The Hard Truth
According to the ASPCA, nearly 3.1 million dogs enter shelters annually in the United States. Tragically, almost 670,000 healthy, adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized due to lack of resources and space.
Recent data shows over 300,000 dogs enter shelters yearly, but between 20-40% are never adopted and humanely euthanized instead. However, when placed with dedicated fosters, a dog’s chance of being adopted leaps to over 90%.
Dallas has the largest shelter intake in the nation after New York and Los Angeles. Some estimate over 100,000 homeless dogs roam the region or cycle through the centers each year. Simply put, adoptions cannot offset the ongoing influx. Euthanasia of healthy, treatable pets for space remains routine.
Collaboration for Community Good
Working together to combat these upsetting statistics, Community Beer Co., Texadia Systems, CUDDLY, and many others partnered with Dallas Pets Alive! to create the Adoption Container — a unique space that combines technology, innovation, animal rescue, and brews. New in March 2023, the repurposed 40-foot shipping container is equipped with technology to help match pets with adopters, features a customized rooftop for private events, houses a retail store, and provides bar space for events.
This creative environment contributes to the success of the most powerful weapon in our arsenal: foster parents. Since DPA is mostly run by volunteers and all of our pets are housed by foster families throughout North Texas, having a space like the Adoption Container is crucial to our mission. It allows companion animals to blossom in a home while waiting for their perfect match, rather than wither away in a shelter. It also serves as fun place to hold events of all kinds, a central location for foster dogs to meet potential adopters, and a hang out spot for members of the community to socialize.
Foster Parents of the Year
Aidee and Phillip Avila are veteran fosters passionate about saving animals’ lives. Their passion for fostering started when they adopted two rescue dogs while in college. Realizing adopting more was not feasible at the time, they shifted to fostering additional pups in need. Fast forward a decade, and they have saved the lives of over 70 dogs!
After settling in Dallas in 2020, the Avilas have exclusively worked with the DPA team to continue their life-saving efforts. By providing temporary housing, socialization and specialized training tailored to each dog’s needs, they dramatically boost adoptability and save lives. Their commitment recently earned them the prestigious honor of 2023 Foster Parents of the Year.
The Avilas credit rescue groups like Dallas Pets Alive! for empowering foster parents through financial and educational support. DPA recently introduced an enhanced Foster+ Program which subsidizes supplies, veterinary care, grooming, and even specialized training. Their vision is to eliminate barriers to fostering, allowing more heroes like the Avilas to champion animals often discarded as “unfixable” by the mainstream shelter system.
While recalling her experiences, Aidee spoke about a particularly memorable and rewarding foster: Faye. On paper, Faye is the perfect candidate for adoption; she is young, healthy, intelligent, and friendly with every animal and human she meets. However, after she was plucked from the streets in May 2023, she languished for months in the Mesquite Animal Shelter before DPA intervened.
This is an all-too-common scenario for large breeds. They are selected for their intelligence, strength, and protectiveness but without proper training, their intense drive and energy can manifest in destructive ways. Through no fault of their own, the dog ends up abandoned or surrendered to a local shelter.
In September, she landed with the Avilas, whose TLC further developed her trust and social skills for a little over two months, and turned a tentative and fearful shelter creature back into the dignified working dog she was bred to be.
By the end of October, Faye was a DPA celebrity, making friends at all the adoption events and being featured on Facebook for her bubbly personality — but still waiting for that special connection.
Faye’s Happy Tale
Finally, just as the holidays were coming to a close, Faye’s miracle arrived. While alternating her time between a new foster parent and Camp Bow Wow, she was featured on a social media post, seated like a good girl and wearing her sequined reindeer antlers.
All it took was one meeting for Faye’s adopter to be sure about her, but would she be a fit with the family’s current dog, Toby, at their next meeting? DPA was on the collective edge of their seats with fingers crossed hoping for “everyone’s favorite long-nosed sweetheart” to get the home she so deserved. This time, meeting at the container would be different. This time, someone was waiting who only had eyes for Faye.
Faye passed her last test with flying colors by becoming fast friends with the family’s goofy, Golden Retreiver. Her new mom, a recent UTA grad who lives with her immediate family, even brought Faye a “Gotcha Day” bandana to commemorate the occasion. With happy tears, the DPA team waved “goodbye” to Faye, knowing her happy tail has just begun.
How You Can Make a Difference
For those moved by stories like Faye’s, and the dozens of dogs who found second chances thanks to the devoted fosters like the Avilas — opportunities abound to join the cause! However you choose to help, it’s sure to be rewarded with wet noses, wagging tails, and full hearts.