Thursday, September 21, 2017

Best Friends Animal Society & Saving Lives in Houston

A row of kennels at the Best Friends
Rescue Reunion Pavilion in Houston, TX.
After Hurricane Harvey, a handful of rescue organizations committed to No Kill programs; Austin Pets Alive, Houston Pets Alive, Best Friends Animal Society and Houston Pet Set formed a partnership.

As they made a plan to save as many lives as possible, Austin Pets Alive paired up with their small grassroots partner Houston Pets Alive to pull animals at risk of euthanasia directly from the local shelters to create more space for stray animals while Best Friends Animal Society & Houston Pet Set began operating the Rescue Reunion Pavilion, which is currently housing animals that were brought in and could potentially have a family looking for them. These animals are currently being offered Veterinary care, food, water, comfortable safe housing and TLC as they wait for their families to find them.

Yesterday, after a short trip to Houston to visit my family, I decided to take a few minutes to visit the Rescue Reunion Pavilion to see the operation and give a personal Thank You to the team running this operation. I was welcomed with open arms, invited to volunteer for a couple of hours and see how things are going for myself. While I was volunteering, I was even able to witness a sweet reunion for one of the 100+ cats in their care. 

One of the sweet faces waiting to be reunited at the
Best Friends Rescue Reunion Pavilion. 
After visiting with the volunteers, I loved on a few dogs, spent time with the marketing team to discuss what they are doing to spread the word about the Pavilion and even had a few moments to help film a promotional video featuring a few of the kitties in their care. The operation is under amazing management. They have a wall dedicated to flyers that individuals have brought in as they search for their beloved pets. They have a team of volunteers dedicated to enrichment, building dog toys to offer some comfort to the animals that may be scared as they wait. They have fencing set up to keep animals enclosed and safe should one escape a kennel. They have laundry buzzing, an area for volunteers and staff to have down time, cozy blankets for the animals and a leadership team ensuring that things run smoothly. They have hours dedicated to down time for the dogs, so that no matter how crazy the day starts out, from 12 - 2, the kennel area is shut down for a bit to allow the dogs quiet time to decompress from the stress. 

Dogs receive down time to
decompress each afternoon.
This is an organization that is 100% there for the animals, they are kind, welcoming and extremely passionate. If these animals are able to be reunited with their families, Best Friends is working to ensure that they exhaust every option that they can to get them home. If not, they will be given the opportunity to find loving homes. No matter what their situation was before, they are now safe. 

Houston has a chance to learn from this tragedy. They can embrace life saving programs, open their minds to organizations like Best Friends and Austin Pets Alive and allow a conversation on how to save lives. They have the opportunity to keep the momentum going. Thousands of stray animals were transferred to No Kill rescue organizations. Thousands of animals that may have continued to live on the streets or worse are now safe. 

Thank you Best Friends Animal Society. Thank you Austin Pets Alive, Houston Pets Alive and Houston Pet Set. Thank you to every amazing life-saving rescue organization for the work you do. Thank you. Thank you! 

Stephanie Conrad
Pet Studio Art | Owner | Artist 

Best Friends Animal Society is a 501(c)3 non profit organization located in Kenab, Utah. Currently, they are deployed to Houston through mid-October and setup at the NRG Arena (1 NRG Parkway, Houston, TX 77054). They are in need of experienced dog walking volunteers. If you are in the Houston area and would like to volunteer, fill out their quick and easy volunteer application and sign up for a shift!!

Below are just a handful of animals I was able to meet that are currently waiting to be reunited with their families. To see a full list of animals in Best Friend's care, click here