In this video, I talk about something that I get a lot of messages about on Facebook: what to do if you find a stray dog.
I live in Houston, where the stray animal population is horrendous. In Clear Lake, where I grew up, I never noticed it. But now that I live in a more depressed/less developed neighborhood, there’s no way to ignore that this is a huge crisis in Houston. (Stats: http://www.unityforasolution.org/fact-sheet.html)
Since I moved to an area where I can’t ignore the problem, I’ve adopted two dogs and fostered around 20 dogs. Two of the dogs I fostered were off the street with no rescue organization, and through that and helping other people, I developed my own process for helping street dogs.
I’m no expert, but I feel comfortable enough about the process that I can make educated suggestions.
Make sure to keep reading below for more information and resources!
The resources I’ll list here are NOT an extensive list at all. These are the services I’ve personally used.
Healthy pets Healthy Streets: Healthy Pets Healthy Streets is a collaboration between BARC, Emancipet, Friends for Life and Snap to provide FREE spay and neuter services for dogs and cats.
The catch is that you have to wake up at the butt crack of dawn and drive to parts of town that change each month and wait in line. If your animal doesn’t get taken care of that day, they will give you a voucher to schedule the free service later. They also provide discounted health services as well. For more information, call 311 if you’re in Houston or visit www.HoustonBARC.com
Thrive Affordable Vet Care: Thrive is way more convenient than standing in line for the free spay/neuter, and the spay only costs $65 (as opposed to $200+ at traditional vet).
If I were to take a dog to my personal vet to get them fixed and vetted, it costs upwards of $400. IF I go to Thrive, it’s about $175. TOTALLY worth it, and excellent service. It’s much easier to fundraise $175 than it is $400.
BARC Houston Affordable Wellness: BARC provides affordable wellness as well, just as affordable as Thrive. It less convenient for me, but I’ve taken at least two dogs there before and had a good experience.
More About Rescues…
BARC is the City of Houston’s open admission animal shelter. By law, BARC has to accept every animal that comes to its door. This is a huge reason why they have historically been a high kill shelter—they simply haven’t had the resources of organization to save more lives.
They’ve been working tirelessly to increase their live release rate. In 2009, they initiated a massive effort in improve their live release rate, and are making steady progress. They had live release rates of over 91% for the first quarter of 2017. (Press Release)
If you find a dog, you can turn it into BARC. The good thing about this is that the dog will receive basic vet care and be evaluated. There is a 90% chance they will be adopted into a loving home or sent to a rescue to help them get adopted and/or rehabilitated. If you’re unable to care for a found dog yourself, or can’t find another foster, taking the dog to a shelter is not the worst thing you can do.
The dog will be much better off in a shelter than on the street fending for itself.
Here are some of the rescues I’ve worked with in the past. These aren’t full reviews of my thoughts on each rescue, but simply comments on my expereicne asking for help.
One thing I didn’t mention in the video:
I don’t reach out to rescues unless I have a foster and at least some funds in place, since the #1 reason rescues say “no” is because of lack of fosters.
Another note: every rescue I know of is overwhelmed, and most have a primary mission or goal—they focus on a certain area, or type of dog, or specific needs, etc. So, I’m never upset when I don’t receive responses, but I think it’s helpful to clarify for readers/viewers that you should have low expectations.
Goodlif3 Bully Rescue
I just found out about Goodlif3 Bully last year. They rescue pitbulls and other bully breeds. I mention them first after BARC in this article because they’ve been one of the few rescues to respond promptly to my inquiries. A friend of mine recently picked up a stray pit bull and decided to foster him, and Goodlif3 agreed to help market him and let him attend adoption events, even though they didn’t have room in their program.
Friends for Life
I love what Friends for Life does, but have been unable to get assistance for any rescues I’ve had, even ones that had funding behind them. I’m guessing the dogs I found didn’t fit their mission. My friend that is fostering a pit bull currently received a response from FFL on her current foster, and they might be working with her to help rehabilitate the dog and network him.
Scout’s Honor Rescue
Scout’s Honor Rescue is where I adopted my first personal dog from, Atticus. They’ve offered to help me with found dogs in the past, but I haven’t receive responses from any inquiries in the last few months. This is probably because their primary mission is to pull dogs from shelters.
Pup Squad Animal Rescue
Pup Squad is where we adopted our second personal dog from, Yuki. Their mission is to help mamas and puppies, but despite that they’ve offered to help network a dog of mine that didn’t fit their mission.
K911 Animal Rescue
K911 Animal Rescue scooped up a mama and puppies that were in my neighborhood. I had to connect with a friend of a friend in order to obtain their help, but the whole little family was scooped up and rescued thanks to K911. I’ve asked for additional help since then and receive sporadic responses.
Rescued Pets Movement
Rescued Pets Movement probably rescues exponentially more dogs in Houston than any rescue because of their model of sending animals to out of state rescues i high volume on a weekly basis.
They offered to help a dog I was fostering that a friend found, but a crucial email was sent to a group that didn’t include me, and we adopted out the dog without knowing an out of state rescue had already been found. While it was a simple mistake on their end, I haven’t received responses to inquiries for help recently.
Lola’s Lucky Day
Lola’s Lucky Day helped with a past foster that I had, that ended up getting adopted out locally. Lola’s planned to include her on a future transport of out state, but I was on a time crunch due to travel and preferred to have her in a new home sooner than transport was available.