Thanks to the compassion of Atascosa Animal Allies (AAA) and other pet advocates, 20 shelter dogs are embarking on a journey from South Texas to forever homes in northern states.
With the Atascosa County Animal Control shelter in Jourdanton overflowing with pets, AAA arranged for a special transport to Washington state on Saturday, Dec. 18. The transport included 17 dogs from the county facility and three of AAA’s dogs.
“We wanted to help our Atascosa County homeless dogs have a Merry Christmas this year, so we banded together to make things happen,” said AAA Placement Director Melinda Eustace. “The result is that 17 Atascosa County Animal Control dogs and three Pleasanton Animal Shelter dogs are going to have a wonderful Christmas with their very own ‘furever’ families! Who says wishes don’t come true?”
AAA is a nonprofit organization that enhances the quality of life for Atascosa County animals by providing vet care, fostering and placing in forever homes.
Earlier in the week, AAA and the county facility worked together to heartworm test, vaccinate and microchip the dogs. They also obtained the health certificates through the Pleasanton Animal Clinic, which are required for transporting the dogs out of state. Sabrina Steenbeke serves as the Atascosa County Animal Control Technical Supervisor and Dr. Laura Mendes is the veterinarian.
“So there is a process and we are following that process. This is a legit run,” said Eustace.
Eustace was among those meeting at the county facility on Saturday afternoon to prepare the dogs for the trip. Other members of AAA stopped by to help bathe and walk the dogs. They included Brenda Gibbon, Julie Norris, Kimberly Wiley, Avery Eustace, Xenia Katcsmorak and Kerri Jones. Gibbon is also the lead kennel tech for the City of Pleasanton Animal Control. Among the county facility staff assisting were Steenbeke and Technician Craig Tallant.
The transport company Veterans Pet Rescue Express arrived at approximately 7 p.m., led by Cindy Cox. They received the rescues for Seattle Humane, Kitsap Humane Society and The NOAH Center. They operate in Canada and the U.S. and jumped at the chance to help AAA get the dogs to their destination.
“AAA used their resources to find out-of-state and well-known rescues to intake these wonderful dogs. AAA and the county would like to thank Seattle Humane, Kitsap Humane Society and The NOAH Center in Washington state who joined forces to save Atascosa County dogs,” added Eustace.
“It’s a huge thing to get all of this together, to get 17 dogs out of the county for them. It’s 20 dogs leaving the county and going to a better life,” said Eustace.
She explained that some may consider the dogs just plain, old, boring Joes and not particularly cute.
“It’s just so wonderful that we have partnerships in Washington state that will take these dogs and find fabulous homes.”
AAA is paying for the cost of the transport and the rabies shots. The nonprofit organization is looking at holding a fundraiser to help cover the expenses. It costs $175 per dog just to put them on the transport and rabies shots are $25 per dog. The county will also have their own costs, as they provide other vaccines, etc. Eustace is estimating AAA’s total cost to be approximately $4,500-$5,000 to transport them.
“It’s not a cheap endeavor, but well worth it, because otherwise these dogs were going to be euthanized,” Eustace said.
To make a donation to AAA, go to their website and donate through the PayPal button or mail a check to 204 Liberty Lane, Pleasanton, Texas, 78064. The website is: Atascosaanimalallies.org.
AAA also sponsors low cost spay and neuter clinics throughout the year at Brooks Spay Neuter Clinic in San Antonio. Follow them on Facebook to learn more about the organization and what they do.