Celebrate National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day with these 8 heartwarming adoption tales

Thinking about getting a pet? Well, there’s no better day than today, National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day! There are millions of animals in shelters across the nation waiting to go home with you, according to the ASPCA. But you don’t have to adopt a million of them – just one would make a big difference. Here are 11 more facts about animal homelessness that may surprise you.

To celebrate National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day and help raise awareness of the many pets waiting to be adopted, we’ve gathered some heartwarming adoption tales, courtesy of the Austin Animal Center and Thundering Paws Animal Sanctuary.

Have your own stories and/or photos to share? Send them to readerphotos@statesman.com or tweet us @PetFriendlyATX for a chance to win some pet books. Check out our readers’ adoption photos and stories.

Moto races his way to adoption

This 1-year-old Shiba Inu mix was found running across the track during a MotoGP practice at Circuit of the Americas this year. Moto was even photographed leaning into the turns, just like the racers.

Moto Moto 1

After being chased around and delaying the practice for about 30 minutes, Moto was safely picked up and taken to the Austin Animal Center, where he would soon be adopted.

Princess finds her prince

Despite being at the Austin Animal Center for over 6 months, Princess never gave up on waiting for her ‘prince’ to come rescue her. Then, one day, Blake came along. He was specifically looking for a long-stay dog like Princess, and when he laid eyes on her, he fell in love. Princess left with a crate, a Hard Luck Hounds leash, collar and a basic training package at Training By Tara to get her off on the right foot at her new home. Now, Blake says Princess loves her crate, is a pro at cuddling and enjoys being taken out by her new owner every day during lunch.

Princess bPrincess c

Karma, the K9 recruit

Shelter dog to Police dogRound Rock police officer Tracy Lawrence came to the Austin Animal Center looking for a new K9 recruit. She took Karma, along with several other dogs, through a series of tests. In the end, Karma seemed to be the best fit, with her obvious drive to search, non-aggressive behavior towards people and other animals, and her daring character, according to an Instagram post by the Round Rock Police Department.

“She also LOVED the ball, which is important to her to have ball drive since the ball is often used as a reward when our K9’s locate narcotics,” the Instagram post reads.

Officer Lawrence and Karma have been together since December 2014. Karma will work primarily with narcotics detection, but she will also possibly be trained to do tracking of lost children and the elderly.

Fosters make a difference

Five-month old Lulu arrived at the Austin Animal Shelter with Demodectic Mange.  She was taken in by a foster home while undergoing treatment and did well. She had lots of energy and got along great with other dogs in the home, until she was finally adopted. What a difference proper medical care and a great foster home can make!

Lulu before
Lulu before
Lulu after
Lulu after

Smiley’s life turned around

Smiley came to the shelter in rough shape. She was heartworm positive, had bad knees and had some resource-guarding issues. The vets at Austin Animal Center performed 3 knee operations and treated her heartworms. Meanwhile, the shelter staff and Hard Luck Hounds worked together on her behavior issues. It took some time, but Smiley was eventually a healthy, happy, highly adoptable dog. Thanks to volunteer Ron, who was Smiley’s No. 1 advocate, Smiley was able to be matched with the right family and found her forever home.

SmileySmiley and new family

Three is better than one

Sweetness was taken from a street where she lived but was not cared for by anyone except her rescuer.  Initially frightened, she quickly calmed down under the tutelage of Thundering Paws volunteers. After being vaccinated, spayed, and microchipped, she went to the Adoption Center at the Bee Cave PetSmart, where Thundering Paws keeps adoptable cats.


Dulce was born at Thundering Paws. Her mom, Harriet, came to us profoundly pregnant and delivered five healthy kittens shortly thereafter. Four were adopted, but aptly named Dulce didn’t get an application and grew up at the Bee Cave PetSmart, staying with her mother. Harriet loved to nurture cats.









A couple came in to visit cats. Their old kitty had died and their 7 year old male needed some companionship. It is usually difficult to get the adult cats adopted, but this couple were not interested in the kittens. They chose Sweetness and Dulce, who learned to be friends while being together at PetSmart.  After a few weeks, they adopted Harriet!

Sweetness and Dulce
Sweetness and Dulce

Rain the cat

Rain-kitten-2013-juneIn May 2013, Dripping Springs was pounded with rain. During this deluge, a kind man was driving down Highway 290, close to the entrance to Belterra, when he saw something orange in the middle of the road. He stopped and scooped up a starving, bedraggled kitten with one eye closed from a raging respiratory infection. He was led to Thundering Paws.

The volunteers who picked the kitten up from the vet named him Rain. We began feeding and medicating, and he recovered fully.  Rain was a personable little fellow, and would even burrow under bedcovers and purr.

He seemed to love everyone: people, other cats, and dogs, so naturally he was adopted.  Some time later he showed his new “dad” Clyde this incredible yawn. Poor thing must have only gotten 19 hours of sleep that day!


Special cat, special adopters

A veterinarian from an Austin clinic called us with this story. Clients had brought in their cat, whom they called Meanness or something equally dreadful, for sitting in the litter box a long time. The vet diagnosed a urinary tract infection and gave them antibiotics to give their kitty. They said that they didn’t want to be bothered and for the vet to just euthanize her instead. The vet said, “No.” She then called us and asked if we would take her. We consented, and named her Laurel.


Laurel taught us that even difficult cats can be adopted to loving homes. She had behavioral and health issues. Over time it became clear she needed craved attention, and needed a home of her own. But who would take an older cat with medical and behavioral problems? Fortunately, just the right people found us, and Laurel’s final years were happy.

Jennifer and her husband, Shelby, came and met Laurel. They agreed to take her, and we had all her considerable medical records faxed to them. They took her home and sent back wonderful stories of her sleeping on Shelby’s chest or curled up on Jennifer’s pillow. She sat by Jennifer when she worked at home. They sent us pictures of a much calmer cat, one with a family and no other cats with which to compete.  A happy home at last!


If those stories warmed your heart, check out these 7 innovative and inspiring ways some shelters and rescues have used to save pups’ lives.

If you want to search for some of the adoptable pets available in the greater Austin area, check out our pets of the week. Also, the Bastrop County Animal Shelter is having free adoptions through Sunday, May 3rd to help with the overflow of pets.

Send us photos of your rescued pet for National Adopt A Shelter Pet day on April 30th

Thomas Cordy/The Palm Beach Post
Thomas Cordy/The Palm Beach Post

In honor of National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day tomorrow, April 30, we want to see photos of your adopted/rescued pet, especially any before and after shelter life pics, and tell us what you love most about them. Or, if you actually adopt a pet tomorrow, send us a photo and share why you chose that particular pet. We will select the best rescue photos/captions to win a free pet book.

You can email your photos to readerphotos@statesman.com or tweet them to us @PetFriendlyATX.

We will be taking entries for the contest today and tomorrow, and we will be compiling all our readers’ adopted pet photos for an online gallery.

By submitting a photo, you are granting us rights to use the photo online, in print and on our Facebook page.

Bastrop County Animal Shelter holding free adoptions through Sunday

The Bastrop County Animal Shelter is overflowing with cats and dogs after the shelter received 113 animals over five days last week, according to their Facebook page. As a result, the shelter will be holding free adoptions through Sunday, May 3. They will also be hosting a Spring Fling Adoption event this weekend with extended business hours on May 1-2, from 11 a.m.-9 p.m., and on Sunday, May 3, from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

If you have been thinking about adoption, now’s a great time to go check out the shelter to find a new furry friend, like 5-year-old Nina, who loves to snuggle with cats. Or, 6-month old Star, a kitty looking for her forever home. Here’s more of the cats and dogs the shelter has available.


The shelter is located at at 589 Coolwater Drive in Bastrop, Texas, and is normally open from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Sundays.

Join the Woof Walk & Wrun or Cat Nap Challenge to benefit medical needs of shelter animals


Now there are two ways animal lovers can participate with the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter in raising money for the medical needs of shelter animals.  If you are a dog lover, grab a four-legged running buddy on Sunday, April 26, and head to the 6th Annual Woof Walk & Wrun 5k at Williamson County’s Berry Springs Park, 1801 C.R. 152, in Georgetown. If you are a cat lover, pull up the covers on April 26 and take an extra hour or two to snooze during the Cat Nap Challenge! Proceeds from both events will benefit Jane’s Fund providing medical support for animals of the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter with treatable injuries.

The Woof Walk and Wrun 5K begins at 8:30 a.m. Several registration categories are offered including 5K Timed Individual, 5K Timed Team, 1 Mile Individual, and 1 Mile Team. The fee for the 5K Timed Individual is $27 until April 20 and $35 up through race day. The 5K course is USATF Certified (TX12050ETM).  Online entries will be processed until midnight on Friday, April 24.  Race day sign-ups will be available for late entries.

Runners are encouraged to bring along their favorite training partners, including canine friends. For dogs to participate, the following guidelines have been established:

  • Retractable leashes are not allowed.
  • Evidence of vaccinations will be required at check-in/packet pickup.
  • Dogs must be older than 8 weeks to participate.

To participate in the Cat Nap Challenge, simply pledge to sleep in on April 26, wear your Cat Nap sleep mask, and brag about your generous slumbers on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #WilcoCatNap. The cost is $20 until April 20 and $25 after.

For additional details or to register for the Woof Walk and Wrun event, go to www.wilcopets.org.  To volunteer or inquire about sponsorship opportunities, please contact Misty Valenta at mvalenta@wilco.org, or call the shelter at 512.943.3322.

Jackson Galaxy to keynote at Shadow Cats’ ‘Guitars and Cat-illacs’ annual benefit in May

GuitarsAndCatillacsDo you know about Shadow Cats? It’s a nonprofit sanctuary and advocacy group in Round Rock for cats with special needs. The group’s annual benefit is coming up at the end of May, and the event will include TV star and cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy.

Galaxy, who has been a frequent visitor to Austin during South by Southwest and on his own book tours, first toured the sanctuary two years ago, according to organizers. The star of Animal Planet’s “My Cat From Hell” will give a keynote talk at the event, called Guitars & Cat-illacs, which also will include dinner, music, an auction and more guests.

Tickets are $125 for the benefit, which will start at 6:30 p.m. May 29 at Shoal Crossing Event Center, 8611 N. MoPac Boulevard, and can be purchased at www.shadowcats.net. Check the website or call 512-656-8775 for more information.

5 close animal encounters that will make you jump



We love animals, but in the following cases, these furry creatures and critters were just a little too close for comfort.

At the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium habitat in Nebraska, visitors got more than they bargained for when a Silverback gorilla suddenly charged and cracked the viewing glass.

At a safari park in South Africa, one family was surprised by a curious lion, who came up to their car and managed to open the car door with its mouth.

At a home in Florida, one resident was in shock when he looked outside and saw a bull shark swimming in his backyard.

In Washington, a semi-truck carrying a load of honey bees overturned on an interstate, scattering boxes containing millions of bees across the highway.

And, while this wasn’t a dangerous encounter, this spring breaker’s encounter with a manatee while vacationing in Florida was certainly frightening for her.

Austin Humane Society holding ‘Kitten Shower’ donation and foster care drive


KittenShowerRegistrySpring has sprung and kitten season has begun! Join us on the front porch of the Austin Humane Society for a Kitten Shower on Saturday, April 18th from 11am to noon. This is a family-friendly event and donation drive for Austin’s homeless newborn kittens. These bottle babies need supplies such as formula, heating pads, and tender loving care in order to survive. Your donations help kittens get nursed to optimal health.

“With the arrival of kitten season in early spring, animal shelters are flooded with un-weaned kittens that rely on the care of generous and selfless Bottle Baby Kitten Fosters in order to survive,” says AHS Foster Care Coordinator Jamie Hunt.  “With such a huge influx of kittens, we rely on donations to help save the lives of orphaned kittens and give them the chance to live a full and happy life.”

Help us fulfill our bottle babies’ needs by bringing in items from our registry below, or donate your time by emailing our Foster Care Coordinator about becoming a kitten foster volunteer. Newborn Kitten Foster Orientation will be held immediately following the Shower in the AHS Auditorium.

Austin Humane Society’s Kitten Season Wish-List Includes:

Meat flavored baby food (Chicken, Turkey, etc.)

  • 21 Century Kitten Milk Replacer
  • Bottle Kits
  • Kitten Dry Food (Royal Canin “Baby Cat”)
  • Kitten Wet Food (any type)
  • Top Loading Pet Carriers
  • Small Electric Heating pads without timer
  • Snuggle Safe Warmers
  • Nebulizers

Giraffe cam at Dallas Zoo shows birth of new calf

From the Associated Press:

DALLAS – The newest giraffe at the Dallas Zoo has millions of fans just days after her birth thanks to a camera streaming live video of the calf playing and nuzzling with her mother.

The calf was born Friday afternoon — weighing 139 pounds and standing 5 feet, 10 inches tall. The zoo allowed cable television channel “Animal Planet” to install the video, which has been operating since last week to enable viewers to watch for the birth and the calf.

“It was a big decision for us,” zoo spokesman Laurie Holloway said. “As a leading zoo now, we decided it’s very important to tell people what’s really going on behind the curtains.”

The unnamed calf is healthy and has been playing and nursing, Holloway said. “It’s amazing how quickly they get up and run,” she said.

As of Monday morning, the TV channel’s website already had more than 2.1 million viewings of the streaming video, allowing viewers to see scenes such as the calf nuzzling to nurse from her mother, Katie. The towering mother giraffe at times leans over to lick and gently nudge her baby.

The Dallas Zoo giraffe population is now 13 with the addition of the calf, Holloway said. The father is named Tebogo.

Zookeepers will choose three potential names for the calf, all related to African heritage, Holloway said. A public vote will be taken to choose the winning name.

7 best April Fools’ Day pranks about pets

Has April Fools’ Day gone to the dogs? Well, maybe.

Check out some of the best animal April Fools’ Day pranks we could find this year. And if you are just looking to have some fun with your pet today, here’s the top five pranks to pull on your dog. 

Prank 1: Groupon is now offering Grouber – a cat car service to get you where you need to go safely. And don’t worry, these felines are tested for rabies and can parallel park. The future is right ‘meow.’

Prank 2: ‘Dog is Good,’ a Dog Lifestyle company that creates and markets gifts for dog lovers, is launching, ‘Schittin’ Pretty, the dog treat with a purpose!’

According to a press release from the company, the dog treat gives back to the environment. That is, where the dog defecates, a tree will grow.  How you ask? Well, DIG Director of Product Development, Gayle Chait says that part of the treat will remain undigested and pass through the dog as fully fertilized seed ready to grow a variety of trees, flowers or grasses.


Prank 3: T-Mobile is offering a great new plan for our furry family members called ‘Pets Unleashed.’

Prank 4: Zumba is offering a class just for dogs, called Zumba for Dogs, but unfortunately this one is sold out. Check out what the class would look like if it were real.

Prank 5: Hulu has rolled out Hulu Pets, which offers premium pet programming for your best friend like Bone Appétit, where the best animal chefs compete to be named the King of Kibble. See other hilarious shows they have to offer here.

Prank 6: Does your pet have a movie request? Well, Redbox has introduced a new way for your pet to enjoy movies called Petbox. The new service is just like Redbox, but made smaller for your pet. 








Prank 7: Found only online and just for today, Petco is selling a ‘Dog on a Stick,’ a selfie-stick for dogs. But, if you order today, you will also get a harness and a ‘Cat on a Stick,’ the selfie-stick for cats, for free.