“Sickly” Xena Gets a Personal Vet

“She made our daughter so happy.”

“URGENT – these 2 One year old kitties (one male and one female ) NEED OUT. They have upper respiratory infections and are NOT DOING WELL.”

This was the message posted on the Stray Angels Facebook page about Xena and Xavier, brother and sister cats in dire straights. With the help of staff at Animal Control, we transferred them to BAHS where they were put under the care of manager and vet tech, Tammy Allen. We crossed our fingers that they would make it… and they did!

Fully recovered, their sweet personalities emerged and both were adopted. Xena is now with the Hommel family, receiving regular check ups from a future vet. 

“We just adopted this beautiful little girl named Xena. She made our daughter so happy. She fits right in with our family and she is not at all scared of our two dogs. She is very curious and lovable.”

Thank you, Hommel family and thank you to all who worked together to save Xena and Xavier!

A ‘Tail’ of Two Jeffs

He-Man’s ride home
He-Man loves to go to the gym!

“I’ve become his person.”

Jeffrey came to us from Animal Control and quickly became a staff favorite. With his loyalty, love, and eagerness to learn, he stole our hearts.

We wondered who the perfect owner for our super intelligent guy would be… and then another Jeff walked through the door! Could it be fate? We think so and so does Jeff’s new dad, Jeff Rohr.

“This guy has changed my life for the better in less than three weeks. He’s spoiled rotten, get tons of attention, and goes with me practically everywhere.”

But this tail of two Jeffs ends in a surprise.

“After about three days of calling him ‘Jeff’ it got weird lol. […] We went out to walk and when we come in I always take all his gear off of him. He pulled, and I said, “Woah! Calm down, He-Man.”

When I said He-Man he got all excited. So I took his stuff off and said “He-Man!” He sat up all proud in perfect attention and posture. I said, ‘I think we figured it out.’ He responds to it well and has since the day we changed it.

He picked it, not me.”

But the newly-dubbed He-Man will never forget his roots.

“He was definitely meant to be mine and I’ve become his person. After all, he had my name on him!”

Happy tails to He-Man (The Artist Formerly Known As Jeff)!



Dobie was very timid beagle mix. We thought he was shy and just wouldn’t come but now we think he was physically and mentally abused. You couldn’t touch him. You couldn’t pick him up. You couldn’t put a leash on him. But we saw the look on his face and we just fell in love.

At the time we met Dobie, there were already two applications on him at the shelter. We thought, ‘There’s no way we’ll get him.’  But both of those applications fell though. We brought him home and it took a lot of time and patience but he’s doing great now. He’s a lover. He just loves to lay on you. The more you say, ‘Good boy!’ the more his tail just wags.

He wasn’t responding when we called him Dobie so we changed his name to Copper. He responds to his new name just fine. Our other dog is a boxer-terrier mix named Harley. Copper has become Harley’s shadow. They play together constantly. We feel like we are so lucky to have them in our lives.

Jeff Gulans, 49, Belleville

Artie & Chantilly

My cats Artie and Chantilly have their own You Tube video. I haven’t updated it in a while but you can type in their names on You Tube and it’s there. Artie was kind of challenged when I got him. He had a bad adoption before me and he wound up out-of-state at Animal Control. They were going to put him to sleep and two BAHS workers drove out-of-state to rescue him.

They showed me Artie and right away he came to me. Then I brought him home and he didn’t come upstairs for a month. After a while, he’d climb up on me. He was really lonely for another cat. That’s how Chantilly came in the picture – as a companion for him. They’re really good with each other. They love playing with laser lights and cat toys. And I love having them around.

Raenita Wallace, 52, Belleville


I train PTSD service dogs for military and first responders. Goose is my year-old black Lab. I originally got her from the shelter to train for a placement. She does everything perfectly. She can turn light switches on and off. Do anxiety alerts. But she has this tiny thread of shyness when it comes to yelling. Some of our veterans yell. So placing her as a PTSD service dog didn’t work out. I wound up keeping her and she’s now the official ‘spokesdog’ for Got Your Six support dogs. ‘Got Your Six’ is military slang for ‘got your back.’ The majority of support dogs we train are rescues.  Goose gets to go everywhere with me. Presentations. Movies. Restaurants. She’s happy because she’s never alone. And I’m happy because she’s just a great dog.

Nicole Lanahan, 36, of Collinsville



My dog Rodney is a Bassett-Lab mix. He’s really kind of weird looking. He’s got these stubby legs and a Lab head. He’s a complicated dog. He’s very selective in who he likes. But that’s OK. He’s attached to me. I can’t do anything wrong in his opinion. I used to volunteer at the Humane Society and Rodney had been adopted and returned more than once. Everyone said he was destructive when they were gone. I have two other dogs, so I thought having the other dogs for company would calm him down. He’s had no problems at all at my house. No destructive activity or separation anxiety whatsoever. The only problem is Rodney hates men. He’s finally gotten used to my husband, though. I told him, ‘He earns the money that puts the kibble in your bowl.’

Lorna Whisenhunt, 54, of Belleville

Willy & Figgy

I adopted my two cats Willy and Figgy (formerly Billy and Figero) because they were FIV positive. I felt so sorry for them. I thought nobody would adopt them because they’d think they were sick. They’re not really. They’re doing great. The vet said they could have a shorter lifespan but my daughter has had a cat that’s FIV positive for years. My two cats are darling. One’s cuter than the other. Figgy is the little one. He’s a brat – still half kitten. I can’t wait till he outgrows that. And Willy is just a lover, so sweet. The two of them follow me from room to room and sleep with me at night. Willy sleeps up toward my head and Figgy is down by my feet. They’re not there all night of course. They like to get up and romp around. There’s never a dull moment with those two.

Patricia Sullivan, 77, of Belleville

Boss – A Pit Bull


Boss is a pit bull-mastiff mix. He’s on the couch right now looking at me real strange because I’m eating a piece of pizza. Guess he wants it. He spent the day with me hanging out while I bartended at my bar the Double Deuce in Cahokia. All the customers know him there and the mailman brings him a dog biscuit every day when he drops off the mail. He’s just a great dog. My wife picked him out at the shelter as an anniversary present. He doesn’t get along well with other animals. But he loves people. He has no prejudiced bones in his body. Black. White. Purple. Polka dot. They’re all the same to him. He just doesn’t like dogs and cats. We don’t have any animals in our bar — just people — so that works out great.

Mike Olish, 66, of Cahokia

A Cat Named Cali


My cat was originally named Cali Wilson. I know some people change their pets’ names when they adopt them. But I kept the name Cali because my late husband’s name was Charlie. Take out a few letters from ‘Charlie’ and you get ‘Cali.’ I figure she’s my Godsend. She doesn’t like other people, though. She hisses and hides. But she and I get along fantastically. She sits in my lap for hours and touches my shoulders with her paws. She looks into my eyes and purrs. She follows me around the house and I love it. After my husband died, I needed someone to take care of. I needed a purpose. When I was looking at adoptable cats, the shelter employees thought Cali would be perfect for an older person without children – and they were right.

Cindy Walker, 64, New Athens