One Woman’s Life-Long Mission
by Melissa LaScaleia
On a hot day in July, Angie, a resident of the Market Common, and Grayson, a temporary one, come to meet me.
Angie is here to talk about Peace, Love & Paws, Inc., the non-profit animal rescue she started, and the grim reality of the dogs that she finds as well as their fate if they aren’t rescued.
“In the past, when I volunteered at shelters, it was really sad. They kill these dogs, puppies like him, and he’s perfect,” she says, pointing to the unselfconscious Grayson blissfully sprawled between us.
“In the North and places like California, there are mandatory spay and neuter laws. We don’t have restrictions like that here in the South, so it just adds to the problem. Dogs are released and have more puppies and they’re dumped back at the shelter. Horry County Shelter took in roughly 7,860 animals last year, and over 4,000 were killed. That’s more than 50%. This is in Conway; this is right here.”
One of Angie’s goals is to grow her small-scale spay and neuter program that provides financial support for those who can’t afford the service for their pet. Right now, she is able to sponsor about 2-4 per month, but she needs help and resources to grow the program.
“I’m a new rescue, and it’s just me and a couple people, like my transporter, Lisa Saunders, trying to make a difference in our community,” Angie says. “We want to grow this business— to educate people on the importance of spaying and neutering and on keeping your dog for its entire life— as well as to save more dogs in our area.”
How can our community help?
“We always need fosters,” Angie says. “When you foster, you get dogs ready for the world. It doesn’t have to be long term, usually a month or so. You foster a dog, you save a dog’s life. And we always need donations. The cost of spaying/neutering, vaccinations, food, and many have health problems that need to be treated— the minimum cost is several hundred dollars with every rescue to get them ready for a permanent home. Every dollar counts.”
“It’s really a lot of work, but it’s saving lives, and that changes yours,” she adds. “When you see these dogs with nobody, and then with the right family, it’s just the best. It’s been so rewarding for me, I would love to do this exclusively.”
Angie’s devotion for animals is so strong, that for years before she became a non-profit she sponsored, fostered, donated, and transported dogs, often paying for their care out of pocket before they found a permanent home. Grayson is her 61st foster that she’s cared for personally.
“Rescuing is a very passionate thing,” she says. “If you’re in rescue, it’s something you sleep, breathe and eat. You see these dogs, and it’s like, I just have to do something.
Angie Westfall can be reached by facebook or email, details down below.
She and her canine rescues welcome anyone who wants to help.