What's Friends For Life Animal Shelter been up to?
(and don't forget to read to the end for a big announcement!)
Last year I was proud to partner with Friends For Life Animal Shelter and Sanctuary, and we are doing it again! Before I share the details of the second annual Portraits For Life pet portrait event, let's see what FFL has been up to since the last time we talked.
Me: Happy new year! 2017 was an eventful year for Friends For Life, especially with the response efforts after Hurricane Harvey. What was it like working at the George R Brown shelter?
Salise: We like to describe it as "changing tires on a car going 100 mph." After Hurricane Katrina, many people died because they would not leave their pets behind. Because of that, the PETS Act of 2006 was put into place, which authorizes FEMA to provide rescue, care, and shelter to pets, service animals, and their people. However, there was no plan on how to accomplish this, and Hurricane Harvey presented the first opportunity to do so. The City of Houston asked Friends For Life to manage the care of animals brought to the GRB shelter, and our volunteer army stepped up without hesitation. We completed intake of 671 animals on the first day alone, and 1500 animals received free vet care and supplies during the first week after the storm.
Me: That is quite an undertaking - how did Friends For Life do it?
Salise: We have disaster-trained staff and an army of passionate volunteers. Plus we had motivation and drive to prove to the world that sheltering people with animals during a disaster is not only possible, but the right thing to do to save lives and keep families together. For us, it wasn't just about providing shelter for these animals. It was also about providing full care - food, crates, leashes, vet care, and vaccines. FFL is paving the way for how communities respond to sheltering people and animals during an emergency, and the country is taking note.
Me: It's been unseasonably cold this winter, and I can see that Project Warm is still in full effect.
Salise: Yes, we are busy making warm houses - just this year, over 230 of them have been dispersed around Houston to provide refuge for feral cats.
Me: Friends For Life is still the only no-kill LEED-certified animal shelter in Houston. Can you give me an update on the Fix Houston and Thinking Outside the Shelter programs?
Salise: Fix Houston provides free spay/neuter services to cats in low income communities. Since 2013, FFL has provided 4420 surgeries, which translates to preventing the birth of over 88,420 cats! And that number continues to grow.
Thinking Outside the Shelter program continues to prevent animals from entering the shelter system by working with pet owners and removing obstacles to caring for their pets. The food bank distributes 11 tons of food annually, and continues to offer free counseling, obedience training, and basic vet care to keep animals in their homes.
Me: What exciting things do you have planned for Friends For Life in the next year?
Salise: FFL is celebrating sweet 16 this year! We also started a new FFL Young Professionals Group made up of Houstonians ages 21-40 who are interested in connecting with other animal-lovers, raising awareness about the no kill movement, volunteering, and fundraising.
To learn more and get involved with Friends For Life, visit the shelter in the Heights or their website for information about adopting a pet, volunteering, or making a donation.
You can find Friends For Life at:
Don Sanders Adoption Center: 107 E. 22nd St. Houston, TX 77008
And now... for the big announcement!
Registration is open for the second annual Portraits For Life event!
Last year, 16 dogs and 1 cat joined me for a special one-day pet portrait event, and together we raised $1000 for Friends For Life! If you've been thinking about creating a timeless portrait of your pet, now is the time AND you'll be helping other animals in need. Click the button for more information and to reserve your spot!