Last year, we decided to celebrate those magical moments when the Austin animal welfare community gets it so very right on behalf of the dogs we love. It was such a fun post to write and share that we’ve decided to make it an annual thing. Without further adieu, here are ten of our favorite moments from 2013 that made us grateful to live in such an incredible community…
1. The moment the Austin Fire Department and the Austin Humane Society teamed up to save a dog named Panda and many others like her.
This October saw the most rain on record for Austin and we had the rising flood waters to prove it. The Austin Fire Department, along with our city’s own animal protection officers, plus staff and volunteers from the Austin Humane Society were among those on the front lines, pulling four-legged members of our community to safety just as first responders alongside them did the same for those on two legs. Panda’s rescue photo quickly went viral and became a symbol of the life-saving heroism happening on Halloween morning. It was followed by a photo of Panda being cared for post-rescue by the Austin Humane Society. She has since been reclaimed by her people
2. The moment Classic Canines of Austin was founded to help send dogs like Petey home.
We are big believers that Austin’s animal welfare community exists as a patchwork quilt with each of us creating a necessary piece of the whole, using our personal strengths to meet an unmet need. Classic Canines, another great branch of Friends of Austin Animal Center, came on the scene this year to help senior dogs who find themselves at our city shelter in need of a home. It’s a vulnerable population that can be harder to place. Petey was adopted by an older couple looking for a mature dog after finding themselves ready to open their home again following the loss of a beloved pet. He is just one example of the dogs helped by this great new program.
3. The moment when uber-adorable celebridog and Love-A-Bull alumni CoCo Puffin became a big sister!
It’s hard to believe CoCo was once the longest stay dog at Love-A-Bull. After being found in the middle of winter, dragging her back legs and brought to Love-A-Bull by a good samaritan, CoCo waited in foster until her soulhuman found her. The rest has been celebridog history and her adventures are chronicled on her very own Facebook page. This year, CoCo and her mom welcomed Casper to the family in the official role of little brother and mini sidekick extraordinaire! Chosen in part because pitties and chihuahuas are the two most overrepresented breeds in shelters, Casper joins a family where love, education, outreach, spoiling, and fun are the way of life!
4. The moment Eeyore donned the superhero cape that made his wardrobe match his spirit.
Eeyore is a truly one of a kind dog who lived 2.5 years longer than his medical condition should have given him. He defied the odds in every single aspect of his life, overcoming obstacles both medically and behaviorally that should have been impossible. He inspired, created love, taught patience, shared insight, and made the world a better place. Eeyore is the true definition of a superhero and a dog who created a beautiful, enduring legacy in his short time on earth.
5. The moment Hard Luck Hounds alum Julius went to Disney World. Literally.
Hard Luck Hound Julius went into long-term foster for heartworm treatment and surgery on both back legs for torn ligaments. His foster mom Cristy, affectionately dubbed Austin’s own super foster by the HLH crew, was typically the family member bringing home dogs and falling in love with them. This time however, it was her husband who was smitten and just couldn’t let Julius, the best friend and partner in crime that unexpectedly stole his heart, go. Fast forward to the family’s planned vacation and Julius celebrated his own Cinderella story in Mickey Mouse ears.
6. The moment Animal Trustees of Austin saved the pretty little pittie on their doorstep.
This precious little pup named Tina Marie was found tied up on the doorstep of Animal Trustees of Austin. As they do with so many other animals in need, ATA stepped in to get her the medical care she needed with the added bonus of finding her a home. ATA, along with fellow low-cost clinic Emancipet, are two of the best things about Austin. They prevent shelter intake before it happens, help provide medical care to the dogs already in the system, offer quality, low-cost veterinary services to Austin and surrounding communities, and save really super adorable lives like Tina Marie.
7. The moment Roxy blew in from the north and reminded us about the awesomeness of lessons turned into actions.
Roxy arrived at our group class for the first time all the way from Pflugerville Animal Shelter via Pflugerville Pets Alive! the morning of a cold front. This spunky, super smart, beautifully athletic dog was accompanied by our longtime friend Kim who we’d previously volunteered alongside here in Austin. Living just a few miles from the tiny Pflugerville Animal Shelter, Kim saw an unmet need and put the lessons she learned in Austin into action with wonderful results. Kim and Roxy are both kick ass examples of what happens when you make action a regular part of your life.
8. The moment Ollie Ollie Ollenpig made this city his own.
At Dogtoberfest, an adorable snorty creature mixed and mingled with everyone from dachshunds to irish wolfhounds. Later, he showed up at the pittie pride parade and passed out wiggles and very slobbery smooches to his adoring fans. It was a good week for a dog who almost didn’t make it.
We first met Oliver in 2011 when he was pulled from the risk list by Austin Pets Alive!. Oliver was a staff and volunteer favorite upon intake, but deteriorated quickly in the shelter environment. He was taken under the wing of one of our directors and found himself an absolutely wonderful set of parents. This year, they reached out for support with Oliver’s behavior and we got to see our favorite pigletdog once more. Oliver is thriving in his home and he, along with his story and his awesome adopters, will have a spot amongst our favorites for always.
9. The time a November cold front meant business but the dogs of Austin Animal Center partied anyway.
One day, it was 80 degrees. The next, it was 33. And raining. Pleas were out for blankets, doggie sweaters, and something even more important than that…volunteers. This photo shows two happy shelter dogs at play. It might seem a simple thing but creating moments like this takes the work of dedicated volunteers. Shelter staff can’t do it alone and Broadway and Pivo were out having a messy romp despite the weather thanks to some very special people. Luckily, Austin is full of such people and we are always recruiting more because the number of happy, messy play romps is directly proportional to the number of volunteers there to make it happen.
10. The moment DOL mascot, canine genius, reformed leash gremlin, long-stay shelter beast, and extraordinary specimen of dog Cupcake made her home official.
Some people choose their dog, but for many of us it’s the other way around. Cupcake most certainly chose her person in the form of long-time foster turned forever human Keitha. Cupcake isn’t just the DOL mascot because she is so gosh darn adorable (though clearly, she is). This compact little girl became our spokespup for reactivity this year because her leash gremlin levels were off the charts. After a failed adoption, Cupcake returned to foster with Keitha where she struggled through an IBD diagnosis (and a brief bout of leash gremlin literally on steroids) before she could resume her training in earnest.
Lucky for everyone, Cupcake truly is a canine genius and picked up right where she left off. Not only is she officially adopted and home to stay, she now runs alongside Keitha through the neighborhood without freaking out, visits hiking trails and parks and taco stands about town, and participates in Sunday date nights where she walks side by side with her dog friends. Cupcake is the perfect example of a beautiful, wonderful, adoptable dog who many would have said wasn’t. We are so proud of her, and of her mama. It means the world seeing our girl spoiled, happy, loved, and so very much at home. We are thankful.
Missed last year’s edition of awesome moments? Check it out!