Texas Animal Guardians
PO Box 1316
Organization Specializes In: Our mission: Keep pets out of shelters by providing help to owners experiencing life-changing transitions: loss of income, housing, illness, or injury—anything that prevents them from caring for their pets.
Year founded: 2010
Interviewee: Gyvel Young, Director
Does your organization help place homeless animals? If so, how many animals are usually available at any given time? How long is their average stay with you? If no, what do you do?: Our primary mission is to help pets stay with their families, so we provide temporary shelter for pets whose families have lost their housing. We also place homeless animals when the need arises as long as we have available foster families. The average stay with our foster group is about 3 months, unless it's a puppy (they are usually adopted very quickly). We also help with emergency vet care and other medical issues. And we have a mobile pet food bank that serves the counties in our area.
What's the biggest challenge facing your organization?: Currently our biggest challenge is receiving enough pet food to help feed the many pet families in need. We have elderly and disabled people who go without food so that their pets can eat. And the list of needy people grows daily. We also are in need of capitol funds to build a shelter where we can house more animals,
What kinds of things do you do to raise awareness about your organization in your community?: We are in touch with home health care organizations, nursing homes, elder care facilities, and other animal welfare organizations in the counties we serve. The meals-on-wheels programs are also aware of our organization. Our fundraisers help the community become aware of us. Currently we are working on more community exposure through local media.
How does your organization help educate people about animal rescue? Do you offer classes/training or education materials for people who adopt animals from you?: We offer training CDs to adoptive pet parents as well as information handouts.
Our organization offers a "Making Baby Ready Pets" class for expectant parents. This class provides the tools to help animals adjust to new routines before a baby’s birth, reducing the stress that pets feel when a newborn arrives. Baby-Ready Pets also fills parents-to-be in on safety issues and other important "need to know" information about pet relationships.
Why is this program important? Pet parents often think that their pets will adjust to a newborn’s presence by themselves. But, it doesn't always happen. According to the HSUS Director of Outreach Programs, Stephanie Shain, "Every day, animal shelters take in dogs and cats who lost their homes because they weren't easily adjusting to the new baby. Or, worse because their owners thought they would not adjust."
The program, created by the ASPCA, is offered free at community centers, birthing clinics, and Lamaze classes. It is designed to give expectant parents and their families, the tools they need to help their animal “babies” adjust to the new arrival, long before their infant is born.
Do you support purebred adoption? How often does your organization rescue purebred dogs? We have rescued several purebred dogs including Vizslas, Dachshunds, Poodles, Queensland Blue Heelers, and Great Pyrenees. When a purebred dog arrives into our system we make every effort to locate purebred rescue groups for that breed so that we can work together to secure the dog a good home.
What is one tip you would give a first time dog owner?: Take into consideration your lifestyle before you choose a specific type of dog. And, consider how much time you really have to devote to the care of this animal.
What's your take on big dogs living in the city? Do you think it's wrong or is it a myth that bigger dogs need more space?:Great Danes are large breeds and they actually don't require a lot of space. They do well in an urban setting. There are other large breeds that we have placed in urban settings, one was a Great Pyrenees and she's doing very well with her new family. So, it depends on the breed, the family, and the commitment they are willing to make to ensure that the animal receives the correct amount of exercise.
Do you support a no-kill nation? Why or why not?: Yes, for healthy, adoptable animals who can be placed in permanent homes. We believe that every life is worth saving. Education about spay/neuter is of primary importance, outlawing puppy mills and backyard breeders, all these together can help minimize the pet population. We realize that a no-kill nation is an ideal that may not appear to be feasible but we believe that humane education is the key to curbing the pet overpopulation problem.
What makes working for a rescue so rewarding? What keeps you going?: Our primary drive is helping people and the animals that share their lives. It's a tremendous boost to see how happy the elderly are when you are there to help them keep their pets fed and happy. Or, when your organization is there to support a person who can't afford to pay for their pet's emergency surgery.
As for the rescue portion of it, well, nothing beats the joy of finding a perfect forever home for a dog! It's one of the best gifts that a rescue person can receive...