For Pet's Sake

January 2023

Monthly Spotlight

The Strength of a Mother's Love

Foreword: This is a long one but so worth the read. Shared to us by Julie from Paws Crossed Animal Rescue. This is an example of why rural shelters like VRHS participate so vigorously in tranports, despite how expensive, exhausting, and emotionally taxing those long trips can be.

The Story:

Julie’s choice for 2022 was a sweet little hound dog named Maize. Paws Crossed received a plea from our amazing partners, the Shelter Dog Transport Alliance. They had a young dog that had been found abandoned in a North Carolina dump site. As if that wasn’t horrific enough, she was out there, barely surviving, with her 7 babies! She was heroically raising them there, giving them all the nourishment she could, essentially starving herself to make sure her babies stayed healthy. Maize was literally skin and bones when she and her babies were finally found. From the short message and the first pictures we received of momma and her pups, we of course said "Yes Yes Yes … Send them all North!" When she arrived at Paws Crossed, she made sure all of her babies were fine, then proceeded to greet everyone with the kindest puppy snuggles and kisses. Despite all she had been through, Maize could miraculously still see the good in humans.

We were thrilled when her 7 puppies (fondly known as the ‘Potato Puppies’ as they were each named after a kind of potato dish) were all adopted. Soon after, it was Maize’s turn. A family of 5 came in and met a few dogs…Maize had also met a few families…but it wasn’t until these two amazing forces met, that a very special connection was formed. Little did we know at the time of adoption, just how deep this bond ran.

When Julie reached out to the family that adopted Maize to get a little update for her end of year tale, she had no idea that the email she would receive back would literally stop her in her tracks. It is a story that speaks of resilience, bravery and unwavering gumption… but most of all, it speaks of the tremendous love of not one, but two very strong mothers!

Joe, the father in the family, wrote back with the most raw, honest and loving email. He writes about how the kids, the other dog in the family, the neighbors and even the postman love Maize, but when he talks about his wife … well …. we were going to paraphrase, but the email is just too incredible and powerful not to share in its entirety. Sit back, grab a tissue and get ready to read about Maize and Margaret.

Joe's Email:

Maize has been such a delightful addition to our family, and frankly, our neighborhood. While we’re working with a trainer to get her to realize that other dogs around town are friendly and prospective dog pals, as opposed to causes for concern or alarm, she has quickly become best friends with our other dog, Cinnamon. They love to play in the yard, chasing each other around and wrestling occasionally, stealing each other’s toys in acts of doggie derring-do. When worn out, they rest together, basking in the sun on the deck or often sharing a bed or crate!

As for people, Maize is, dare I say, A-Maize-ing! She’s calm and patient with us and our 3 kids, has a growing group of neighborhood admirers who frequently comment on how beautiful a dog she is, and just buckle when we share her “garbage dump with 7 pups” back story. Even our mailman, mythical canine rival, is over-the-moon in love with her, always stopping to give her a biscuit and kneeling down for some mutual affection during his busy day.

There’s another very emotional, symbolic piece of this story that we have not shared with you, and the reason I knew instantly that Maize was “the one” when I first laid eyes on her on the Paws Crossed adoption page. In June of 2021, my wife Margaret, extraordinary mother of our 3 kids, super animal lover, and main force behind all of our dog and cat adoptions, was diagnosed with stage 2 metastatic breast cancer. The fine doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering formulated a fairly aggressive treatment plan including chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation treatment. It was a tricky, debilitating, and exhausting year for all of us, especially navigating her being immunocompromised in the midst of the Covid pandemic. Yet, Margaret persevered. And she did it with such grace, knowing she had to be tough for her family and, most importantly, for our 3 “babies”. As the dust settled this past summer and Margaret started to feel more like her old self again, she didn’t want a fancy vacation or shiny jewels to acknowledge her endurance through the struggle. She wanted another dog. That was it. One more family member to share in the love, joy, and hijinks. I was reticent but no way could I get in the way of that simple desire.

Enter Maize. Abandoned with 7 puppies in rural Appalachia and using every bit of her resourcefulness to keep them all alive and fed. I have no idea how she did. Just like I have no idea how Margaret did it. Except that they are both mothers whose hearts were so bursting with love for their charges, that nothing could stop them. Because that’s what mothers do. When fate intervened to get Maize and the pups up to Paws Crossed, we watched from afar as all the “potato pups” were adopted. When we saw, after weaning and recovering from all the trauma, Mama Maize was up for adoption, that was it for me. We went with an open mind to see a few dogs that we liked and thought may be good fits with our kids and Cinnamon, but I knew in my heart, and I suspect Margaret did, too, that there was exactly one dog we were bringing home that day. It was Maize girl, a four-legged testament to the enduring, impossible love that a mother has for her babies, and now our new baby! How sweet it is!

PS: Thanks for giving me the opportunity to sort through all those big emotions that have been swirling around my head and heart for weeks now.”

Big picture

Maize & Margaret


100% of all donations help support Valley River Humane Society Shelter


Big picture

Cold Weather Safety Tips for Your Pets

Winter is here, complete with the recent sub-zero temperatures. Many of us love to play in the snow with our dogs, and enjoy being outdoors, but when is the cold too cold for our beloved pets?

Not all dogs are the same with respect to temperature tolerance. Dogs with a thick, double-layered coat (such as Huskies) can tolerate colder temperatures than a breed with a thin coat, like greyhounds, pit bulls, and chihuahuas. Most cold temperatures aren’t much of a problem for a dog until they reach 45 degrees F, the point where most cold-adverse dogs become uncomfortable.

Below 32 degrees, pets that are smaller, with thinner coats, and those that are very young, old, or sick, should only be left outside for very brief periods of time. At around 20 degrees, the potential for frostbite and hypothermia increases significantly for our dogs.

To further help prevent cold weather dangers from affecting your pet’s health, please heed the following advice from experts at the ASPCA:

· Antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle.

· Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories, and making sure she has plenty of water to drink will help keep her well-hydrated and her skin less dry.

· Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.

· Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside. If left outdoors, pets can freeze, become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured, or killed. In addition, don’t leave pets alone in a car during cold weather, as cars can act as refrigerators that hold in the cold and cause animals to freeze to death.

· Repeatedly coming out of the cold into the dry heat of your home can cause itchy, flaking skin. Keep your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as he comes inside, paying special attention to his feet and in-between the toes.

· Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. If your dog is long-haired, simply trim him to minimize the clinging ice balls, salt crystals and de-icing chemicals that can dry his skin, and don’t neglect the hair between his toes.

· Massaging petroleum jelly or other paw protectants into paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemical agents.

Big picture

Six games will be played each Bingo Night with a 15 minute intermission after game 3. Card sales are: 3 cards for $10, 6 cards for $15, and 12 cards for $20. Bingo daubers are available for sale at the event. All winners will recieve Cash prizes. Snacks will be for sale or bring your own. A 50/50 will also be happening during the event. Thank you to Downtown Pizza for being our January Sponsor!

All proceeds from this event will benefit Valley River Humane Society Shelter. 501 (c) (3)

Microchip Your Pet Today!

Big picture

You and your pet belong together!

When did you last update your pet’s microchip registration?

It is crucial that you update your contact information when you move or get a new phone number. A microchip can help find your lost pet only when this information is accurate.

After you adopt a new pet from the VRHS, please register your dog (or cat if chipped) immediately by calling Smart Tag at 1-866-603-6863 or go online at

If you don’t know the name of your pet’s microchip company, the microchip number can be input intothe microchip registry lookup at the AAHA’s Universal Website: The name, phone number and website of your pet’s microchip company will be provided, along with the last time the microchip was updated. Alternatively, your local veterinarian and the VRHS can scan your pet for the microchip number.

Any found pet without a tag can be scanned for a microchip. All local veterinarians and the Valley River Humane Society will scan a found pet to help locate its owner. Please help VRHS keep you and your pet together!

Did you know 1 in 3 pets will go missing in their lifetime? We’re partnering with Petco Love Lost to help pets reunite with their families. Petco Love Lost is a free, easy-to-use national resource, using patented pet facial recognition technology to make it easier than ever to find possible matches for lost and found pets. Join us, let’s unite to reunite at


We are thrilled to partner with Petco Love Lost, a central searchable resource helping lost pets reunite with their families. 1 in 3 pets will go missing in their lifetime and almost 10 million pets go missing every year, but, together, we can change the outlook for lost pets.

Petco Love Lost is a free, easy-to-use national resource, using patented pet facial recognition technology to make it easier than ever to find possible matches from community members and shelters like the Valley River Humane Society.

Help lost pets reunite with their families at

You can order directly from Amazon and have it shipped to us!

Our cupboards are getting very bare...please consider donating to our animals, and helping us through these extraordinary times.

We appreciate all the support from our local community and beyond.


Did you know you can donate directly to VRHS Shelter without leaving your home. From the comfort of you favorite chair you can send much needed supplies via our Amazon Account!
Big picture

Become a Member!

In our community, hundreds of animals each year are abandoned, mistreated, or left to fend for themselves. The VRHS offers several different memberships. The fees are used to help keep the doors to our shelter open. Support for our organization comes mostly from private donations from people like you. Your membership fees will help a great deal!

Consider becoming a member…Your gift can provide neglected and abused animals with shelter, food, medical care, kindness, and a chance to find a forever home!


Heidi's Fund

A generous Murphy family comes to the rescue after seeing the edititoral in the August 18, 2021 Cherokee Scout regarding the Valley River Humane Society. The needs at the shelter are great so this family started " Heidi's Fund" for VRHS at United Community Bank in Murphy. Their deposit was for $1000! Their hope is to see this account grow to help the shelter. They are asking local families to donate $10 or more to help the animals at the shelter. Please visit United Community and make your deposit out to VRHS for Heidi's Fund.
Big picture

Ongoing Needs at the Shelter & Thrift Store

We need for the Thrift Store (Monday through Saturday, 10-5)


Back room sorters

Showroom workers

We need for the Shelter (Monday through Sunday, never stops as the animals always need care)

Dog Walkers (must be strong)

Kennell Workers (must be strong)

Grounds maintenance


Cat kennel workers

(Volunteers can name their shifts)

Transportation Needs

Drivers for Special Transports to Cleveland TN (cats - only five at a time). You can use your vehicle.

Back up drivers for Asheville Transports

Drivers for Transports to New York

(this is for Cats Only - much easier than transporting dogs)

We have lost some of our volunteers as they have or are going back to Florida. So the need is GREAT!

VRHS Thrift Store Needs

Volunteers needed! This is an easy and rewarding volunteer opportunity. Come by and talk to us.

Over 40% of all expenses for the Shelter are subsidized by the VRHS Thrift Shop! So, every time you donate to or buy something from the Thrift Shop it REALLY helps.

Anytime you clean out your closet, your basement, your attic, or any other area, please bring those things to us you no longer need or want. We can then turn around and resell those things and those proceeds go to helping the animals. Please visit the Thrift Store often. There are some GREAT bargains and it really helps!

Store Address:

Valley River Humane Society Thrift Store | 1161 U.S. 64, Murphy, NC 28906 | (828) 837-6137

Store Hours:

10:00 AM -5:00 PM Monday thru Saturday

About Us!

A non-profit organization serving Cherokee, Clay and Graham Counties. Our mission is to foster healthy relationships between humans and all living creatures, to prevent animal cruelty and suffering, to find quality home for abandoned pets, and to educate people of all ages about animal needs and the value of responsible pet ownership.

Become a Volunteer

Many people do not realize how vital volunteers are to both VRHS Shelter and the Thrift Store. Please consider being a VOLUNTEER!

For Donations and Adoptions


Valley River Humane Society
PO BOX 658
Murphy, NC 28906


Valley River Humane Society
7450 US 19
Marble, NC 28905
(828) 837-2304


  • Tuesday thru Saturday……11:00 am thru 4:00 pm
  • Sunday and Monday……CLOSED
  • Intakes……Tuesday thru Friday 11:00 am thru 3:00pm

Stay Warm Folks!

Big picture