn't loading, please try this link.)
The deadline for submissions is June 30.
The flyer below provides information about CDR and can be given to contacts who might be interest in donating an item:
The file below can be downloaded and used as a gift certificate template if you like:
City Dogs Rescue & City Kitties volunteers.