From High Kill to No Kill Animal Shelters … In Our Lifetime

This is Baxter, a lucky, young, black lab. Lucky because he beat the odds. Instead of being killed after turning up in a high kill animal shelter, in rural Texas,  he’s coming up north to live.

He’ll be living with a couple I’ve known for 21 years who just happen to live less than an 40 minutes from me.  And, he’ll be living the sort of life that every dog should have: his soon-to-be-human guardians,  S. and D.,  are people who are intimately knowledgeable about dogs.

Which is a story for another time. But, to give a bit of serendipity to THIS story, I’ll tell you that  S. and I worked together for seven years as volunteer coordinators in one of our area’s first ex-racing greyhound adoption programs.

The other thing I should tell you is that I’ve got permission from S. and from the organization in Texas, to tell Baxter’s story here. And, that I’ll be cobbling together what S. is posting on her Facebook wall with material that I’m taking off of the Shelter 2 Rescue web site.

Because Baxter is just one of a scary statistic: “…that between four million and five million dogs and cats are killed in shelters every year … and that about 90 percent of all shelter animals are savable.”  (Redemption – The Myth of Pet Overpopulation And The No Kill Revolution in America, by Nathan J Winograd.)

“90 percent of all shelter animals are savable.”

And, right now, in shelters all across the country, the animals that are in that 9o percent are getting killed.

By the time I started reading Baxter’s story, his adoption process was farther along. S and D had successfully navigated the online adoption application and Baxter had been moved from the kill to the save list and was waiting for a foster  home.

I wondered what had prompted S to work with a rescue organization so far away given the number of local rescue groups she had to choose from. So I jumped into the Facebook conversations already taking place on her wall … and I asked her about this.  She explained:

-I had several prospects up here but kept missing out on the dogs I liked. Then, I found this group. It is an amazing group of volunteers that dedicate their whole life to getting these dogs out of the kill shelters in time. The situation in the south is much worse than I ever imagined. They can’t place the dogs in the south so they bring them to the Northeast.

I can talk to his foster mom next week and find out more about him. We are VERY excited!!!!

When he was still on the “Urgent Code Red”  kill list, here’s how he was described:


Remember that “90 percent of all shelter animals are savable” statistic? 

Clearly,  Baxter falls into that huge percent. Friendly, already neutered and knows basic obedience; at only 2 years old, he’s got years ahead of him as a companion dog.

He can easily fit into any number of homes.

He was found wandering around in a parking lot. And, no one stepped up to claim him.

He tested negative for heartworm.

If everything goes as planned, he should be here, in his new home, by mid April. Once a dog leaves THIS  animal shelter, in rural Texas, there’s a two week quarantine period. After that, there’s the transport itself.

-They have transports every two weeks that bring dogs up from southern states to the northeast. I will drive around 5 hours to meet the transport. – S

As Baxter’s story moves into the foster home stage, that urgent Urgent Code Red status now points to another dog.  Meet Miracle, a female pit bull terrier.  She’s sweet and friendly; has had a litter. Now, it’s her turn.

I pulled this photo off of the No Kill Rural Texas Facebook page.

You can find their link in my post or simply click here.

Before you get all teary-eyed and let your heart do all of your thinking for you, spend some time on the web site for Shelter 2 Rescue.

And think a LOT about what you want in a dog.

And really think about the dogs you live with now. If you do.

Animal rescue works best when potential adopters think with their heads first and then with their hearts.

And, sometimes, adopting a dog doesn’t have to be the only way you can help out an animal rescue organization.  You can give of your time if you live close by. You can make a monetary donation regardless of where you live.

Before you do any of that, you can see if the mission of this organization is one that you want to support.  Here’s what Shelter 2 Rescue has to say about that:

Shelter2Rescue Coalition is an organization dedicated to saving dogs on death row in rural Texas shelters. We work with a coalition of rescues, veterinarians, transporters, individual contributors, boarding facilities and internet rescuers to save lives by extending the reach of local shelters nationwide. Since July 2007, Shelter2Rescue has saved almost 1,200 dogs by working with local and nationwide verified rescue coalition members.  Read more.

The larger issue – the 4-5 million animals killed in animal shelters despite the fact that 90% of them are adoptable – frames the argument behind bringing this country to a nationwide, zero tolerance for killing shelter animals … in our lifetime.

Shelter 2 Rescue is hard core, down and dirty in the rescue trenches fighting tooth and nail to change this statistic, doing “… everything they we can to help local, rural Texas shelters.”

If THAT is something that you can support, reach out and let them know.  Help S, help me to “…get the word out about how many dogs are in trouble around the country.”   [gplus count=”true” size=”Medium” ]














  1. Polly says

    I know the three groups I worked with when rescuing our two big black dogs also indicated that most of their rescues come from the south, where dogs are considered an “expendable commodity” as one of my contacts put it. Greta and Clifford are southern – from Kentucky and from Tennessee. I also know that, in a case in Alabama where a dog was shot and killed for being on the road outside a field of cattle (‘harrassing the cattle’), where the owners sued the shooter for animal abuse, the outcry about the case in the newspaper centered around – “it is only a dog”!


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