Monthly Archives: February 2015

Nobody’s Dog

. . .
Today is the death day of nobody’s dog
Nothing will mark it but a note in the log
I’m faceless and nameless and no tears will fall
For I know in your world I have no worth at all
To you, my sweet someone, I’m a friend and a dear
We ran the wind daily and you held me so near
But the gate was left open – I chanced a walk on my own
I’d have cowered in fear if only I’d knownI know how you cried on the night that I strayed
I know how you searched, I know how you prayed
But I went to a pound far far from our home
Where I crouched in despair in my kennel aloneI know that you phoned for I heard your dear voice
And I hoped you would hear me so I barked myself hoarse
Although I’m a Lab cross with stockings all white
On their form I’m a Staff cross – the description’s not rightSo they said I’m not here and I sank to my bed
My kennel cough’s worse and I can’t raise my head
The rescue came yesterday but they hadn’t a place
For an un-neutered cross breed with his mucus-streaked faceIf only you’d come to search for me here
You would have known me at once, you would have sensed I was near
You would have sorted my ills, you would have carried me home
And I promise our God no more would I roamNow my eyes plead for mercy for my seven days are done
And I am waiting with dread for the final vet run
No arms will caress me as they inject me to death
No words will comfort me as I take my last breathWhen the body man comes, it is fitting I’m found
In a bin bag in the freezer in the depths of the pound
Thrown away like the rubbish – no respect and no shame
Denied even the time to find you againMy loyalty and devotion they did cruelly betray
Without microchip or nametag, I am just a dispensable stray
Once waggy-tailed, once proud, beloved and free
Oh Dad look with pain at what mankind’s done to me!* * * / / * * *

Did you know ? . . . when a dog’s owner relinquishes the dog to either B.A.R.C (Houston city-funded) or the Harris County shelter or either of the non-profits: Houston Humane Society (HHS),  Houston SPCA (HSPCA) or Citizens for Animal Protection (CAP), the shelter is not required to hold the dog for ANY period of time.  Based on the shelter’s discretion, an owner-surrendered dog may even be killed the same day it is turned in.

 Are you fuming yet?  Try handling these facts.


Leave a comment

Filed under adopting, adoption, advocacy, education, foster, safety

Houston Animal Rescue Group About to be Homeless

K-9 Angels Rescue was featured on tonight’s news!

Watch ABC13-Deborah Wrigley‘s story on us at 6:30pm.

Thank you to Deborah, Channel 13, and the volunteers and fosters who helped pull this interview together.
We really hope this helps us locate a new Adoption Center!

K9 Angel Rescue has saved nearly 2000 homeless dogs, most of them from euthanasia at shelters in the past three years.  Now the non-profit is about to be without its own home.

The group was forced to leave its adoption center at Shepherd and Alabama when the property was sold to make way for a commercial business.

For the past three months, courtesy of a developer, it’s been housed at what had been a Chinese restaurant on Montrose Blvd.  That site, too, has been sold and K-9 has to vacate by week’s end.

Adoption coordinator Christine Morgan says she has never experienced a real estate challenge as the one the group is currently facing. “We’ve always operated in donated space.  This time, we’re willing to pay a lease but we still can’t find anything.”

Some 50 dogs are in its care at the moment, with names like Giselle, Pudding, and Patton.  A pair of dachshund puppies are also on the list.

“Not only are we looking for a new space, we also need more foster homes to take in these pups,” says Morgan.  The fewer foster homes, the fewer animals can be pulled from places like Harris County’s animal shelter.

The non-profit’s needs are basic — electricity, water, and plumbing hookups for a sink and washer and dryer.  It also needs to be centrally located.

If you’re in a rescue, you need to have a large reserve of hope.  Intake Coordinator Mary Tipton has that.  “We specialize in dogs, but we like to say we’ve always landed on our feet like a cat.”  She hopes history will repeat itself — and fast.

Interested realtors or landlords can contact the non-profit at  So may people interested in providing a foster home to some healthy, happy dogs.


See the story and video here:

Leave a comment

Filed under education

Happy Tails! – BAILEE (pka Prissy)

During the summer of 2013, Travis and I decided to adopt Bailee (formerly known as Prissy).  We both had dogs growing up but this was our first one as a couple.  Needless to say we were a little nervous.  That didn’t last long at all!Bailee is the most precious thing we have ever been given.  She is an amazing dog, our best friend and our child.  She loves going on car rides, to the dog park, on walks, snuggling up between us in bed at night and to see Grammy and Grandpa at their house.  She even likes to see Dr. Mike (our vet).  She never fails to greet us with kisses and love when we get home and never leaves our side when we are sick.  She is the happiest when she’s next to someone she loves or getting belly rubs.  She listens well and (most of the time) gets in her crate when it’s time to “load up”.

Thank you all so much for paving the way for Travis and I to find Bailee.  We are forever grateful.

*| * |*
* * * * * * *
If you would like to send us an update on your adopted
K-9 Angels Rescue dog, please send a short write-up and photo(s) to   We LOVE to get updates!
* * * * * * *
Do you want to send us updates & photos
but still need to choose the Love of your Life?
Surely you can find THE ONE right here!
* * * * * * *

Leave a comment

Filed under Happy Tails

5 Ways Thieves Could Steal Your Dog

Sergeant Kenneth Chambers was playing Frisbee with his dog in the parking lot of a Jacksonville, Florida grocery store recently when lightning struck out of the clear blue sky.  The young American veteran, in recovery for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), rolled down the car windows and placed his Australian Shepard/Blue Heeler Mix inside the vehicle just briefly while he went inside to help his mother with the bags.  When he came out moments later, Adalida was gone.

Unfortunately for Sergeant Chambers, and for Adalida, the parking lot scenario placed them in two of the top five high-risk situations for pet theft.  And while Sergeant Chamebers’ search continues for Adalida, there are measures that all of us can take to prevent a similar tragedy.

Top Five High Risk Pet Theft Scenarios

#1 Dogs in Autos:

In the blink of an eye, a partially opened window is forced down or the window is smashed and the dog can be removed from the vehicle.  It takes 20 seconds or less to abduct a dog and by the time the pet guardian returns to the car, their dog is long gone.  The American Kennel Club reports a 70% rise in dog theft in 2012 and a 40% rise the year before.  A weak economy is fueling financially motivated dog-napping and a dog in a car is quite simply a sitting duck.

#2 Highly Prized Breeds or Dogs With Special Abilities:

A purebred dog or a dog with special skills is a bit like a gold watch.  Thieves see dollar signs and that’s more than enough temptation. Any dog left unattended under any circumstances can be taken, but there is far greater motivation for criminals to walk off with a dog who can bring in a large sum of cash.

#3 Pets Left in Fenced Backyards:

Everyone loves the convenience of a doggy door, especially criminals.  Homeowners who let their pet explore the fenced yard without supervision have the illusion of safety, but police departments across the country will tell you that the theft of these dogs is climbing.

In broad daylight on a single Saturday in November, Corning (California) Animal Shelter Manager Debbie Eaglebarger documented the theft of four Dobermans, four Australian shepherds and two Rottweilers.  There were actually other dogs taken that same day but the first few calls were not recorded as the shelter had not yet realized that the town was in the midst of a widespread crime wave.  One neighbor saw a man and a woman driving a green pick up truck lure one of the dogs out of a backyard and into their vehicle.  All dogs taken that day were purebred, but that is not always the case.

#4 Pets Left Tied in Front of Businesses:

This one may sound like a no-brainer, but particularly in urban areas where people take their pets on their errands on foot, it’s not uncommon to find dogs tied up in front of a bank or grocery store.  Typically, these are dogs with a gentle demeanor making them highly susceptible to the commands of a would-be thief.

“Leaving your dog tied up in front of a store is about as ludicrous as leaving your child out front and saying, ‘Wait right there, I’ll be back in 10 minutes,” explains Howard Simpson of Integrated Security and Communications in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts.  “Do yourself a favor and realize that there are security risks in even the safest of neighborhoods.  Being naive makes you a target.”

#5 Strangers in the Neighborhood:

Any strangers on the property can be a risk to your pets.  Whether they are invited contractors, deliverymen or activists with a petition in hand, visitors could easily grab a pet during a moment when the homeowner is distracted.  In some cases, they are making a mental note of homes with valuable breeds or easy-to-subvert home security that will facilitate a quick dog-napping at a later time.  It bears mentioning that it’s not uncommon for cats to jump into the back of truck beds for a snooze and to be unwittingly carried off at the end of the day.

Which Breeds Are Most Likely to Be Stolen?

According to the American Kennel Club, the most-stolen dog of 2011 was the Yorkshire Terrier, followed by the Pomeranian, Maltese and Boston Terrier.  Small breeds are targeted by thieves because of their size but also because of their value on the market as a single dog can fetch well over $1,000.   Among the large breeds, Labrador Retrievers are a frequent target and Pit Bull Terriers and Pit Bull mixes are frequently coming up stolen for perhaps a much more sinister purpose.

Dog Thieves: Why They’ll Steal Your Pet

1. Bait Dogs & Laboratory Dogs: This is every dog guardian’s worst nightmare. Indeed people involved in dog fighting will gather “bait” dogs to be used as training tools for fighting dogs.  It happens in both urban and rural areas and there has been no measurable decline in dog fighting in recent years despite attempts to police against it.  And, despite some legislation intended to stop the sale of undocumented dogs to research laboratories, under-the-table purchase of dogs continues and, in some countries, these exchanges are not considered a crime.

2. Financially Motivated Theft: “For the first time ever we’ve seen a trend now where shelters are being broken into and purebred and mixed breed dogs are being stolen,” said Lisa Peterson, spokesperson for the American Kennel Club.  In fact, any pure bred dog, particularly puppies, are considered a high-value commodity.  Even with a microchip, it’s often too late by the time a pet buyer discovers that they have purchased a stolen dog.   By then, the thief is long gone.

3. Emotionally Driven Theft: What’s often overlooked are the emotionally motivated crimes that rob dogs of their families.  This can happen because the perpetrator feels that a dog is not being properly cared for.  Some animal lovers will feel justified in stealing a dog that is tied in front of a store or who gets on the loose one day.  Other times it’s an act of revenge, and there are many reports of dogs being taken where a former romantic partner is considered the prime suspect.

Whatever the scenario or the motivation, dog guardians can best protect their dogs with watchfullness.  Never leave a dog unattended.  Secure your home, including all doors and windows, to the best of your ability and budget.  And be wary of strangers in your neighborhood at all times.

Brought to you by the Harmony Fund international animal rescue charity.

Read more:

Leave a comment

Filed under education, safety

Nine things not to say to Dog Rescue volunteers

In October 2013, we made a decision as a family to give dog fostering a go.  I’ll admit that I was somewhat selfish in my reasons for wanting to foster dogs; we had been thinking about getting a companion for our Staffordshire bull terrier, Hermes, but the cost of keeping another dog plus the potential negative consequences if he failed to bond well with a friend of our choosing were holding us back.  The rescue group we work with covers most of the costs (food, equipment and vet bills), and if our dog and the foster clash badly (it hasn’t happened yet, touch wood), we can always move the foster dog to another, more suitable carer.  So as well as making a positive community contribution, fostering seemed like a good way to dip our toe in the waters of being a two dog household.

Gunner and ScooterSixteen months and seventeen puppies and dogs later, and we’re hooked.  Every time one of our fosters gets adopted and we wave goodbye to them, it is both a wrench to our hearts and an intensely rewarding experience knowing that we’ve helped save doggy lives.

Of course, there are downsides.  It can be frustrating being kept awake all night by a fretting puppy, cleaning up inside ‘accidents’ or disposing of a pair of shoes that were perfectly good 15 minutes ago until a teething canine got hold of one.  But the biggest downsides come from the humans.  If you’re considering adopting a rescue dog and you don’t want to get the carer’s hackles up (dog metaphor deliberate), here are a few tips on what not to say.

I sent an email half an hour ago and nobody’s got back to me. Why are you so slack? Don’t you care about finding a home for these dogs?

We’re not paid 24/7 to stand by for your email. In fact, we’re not paid at all. Rescue volunteers have jobs and families and other commitments, and in between all of that we’re feeding the dogs, walking the dogs, transporting dogs to and from vets, driving on 12 hour round trips to collect death row dogs from country pounds, attending to the screeds of paperwork required by local, state and federal governments… Besides, you might just be the twelfth applicant for this dog, and we have to respond to the other eleven before it’s your turn.

Why do they cost so much? Surely if you want to save these animals, you should be charging less, or giving them away.Shelley in flower pot

Two reasons – one is that animal rescue is expensive. The money rescue groups collect in adoption fees doesn’t begin to cover the costs. Even although nobody is getting paid, and even although we get donations, and reduced rates from sympathetic vets, there are still food bills, vet bills, and transport costs. Collars, leads, food bowls and bedding need to be provided to foster carers. One dog alone coming down with parvovirus can cost thousands of dollars to save. When you adopt a dog from a registered rescue organization, then by law it will be desexed, vaccinated and microchipped, which is more than you will get for the same price (or higher) from a pet shop or breeder.
The other reason is psychology. We want each adoption to be successful, and don’t want to see dogs bouncing back to us because owners can’t afford to keep them, or only adopted them on a whim. This is much less likely to happen if adopters are willing and able to hand over $400 – $500.

We’ve changed our minds – we’re not coming to meet the dog after all (usually said an hour after the agreed meeting time).

See “we’re not paid to do this” and “we have lives too, you know.”

We love the look of Fifi and think she would be perfect for us, but we won’t be ready to have a dog for another couple of months. Can you hold her for us?

Short answer – no. Long answer – the longer we keep dogs in our care, the more expensive it gets, and the more dogs are put down by pounds because they don’t have the space and we don’t have the available carers. Snarky answer – don’t start looking for a dog until you’re ready to own a dog. It will only end in heartbreak for you if you fall in love with a dog you can’t have, and wasted time for us (also see “we’re not paid to do this”.)

I love dogs, but I had to give my last one away because it got too big/I had to move/my girlfriend didn’t like it/we had a baby

We understand that sometimes life throws curve balls that you didn’t see coming; we fostered a beautiful dog formerly owned by a family who had fallen upon hard times and could no longer afford to keep her. They did the responsible thing and gave her over into foster care, and I was honoured to be able to have a hand in finding a loving new home for her. But some of the reasons people give for getting rid of their pets are clearly foreseeable or downright frivolous; puppies are going to get bigger, landlords are quite likely to say “no pets”, and who did you commit to first, the girlfriend or the dog? At this point you have to ask yourself – do I really love dogs, or do I just love the idea of dogs?

What breed is she crossed with?

A legitimate question on the surface of it. However, whatever breed the dog is listed as is usually the pound’s or the vet’s best guess. The only way to guarantee a dog’s parentage is through pedigree papers from a registered breeder, or a DNA test. As most of our dogs are unclaimed strays rescued from pounds, we’re extremely unlikely to have either of these pieces of paper.

Oh yes...this is surely the face of a killer.

…because I don’t want a dog with any staffy/rotty/heeler/chihuahua/[insert your breed prejudice here].

And I understand your concerns. Not all breeds are going to be suitable for your needs – otherwise we wouldn’t have so many different dog breeds. And we can’t guarantee that the dog you’re thinking of adopting won’t show any of the undesirable traits you’re seeking to avoid (they’re living creatures, not second hand cars). Can’t guarantee…but can give a pretty good indication. During their time in foster care, we’ve exposed them to a lot of situations they’re likely to encounter as companion dogs, so we can tell you most, if not all, of the things you need to know about their tendencies and temperament. But if that doesn’t convince you, and purity of breed is still a deal breaker, then I recommend you purchase a dog from a reputable registered breeder, or adopt a dog from a breed-specific rescue group.

…because staffies/rotties/heelers/chihuahuas are aggressive dogs.

OK, now I am no longer humouring you.  That’s just illogical.  Dogs have been bred for thousands of years to be companions to humans.  Yes, some breeds might have been selectively bred to encourage a prey drive, or to be wary of strangers, thus making them good guard dogs.  However, having an entire breed that is indiscriminately aggressive towards humans would be wildly counter-productive.

I want a dog, but not one that barks or digs or chews. And not one that sheds, or that isn’t house trained, or that is likely to knock stuff over – I’m very house proud, and don’t want to be cleaning up messes all the time. I work 50 hours a week, so I won’t be able to come meet any dogs until the weekend. What have you got for me?

A goldfish.


1 Comment

Filed under education, foster, volunteers

Class Action Lawsuit filed against Beneful Dog Food


A nationwide class action lawsuit was recently filed in California charging Nestle Purina with breach of warranty, negligence and negligent misrepresentation (among other things).


One Dog Death Every 3 Days for 8 Years

The FDA just released a very minimal information jerky treat investigation update. For more than eight years – pets have been dying and sickened from Chinese jerky treats. And the FDA still can’t determine why.


Leave a comment

Filed under education

Some Veterinarians Barking Up the Wrong Tree


There are 23 million dogs and cats living in poverty in the United States, and their families often don’t have access to basic wellness services like vaccinations and spaying and neutering.   Low-cost clinics and nonprofit organizations are providing a critical public service for these pets and their families, who most likely would otherwise never get to see a veterinarian.

As Nonprofit Quarterly reports, some veterinarians and other trade groups like dentists are trying to crack down on nonprofits within their respective fields.  This fight is playing out in Alabama and other state legislatures around the country.  Dr. Michael Blackwell’s guest column on makes the point that a rising tide lifts all boats in the veterinary profession.  

Dr. Blackwell is the former dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Tennessee, deputy director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, and chief veterinarian of the U.S. Public Health Service.  Here’s Dr. Blackwell’s take on the issue:

Imagine trying to shut down a homeless shelter because it gives people a free bed for the night, undercutting business at the Best Western; or claiming that a person who donates free blankets is unfairly stealing away the linen market from Dillard’s.  Is a soup kitchen driving down sales at Applebee’s?  What about a doctor who volunteers at a free clinic for the poor — how dare he deprive the HMOs and insurance companies of those customers?

As absurd as it sounds, that’s the argument some veterinarians are making in their zeal to shut down nonprofit and low-cost veterinary clinics for struggling pet owners.  Unhappy with economic realities, some veterinarians are casting blame on the good-hearted souls within their own profession who work with animal welfare groups to make sure poor and financially strapped families have access to care for their pets.

By blaming nonprofits, veterinarians are barking up the wrong tree.  They are seeking even more government regulation of one of the most highly regulated industries.  In fact, what the veterinary profession needs is not more government interference, but more tolerance for free-market principles.

Rather than competing with established veterinarians, nonprofit organizations and low-cost services are reaching a new audience of pet owners and introducing them to veterinary services for the first time, expanding the overall universe of veterinary customers and responsible pet owners.

One program providing free spay and neuter and veterinary wellness services for families in poverty-stricken communities nationwide found that 83 percent of patients had never before seen a veterinarian.  When these families see a veterinarian for the first time and have a positive experience, they may become lifetime veterinary customers.

A 2011 study by Bayer found six primary reasons for the decline in visits to private veterinary practices:

1.  Pet owners are still feeling the impact of the recent recession, even while most veterinarians increased their fees during that period.

2.  The number of veterinarians practicing companion animal medicine increased dramatically from 1996 through 2006, far outpacing the growth in cat and dog ownership.

3.  Many consumers rely on Internet advice rather than a visit to the veterinarian.

4.  The majority of cat owners do not take their cats to the veterinarian because they think it’s unnecessary or too difficult.

5.  Many pet owners still believe that regular medical check-ups are not needed and many consumers cite “sticker shock,” thinking veterinary costs too high.

What wasn’t on the list?  The existence of nonprofit and low-cost veterinary service providers.  These entities are providing a public service, helping to reduce the surplus of unwanted and homeless animals through spay and neuter programs, reducing the number of pets surrendered to shelters and euthanized, and reducing public health threats through rabies vaccinations, parasite control, and other wellness services.

Their work is reducing the burden on municipal agencies and taxpayers.  Veterinarians working in non-profit clinics are still veterinarians and are subject to the same licensing, credentialing and oversight standards as any other practicing professional in the field.  It’s also worth noting that doctors who work with the poor or provide vaccines in developing nations are celebrated, not scorned.

Veterinarians who use their skill, talent and expertise to perform a public service that benefits society should be valued in the same way.

Lawmakers should reject the scare tactics by veterinarians who want to over regulate their own industry and push out veterinarians that are providing good services in the public’s interest.  It’s time to pass legislation formally recognizing that veterinarians should be able to work for nonprofit organizations that help animals, just like they can already work for laboratories, farms, and other enterprises.


Leave a comment

Filed under education, health