How to keep your pets safe and inside this Fourth of July

Bella a 5 year old golden doodle participates in the Round Rock Sertoma July Fourth Parade with Hunter Chambers, 12, Saturday, July 4, 2015. (Stephen Spillman for AMERICAN STATESMAN)
Bella a 5 year old golden doodle participates in the Round Rock Sertoma July Fourth Parade with Hunter Chambers, 12, Saturday, July 4, 2015. (Stephen Spillman for AMERICAN STATESMAN)

From the City of Austin:

The Austin Animal Center, 7201 Levander Loop, will be open this Fourth of July holiday weekend.

The Center will maintain regular hours of 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday, July 3, and Tuesday, July 5. The holiday hours on Monday, July 4 will be from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Every Fourth of July the Animal Center sees a spike in the number of lost pets due to runaways that are frightened by the noise from fireworks.

Because the animal shelter operates at capacity it is critical to have the pet properly tagged so the animal will not be at risk. The City is asking if a lost dog or cat is found, that the person finding the pet keep him/her safely contained, call 3-1-1 to create a Found Pet Report, and the finder keep the animal a few days before turning it in to the shelter. In addition to freeing critical space at the shelter for pets most in need, it can be easier to reunite pets and owners if pets stay in the community in which they’re found.

Additionally, pet owners should make sure that pets are properly contained on the Fourth of July. The safest way to ensure that your animal doesn’t run off is to bring the pet inside during the celebration and to not bring pets to family gatherings where they may be further stressed by an unfamiliar setting.

The Austin Animal Center offers free I.D. tags and microchips to all pet owners in Austin and Travis County to help keep pets safe and out of the animal shelter system.

If a pet goes missing, owners should visit and click the Lost & Found button. There, owners can find a step by step listing of what to do to find a lost pet.

Tips to locate a lost pet include placing flyers in neighborhoods, and posting to the Facebook group, Austin Lost and Found Pets, and Craigslist.
AAC is also offering waived fees on cat and kitten adoptions through the July 4th Holiday. All cats and kitten adoptions include spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations, an ID tag and microchip.

The Austin Animal Center is also asking for donations of dog chews to keep the dogs in the shelter busy and distracted during fireworks. The loud noise can cause anxiety for pets in the shelter. Dog chews can be dropped off at 7201 Levander Loop or sent in via their Amazon Wish List.

For additional information, visit the; call 3-1-1 or check Facebook for daily pet updates,

Austin Animal Center creates coloring book to mark 5 years of no-kill policy

From the City of Austin:

Austin Animal Center
Austin Animal Center

In celebration of Austin’s five years of being the largest No-Kill City in the country, the staff and volunteers of the Austin Animal Center created a first-of-its-kind coloring book for children and adults.

The book highlights a wide variety of all types of animals that enter the shelter daily and also educates the community on what it means to be a No-Kill city.

“This coloring book is not only a celebration of lifesaving, but a great tool for teaching kids about No-Kill animal shelters and why they’re important,”  Deputy Chief Animal Services Officer Kristen Auerbach said. “There are 22 of our one-of-a-kind animals featured in book and under each illustration is a story about that pet and how it got to the shelter.”

Some of the animals illustrated in the book include a paralyzed cat and his wheel chair, a baby owl, a three-legged dog and many more of the unique animals that are alive because of Austin’s No-Kill policies. One of the pictures even portrays Greenwood, a rooster rescued from a cock fighting ring and rehomed earlier this year.

The coloring books cost $12 and can be purchased at the Austin Animal Center or at In addition, two of Austin’s local stores are carrying the No-Kill Coloring book; BookPeople on Lamar Blvd. and Toy Joy on W. 2nd St. All of the proceeds go to the Austin Animal Center.

The book is perfect for kids and adults makes a great gift for just about anyone.

The artist/illustrator of the coloring book is Mellie Test who owns Magic with Mellie, a company specializing in visual branding.

About Austin Animal Center

Austin Animal Center is the largest No-Kill municipal animal shelter in the United States, providing shelter to more than 18,000 animals each year and animal protection services to all of Austin and Travis County. The Austin Animal Center is an open-intake facility where lost and surrendered animals from all of Travis County in need of shelter are accepted regardless of age, health, species or breed. The goal is to place all adoptable animals in forever homes through adoptions, foster care or rescue partner groups.
The Austin Animal Center, 7201 Levander Loop, is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.  For more information go to, call 3-1-1, or visit for daily animal updates.

The City also maintains the Town Lake Animal Center, 1156 W. Cesar Chavez St., as an overflow animal adoption location.  It also is open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Wag!, like Uber, but for dog walking with your dog’s business tracked by GPS

Wag! Let's you schedule a walker for you dog and then you can watch by GPS where your dog is and what your dog is doing.
Wag! Let’s you schedule a walker for you dog and then you can watch by GPS where your dog is and what your dog is doing.

Now the secret life of your dog’s walks will be revealed.

Wag! a dog walking app allows you to set up a walk for your dog. Once you connect with a walker, the walker will take your dog on a 30-minute for $20 or 60-minute walk for $30. The app also alerts you when your dog has been picked up and allows you to follow your dog with the GPS Puppy Tracker.

If you’ve ever wondered how often your dog does his business and what kind of business it is, Wag! walkers will put a pin on a GPS map with an poop or pee emoji everywhere your dog did that particular business. It lets you know your dog’s favorite spots as well as how often his bowel or bladder is talking to him. (It also might make you want to do something nice for that neighbor whose lawn your dog seems to love.)

Wag! also sends you video of your happy dog. And when the walk is finished, you get a Pup Report with the distance and time traveled and the “pee and poo” record.

This week Wag! also introduced pet sitting and boarding. The rates starScreenshot5t at $50 a night for one dog, $30 for additional dogs in the same house.

The Wag! app is available on Apple App Store.

This Austin Pets Alive adoptee loves walks the most

Photo via Instagram user tullstoy

Because of the internet, we thought we’d seen every incarnation of a cute dog getting adorably excited to go on a walk there was to see. But now there’s Poppy.

This Austin Pets Alive alumn is literally screaming at the top of her tiny Chihuahua lungs at even the idea of a walk. A video of her answer to the question, “Do you want to go for a walk?” was posted to Instagram earlier this year but just recently made its viral rounds.

Poppy doesn’t seem to get tired of being asked her favorite question either. The answer to which is always an affirmative bark-scream:

View this post on Instagram

I have a feeling that Poppy is onto us…

A post shared by Michael Tully (@tullstoy) on

We have to agree with her owner in that we too wish we had even “a flicker of this enthusiasm for pretty much anything.” Poppy isn’t this excited by everything in her little pup life, however. Another Instagram video shows that she too has her reservations.

Before you and your own Poppy go for a W-A-L-K this summer be sure to review these summer pet safety tips from the Humane Society to protect your furry friends from the heat.

Now. Do you want to….?

Austin Animal Center evacuates 55 dogs from Town Lake Shelter

Officials with the Austin Animal Center on Sunday evacuated 55 dogs from the Town Lake Animal Center which is frequently at risk for flooding during major rain events.

The dogs are being housed in crates in a large community room at the main AAC campus on Levander Loop. And the center is asking for the public’s help, specifically needing volunteers to foster dogs.  Center staff will process foster applications on the spot.

In addition, adoption fees will be reduced to just $20, through Friday, April 29.  The AAC is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

“We have so many dogs that need a safe place to stay for a few days. Currently, there are dozens of sweet, senior dogs who would benefit enormously from being in a home instead of a kennel. Fostering right now is truly lifesaving,” said Chief Animal Services Officer Tawny Hammond, in a media release.

Full information at:

For the latest news on Austin’s weather and flooding, stay tuned the American-Statesman weather blog and download the

Photo courtesy Austin Animal Center.
Photo courtesy Austin Animal Center.

Two lucky dogs from Austin playing in Puppy Bowl XII

If watching puppies wrestle and play is more of your thing than a bunch of guys trying to tackle each other, the Puppy Bowl is for you. Two pups from Austin will also make their small screen debut on Animal Planet in the twelfth annual event.

The Austin Animal Center took in Hailey, a terrier mix with a leg injury, before transferring her to Austin Pets Alive! to rehabilitate her leg.


Poppy, the poodle mix was a lost pet at the Austin Animal Center that was never reclaimed by her owner.


Since then, both cute pooches have found their fur-ever homes.

More than 80 pups participated in the Puppy Bowl, coming from 44 different shelters across 25 different states. There’s even a puppy from Puerto Rico.

The event brings awareness to animals in shelter or rescue groups looking to be adopted. Puppies range in age from 12 to 24 weeks and include breeds from Chihuahua to German Shepherds.

Since Hailey and Poppy are from friendly ole Texas, we’re hoping there won’t be any any ruff-ing the passer calls during the game from these two.

You might want to skip the wings if you’re watching the Puppy Bowl though. Over time, the event has included different animal species and this year’s cheerleading squad includes silky chickens.

While Coldplay and Beyonce will rock the Super Bowl halftime show, cute kittens take over the field during halftime at the Puppy Bowl.

Get a sneak peek at the animals in action by watching the video below.

Austin rescue puppy to star in “Of Mice & Men” opera

Unleash the squee’s and awww’s.

An impossibly cute rescue puppy named Squeakie has been chosen to star in Austin Opera’s upcoming production of “Of Mice & Men,” composer Carlisle Floyd’s adaptation of John Steinbeck’s famous novella.

Squeakie, a rescue puppy from Austin Pets Alive, is available for adoption — after she makes her debut with Austin Opera.

The female lab retriever mix comes to the operatic limelight courtesy of Austin Pets Alive. And yes, Squeakie is available for adoption.

“Of Mice & Men” opens Jan. 23 at the Long Center. And Squeekie will appear in one scene in Act II.

Squeakie is actually one of two canine supernumeraries in this production.  Rosie was cast in the role of Old Farm Dog after her people answered an audition call for dogs.

Rosie rehearses with tenor Corey Bix who plays Lennie. The two work out the blocking for their bunkhouse scene in Act I of “Of Mice & Men.”
Rosie rehearses with tenor Corey Bix who plays Lennie. The two work out the blocking for their bunkhouse scene in Act I of “Of Mice & Men.”

Photos courtesy of Austin Opera.


Free pet adoptions from Black Friday to Cyber Monday in Williamson County

From Williamson County:

What better way to kick off the holiday season then to save a life by adopting a rescued pet or two?

From Black Friday, Nov. 27 through Monday, Nov. 30 Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter is joining national animal welfare organization Best Friends Animal Society, along with animal rescue groups and shelters across the country to offer free adoptions. The event is sponsored by – the online retailer known for its customer service.

“You cannot put a price on love and during this free adoption promotion, you don’t have to. Our adoption team will be thrilled to match you up with the pet of your dreams,” said Cheryl Schneider, Animal Services Director.

All pets will be spayed/neutered, vaccinated and microchipped before they go to their new forever homes.

Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter is an active partner in Best Friends’ No More Homeless Pets® Network which offers help and support to animal rescue groups that save lives in their communities.

Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter’s holiday adoption promotions include:
• Free adoption fee
• Free Wellness Exam
• Free Private Training Session for dog adoptions
• A “welcome home” package including food, coupons, and more!

Adopters are encouraged to visit the shelter’s webpage,, to view adoptable animals and print out the adoption application. A filled out adoption contract, counseling with volunteers or staff, and a valid ID are all required to adopt. Cat carriers will be sold for $4 or adopters are encouraged to bring their own.

About Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter

The Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter is the only shelter solely devoted to the lost and abandoned animals of Round Rock, Cedar Park, Hutto, Leander, and Williamson County. Through community support, they have maintained a 90% or higher Save Rate for the past four years.

About Best Friends Animal Society®

Best Friends Animal Society is the only national animal welfare organization dedicated exclusively to ending the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters. A leader in the no-kill movement, Best Friends runs the nation’s largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals, adoption centers and spay and neuter facilities in Los Angeles and Salt Lake City as well as lifesaving programs in partnership with more than 1,300 rescue groups and shelters across the country. Since its founding in 1984, Best Friends has helped reduce the number of animals killed in American shelters from 17 million per year to an estimated 4 million. By continuing to build effective initiatives that reduce the number of animals entering shelters and increase the number who find homes, Best Friends and its nationwide network of members and partners are working to Save Them All®.

To become a fan of Best Friends Animal Society on Facebook go to:

Follow Best Friends on Twitter:

Uber brings puppies on demand

Photo from Uber
Photo from Uber

Uber announced they will deliver puppy playtime services tomorrow in Austin, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The ridesharing company has had #UberPUPPIES days before, but this is the first time the service has been offered in Austin. The city has had the opportunity to order cuddles on demand, however. Last October, Uber delivered kittens to Austin businesses on National Cat Day.

In January, Uber offered their puppy delivery service in 10 different cities as a promotion for the Puppy Bowl. They partnered with animal shelters in each of the cities to provide puppies.

Tomorrow’s puppies will be from Austin Pets Alive!, who will send representatives with each puppy delivery and can help with adopting a furry friend.

If you’re interested, $30 buys 15 minutes of puppy playtime. The service is limited to their “#UberPUPPIES Zone,” a square area bounded by North Lamar Boulevard, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Interstate 35 and First Street.

Photo from Uber
Photo from Uber

Uber predicts the service will be very popular, and says so on the news release: “These cute little canines will be in very high demand and availability will be limited, so please be patient.”

We regret to say that the Statesman newsroom is not in the delivery zone.

Austin Animal Center waiving reclaim fee after floods displace almost 200 pets

From the City of Austin Animal Services Office: 

Do you know this pup? If he's yours, you can reclaim him without fee at the Austin Animal Center.
Do you know this pup? If he’s yours, you can reclaim him without fee at the Austin Animal Center.

With many animals still unclaimed after the 2015 Halloween weekend flooding, the Austin Animal Center will waive the fee for owners reclaiming their lost pets through Wednesday, Nov. 4, to encourage pet-owner reunions.

The Austin Animal Center provided a place for animals that were displaced by the storms as well as took in almost 200 lost pets from the weekend storms. Many of these pets are still waiting for their owners to claim them.

“If you, a friend or neighbor is missing a pet, come to Austin Animal Center,” said Chief Animal Services Officer Tawny Hammond.  “There are so many animals we know must have owners out there.”

Austin Animal Center is also offering free spay/neuter surgery for reclaimed animals.

Because of the influx in pets, Austin Animal Center has also requested emergency fostering from the community. Since Saturday, 54 pets have gone into temporary foster homes.

While the storm is over for now, Austin Animal Center is at capacity, with many more lost pets coming to the shelter every day.

AAC could use continued support. Here are five ways you can help the hundreds of animals housed at Austin Animal Center.

1. Walk shelter dogs. You don’t have to be a registered volunteer to help walk the more than 300 dogs looking for a kennel break. Come any day between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. and walk available dogs. Volunteers and staff can help you get started and answer any questions.
2. Volunteer. The shelter is conducting volunteer orientations for lots of new positions, including shelter greeter, cat and dog enrichment specialist and adoption specialist. Visit  to learn about volunteer opportunities.
3. Foster. The shelter houses more than 300 dogs at two locations, and many are there for several months, so the shelter is always in need of fosters who can take shelter dogs for a weekend or longer. Visit to learn more about fostering a shelter pet.
4. Like the Austin Animal Center on social media. Follow AAC on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and share posts with friends and family. When you share, it helps bring lifesaving attention to cats and dogs seeking forever homes.
5. Donate. There are many ways to give. Donate to the Friends of the Austin Animal Center to help the most at-risk pets, including older cats and dogs and animals that have stayed the longest at the center. You can also donate much-needed items like bones, toys and beds through the Friends’ Amazon wish list.

The Austin Animal Center, 7201 Levander Loop, is open daily 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Visit the website to view all pets available for adoption at  or check for daily animal updates.