Opening Your Heart to Homeless Pets – How to Help

In our last blog post, we brought to your attention the terrible problem of homeless pets. This is such an overwhelming subject, especially for those of us who love dogs. The worst part for those of us who care is feeling like there’s nothing we can do. But, there are things that we can do and, even though they may be small, small acts add up.

animal-shelter-adoptIn Austin, there is no shortage of animal shelters and animal welfare organizations. Here is a list of three of the biggest (including contact information), followed by some ideas about how you can help them continue their good work.

  1. Austin Pet’s Alive
    Headquarters at Town Lake Animal Center
    1156 West Cesar Chavez
    Austin, TX 78703
    Open 11:30am-7:00pm daily
    512-961-6519 (you’ll have to leave a message, so it is better to e-mail or just go visit them)
  1. Austin Humane Society
    124 W. Anderson Lane
    Austin, TX 78752
    Monday-Saturday: Noon-7:00 pm
    Sunday: Noon-5:00 pm
    (512) 646-PETS or (512) 646-7387
  1. Animal Trustees of Austin  
    (Animal Trustees of Austin is not an animal shelter, but they do provide low cost medical care, including discounted spay/neuter services.)
    Spay-Neuter Clinic
    5129 Cameron Rd.
    Austin, TX 78723
    (512) 451-9355

Make a Financial Donation

Most animal shelters are non-profit corporations and depend on donations. Any donation you make is helpful. Don’t forget to ask about the shelter’s non-profit status, because if they are a tax-exempt organization (called 501(c)3) you may be able to deduct any donation you make from your income taxes. Check with your tax adviser.

Make Another Type of Donation 

Animal shelters almost always have “wish lists” of items they need donated. If you don’t see a wish list on the shelter’s website, just give them a call and ask. Examples of the types of items that shelters ask for (these are from Austin Pets Alive’s wish list) are:

  • Canned dog food
  • Paper towels
  • Powdered laundry detergent
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Bleach

There are many other items that you might not expect a shelter would need, so give them a call.


Austin animal shelters have many volunteer opportunities. You can volunteer short-term or you can volunteer on a regular basis. One of the great ways we’ve seen to help as a volunteer is Austin Pets Alive’s “RuffTail Runners” program. RuffTail Runners help the dogs in the shelter get the exercise they need by taking them for runs around Lady Bird Lake. If you’re not up for a run, you can always volunteer to walk dogs, socialize with the dogs, provide administrative support, provide assistance at special events or help in many other ways.

Foster a Dog

Putting dogs in foster homes is often much better for them than being in the shelter facility. Not only does it get the dog out of an institutional environment, but it also frees space so that the shelters can help more pets. Fostering is a good option for people who would love to get a dog, but know that they are not quite ready for the lifetime commitment. Don’t underestimate what is involved in fostering, however, because while the pet is living with you, you are responsible for quality care, food and, of course, love and attention.

Adopt a Dog

If you are ready to make a lifetime commitment to pet-ownership, the best way to help homeless pets is to give them a home. Most shelters have online tools that will make the process easier, including photos of adoptable pets, online applications and fee schedules. When you and your family are ready, call them or go online to find out what the process of adoption will be like for you.

The one thing that defines us at Bed and Biscuit Austin, more than anything else, is our love of dogs. We would like to thank you in advance for anything you and your family might be able to do to help homeless pets.

And, Happy Thanksgiving from all of us here at the Bed and Biscuit Austin family!


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