Austin Pets Alive! #BecauseOfYou: A Letter from Dr. Ellen Jefferson

It’s hard to believe another calendar year has nearly come and gone – but when I look back on where we stood coming into 2018, it becomes harder to believe that it’s only been a year!

At this time last year, our region was still reeling from Hurricane Harvey. We were past the immediate impact, but collectively, we were far from recovered. We knew there was still a long road ahead, and it’s one that we continue to march down. What we didn’t know, though, is that Hurricane Harvey had changed the very fabric of our future; it had imprinted itself on us in ways we’d continue to discover through the coming year. We had to grow, immediately, to be able to answer the call. And then, once we were through the thick of the crisis, we were left with new partnerships and pleas for help, and we couldn’t simply step away or turn our backs. So, we entered into 2018 together – volunteers, donors, fosters, staff, adopters, legislators and supporters of APA! and this transformational movement – to greet whatever would come our way.

In 2018, we saw even more partners and animals who needed real support. We worked through partners dealing with disease outbreaks, a facility struggling to keep up with demands, and the nearly 10,000 animals from our area that needed APA!. Through everything that directly or indirectly impacts our shelter and the animals that come through these doors, it’s important to understand that none of this work could happen without your support. Because of you, we were able to save our 60,000th animal this year since our rescue work began in 2008. These include thousands of unweaned, bottle baby kittens every year; puppies infected with parvovirus who, given the chance to recover, become perfectly healthy, happy pups; larger dogs who need help working through some behavioral challenges; cats with feline leukemia virus or ringworm, which is about as serious as athlete’s foot but is too frequently treated like a death sentence; companion animals who have simply run out of space or time. Because of you, we celebrated ten years of Austin Pets Alive! as an organization that directly saves the lives of animals who are otherwise forgotten but, when given the chance and the support they need, complete families.

Because of you, Austin has been honored with seven years of No Kill – and it continues to be the largest and longest-running No Kill city in the country. Because of you, our shelter’s capacity increased to meet the very real needs that our community and our region face. Because of you, we continue to be able to push the bounds of what it philosophically means to be No Kill, ensuring that we are the safest large city for animals in America.

There are big things on the horizon for Austin Pets Alive! as we continue working to provide more solutions for at-risk animals, and as we set our sights on creating a state-of-the-art shelter that truly matches the innovative programs we’ve developed here. We’ve even launched a sister organization, American Pets Alive!, this year to help teach Austin’s lifesaving model to communities looking for help across the country. But we won’t be able to do what needs to be done, and to continuously push the needle forward on behalf of the animals depending on us, without you.

Because of you, we’ll be confident in facing whatever 2019 may hold. Because of you, we’ll be able to accomplish even more than we have before. I’m asking you to donate to Austin Pets Alive! Today so that our community can keep doing what so many thought was impossible on behalf of the animals who are counting on us. And now, thanks to a generous gift from our APA! Board of Directors, the first $25,000 donated will be matched dollar for dollar!

With gratitude and eyes on the future,


Dr. Ellen Jefferson, DVM
Austin Pets Alive! Executive Director




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