Every weekend at the APA! trail site, dogs and volunteers from our program hang out side by side with dogs and volunteers from TLAC. There is a running theme through our conversations about the sense of unity we feel in working together for the same goals: to get the dogs adopted and improve their quality of life while they are waiting to find their forever homes.
When we explain the Healthy Dogs, Healthy People program to members of the public wondering who we are and where the dogs are from, it always ends the same way, “Yes, this is an APA! dog and this is a TLAC dog but they’re all just great dogs looking for a home.”
The broader implication of the feelings those of us who work together at the trail site have is that we as a city need to work together to achieve the goal of making Austin no-kill. We are a city filled with wonderful, innovate organizations like APA!, Emancipet, Animal Trustees, Blue Dog Rescue, Austin Dog Rescue, Austin Humane Society, Street Cat Rescue…and that’s just to name a handful. We are also a city filled with wonderful, dynamic individuals. The possibilities for collaboration and creative solutions are endless if we work from a place of mutual respect and open hearts and minds.
Some of the recent news coverage about APA!’s proposal to run the adoption program at TLAC has sounded very contentious. That is not the spirit in which the proposal has been made or the way we want to move forward. We’re not seeking to put anyone on the defensive. We’re seeking positive progress. We’re seeking to help and support in our areas of expertise and to collaborate with the public and diverse body of organizations in Austin who share the same ultimate goals that we do. Not only is there room for everyone to help and work together, there is a NEED for it.
The Healthy Dogs, Healthy People program is an innovative solution and a collaboration that grew out of the fact that one of the highest populations on the kill list are untrained, adolescent dogs. These are healthy, non-aggressive animals that have simply reached doggie puberty (Know what humans are like around 13-14 years old? Yep.) and never had someone work with them. The program at the trail site, as well as our new Behavior & Enrichment Program have been instrumental in getting this group of dogs, as well as the other dogs in our program, the exercise, training, and socialization that they need.
This is a single example of what happens when we reach out, work together, and share creative ideas. For each single idea, there are a hundred more waiting to be implemented. All it takes is the willingness and innovation that we know already exists in Austin. What are we waiting for?