Say hello to Austin Pets Alive. APA is not your typical shelter setting, their innovative programs save more than 6,000 animals from euthanasia annually, keeping Austin,TX no-kill since 2011! The programs implemented have led to a measurable impact on the community’s save rate – and Austin’s status as the largest No-Kill City in the Nation!
Before APA STARTED 50%, or 14,000 of the animals entering the city’s shelter were euthanized. In 2008 the organization started and examined the gaps in the existing lifesaving efforts and found there were groups of animals for which life-saving programs did not exist. APA decided to create programs targeting the groups of animals facing certain euthanasia. APA also created the largest pet Foster Program in the US with up to 1,000 animals in foster during our busy summer season.
Hundreds of extremely dedicated volunteers donate their skills, expertise, and love to APA! – to the tune of more than 2,000 hours EACH WEEK or the equivalent of 50 full-time staff members. According to the current valuation of volunteer time of $22.14 per hour (2012), determined annually by the Independent Sector, APA! volunteers contributed $2,334,109 during 2013.
Below is a Q&A from Austin Pets Alive Executive Director, Dr. Ellen Johnson.
Tell us a little bit about your history prior to working for Austin Pets Alive! – how did your previous experiences prepare you for this journey?
When did you first realize you had a passion for saving animals? Why is this cause so important to you and your work?
What are the most challenging obstacles that Austin Pets Alive! has to face and how are they overcome?
We’ve saved over 50,000 animals so far, but because these pets have more challenges to overcome before they make it to adoption, our work continues to be difficult.
Last year Austin Pets Alive! helped the City of Austin achieve an astounding 95% save rate for shelter dogs and cats in Austin. What is your long-term vision for APA!? Is there another key milestone you are aiming to reach?
What simple advice can you give to people who are eager to make an impact but don’t know where to begin? Why should people get involved?