Animal World
In the Arms of an Angel: Gillian Lange and the Lange Foundation      
The (public) shelters euthanize the majority of the dogs there, and in Los Angeles County there’re 24 shelters. And you’re talking around 200,000 a year. So even when you go to the shelters, and you have your car filled with crates, you never have that moment of, “I’ve saved some lives.” You only are thinking, “Look what I’ve left behind. I’ve got to work harder to build up this Foundation more.” It’s a big problem.

Halo, considerate viewers, and welcome to Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants. On today’s program we visit with Gillian Lange, who began rescuing animals in 1974, and is the founder of the Lange Foundation, which operates a no-kill animal shelter and two-hectare sanctuary in California, USA. In recognition of her exemplary work on behalf of abandoned and neglected animals, the City of Los Angeles honored Ms. Lange with the St. Francis of Assisi Award in 1980.

I work today at least 12 hours a day, seven days a week. I haven’t had a vacation since I started in 1974. I haven’t been anywhere.

Established in 1993, the Lange Foundation takes companion animals from public shelters in Los Angeles County and helps them find forever, loving homes. Unlike typical pounds and shelters which euthanize animals if they have not been adopted after a set period, residents of the Lange Foundation’s facilities can stay for life. Since its inception, the Foundation has rescued and re-homed over 20,000 cats and dogs who otherwise would have been euthanized.

The Foundation’s two facilities are the Half Way Home Kennel, an immaculate, well-run shelter in West Los Angeles, housing up to 200 animals at a time and St. Bonnie’s Sanctuary, a state-of-the-art kennel and refuge in Canyon Country, which is located north of Los Angeles. Those wishing to adopt an animal friend from either site are carefully screened to ensure animals only go to suitable homes.

When you recue a dog or a cat from an animal shelter, his future or her future is totally in your hands, and I think that is an awesome responsibility. So you have to be very, very careful who adopts them. It’s a huge responsibility to know that the rest of that animal’s life is totally dependent on who you choose to be the caregiver.

I would say 90%, 80% of our adoptions are people that see our pets on our website, and 10% are repeat adoptions, because after this many years, I’m now placing people’s third and fourth dog, or I’m placing dogs and cats with children of former adopters. We do have a big following and a lot of repeat adoptions. (Right)

But they contact us by email or they will call, and then they come here or they go to our sanctuary in Canyon Country. And we watch how they interact with the dog, we go over their application, and I would say 50% of the applications are approved. And then we schedule a home check.

And it’s not that invasive but we’re very concerned about locks on gates, what kind of dog lives next door, is there a pool, is the pool fenced, the balcony, could the dog jump over, could he get through the slats. And so we do a pretty good home check for any dog we place.

If the Foundation is not able to place an animal in a permanent home, they are allowed to live at the sanctuary for the rest of their life. Now let’s take a tour of the friendly Half Way Home Kennel!

You can see we’re using every available inch of space for our animals here. We have about 120 cats here now, and most of them are cage-free. And we took all this space in the waiting room to make one of our cage-free areas, and people are able to walk in there and interact with the cats. And they can go out that window, and they have a fully enclosed outdoor area out there with the roof.

It’s a little chilly for them today, I think, to be out there. So generally there’re volunteers in all these little rooms playing with the cats, but as you walk through, you’ll see the cats are mainly cage-free except for some new arrivals.

Animals looked after by the Lange Foundation receive loving, personal care from both staff members and the many volunteers.

But these are the dogs that any volunteer can walk and these are what seasoned volunteers can walk. And then we do special notes of where they are, like we have a blind one behind the desk, and “Go slow” means just be a little cautious till he gets to know you. The volunteers sign in which animals they have walked and at what time, so we know they’re all getting equal attention during the day.

And they generally go out at least three or four-times a day.

How many volunteers do you have coming through this on any given day?

Well, we have about 1,200 on file, but a lot of them don’t come every day. We have volunteer- training programs every Sunday morning, which you have to go through before you can volunteer. We have one volunteer, his name is Gary. He comes every single day when we open, seven days a week, and stays until we close.

The shelters call us and tell us, it seems nearly every day. I know every animal that’s been hit by a car overnight. And we take a lot that need surgery. And he spends a great deal of time with those that have just had traumatic surgery like a limb removal. We have got one of those now. And, he’s wonderful, never leaves the place.

He’d sleep here if we let him.

I noticed that you have a beautiful enclosure here.

Yes, we do have a beautiful enclosure. And a volunteer of ours built this incredible top, which is rainproof except by the tree. And it allows the sunlight to come in. We wanted to keep the light and keep the fresh air, but the cost of putting something like that was US$70,000-80,000, so we decided that’s not something we’re going to be able to do. And all the sudden this volunteer who’s an engineer said, “I can get that done for you in two weeks,” (Nice) and paid for all the supplies himself, dear soul. So we have some wonderful people that are part of the big family here.

See there’re four rooms along the side here and this is where our kitties that love each other live cage-free. They’ve all got plenty of bedding and volunteers are generally in with them, they all have their pictures outside the door so people like me that don’t know one from the other, can tell you all about them. I do most of the rescuing, but then once they get here, I turn their lives over to the adoption counselors.

What special attention do the cats get?

They get their nails cut, they get brushed, they get hugged, they get cat treats, just a lot of attention.

So they also have daily personal one-on-one interaction?

Absolutely, yes. (Great!) Yes.

Now, is it only cats and dogs?

Here it is, but at our sanctuary which we’re developing, we have 15 horses, one fabulous donkey that was about to be euthanized, and we have pet chickens and roosters.

Now have all these animals been neutered?

Oh, absolutely, they’re all spayed and neutered before they go home, as are our cats and our kittens as well. (Okay.) Yes, definitely. That’s so important.

Ms. Lange will now introduce us to some of the wonderful dogs living at the shelter.

There’s a cute little fellow. This is Honey, a little five–year-old girl, little Corgi Pomeranian. She’s just come in, but she’s the type of a dog that will probably get adopted very quickly. Henry is a Saint Bernard mix and came from the California City shelter. And these two, we must have 20 applications (to adopt) for each of them, but we will not separate those dogs.

Rascal and Oscar love each other. We just haven’t found someone that will take both. This is our puppy room; there is nothing wrong with these puppies, and they’re here for their own safety, because they haven’t had their first sets of vaccinations. “It’s okay, sweetheart.”

We’ve had these puppies for quite a long time. They’re about 10 weeks old now. There were eight of them. These are our last three. Two went out (were adopted) yesterday.

We now meet Christy Kane, a dedicated Lange Foundation volunteer.

And who’s your friend here?


And Christy, you are one of the volunteers who comes here to the Lange Foundation to walk the animals, correct?

That is correct, I’ve been doing it for eight months and I come pretty much every Saturday and Sunday and spend four to five hours walking the dogs or doing whatever else they need done here.

So is Bentley here one of your favorites?

He is indeed one of my favorites, and the great news is that he’s been adopted and will be going home with his new family on February 20th.

That’s wonderful! So you’re going to miss Bentley?

I’m going to miss him a lot, I actually even named him. He came over, and usually they come with names, and he didn’t have a name. So there’s a street (called Bentley) a block away, and I said I’m going to name him Bentley. So yes, I will miss him, but it’s bittersweet. I am thrilled that he’s going. I’ve met the people, (an) amazing mom and son and husband; (they are a) great family. They will love him, and I have lots of other dogs here to love and play with.

For acting as a beacon of hope for companion and farm animals in Los Angeles County and providing them with a forever caring home, Supreme Master Ching Hai is honoring Gillian Lange and the Lange Foundation with the Shining World Compassion Award along with US$10,000 for vegan treats, medicine, etc. needed by shelter residents with all love and love.

May Heaven bless tender-hearted Gillian Lange and the Lange Foundation’s loving staff and many kind volunteers for saving the lives of thousands of innocent animals. We wish you many more years of health and happiness in your noble work.

For more details on Gillian Lange and the Lange Foundation, please visit:
Follow the Lange Foundation on Twitter at
or connect with the Foundation on

Thank you for joining us today on Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants. Coming up next is Enlightening Entertainment, after Noteworthy News. May every animal companion have a caring home for life.

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