Sunday, April 10, 2011

helping keep austin pets alive!

so, big girl's passion is animals.

she's a vegetarian wannabe.
inquire with her about our family pets, &
be prepared to have your ears animatedly talked off.
for gift-receiving occasions, she consistently requests
contributions to the world wildlife fund in her honor.
likewise, she spends her own money on
donations to area animal organizations.
she can almost always name that dog breed.

so naturally, she has wanted to volunteer
at the city shelter or humane society for years.
but even with adult supervision, their minimum age
for volunteers is 14 & 13 respectively.

she is 12.
& was almost physically pained by the idea of another year of waiting.

enter austin pets alive!

austin pets alive! is an amazing grassroots group
of almost all volunteers,
founded three years ago & led by dr. ellen jefferson.
apa!'s ultimate goal: to make austin a no-kill city.

with tons of sweat equity, tech smarts & limitless energy,
apa! has already achieved incredible progress toward this goal.

when the organization began in 2008, the kill rate
at the city shelter was over 50%

more than half the animals coming into the shelter
were being put down.

which is not a criticism of austin's city shelter -
as apa! is quick to note, they're doing the very best
they can with what they've got to work with.

apa! teams go to the city shelter every day,
& identify & rescue healthy, treatable pets
who have been targeted to be euthanized the next day.

at our city shelter, this automatically includes
all puppies & kittens younger than six weeks old -
because if they're not weaned, then the shelter
simply doesn't have the resources to take care of them.

in february 2011, thanks to apa!, the kill rate
at austin's city shelter was 8%
. eight percent.

a kill rate of 10% or less is considered "no-kill,"
as there will always be some animals too damaged to save.
so within three years, apa! helped austin become -
for the first time ever - a no-kill city.

big girl & i went through apa! volunteer training last month,
& have begun going to the new apa! headquarters
[for 2.5 years, apa! found foster homes for all of their rescues]
to help walk dogs, going to area petsmarts -
apa! sets up daily for six hours in front of several locations -
to help the adoption counselors with their duties,
& we've been assigned a "little" [kendal] via apa!'s
big brothers/big sisters program
[we visit her to provide her with extra love, treats & walks].

we must do only dog stuff, as i'm allergic to cats,
but the ways to help at apa! are canine, feline & neverending -
from overnight shifts bottle-feeding baby kittens
to helping rehabilitate & train good dogs with bad behaviors.

austin consistently ranks among the country's pet-friendliest cities,
based upon factors like average number of pets per person,
prevalence of pet-friendly venues & natural spaces.

with austin pets alive! at work,
we will soon be taking our pet-friendly status to a whole other level.
it's a matter of life & death.

image source: me & my big girl, glory & norman, currently available for adoption at apa!


iggee said...

Way to go big girl and her momma! That is awesome!

kriscard said...

thank you, dear friend!
& might i add how awesome it is that
you & your big boy are tae kwan do'in' it together! :)

Hannah said...

Kristen, APA is where we found our beloved puppy, Pongo! So, they now have a fond place in our hearts as well.