Over the past few weeks, my friends at the Roanoke Valley SPCA have been sharing a bit of my backstory with you through emails and blog posts. If you’ve missed them, don’t worry — I’ll give you the abbreviated version before I finish my story.

I arrived at the Roanoke Valley SPCA on April 3, 2023 after my beloved human had to enter an assisted living facility. The adjustment was very hard and I was fearful. I am a gentle soul, and my world had turned confusing and scary; the bustling shelter was overwhelming and frightening. I felt very alone.


Every day, new unfamiliar faces visited my kennel to care for me, but each was startling. I was perpetually scared, but amidst the chaos, there were kind humans — the shelter staff. They saw past my fear, understanding the gentle spirit within. They approached me with soft voices and gentle touches, allowing me to set the pace.

It took several months for me to learn to trust them, but as I did, they realized I was now ready to start to find my new family. In late June, a man named Sam appeared. He had a kind heart and patient eyes. He fell in love with the soulful gaze that my eyes expressed in my photos on the shelter website and decided to meet me. He understood that gaining my trust would take time. So he visited me again, and again, and again, sitting quietly by my side, offering treats, and speaking in the calmest tones. During his third visit, I was brave enough to take a cookie from him and return the favor with a kiss.

His patience was working wonders. I started to trust him, to see that not all humans were scary. And then he introduced me to another kind soul — Barry. Barry’s eyes held warmth, and his touch was gentle. I felt their love enveloping me like a warm blanket.

Sam, Barry, and the shelter staff were my pillars of support. They showed me that I was safe, that I was loved. And on a sunny day in mid-July, they took me to my forever home.

In their care, I have flourished. Their patience and dedication are boundless. With their love, I found my courage. I learned that not all things are scary and that trust could be rebuilt. In my new home, I blossomed into an affectionate companion.

I have earned a new nickname, “Blondie the Snack Cake with Chocolate Drops and Vanilla Frosting,” because I have the coloring of a blondie with some chocolate chips for my dark spots and the vanilla frosting for the white blaze on my chest. I earned my new nickname because I am so sweet, just like a blondie!


Lately, I’ve made some new friends, like the groomer and the sheepdog who lives next door. I know that with the support of Sam & Barry, I can do anything and I look forward to our many future adventures together.

My transformation was remarkable — a testament to the power of love and kindness. I proved that even the most timid hearts could find courage and joy with the right people by their side. And so, my story became one of hope and resilience, all thanks to the unwavering support of Sam, Barry, and the shelter staff who had helped me find my way.

But none of this would have been possible without donors like you! I’ll forever be indebted to you who helped the Roanoke Valley SPCA support me, and countless others, this year. They never gave up on me, and I ask you to please make a gift now to help other animals like me learn to love again!



P.S. On behalf of the Roanoke Valley SPCA, during this season of hope and possibility, we hope that you will consider a tax-deductible gift in support of the many other animals, like Brillo, who need lifesaving care and help finding loving homes. As we celebrate the love and joy of this special season, please accept our warmest wishes for health and happiness now and in the upcoming New Year.


Denise Hayes

Chief Executive Officer