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A Life of Service and Love for Animals Remembered

Ann Marie Sweeney

Ann Marie Sweeney of Roanoke lost her battle with cancer on Tuesday, January 14th. Ann Marie was known to many as the Foster Coordinator for the RVSPCA, a position she held for nearly 5 years. She began her tenure at the RVSPCA as a volunteer and then as a member of the kennel staff.

Ann Marie will be remembered as the heart and soul behind the foster program. She knew that the only chance many infant or orphaned animals had would be if they could be cared for temporarily by others in the community. Foster care was also the answer for adult animals needing time to recuperate from injuries or illnesses, or those needing extra socialization and TLC before they could be ready to be members of a family. Because of her determination, development of the program became a priority for the RVSPCA. More than 5,000 animals received their second chance in foster care because of Ann Marie’s dedication to the animals and the families opening their homes to help. She celebrated the successes and grieved for the little ones who didn’t make it, but found comfort in the knowledge that they were loved and in a home, even for a short time.

Ann Marie’s commitment to the welfare of animals was a personal as well as professional passion. Before coming to Roanoke, she had been involved with the Animal Refuge League in Maine, adopting four dogs from that organization. After moving to Roanoke, she sought out the RVSPCA, first as a volunteer and then as a key member of the staff. She and her husband, Chris, fostered more than 80 animals, often caring for those suffering from illness or injury. That number does not include the pups or kittens that she took home with her for a night or a weekend until a foster could be found. She was adept at bottle feeding, pushing medicines and fluids, and nursed many back to health. Out of all the animals cared for in her home, eight found their permanent home with her.

It would be impossible to calculate the number of lives that have been touched by Ann Marie’s work with the RVSPCA. In honor of those lives, and in her memory, a fund has been established – the Ann Marie Sweeney Memorial Foster Fund – to help further expand the foster care program. Funds will be used for supplies, veterinary care, and other expenses associated with the program. Any donations received in Ann Marie’s memory will be designated for that purpose.

For more information on donating or adopting call 540-339-WAGS (9247) or visit www.rvspca.org.

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