Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What can we learn from Annie?

Annie during my holiday photo shoot for Christmas 2012.
Annie's shelter and rescue history is a long one, but one that really shows how a dedicated community can achieve No Kill. With many shelters, Annie would not have been provided more than a week to wait for her forever family, let alone a few months, which eventually turned into a few years with one of the shelter's partner rescue organizations. Annie is a testament to the No Kill Equation and how following steps to achieve No Kill really does save lives.

A couple of weeks ago, I shared some information on how Austin became a No Kill city and how important that success is for the entire nation. Austin has become a symbol of hope for shelter pets everywhere and while I think it is so important to share the success that Austin Pets Alive has had over the past 6 years as they transformed the city of Austin, it is equally as important to share the successes of other counties and organizations. Georgetown Animal Outreach is one of those inspirational organizations and while they aren't in the main spotlight quite like Austin Pets Alive is, they work just as hard and their group of volunteers is one that I have come to love and admire.

Annie, a Dogo Argentino (a breed generally grouped into the Pit Bull category) mix entered our county facility, The Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter several years ago. Luckily for Annie, our county shelter is striving to be No Kill and Annie was given a chance to be shown for adoption. Unluckily for Annie, she just didn't adjust or show well in the shelter, as is the case with many wonderful dogs. While the staff at WCRAS loved her, the limited staff wasn't able to really dedicate the time Annie needed and finally, after spending months in the shelter with no interested adopters, she was given a break and rescued from her shelter kennel by the wonderful volunteers of Georgetown Animal Outreach. 

Annie getting a belly rub at one of our adoption events!
Much like Austin Pets Alive began, GAO is an organization that is run on the support of foster homes. This year alone, GAO has pulled 4 cats and 22 dogs from our city shelter, however, one of those dogs was pregnant when she was pulled and had a huge litter of 12 puppies, so let's say they pulled 34 dogs! In addition to their work physically rescuing dogs from the shelter, they have also taken in several owner surrenders before they were dropped off at the shelter, ultimately keeping another pregnant mom from having a litter at the shelter. 

Annie was fortunate enough to be one of the dogs that GAO had a space for and quickly became a volunteer favorite with her charming tiny bark and her incredibly sweet personality. I initially met Annie while I was hosting an adoption event in Round Rock, TX. She reminded me so much of my own sweet Holly, I of course came to love her as much as the GAO volunteers did. 

While everyone wanted to see Annie in her forever home, we all knew she was safe and loved with GAO. Annie had everything she needed while she waited for that perfect family and finally, just a couple of weeks ago, her dreams came true and Annie was adopted into a wonderful family with another pup that looks like her long lost cousin! From the photos her family has shared, it seems that Annie is right at home and we are all thrilled to see her there!

With rescue partnerships, volunteer involvement, foster programs and a shelter director that truly cares, The Williamson County Regional Shelter has makes a difference in the lives of thousands of animals and their new families every year! 

Stephanie Conrad
Pet Studio Art | Owner | Artist

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