Everyday Heroes: Angels with Misplaced Wings
VANCOUVER, WA. —
Jeff Evans and Michael Allen don't really hear the barking anymore.
The couple has turned their Vancouver home into an animal sanctuary where they look after disabled and senior dogs.
They currently care for 13 - a few more than they had when we first met them.
Shelters contact Jeff and Michael through their non-profit, Angels with Misplaced Wings, looking to give a home to dogs that are difficult to adopt out.
And it's not a temporary home. Jeff said that once a dog comes to them, it stays for the rest of its life - which sometimes ends up being only months.
"They deserve to be treated well and to have a great life for whatever time they have left," Jeff said.
But Angels with Misplaced Wings is not a hospice. Jeff said they consult veterinarians to know when a dog is in too much pain to continue living.
Jeff and Michael currently care for dogs with ailments ranging from deafness and blindness to paralysis. The animals have come from as far away as Thailand and Costa Rica.
Angels with Misplaced Wings began in 2010 when Jeff and Michael moved to Oregon and adopted a blind Dalmatian.
Michael said they loved the experience of caring for a disabled dog so much that they decided to start taking in more dogs that are hard to care for.
"It's very expensive," Jeff said. "We, on average, for just basic expenses, it's between five and six thousand dollars a month.
Those expenses include medication for most of the dogs and insurance on all of them to help with the cost of hospital visits.
Besides the monetary investment, Jeff and Michael both spend a tremendous amount of time caring for the dogs. Michael has a day job, but Jeff stays home to make sure the dogs are kept safe.
Some of the dogs also need near-constant attention as paralysis has left them with no control over their bowels or bladder (and yes, that means their carpet gets a lot of cleanings).
Jeff and Michael said that time commitment doesn't afford them a lot of opportunities to get out for a night on the town (as finding a babysitter for 13 dogs is difficult), but that's fine by them.
"We make [the dogs] a part of the family and they get everything that we can give them," Michael said. "It may be a lot of work and we may get tired at times and we pull up our britches and just keep doing what we're doing."
Besides, Michael added, some of the dogs they adopt have had rough lives, or lives that might have ended prematurely had the couple not adopted them.
"Some of [the dogs] were found on the streets, malnourished, skin-and-bones," Michael said.
Angels with Misplaced Wings earned 501(c)3 status in 2014.