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Angel’s Gate

Guideposts staffer Sharon Azar visits an animal sanctuary in Long Island, NY.


I think the animals know. They know that this is their last chance. You know, most of the animals that we have here, they have no place else to go. We take animals in from veterinarians, from individuals, from rescue groups, rescue groups that have no place else to put the animals. 


Hello, I’m Sharon Azar. And I’m from “Guideposts Magazine.” I write a blog on dogs called “Woof.” 

And we’re here at Angel’s Gate, which is a sanctuary on Long Island for dogs, cats, and farm animals. Angel’s Gate is run by Sue Marino and her partner, Victor LaBruna. 

When Victor and I first met, what we planned on doing was we were going to adopt foster children. And I wanted to care for children who had AIDS. And we realized early on that there were many, many agencies taking care of these children. And we also realized that there was no one taking care of animals that had the same problems. 

So one of the things that I just said to Vic was I really wanted to have an animal hospice for the animals that were being euthanized long before their time. I’ve been very fortunate to have taken care of children who were terminally ill. And that’s what I did for most of my nursing career. 

And they have taught me some incredible valuable lessons of how to nurture each other in their final days. I don’t believe that it should be any different for the animals in our life. 


When I met Sue 15 years or so ago, I had a dog. And she was old. And I was waiting for her to pass so that I would be free of animals. And now I’m responsible, at least in part, for 300 animals. So it’s been quite, quite a change. 

But they’re certainly very much a part of my life and I of their life now. 

So many of the animals that we get, when they first come in, they’re total train wrecks. They have skin problems, and ear mites, and worms. I mean, parasites galore. And they’re so sickly. And to see them turn around. 

And I think a lot has to do with not only the love and the nurturing they get, but they also get a raw food natural diet and all the supplements that they need. And we’ll get an animal in, and their prognosis will be three to six months. And three years later, they’re still running around here. 

We put animals together that normally wouldn’t be together. And it’s amazing to see how animals that are different can work together. It’s a great example for humans to follow. 

When I was in school, this was a tiny, tiny kitten, and we had to have both eyes removed because they were so badly infected. I know. I know. It’s scary when you don’t have eyes. I know. It’s a girlfriend. Wait, wait. 

Penny is a Puggle who was dropped on her head when she was a puppy. And she walks in circles. But she can get from here to there if you give her a little time. She tacks across the room. 

The last year I worked, I made over $150,000. And it was very difficult to go to Victor and say I’m leaving it. And here we are. 

But you know, you learn to manage in different ways. And my priorities and things that are important to me, the animals have really taught me what should be important. 

That wraps up our visit to Angel’s Gate. Sue and Victor are planning to expand their sanctuary up in Delhi, New York. They have about 100 acres of property. And they’ll be taking in retired carriage horses, as well as dogs, cats, birds, geese, ducks, goats, and all the other farm animals. 


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