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.

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.

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.

National Puppy Day Contest: Send us your puppy pics!

Updated: 03.24.15: 5:30 p.m.

With an amazing 130-plus super-cute puppy entries, choosing winners was no easy task. But here are our National Puppy Day contest winners.

Here’s another look at all the entries.

Thanks to everyone who participated and shared their puppy photos with us!

Rudolph, a.k.a ‘Havoc’

03.23.15 – It’s the most adorable day of the year! To celebrate National Puppy Day, we are asking our readers for their best puppy photos for a chance to win some pet books.

Whether your dog is a puppy now, or you have photos of your furry friend as a pup, we want to see some puppies! You can submit your photos to us on Twitter @PetFriendlyATX or email them to readerphotos@statesman.com.

Check out the National Puppy Day photos we have so far today.

And, to continue our celebration, here are 12 interesting facts about pups.


Austin Humane Society holding ‘Big Dogs, Big Love’ adoption special

Gus is one of many large dogs available at the Austin Humane Society
Gus is one of many large dogs available at the Austin Humane Society

Update: Feb. 10: The Austin Humane Society will be holding $20 adoptions through Valentine’s Day, so you’d better hurry to find your big love.

Earlier: Big dogs are just as worthy of love as any other dog. And, since there has been a recent surge of large dogs at the Austin Humane Society, the shelter will be offering $20 adoption fees for all dogs over 40 lbs. until further notice.

Check out some of the dogs available for adoption here at the AHS website, or go see them for yourself at the shelter from noon to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter receives $80K Petco Foundation Grant


WCRAS employee Tawnie L’Allier places a microchip in Bromley before he is adopted.
WCRAS employee Tawnie L’Allier places a microchip in Bromley before he is adopted.

The Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter (WCRAS) announced it has been awarded an $80,000 grant from the Petco Foundation to fund their Offsite Adoption Program and their Prevention Program, including free services to citizens the five jurisdictions serve.
WCRAS is the only shelter solely devoted to the lost and abandoned animals of Round Rock, Leander, Cedar Park, Hutto, and Williamson County – serving a population of approximately 450,000 citizens. Since 2011, this open admission shelter has maintained a 90% or above save rate and has received national recognition for its life-saving mission. This “No-Kill” status is not mandated, but has been maintained because the shelter believes it is simply the right thing to do.
The Petco Foundation grant will be used to expand the WCRAS’ Offsite Adoption Program by hiring a new position and purchasing a new van. Plus, the grant will significantly fund the new Prevention Program. The goal of this program aims to reduce the overall number of animals that come into the animal shelter. This includes free microchips for citizens of the five jurisdictions, free collar and ID tag with adoptions, and free spay/neuter surgeries for pets of families with a financial need. For more information about any of these services, please contact the shelter staff at wcras@wilco.org.
“Our aim is to reunite families with their pets faster with the help of microchips and tags” says Cheryl Schneider, animal services director. “By increasing our reunions and decreasing unwanted litters, we hope to decrease the number of animals entering the shelter and thus, decrease the chance of euthanasia because of overcrowding.”
The Petco Foundation has served as a voice for companion animals across the country since 1999. Today, with more than 8,000 local animal-welfare partners across the country, the Petco Foundation donates approximately $15 million a year to make a difference in the lives of millions of animals. The organization is funded through donations raised during fundraisers conducted in Petco’s more than 1,200 stores across the country, as well as from Petco associates, vendors and corporate contributions. Money raised helps fund animal-welfare organizations, spay and neuter efforts, animal-assisted therapy programs, and humane education. The majority of the funds raised remain in the communities where they were raised, and the Petco Foundation is also involved in many national animal-welfare efforts.
In 2012, the Petco Foundation surpassed $100 million in funds raised for companion animals since the organization was created. To learn more, visit http://www.petcofoundation.org

Photo contest: Send us your best holiday pet photos

To get into the Christmas spirit, we’re asking readers to send us their holiday pet photos. Whether your dog or cat is in an elf suit, taking a picture with Santa (as it seems many pups in Austin do), or in a family photo, we want all funny, happy, cute or just awesome pet holiday photos.

Photo credit: Shorey Russell

You can tweet them to us at PetFriendlyATX or email them to readerphotos@statesman.com. The best reader photo will win a 2015 puppy calendar. We will also give away pet books to some of our staff favorites. The contest will run December 9-16, but feel free to send us those photos for our online gallery all the way through Christmas. Happy holidays!

» Photo gallery: Austin holiday pet photos 2014

Free adoptions happening this weekend (Dec. 5-7) at the Austin Humane Society


The Austin Humane Society (AHS) is offering free adoptions for all dogs through the weekend in an effort to find homes for an influx of over 50 dogs in addition to the dogs that were already on site.

At the request of Austin Animal Center, AHS stepped in to rescue over 50 dogs in order to provide them with safe nights of shelter and necessary care. AHS has put a plan in place to care for the immediate influx of animals as well as ongoing intake. An emergency pet shelter was prepared onsite with kennels set up, doubling the capacity of the shelter, in addition to the permanent kennels in the canine area.

AHS is seeking help from the public, primarily encouraging potential adopters to stop in over the weekend and open up their hearts andhomes.

“We really need the community’s help right now,” said Frances Jonon, Executive Director of AHS. “There are many areas where we can use the extra hands, but the biggest one of all is adoption. We’re hoping to find forever homes for the majority of these dogs this weekend so that we can open up kennel space for additional animals in need.”

Other ways to help include monetary donations to support the added expenses from taking in the inflow of dogs and donating items. The most needed items are metal dog bowls, top sheets, towels, and rawhides, but a full list of desired items can be found on their website at austinhumanesociety.org/give/items. Donations can be dropped in the donation bin in the front of the building.

AHS is also looking for help with fostering, volunteering, and staffing. They encourage interested people to stop by, visit their website, or follow their Facebook page for updates at facebook.com/austinhumanesociety.

WHAT:  FREE dog adoptions

WHEN: Friday December 5 – 12p – 7p

                 Saturday December 6 – 12p – 7p

                 Sunday December 7 – 12p – 5p

 WHERE:  Austin Humane Society

                      124 W. Anderson Lane

                      Austin, TX  78752