“We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.” Based on Immanuel Kant’s philosophy, the city deep in the heart of Texas must have a heart as big as Texas when it comes to our furry companions. Austin has many nonprofit organizations aimed at helping people adopt, foster, train, spay or neuter, or medically care for a pet. Some nonprofits make use of the special human-animal bond to train dogs to assist children, seniors, and people with physical disabilities. Here is a quick look at a few of the nonprofits that make Austin animal-friendly.
Animal Trustees of Austin
Animal Trustees of Austin formed in 1993 as a rescue program to help find homes for abused and abandoned animals. In 1997, in order to help with the issue of overpopulation, ATA opened Austin’s first low-cost sterilization/wellness clinic. ATA has programs to assist pet owners in the community who cannot afford veterinary services, including spay/neuter, special surgeries/treatment and wellness care. They have an Emergency Care Fund that raises funds to provide emergency veterinary care for animals whose owners cannot afford private care. Their 4PAWS program, which provides free services to the animals of the homeless, is one of a handful of such programs in the country.
animaltrustees.org | Clinic: 5129 Cameron Rd.
Austin Dog Alliance
Studies have shown that contact with a pet can lower blood pressure and cause endorphins to be released, which suppress the pain response. The Austin Dog Alliance uses this magical bond between humans and animals to make a difference in the lives of families in the community. ADA has more than 70 pet therapy teams that volunteer in hospitals, schools, nursing homes and libraries. The most highly trained therapy dogs work with special needs children in after-school and summer camp enrichment programs. ADA also offers dog training classes, including Puppy and Dog Manners, Pet Therapy, Growling and Barking Dogs, and Leash Walking.
austindogalliance.org | Training facility: 12129 RR 620 N., Ste. 401
Austin Humane Society
More than 3,000 dogs and cats are saved every year through adoption by the Austin Humane Society, Austin’s largest and longest-standing no-kill animal shelter. Founded in 1952, the shelter also provides free spay and neuter services and vaccinations to 5,000 free-roaming cats each year, preventing thousands of litters of kittens from being born into homelessness. Through their expanded foster care program, AHS was able to save the lives of more than 1,300 of the most vulnerable cats and dogs through specialized medical and/or behavioral foster care. AHS also provides dog training, a pet loss support group, as well as educational outreach programs for schools and youth organizations.
austinhumanesociety.org | Adoption center: 124 West Anderson Ln.
Austin Pets Alive!
“When we first started pulling pets from Town Lake Animal Center, there was a dog on the euthanasia list who would have been killed that morning if we had not pulled him into our program. We took him straight from TLAC to [one of our ten adoption sites], where he was adopted within one hour,” said Gretchen Meyer, communications director for the organization. APA! has saved nearly 6,000 pets from being killed in just over two years. APA! is dedicated to making Austin a no-kill city and believes that there are enough homes to adopt the pets who are currently being killed.
austinpetsalive.org | Adoption and Resource Center: 2807 Manchaca Rd.
Blue Dog Rescue
Blue Dog Rescue saves dogs from local and rural shelters and places them in foster homes until they are adopted, which allows them to provide the potential adopter with information about how the dog will react in a variety of home situations. All dogs are vaccinated, spayed/neutered, microchipped, and have been seen by a vet for an exam and heartworm testing. BDR also works with Meals on Wheels and More on their Pets Assisting the Lives of Seniors (PALS) program to offer free pet food to their clients. They also have a Keep Austin Neutered voucher program which covers the cost of spay/neuter surgeries when people cannot afford the services.
bluedogrescue.com | Blue Dog Rescue is a network of foster families
Central Texas SPCA
The Central Texas Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (CTSPCA) is a private, limited-intake, no-kill shelter started in 1988. The CTSPCA provides shelter, food, medical care, and adoption services for homeless and abandoned dogs and cats. They accept owner release animals in addition to rescuing from local “open-door” (kill) facilities on a space available basis. The animals live in a clean and comfortable environment until they are adopted: The cats live in a communal condo complete with poles, window ledges, and catwalks, while the dogs have both an indoor kennel with warm beds and an outdoor run with pools and cabanas.
centraltexasspca.org | Shelter: 909 S. Bagdad Rd., Leander
Emancipet aims to reduce the homeless pet population through high volume spay/neuter. They run two low-cost public clinics–the Levander Loop Spay/Neuter Clinic in East Austin and a mobile Spay/Neuter clinic that serves East Austin and Central Texas rural communities. Both clinics offer free and low-cost spay/neutering to about 17,000 pets per year, as well as such basic wellness care as vaccines and heartworm/flea prevention, to an additional 15,000 pets. Emancipet’s innovative outreach programs, like their Meals on Wheels partnership and Mobile Free Days, educate pet owners and make spay/neutering accessible to those with the greatest need.
emancipet.org | Clinic: 7201 Levander Loop, Buildings I & K
Friends of Town Lake Animal Center
As a city agency, Town Lake Animal Center is prohibited from actively soliciting donations, but they can accept them, which is where Friends of Town Lake Animal Center steps in. Started in 2006 to sell cat calendars created by shelter volunteers as a fundraiser, the organization now holds other fundraisers for the sole recipient, such as a kickoff party for KittyPalooza. Plans are in the works for a gala to say “bone”-voyage to the old location when the shelter moves to the new Animal Services facility at the Betty Dunkerley Campus on Levander Loop as early as mid-2011.
friendsoftlac.com | Town Lake Animal Center shelter location: 1156 West 1st Street
Austin Dog Rescue
Back in the summer of 2007 a group of caring, pet-loving folks made the decision to establish an all volunteer mixed breed rescue. Shortly thereafter, Austin Dog Rescue received its 501(c)3 tax-exempt nonprofit status. Since then, ADR has assisted homeless dogs by rescuing them and by reaching out to less visible shelters in the Central Texas area. ADR saves dogs from high-kill shelters in Austin and surrounding areas and finds new, loving homes for them. If you’re interested in adoption, check out their website for all the details.
austindog.com | All dogs are hosted by foster caregivers
Texas Hearing & Service Dogs
Texas Hearing and Service Dogs rescues shelter dogs and trains them to help people living with such physical disabilities as paralysis, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, and spina bifida. The dogs pick up things the person drops, open and close doors, push elevator and automatic door buttons, nudge paralyzed limbs into the desired position, tug off jackets and socks, and perform other customized tasks. It provides the dog and extensive training free of charge and serves the entire state. They are trying to win their third Guinness World Record for “Largest Dog Walk” on April 2 at the Mighty Texas Dog Walk Festival.
servicedogs.org | Training center: 4925 Bell Springs Rd., Dripping Springs