Animals Without Limits

American Swedish non profit organisation

Category Archives: volunteers

It is Never to Late


 In 2008 i got a phone call to help a shelter that was totally falling apart, dogs being abused, they were standing up to their stomachs in poo and pee. They drank moulded water, lack of food.

It was horrible. It is images I still carry around in my heart and mind. Its nothing you wipe off and go to bed. However, I learned that life is not black and white. Sometimes you cannot rescue everyone. Sometimes we learn more about ourselves and other people. You meet people that teach you what you don’t want to become. You met new people that you start new goals with.
We went to the shelter and the owner got a slap on her wrist by the judge for treating the animals badly. The woman changed her name and started a new shelter somewhere else together with other people in the front.
We Awl went in and cleaned and delivered food and veterinarian care. 2009 AWL took 10 dogs and another shelter Leda Ass, took 20 dogs. The other 20-30 dogs went to a townhall shelter.
Otello in the picture went with Leda Ass. and 2010 our paths changed directions until 2016 when I visited Leda in their new nice shelter. To my very big surprise Otello now 14 years old is still in the cage. NO ONE wanted to adopt him.
My heart just broke. 
This weekend we posted him on here, and to my and Leda Ass delight, we got a home for him. 
Tomorrow you can read my column about him and his journey, his advice to us humans. 
The woman that are adopting him, loves Seniors, and knows what it takes and means. No hearts are to old to love. Its like being old and beautiful as human and not dare to find a partner again, because “he might just die soon”
If you don’t live the fullest, you will miss the beauty. 
Thats Amore!
Otello is now getting ready with his shots and health tests for upcoming pet passport. WE think and hope he will be ready to travel VIP –no flying–in 30 days.

 CEO Mia Mattsson-Mercer feeding the starving animals.

  Its never to late to love an old heart. Just because we get old doesn’t mean we suddenly stop to live and love. Would we say that to elderly people, “sorry you are to old to love now, “he” will probably die in one year”

No! Live the fullest, and its when you stop loving you become old.
Thats Amore! First time I met Rossella from her Ass. Leda!

Shelter Sunday

Todays shelter day at Rosellas place. Nicky, Chris, Bianca, Lauren and Neil of course other wonderful volunteers spent Sunday helping out. Cleaning, brushing and loving up on those that sits behind bars.

Bianca was so happy to see Nicky again. Brushed and getting out to walk. Green grass, thats life.

King was found by a volunteer very sick and probably abused. He is doing progress and this time our volunteer could brush him. We want to adopt him and got a wonderful home. However, the rescue woman doesn’t want to adopt him outside Italian border.

We are heartbroken about this decision!

Puppy season!!!

Thank you all for making this Sunday special for the animals, and of course for all volunteers.



Heaven has now received a small little dog with a “grande” personality that charmed his way into many hearts. At the Hospice, he was our Mini-Diablo but sometimes with an Angel’s personality. He knew how to Rock’n’Roll we volunteers to serve and love him. I liked him a lot, because he showed you right away if he liked YOU or not. In the beginning with many volunteers he loved to scare them, and then, win them over to his side.
He was very sick but always amazed us by recovering fast. He was the first dog that could faint and scare us volunteers to drive him to the veterinarian. Then he woke up, looking at us wondering why we starred at him — like we had seen a ghost.
Poe was something! He had his very own “Brentwood, Los Angeles, USA” sponsor, Craig Kleber that made sure that all his medical bills were taken care of.  He had his special VIP driver for his veterinarian check ups, and he adored his driver in life; Angelina.
His story started one rainy night some time ago.  From a car window our volunteer Martina yelled to her boyfriend to stop the car. She saw a little black shadow curled up trying to stay out of the cold rain.  She could sense through the window that something was not correct.  She ran out and picked him up.  She asked if he could be a hospice client?
Mr. Edgar Poe became quickly the rehab’s big martyr, to show some dogs that he hated them (always the bigger ones) and to some people he just got crazy.  In reality, Poe was a tiny, sickly, miniature Pinscher but had an ego of a Doberman.  He loved the volunteers, Martina, Pio, Sara, Sharon, Lori, Valeri, Sandra, Ivan, Abby, Chiara. But Angie was his most favorite!
A Swedish friend who earlier had adopted a handicapped dog from us asked to adopt him. We thought it was a lovely joke but after many conversations we understood that  she and her husband were serious.
Poe was very sick with a heart problem (we had a heart specialist examine him); he had leichmania; fluid in his lungs; and a small tumor in his anus.  Knowing all this, they still wanted to take him into their home and their hearts.  We were a little nervous about their two small, old, grumpy ladies (dogs) but they said they would work on it. I have known Maria for many years, she had a great reputation for working as a psychologist with dogs.  We decided to give Poe a chance to have a forever home, for as long as he had left.  This was the right family for him. 
I drove down to Campania, Italy and picked him, along with some other dogs who had homes in Germany and Sweden. He stayed with my family and me for two days, and then was off to Sweden on the final leg of his journey. He hated all my dogs and had to be kept separate. Ulla our Swedish volunteer (together with Vian) drove down 20 hours, stayed over night, then drove 20+ hours back up to Sweden.  Poe and the others were real troopers in the car.  Poe was quiet and lovely in the car, only barking if he made an accident in his travel cage.
Maria with family had loved Poe for a long time via pictures and stories. At 0400 in the morning they got him in their arms. He was great with the grumpy ladies, and as Poe always does…he showed whom he didn’t like right away.  It took him 10 days to settle in and after those days he was his old charmer. He guarded the kitchen when dinnertime came around.  He loved to drink coffee (true Italian) with his new mom.  He could dive into her big cup so Maria had always to make sure it was room temperature coffee so he wouldn’t burn his little tongue.  They fenced in their garden for him so he could walk in and out every day.  He had his forever home!
Unfortunately, just a couple of days ago he started to get very ill.  The veterinarian (on a home visit) said he wouldn’t have much time left.  Yesterday, Poe decided that he would pack his little heart full with Earthly memories and leave us all with broken hearts.  Never had the family imagined he would leave them this fast, already he was so entrenched in their hearts. 
Poe had no doubt that he was special and was so thankful to Martina and Pio who saw him that rainy, cold day and took action.   Likewise to Casa dell Amore, that brought him in and to all his fans and volunteers. But most important, he died in his own families’ arms, knowing that he was loved.
RIP, Mr. Poe.



 Pictures NATO’s new home in Sweden.

 It was around Easter time that I got an email informing me that there was this big puppy — 6 months old — that was just horrible. He ate himself through the house when left home alone. The young man that had had him since he was a really young puppy declared that he would throw him in a shelter or out on the streets!

He had enough!
A woman that was dog sitting this hooligan contacted me, also saying it didn’t work with the Puppy. He was a destroyer!
His name is NATO and he is a strong 22 kg puppy. It was of course over the Easter holiday, when most everyone was gone or otherwise involved in family time.  Even without the holiday, not many would like to volunteer for such a challenge. I asked the foster mother for some time.
I contacted my Swedish volunteer Maya, could she help me find a home, and quickly?  At the same time NATO needed a passport, and to get a passport in Campania, Italy isn’t the easiest.  It’s always complicated, changes to opening hours, and procedures, and then to find the office is a challenge. Our volunteer Sharon (UK) offered her time to pick up the foster-mom and NATO, and together drive them to the passport office. At the same time we were working 24/7 interviewing people in Sweden, making home visits, several phone-calls every hour to various possible adopters. I knew NATO was special, and it would take a special family to take him in and not damage him further. We couldn’t afford having him going back and forth to different families.
Maya loved the idea to fly down and pick up NATO and another dog. I took my Birthday money and bought a plane ticket (thank you Minna (SE) for helping me booking the ticket—flying with animals.) Our wonderful member Henrik (SE) sponsored the dog tickets.
Maya flew away from Copenhagen, Denmark to Rome, Italy where I had sent her the train guidance and timetable going to Napoli. Our other great volunteers Martina and Pio were waiting at the train station and welcomed Maya. She was escorted to our hospice to meet her dog that she had adopted, Leona.  Leona would come a little later to Sweden. I couldn’t bear the thought that Maya would be in Rome over the night without meeting her beloved dog, if so only for one hour. Martina and Pio escorted her to Hotel Agora, our wonderful friendly hotel. Our volunteer Barbara (US) had donated a night stay there for Maya. At nine o’ clock that evening came the foster-mom and her husband with NATO.  NATO slept on Maya’s arm until it was time to leave at 0400 in the morning.  Flavia and her husband were outside the hotel waiting with the English Setter, Eva, that was also going to Sweden.  Our volunteer Patrick (US) came at 04.15 and drove Maya, NATO and Eva to the Rome airport (a 2-hour drive) and helped Maya put the crate together and since we knew that NATO was a Houdini escape artist they put duct tape and white plastic zip-ties to secure him. Patrick left, and Maya went to check in the dogs, only to know that you had to take out the dogs and weigh the crates and then put the dogs inside. On top of everything, we’d tranquilized NATO since we were worried he would go wild. I told Maya to use her beauty, and blue eyes to get help. A security guard helped to secure NATO again.
At Copenhagen two hours later, were the family was waiting and they loved NATO. They had borrowed a car to drive down from Gothenburg.  Eva went home with her family, adored and loved. Sadly, the boy in NATO’s family developed an allergy to him after several days, but we had kept contact with the most disappointed person that wanted to adopt NATO originally, Henrik (different Henrik than he who donated the tickets for the dog-flights). He was over joyed and jumped in the car, and drove 4 hours to pick up NATO and take him home. He loves NATO.
When I asked him if NATO was horrible, Henrik laughed and said, “He is not horrible he only wants company”
That’s Amore.
Thank you everyone in this big mission. One dog, one big crew! Happy Tears!



I saw her picture on FB. She was gorgeous. Big and gray-black with a wonderful smile, or was it her aura I saw?
Her name was Colomba and she was a senior dog that had been in a not-so-very-nice shelter in Southern Italy since 2005. In a cage with some other dogs and all together maybe 180 dogs.  All on concrete floors, and in a kind of darkness. The volunteers worked hard to do something; you could see in their eyes how tired they were. 
In the picture she sat in the sun, and around her neck a big thick chain. On our way down to Napoli we made a big turn to the eastern coast of Italy, into the shelter to pick Colomba up. My joy was enormous. Olivia who normally loved shelters and who always was my best volunteer didn’t like the place at all. She became very sad.
Colomba was mentally tired and we lifted her into our SUV. She smelled like a big horse barn with pigs and everything else included. My children sat and held their noses for the 3 hour trip to our Hospice in Lago Patria. There were a lot of giggles.
She was full of matted hair, and a big lump infection hanging from her neck. We had a veterinarian for a very short time at our clinic that did a fantastic job trimming her matted hair and generally helping Colomba.
Colomba loved her room at the hospice, with bed and mattresses. She was such a good girl, no accidents.  When the volunteers opened the door she would run out into the garden do her business, then straight back up to her room again.
In December, Colomba went in as an emergency to Dr. Damiani’s clinic for a long surgery. She made it through the surgery, our brave lady.  At the same time she also had dental work done. She came back to the hospice and recovered wonderfully, our Princess.
She was so loved by many, and they cared so much about her. The volunteers were amazed over how well she did.
Then one day recently, her internal organs started to say, “stop”. Cancer was growing fast within her, and we could see she was not doing very well. We worried, “another hard surgery and she would get maybe a couple of months?”  Was it worth putting her through the pain and suffering to only forestall the inevitable for so short a time?  Or would we could give her the peace that she so deserved.
My heart cried since I wanted her to have so much more experience with freedom, to love her bed, her room, her volunteers to have more of her around them.  But I realized then freedom was what she would truly get if I let her go — her ultimate freedom.
My wonderful Colomba, it is a little while since you left us but my heart wouldn’t let me write. It was filled with such tremendous pain. You had a little taste of one kind of freedom, now you can lay truly free in the grass across the Rainbow Bridge, and wonder at the butterflies that are dancing on the warm breeze around you. Colomba, I am sorry life wasn’t better for you, but I hope you felt all of us loving and adoring you at the Hospice Casa dell Amore.
Forever loved. That’s Amore