14 volunteers walk dogs in park at awareness event

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Shelters need foster homes for pets awaiting adoption.

By V.L. Roberson

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

Andrea Brightwell, volunteer coordinator of San Antonio Pets Alive, assembled student and faculty volunteers from this college April 11 in the lobby of the Paul Jolly Adoption Center for a brief orientation.

“We want our volunteers to be ambassadors for SAPA by advocating responsible pet ownership,” Brightwell said.

It is SAPA’s mission to make San Antonio a no-kill city. The nonprofit organizations works to eliminating pet euthanasia through adoption and fostering programs.

“Our goal is to be in the 90 percent range of dogs saved. We’re currently in the middle 80s,” she said.

Afterward, volunteers were paired with dogs for a morning walk in Brackenridge Park. The time spent preparing the group to walk exceeded the time spent walking.

The walks lasted about 30 minutes.

Some of the volunteers were pet owners.

“It’s been a good experience and I would do it again,” said human services freshman Ashley Mena, a pet owner and foster.

“I have two Chihuahuas (she owns) and a German shepherd that I’m fostering,” Mena said. “They all live indoors and are housebroken.”

If people are unable to volunteer to walk dogs, they can donate to SAPA.

“Currently, there are around 800 homes fostering dogs, helping give these pets a home until permanent homes can be found,” Tim Jones, USAA employee and regular volunteer, said.

This helps SAPA save more animals because the space at the city’s animal control facilities is limited.

San Antonio Pets Alive makes adoptions available at the Paul Jolly Adoption Center, 210 Tuleta Drive; inside Animal Care Services, 4710 Highway 151, and Petco Adoption Center, 6001 N.W. Loop 410, Suite 103.

“All veterinary care is provided for all adopted pets and for foster pets while in foster care,” he said.

The time spent in foster care is dependent on the commitment of the foster to marketing the animal correctly and the age of the animal.

SAPA hosts foster marketing seminars that show people how to write a pet bio, place an ad on Craigslist and market a foster using social media.

“The time a foster animal remains in foster care on average is about three to four weeks,” Brightwell said

SAPA provides tools via its website at fostermarketing@sanantoniopetsalive.org.

“Older animals and those with behavior issues like excessive fear due to abuse or abandonment require more time to find permanent homes,” Jones said.

At 7 p.m. Thursdays the center has classes led by its behavioral team to help with fear and socialization issues. The behavioral team is headed by Sarah Smith.

The team’s training classes are open to the public, he said. Positive reinforcement is the only method of training used.

SAPA is a non-profit organization.

“The center operates off of donations. There is a wishlist at the front desk and on the website,” Jones said.

For more information on donating, call SAPA at (210)370-7612 or go to the website at donate@sanantoniopetsalive.org.

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