As the adoptive mom of four large dogs and three cats, I pride myself on staying informed when it comes to Houston’s pet overpopulation problem and the shelters that are homes for thousands of homeless cats and dogs. When I was younger, a trip to an animal control center or rescue organization was traumatic, but as the public at large has become more aware of the positive impact an adopted mixed-breed pet can bring in to their home, shelters have become more family-friendly and even various pet stores will allow rescue organizations to showcase their available pets.
Adopting a pet doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive. In fact, cats and small dogs are particularly low-maintenance and require only 1-2 trips to the vet each year, flea and heartworm preventative, and a high-quality food (this will help with long-term health). However, if adopting a new furry family member isn’t a possibility at this point, consider volunteering with a local animal rescue organization. Kids are almost always welcomed to volunteer (especially alongside a parent), and everyone in the family will feel great about helping to save a life. Another option is to foster an animal, which provides a bridge from intake to adoption and is often a short-term commitment.
If you are interested in visiting an animal rescue organization, adopting from a group, or even volunteering, here are some of the groups you might consider (a long list of many Houston animal rescue organizations is at the end).
On the west side of Houston, Special Pals of Katy has a variety of animals that need homes, including cats, dogs, and bunnies in addition to a boarding facility and a clinic. They also have lots of volunteer opportunities for adults ages 18 and up.
Also on the west side of town is CAP, or Citizens for Animal Protection. Thanks to lots of generous donations, the organization has been able to move in to a much larger building with more space! CAP welcomes volunteers ages 12 and up.
The City of Houston ‘s animal control shelter is BARC, or Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care. Any stray animals picked up by the City go to BARC, so they have a huge variety of homeless pets waiting for forever homes. Many breed-specific rescues and other pet rescue organizations pull from BARC, so if you don’t find your best friend at this shelter, check with others in the area.
Corridor Rescue Inc. is an interesting organization because of the area in which they work. Most of their stray animals are picked up near Houston ‘s “Corridor of Cruelty,” an area so-named because it was the site of mass dumpings of dogs (at I-59 and Little York). This organization rescues and rehabilitates animals it finds in this area with the hopes of finding each one a loving home. Corridor Rescue is a relatively new organization (2008), so they are in need of many items as well as volunteer time.
Here are some other animal rescue organizations that are worth a look (and they are, by no means, exhaustive, of all in the Houston area):
Houston Humane Society
Greyhound Pets of America
Golden Retriever Rescue of Houston
Houston Labrador Retriever Rescue
Houston Area Dog Rescues (list)