A different reason to celebrate this holiday weekend

IMG_3016Recently I heard a dog barking and howling outside of my bedroom window. A number of people in my complex have them, so I figured another tenant must have brought home a puppy that needed to be housebroken. Then, while leaving for work one morning, a very noisy Chihuahua appeared and followed me down the sidewalk. She clearly wanted attention and tried to climb inside of my car when I opened the door. As I drove away, she just stood there in the middle of the parking lot looking confused.

After discussing the situation with my neighbors, we agreed that the dog had to be a stray because nobody claimed to be her owner or had any idea where she came from. Who knows how long she had been roaming the property. We all had been feeding her, but that couldn’t continue.

I decided to do some research on local shelters and started making phone calls. The goal: find a no kill facility in the Houston area that had space available. A woman with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) told me it would be two weeks before I could drop her off with them. Since I couldn’t wait that long, I called Citizens for Animal Protection. Someone there said that I could come down the morning of July 5th and wait in line to see if they had an open kennel. Shortly after my arrival, an employee emerged from the building and informed a handful of us who had all brought stray dogs over that they were only accepting puppies four months of age or younger. She handed each of us a list of other facilities to contact. I didn’t want to go to the city or county shelters because they’re overwhelmed (click here for a local news story with video).

Once I returned home, I checked another list of contacts put together by Friends for Life. While making a few more calls, I had a brief conversation with a helpful volunteer at the Abandoned Animals Rescue in Tomball. The lady told me to come over and have the dog scanned for a microchip to see if we could locate the owner. Once we reached their facility, they welcomed us and quickly determined that the dog didn’t have a microchip. Next, a staff member in the office said that they would accept her only if she tested negative for heartworm. So, I immediately headed over to a nearby animal clinic that performed the test and quickly returned to the shelter with the results to complete the paperwork to surrender the dog before they closed.

I have worked on a number of issues over the years, including animal protection, foreign aid to Colombia, civil liberties, the war in Iraq, and clean government. Furthermore, I have been fortunate enough to organize and/or participate in local campaigns that produced results. To me, getting this helpless dog into a no kill shelter has to be one of the most gratifying experiences of my activist life. A week or two from now she will be in a loving home.  Put a hash mark in the win column.

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