Waco bringing dog rescue groups together for statewide event

By CASSIE L. SMITH csmith@wacotrib.com Waco Tribune-Herald

Adoptable dogs are pawing their way to Waco for the area’s first gathering of animal rescues from around the state.

More than 30 animal rescue groups will spend an afternoon together to raise awareness about pet adoption and find permanent homes for some furry friends.

Organizer Nicole Wilson said she worked at the Humane Society of Central Texas for about 21/2 years and fell in love with shelter animals.

She said she realized there is a common misconception about animals at the shelter: They aren’t purebreds.

Wilson said that is not the case and is bringing different breeds from across the state to Waco from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 11 at Gander Mountain, 2701 S. Jack Kultgen Expressway. She invites the public to come find a dog.

Wilson said she is updating the groups’ Facebook page — facebook.com/wacoallbreedevent — with lists of various rescue organizations that will attend and pictures of adoptable dogs. Some of the groups include Texas Cattle Dog Rescue, Central Texas Dachshund Rescue, Tzu Zoo Rescue, Lone Star Bulldog Club Rescue and DFW Pug Rescue Club.

Vickey Martin, Fuzzy Friends Rescue’s operations director, said she is excited to attend and get the animals in front of the public.

Martin said she thinks there is a false perception that rescue animals are broken.

“They are happy, healthy and just-need-another-chance-at-life animals,” she said. “Yeah, there are some that are broken. But you know what, they are resilient. They are just like kids. Give them another chance, they’ll bounce back.”

Winkee is the queen of her home, Martin said. She adopted the Boston terrier in 2010.

‘Full of life’

“She is full of life,” she said. “You would have never known — she came in with one eye hanging out and heartworms — that she was damaged goods. Even if they come in broken, they find their way back. I have yet to see one that doesn’t find their way into a forever home given enough time. These animals are the abandoned ones, the ones that people have thrown out. They need that chance.”

Wilson, who now works at Waco Vision Source, said she has always wanted to host this type of event.

“I really want people to understand and see there are other options besides buying their dogs,” she said.

Jacque Hagerty, Austin Boxer Rescue Temple-area coordinator, said the organization has chapters in Austin, Temple and San Antonio. Hagerty said there once were several homes in Waco that fostered the group’s canines.

“The foster homes we had were Baylor students and they graduated and went away and we no longer have a presence in Waco, and I feel like we’re missing an opportunity there,” Hagerty said.

Hagerty said she normally fosters three boxers at a time.

“It’s a very silly breed. It’s a breed that will make you laugh every single day,” she said.

Often mistaken for pit bulls, Hagerty said, boxers are a muscular, athletic breed that are actually the clowns of the dog world because of their conflict of appearance versus personality.

Hagerty said she also has two boxers of her own: a 4-year-old female, Crouton, and a 4-year-old male, Billy Boy.

“I can’t imagine never not having a boxer in my home,” Hagerty said.

Charlotte Erlanson, secretary for Southwest English Setter Rescue, said rescues work together to help save as many lives as possible.

She said the agency is foster-based, taking in shelter English setters, owner surrenders and strays from across the Southwest, including Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Utah and more.

Erlanson said the group places the canines in foster homes until a permanent owner can be found. She said there are several people in Waco who foster for them.

“I have two fosters at my home right now,” she said.

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