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Baytown

We have a no-kill mission to save the lives of homeless cats and dogs abandoned and/or placed in kill shelters, while also providing life-saving programs and services to keep pets and their people together. Through outreach, education and service, we provide cats and dogs with an opportunity to live their full lives. 

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Blog

"Pursuing No Kill" is our active blog that highlights the work that we do as we continue to live out our no-kill mission to save the lives of homeless pets within our community! 

Sweet Support from Glaze Baking Company

Jay Garrett

Because A Life to Live is a non-profit organization, we count on the generous nature of people in Baytown and surrounding communities to help support our efforts.

Glaze Baking Company and its customers are among those who contribute to our cause. A donation container sits at the front desk of the bakery, located at 2803 N. Alexander.

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“Since we started doing it, the response has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Joni Glaze, who opened the business in January. “A lot of people are reading about the plight of animals in Baytown and overall, so they are really willing to donate their spare dollars and change. And I don’t take tips. I put them right in there.”

The bakery specializes in baked goods, cakes and desserts, but also serves breakfast and lunch items. Cheesecakes are Joni’s signature item.

At home, Joni and her husband, Clint, enjoy the company of several pit bull rescues and a rescue cat.

“At any given time, we have a myriad of cats,” Joni said. “We’ve also had squirrels, snakes, a ferret that I recently rehomed, and all kinds of things.”

On Saturdays, you will find customers who bring their dogs to the bakery. “We’re very dog friendly,” added Joni, who is fully behind the goal of Baytown becoming a no-kill community.

A Life to Live is always looking for local partners to host one of our donation containers at their business. If you’re able to help out like Joni, please let us know at support@adopttosave.org.

Learn more about Glaze Baking Company on Facebook.

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Written by David Berkowitz, public relations coordinator

 

 

 

More of Everything at PetSmart Event

Jay Garrett

A Life to Live’s monthly microchip and adoption event at PetSmart in Baytown had a little different flavor to it on Sunday, Sept. 24. “More” was the word of the day.

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While we typically offer 100 microchips at these events, with the first 10 being free, this time we had 200 free microchips available. That was thanks to Found Animals and Chevron Phillips Chemical.

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Spay-Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP) was on hand to provide free wellness care to pets whose owners were impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Services included vaccines, deworming and flea prevention.

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We had two vehicles packed with free pet food from our food bank to provide to pet owners in need. And as always, adoptable cats and dogs were putting their best paws forward in hopes of finding their forever homes.

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When the long day was done, there was no question that the event was a smashing success as:

  • More than 125 pets had microchips administered and registered.
  • Free vaccines and products were provided to residents with verification of FEMA assistance.
  • Bags and cans of pet food were distributed to owners for their hungry pets.
  • Three of our foster pets were adopted, as were 20 animals from City of Baytown Animal Services, which had its mobile unit on site.
  • Chevron Phillips Chemical volunteers kept everyone cool by handing out cold water.

For 84-year-old Bill Bagwell, getting his dog, Paint, micro-chipped was worth the trip from his Highlands home.

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“He goes with me just about everywhere, and he usually knows the way home. But I don’t want to take the chance if he ever gets away. If he gets lost out on the road somewhere, this way he can come back to me,” said Bill, who rescued the stray Australian Cattle Dog about seven years ago.

Gabriel Lee of Baytown also wanted that sense of security for his family and their two small dogs, Mimi and Gabriella.

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“They’re part of our family,” Gabriel said of his Teacup Chihuahua and Labrador Retriever-Pit Bull mix. “If we should ever lose them, our daughter especially would be heartbroken.”

A Life to Live holds adoption and microchip events throughout the year. Check our calendar for future events.

Written by David Berkowitz, public relations coordinator

 

Texas Sass Shows its Love for Animals

Jay Garrett

As Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts continue, so do acts of kindness. Among those who have gone above and beyond to help others are Kristin Mainor and her mother, Paula Thomas.

Together, they run Texas Sass, a local small business that specializes in embroidery and vinyl on just about anything. They monogram bags, shirts, hats, you name it.

“At least once a year, we like to raise money for organizations through the sale of our products,” Kristin said.

After raising $300 for Mont Belvieu Police Department in 2016 by selling specially made “All Lives Matter” headbands, Texas Sass chose A Life to Live to support this year.

They recently presented us with a check for $525. They raised the funds by selling T-shirts featuring the words, “You are with me even in deep waters,” highlighted on the State of Texas.

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“When we saw on the news how many animals were being left behind following all the flooding, it made me want to help animals in need,” Kristin said. “I wanted to do this for A Life to Live because of its no-kill mission. I am crazy about animals, and I feel that A Life to Live loves them as much as I do.”

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We appreciate Kristin and her mom going the extra mile to show their support for homeless pets in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Their generous donation will help us continue providing life-saving services for dogs and cats in our local community.

You can learn more about Texas Sass on Facebook.

If you would like to support A Life to Live, please consider donating at www.adopttosave.org/donate.

Written by David Berkowitz, public relations coordinator

Robin and Junior Forrest Donate Refrigerator

Jay Garrett

A Life to Live relies on the generosity of people in the community and other partners to support our life-saving work on behalf of homeless cats and dogs.

A recent example of such kindness came from Robin and Junior Forrest, who donated a full-size refrigerator for us to store important supplies to better serve the animals within our program.

Initially, A Life to Live volunteer Ellen Hollaway approached the Forrests about donating a digital signature pad for use in our adoption application process.

“They wanted to do something that would make a greater impact, so the idea of the refrigerator came up,” Ellen said. “We picked out a moderate size unit, but the store said the order wouldn’t come in for three weeks. This larger one was available, and Junior said they’d be happy to purchase it for us.”

Caring for animals is nothing new for the Forrests, who have a number of horses and cows. Robin raises Border Collies, and there are even a few cats in their barn. “I’ve always had a heart for animals,” she said.

The Forrests are active in the local business community. They own Ainsworth and Company Air Conditioning and Heating in Baytown and Junior’s Smokehouse in Highlands. Robin also operates Cherry Creek Arena in Mont Belvieu.

Robin and Junior Forrest (right), owners of Ainsworth and Company Air Conditioning and Heating, recently donated a refrigerator to A Life to Live for storing important supplies. Joining the Forrests are Jay Garrett, founder and executive director, and Magan Gonzales, co-founder and program director, of A Life to Live. Learn more about the organization at www.adopttosave.org.

Robin and Junior Forrest (right), owners of Ainsworth and Company Air Conditioning and Heating, recently donated a refrigerator to A Life to Live for storing important supplies. Joining the Forrests are Jay Garrett, founder and executive director, and Magan Gonzales, co-founder and program director, of A Life to Live. Learn more about the organization at www.adopttosave.org.

“We greatly appreciate this generous donation by Robin and Junior Forrest,” said Jay Garrett, founder and executive director of A Life to Live. “This kind of support from members of our community is what allows us to continue achieving our mission of making sure cats and dogs are able to live their full lives.”

Written by David Berkowitz, public relations coordinator

Chevron Phillips Chemical Donates $10,000

Jay Garrett

Chevron Phillips Chemical Company demonstrated its giving spirit in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey by making a $1 million contribution to support relief efforts in Houston and other parts of southeast Texas.

As part of that generous action, the company donated $10,000 to A Life to Live to help fund our relief efforts throughout the Baytown community.

Heather Betancourth - Chevron Phillips Chemical community relations (left), Magan Gonzales - A Life to Live cofounder and program director (middle), Jay Garrett - A Life to Live founder and executive director (right)

Heather Betancourth - Chevron Phillips Chemical community relations (left), Magan Gonzales - A Life to Live cofounder and program director (middle), Jay Garrett - A Life to Live founder and executive director (right)

“Houston and southeast Texas are where we live and work, and we are in this together," said Mark Lashier, president and CEO of Chevron Phillips Chemical. “Our heartfelt concerns and thoughts remain with everyone who has suffered unimaginable loss from this catastrophic event. We plan to work hand in hand with local officials and the community to persevere through this tragic event together and assist with ongoing relief efforts.”

A Life to Live has reached out to help local families who were impacted by the natural disaster and were separated from their pets due to flooding and evacuations.

Our team members have been working throughout the city to donate pet supplies to shelters and families in need. Items that are being donated include: kennels, bedding, litter, leashes, collars, tags, microchips (including the registration and implantation), food, treats, puppy pads, cleaning supplies, and stuffed animals to those families whose pets have passed away.

In addition to these charitable services and products, we’ve had teams set up at Baytown Animal Shelter to reunite people with their lost pets. We’re also helping organize rescue operations for animals that are available for rescue and adoption.

“It's the collaborative efforts of caring individuals and community partners like Chevron Phillips that will help rebuild Baytown. Together, we can save countless lives and reunite families,” said Jay Garrett, founder and executive director of A Life to Live.

Written by David Berkowitz, public relations coordinator.

Alley Cat Allies Team Travels Far to Lend a Hand

Jay Garrett

During the recovery period following Hurricane Harvey, there has been an outpouring of support from communities and organizations far beyond Texas’ borders. It’s a generosity that A Life to Live and the animals that we serve got to experience firsthand.

Among those who extended a helping hand was Alley Cat Allies, a global cat advocacy organization based in Bethesda, Maryland. Not only did they provide an emergency grant of $2,500 to help us with rescue and relief supplies and veterinary fees, but they also dispatched a disaster response team to our area.

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“Alley Cat Allies has a global Feral Friends Network, with many of them in Texas and Louisiana. There are thousands of feral cat groups and caregivers as well as veterinarians who we knew would need help and supplies since Hurricane Harvey was so devastating. Our donors have also been supporting us through emergency disaster funds. When we saw what was happening after the hurricane, including the widespread flooding and devastation, we thought that we could be of help and bring in supplies from out of state,” said Becky Robinson, president and founder of Alley Cat Allies.

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“The team we sent are cat-trapping experts and bilingual, which is important for that area. They were eager to go and did not hesitate.”

Clay Myers, Daniel Lopez Brena and Kim Kean arrived in Baytown on Sept. 3 with two vehicles full of supplies, including traps, cat carriers, leashes, cat food, kitty litter, water, blankets and towels. They also came with an eagerness to lend their expertise as we faced a challenge with community cats.

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Through our Good Felines program, we regularly work with feral cats that live outdoors in colonies. Despite what many people believe, these cats can live long, healthy and happy lives outdoors. Their populations can be humanely maintained through trap, spay/neuter, return programs that save lives, diminish the breeding cycle and build community.

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Hurricane Harvey brought more community cats than ever into the open. So on Labor Day morning, the Alley Cat Allies contingent joined a team of volunteers from A Life to Live to visit a Baytown neighborhood that sustained major flooding from nearby Cedar Bayou.

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“I have two cats and three dogs of my own, plus I’ve been feeding several other cats from the neighborhood. But after the hurricane hit, a lot more cats appeared. At one point, I counted about 15. That’s when I reached out to A Life to Live for assistance,” said Randa Faycal, who has lived in her neighborhood since 1999.

We spent several hours trapping 12 cats, which later were transported to the Spay-Neuter Assistance Program in Houston. The cats were spayed or neutered, vaccinated, ear-tipped (the universal symbol for an altered cat) and micro-chipped, all free of charge.

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After recovering the cats were returned to their outdoor homes, where they are cared for by compassionate individuals. Although, one of the cats did surprise us by giving birth to five beautiful kittens at the clinic. We found a foster home for mama and her babies, ensuring they will receive the veterinary care and socialization they need.

“Alley Cat Allies is the only global advocacy organization dedicated to protecting and improving cats’ lives. Their professional guidance for TNR and colony management has been the foundation of our growing TNR program,” said Magan Gonzales, program director for A Life to Live and founder of Good Felines.

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“We are incredibly grateful to Alley Cat Allies for teaming up with us and personally guiding us through our first large trap. Our Good Felines team has worked hard to advocate and care for cats in our community. With our friends from Alley Cat Allies, we have been able to make an even bigger impact.”

For more information on Alley Cat Allies, go to www.alleycat.org.

Written by David Berkowitz, public relations coordinator. 

Muttnation, Others Come to the Rescue

Jay Garrett

After Hurricane Harvey completed its destructive path through the Baytown area, families slowly began to come to terms with the damage caused by the historic storm and to consider how to tackle the challenging recovery process.

For A Life to Live, an immediate priority was to save the lives of homeless cats and dogs in our community.

On Thursday, Aug. 31, our team of volunteers was hard at work at Baytown Animal Shelter. The goal: rescue all 21 available dogs and 31 cats from the shelter to make room for an anticipated flow of additional animals that would be displaced by the storm’s floodwaters.

With help from partners throughout the city, state and even Oklahoma, we did just that.

A Life to Live teamed up with City of Baytown Animal Services and MuttNation Foundation, a nonprofit organization led by singer-songwriter Miranda Lambert, to save all 52 of those animals in the shelter.

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We were notified Wednesday evening that MuttNation Foundation’s rescue and transport vehicles would stop at the shelter Thursday morning to rescue the 21 dogs that were past their stray hold dates.

Our volunteers worked with Baytown Animal Services staff and Miranda’s team to leash and load up all of the dogs for transport to a veterinary clinic in Conroe for vaccinations and health exams. From there, the MuttNation crew headed back to their home base in Tishomingo, Oklahoma.

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“MuttNation is an amazing organization. Miranda has a huge heart and a love for animals,” said Jay Garrett, founder and executive director of A Life to Live. “Baytown was just one of their team’s rescue locations in the Greater Houston area. They certainly made an impact by helping our shelters and the animals throughout our community.”

With the dogs taken care of, we turned our attention to the cats in the shelter. We were able to place 13 of them into temporary homes by recruiting new foster families in the community. Through collaboration with our partners, Houston Pets Alive and Austin Pets Alive!, we loaded up the other 18 cats and transported them to Houston where their teams coordinated travel to Austin.

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“It was a great day. We collectively saved 52 animals and freed shelter space for Hurricane Harvey victims. We couldn’t have done it without our partners, volunteers, supporters, fosters and the pet-loving public throughout our community. We thank everyone for their life-saving support,” Jay said.

As more animals impacted by Hurricane Harvey enter the shelter, A Life to Live will continue to do all it can to rescue as many as possible. An additional 14 cats and 12 dogs that were owner surrendered or had expired stray holds were transported by our volunteers into Houston on Sept. 7. This effort also was in partnership with Houston Pets Alive and Austin Pets Alive!

Written by David Berkowitz, public affairs coordinator.

Winning Combo: Pizza and Pets

Jay Garrett

Pizza and pets. They’re hard to beat.

Thanks to a collaborative effort between Papa John’s and A Life to Live, that winning combination is just a few steps away.

Through its Papa’s Pets initiative, Papa John’s is offering a free pizza to anyone who adopts a cat or dog through A Life to Live. Papa’s Pets is an effort in the Greater Houston area to raise awareness of the importance of pet adoption to save lives.

Promoting the collaboration between A Life to Live and Papa John’s are (from left) Magan Gonzales, A Life to Live co-founder and program director; Phebe Hayes, Papa John’s Baytown store manager; Adam Garza, director of marketing for Papa John’s Houston; and Preslie Cox, A Life to Live marketing coordinator and box-top flyer designer.

Promoting the collaboration between A Life to Live and Papa John’s are (from left) Magan Gonzales, A Life to Live co-founder and program director; Phebe Hayes, Papa John’s Baytown store manager; Adam Garza, director of marketing for Papa John’s Houston; and Preslie Cox, A Life to Live marketing coordinator and box-top flyer designer.

“I read something that said Houston has 1.2 million stray and abandoned animals at any given time. That number just blew me away. I had no idea it was such a huge problem. So I thought, how can we help? We wanted to get involved somehow,” said Adam Garza, director of marketing for Papa John’s Houston.

Flyers highlighting the pet adoption/pizza promotion are featured on boxes when you order a pizza through Papa John’s at 4605 Garth Road in Baytown.

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In addition to the box-toppers, Papa John’s also has offered to help share information about A Life to Live and its mission through social media, email and print advertisements.

Check out A Life to Live’s adoptable dogs and cats. If you find one you can’t live without and successfully complete the adoption process, you soon can enjoy a free Papa John’s pizza. What could be better than that?

Words by David Berkowitz, public relations coordinator.

Photos by Preslie Cox, marketing coordinator. 

Baytown One Vote Away From No-Kill Resolution

Jay Garrett

The City of Baytown is a step closer to ensuring that one day, no healthy adoptable dogs or cats in its municipal shelter will ever be killed again.

A resolution that would commit Baytown to becoming a no-kill city by 2025 was discussed at the Aug. 24 City Council meeting. The proposed measure will be voted on at council’s Sept. 14 meeting.

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A Life to Live has been leading the push for a no-kill Baytown. Councilman Robert Hoskins, who we worked with on the resolution, showed his full support by introducing the proposed measure at the Aug. 24 meeting.

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The goal as outlined in the resolution is that by 2025, 90 percent or more of all healthy adoptable animals entering the city’s animal control facility will be saved. Further, the resolution states that the city supports implementing programs and policies to become a no-kill facility by increasing live outcomes and decreasing euthanasia.

A coalition of animal rescue organizations is setting the national no-kill standard. Best Friends Animal Society and its network partners, including A Life to Live, are leading the effort.

“It’s time for change. It’s time for a directive that’s guided by kind hearts, compassionate arms and sound minds. It’s time for our city leaders to pronounce their opposition to euthanizing healthy and treatable pets and commit our city to a life-saving directive, one which our city and community can and will be proud of,” said Jay Garrett, founder and executive director of A Life to Live.

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Garrett was followed to the podium by three others we invited to share additional information on why achieving a no-kill Baytown is so important. The speakers were:

·      Salise Shuttlesworth, executive director of Friends for Life

·      Dr. Mary Kate Lawler, executive director of SNAP (Spay-Neuter Assistance Program)

·      Whitney Bliton, local program cities specialist for Best Friends Animal Society.

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The presentations received positive responses from Mayor Stephen DonCarlos and several City Council members.

“If council approves this resolution, it lets you know that this group of elected officials is committed to move us forward to a no-kill standard. We think it’s an admirable goal,” DonCarlos said.

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As part of the proposed directive, the city would support working with the community, rescue and animal welfare groups, and the veterinary community to implement a comprehensive plan to reach the no-kill goal by 2025. That plan would be presented to City Council no later than Dec. 31, 2018.

The resolution also states that the city would develop a Facilities and Operational Master Plan, with funding provided in the 2017-2018 annual budget to further the stated goals.

According to Best Friends Animal Society, approximately 2 million homeless dogs and cats are killed annually in America’s shelters. That means nearly 5,500 animals are killed every day.

Of the approximately 330 no-kill cities in the United States, eight Texas cities have achieved no-kill status. This is according to the national database project, Shelter Animals Count, and public websites.

On hand at the City Council meeting to show their support for the no-kill resolution was a huge contingent of A Life to Live volunteers and others from the community. We appreciate the great show of support for this vital effort to save the lives of homeless animals in Baytown.

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We hope to once again fill council chambers on Sept. 14 when the resolution will be voted on. In the meantime, you can watch the Aug. 24 presentations and discussion at http://baytowntx.swagit.com/play/08242017-1127/33/.

Words and photos by David Berkowitz, public relations coordinator. 

Visiting the Lions Den

Jay Garrett

While saving the lives of homeless cats and dogs in Baytown is at the core of A Life to Live’s mission, education also is key.

That education comes in many forms, including sharing with community organizations why we’re here and the importance of our goals and services.

We had an opportunity to do just that recently with Baytown Lions Club members. Jay Garrett, founder and executive director of A Life to Live, was the guest speaker at their August 15 meeting.

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After enjoying a nice lunch at Golden Corral, Jay spent about 20 minutes providing an overview of A Life to Live’s history and programs. That was followed by a brief question-and-answer session.

We also distributed printed materials to members that highlight volunteer and foster opportunities, and the importance of pet microchipping and trap, spay/neuter, return.

We appreciate being able to share our story with others in the community. Thanks for the invitation from Baytown Lions Club, in particular Kathy Anderson, club president, and Dr. Anthony Price, first vice president.

Jay Garrett was guest speaker at the Baytown Lions Club lunch meeting. Among those in attendance were (front row) club president Kathy Anderson and officers (middle row) Carol Leskovjan and Dr. Anthony Price, and (back row) Dwayne Litteer and Rev. Mark Davis.

Jay Garrett was guest speaker at the Baytown Lions Club lunch meeting. Among those in attendance were (front row) club president Kathy Anderson and officers (middle row) Carol Leskovjan and Dr. Anthony Price, and (back row) Dwayne Litteer and Rev. Mark Davis.

Words and photos by David Berkowitz, public relations coordinator. 

Garage Sale is Shoppers' Delight

Jay Garrett

It wasn’t your typical garage sale. First and foremost, there was no garage involved.

That’s because it took nearly every square inch of Cedar Bayou Baptist Church’s spacious gymnasium to hold all of the items offered at A Life to Live’s first community garage sale.

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Thanks to countless supporters who donated everything from clothes and kitchenware to toys and electronics, we had a wide array of items for shoppers to browse through.

The bargain hunters were lined up outside the gym before the doors opened at 8 a.m., and there was a steady stream of shoppers throughout the day until closing at 3 p.m.

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Many people took advantage of great deals, including filling up large storage boxes for the bargain price of $20.

When all was said and done, A Life to Live raised more than $1,600 in sales and donations. All proceeds will further our efforts to help homeless pets and achieve a no-kill Baytown by 2025.

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While not every item was sold, we made sure the goods didn’t go to waste. Everything that was left over at the end of the day was donated to The Cookie Jar Resale Shop in Baytown.

Lindsey Reyes, adoption coordinator for A Life to Live, led the way in planning and running the garage sale. She had plenty of help during Friday night setup and on sale day from a team of volunteers, including sisters Edith and Crisol Napoles.

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Thanks to Cedar Bayou Baptist Church for letting us use its facilities for the event. This may need to become an annual fundraiser.

Written by David Berkowitz, public relations coordinator.

Local Realtor Kelly Dando Gives Back

Jay Garrett

Kelly Dando is a darn good realtor who also happens to love animals.

For A Life to Live and homeless pets in our community, that’s proving to be a great combination.

Kelly, who is with Coldwell Banker United Realtors in Baytown, has committed to donate $100 to A Life to Live for every $100,000 transaction she completes. Thanks to her recent home-selling efforts, we received a $300 check to further our efforts to save the lives of homeless cats and dogs.

Kelly Dando with Coldwell Banker United Realtors in Baytown presents a check for $300 to Jay Garrett, founder and executive director of A Life to Live. For every $100,000 transaction she completes, Dando has committed to donate $100 to A Life to Live, a local non-profit organization with a no-kill mission to save the lives of homeless cats and dogs. On hand for the donation are recent homebuyer Carolina Guanajuato and Nico Tuha, whose mother, Marsha, also purchased a home from Dando.

Kelly Dando with Coldwell Banker United Realtors in Baytown presents a check for $300 to Jay Garrett, founder and executive director of A Life to Live. For every $100,000 transaction she completes, Dando has committed to donate $100 to A Life to Live, a local non-profit organization with a no-kill mission to save the lives of homeless cats and dogs. On hand for the donation are recent homebuyer Carolina Guanajuato and Nico Tuha, whose mother, Marsha, also purchased a home from Dando.

“I believe that giving back to the community is very important. Since there is such an issue with dog and cat overpopulation and so many animals needlessly being euthanized, I feel compelled to support A Life to Live’s mission,” Kelly said.

“The organization has an amazing philosophy of giving all animals a second chance. They are a great group of volunteers who want to make a difference and have a positive impact on our community. That’s why I’m partnering with them as my chosen charity for Baytown.”

Helping animals isn’t new to Kelly. She has rescued many dogs, served as a foster and volunteered at shelters.

Kelly is excited to talk with her clients about her unique partnership with A Life to Live. She said that they are anxious to learn more about our organization.

Kelly also is a firm believer in adoption over breeding and buying pets.

“I encourage everyone to visit a shelter to see the impact and change that they can make by adopting,” she said.

On hand for the recent donation were homebuyer Carolina Guanajuato and Nico Tuha, whose mother, Marsha, also purchased a home from Kelly.

In the photo, they are holding foster puppies Hunny and Polka, who A Life to Live saved from the risk of euthanasia at Baytown Animal Control.

Written by David Berkowitz, public relations coordinator.

Photo by Preslie Cox, marketing coordinator.

What a Way to Celebrate

Jay Garrett

When you’re a little girl about to turn 7 years old, birthday parties are a pretty big deal. For Lilly Scott, the celebration was extra spectacular.

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Lilly decided to take an unselfish approach to her birthday this year. Instead of asking for presents for herself, her focus was on helping homeless pets in our community.

Mission accomplished.

Working with Lilly and her mom, Crystal Scott, A Life to Live hosted a fun-filled afternoon at Jenkins Park in Baytown. Lilly and her guests had a blast, and our organization received an array of gifts and donations that will help us improve the lives of local dogs and cats.

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About 20 adults and a dozen kids came bearing gifts, including more than 200 pounds of pet food, treats, dog toys, beds, towels, blankets and community cat traps. In addition, we received $250 in donations to help support our life-saving programs and services.

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The kids kept busy petting and playing with four puppies currently in foster care. They also got to adopt cute plushie pets with certificates of adoption and have their faces painted.

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There were plenty of yummy human treats as well, including Lilly’s birthday cake that featured the phrase “Adopt Don’t Shop.”

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It was a seventh birthday to remember for Lilly, and we were excited to be part of it.

Written by David Berkowitz, public relations coordinator.

Photos by Preslie Cox, marketing coordinator.

Party Time with Kendra Scott

Jay Garrett

Dogs, cats and jewelry were a winning combination at the Kendra Gives Back Party on June 23 at the Kendra Scott store at Baybrook Mall in Friendswood.

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The store drew a huge crowd of shoppers — for jewelry and adoptable pets. When all was said and done, A Life to Live received more than $1,600 from store sales and raffle donations. As a bonus, five of our rescued animals (four puppies and one kitten) were adopted into loving homes.

During this fun shopping event, 20% of sales from 6 to 8 p.m. benefited our organization. With brisk business, we received $1,031 in proceeds.

An additional $620 was generated from a raffle, which saw one lucky $10 ticket donor randomly selected to receive a beautiful set of jewelry from Kendra Scott’s High Summer Collection (necklace, earrings and bracelet) valued at $320.

“The three pillars of Kendra Scott’s company are family, fashion and philanthropy. So for us to be able to make an impact on our community through a Kendra Gives Back Party like this, where people can enjoy jewelry, puppies and kittens, I can’t think of a better combination,” said Robin LaLone, community relations and event manager for Kendra Scott.

“A Life to Live’s mission is so amazing, making sure that homeless animals find a forever home. We even put ‘furever’ on our event invitations to show everybody that you don’t need to shop, you can adopt. And that is something Kendra Scott is a big believer in. All of us here at the store have been texting our boyfriends and husbands to see if we can bring home animals ourselves.”

The puppies and kittens were a big hit. People of all ages spent time holding, petting and taking selfies with the animals. Those who didn’t adopt learned a lot about A Life to Live from our team members on hand, and many showed interest in adopting in the future.

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One person who adopted during the event was Robert Hemperley and his wife, Angela. For the past few months, they have been fostering a Chihuahua mix mama dog, Daisy, and her five puppies. They decided to bring Bear back home with them.

“We have three dogs already so we figured, why not?” Robert said. “This is our first time as fosters. It’s been a lot of work with the puppies, but they all played and got along great with the rest of our dogs. We’ve really enjoyed the experience.”

Thanks to Kendra Scott, one of our corporate partners, for providing us with the opportunity to educate so many people about our mission and helping us to continue saving the lives of homeless dogs and cats.

A Life to Live holds fundraising events throughout the year to support our various programs and services. Check our calendar to learn about upcoming events.

Written by David Berkowitz, public relations coordinator for A Life to Live.

Sharing Our Story in the Community

Jay Garrett

There is never a bad time to share A Life to Live’s story.

In fact, engaging with the local community about our goals and programs is an important aspect of our no kill mission.

Our latest opportunity to do just that came on a recent Saturday morning at Faith Presbyterian Church in Baytown. We enjoyed breakfast with about 20 members of the men’s leadership group, including Reverend Dr. Jim Gill, the church’s pastor. That was followed by a presentation and discussion about A Life to Live.

Angie Seaton-Stanley, our food bank coordinator and a member of the church, introduced Jay Garrett, founder and executive director of A Life to Live. He gave a 30-minute presentation about the organization’s mission, history and community impact.

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Here are a few of the points that highlighted A Life to Live’s efforts:

• We’ve rescued more than 200 cats and dogs from an uncertain future. Most were scheduled to be euthanized at Baytown Animal Control, and the others were fending for their lives on the street. All of these animals are now safe in loving homes.

• We’ve trapped, spayed/neutered and returned more than 35 community cats in Baytown, preventing 630 homeless births through our Good Felines program. This number is expected to double by the end of 2017 through grants from Best Friends Animal Society.

• Our organization, which is 100 percent volunteer based, totaled more than 7,000 volunteer hours in 2016 to help save lives.

• Through our Food Bank, which had a soft launch in 2016, we have donated more than 2,500 pounds of food to the public to help keep pets within the care of their homes.

• We held a one-of-a-kind charitable 5K run and outdoor event in 2016, all for the benefit of homeless animals in our community. It brought together people, pets and businesses to save lives. Plans are well under way for the second annual event, which will be held Oct. 28 at Bicentennial Park in Baytown.

• From incorporation, A Life to Live has operated with the goal of establishing Baytown’s first no kill shelter and adoption center to provide life-saving resources and programs for local pets and pet owners. We are in the planning stages of seeking facility opportunities.

A brief question-and-answer session followed the presentation. And a pass-the-hat effort quickly raised more than $200 in donations for A Life to Live.

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“When I moved to Baytown in 2011, one of my first questions was, ‘Is there a no kill shelter?’ I found out there wasn’t, but it’s something that I’m very passionate about,” said David Benard, a church member.

“Every dog deserves a life to live. Euthanasia is not the answer. It is very cruel. Any life that we can save, it’s going to help someone else. God created all of us. We’re all in this together.”

Thanks to Faith Presbyterian Church and its men’s leadership group for inviting us to be part of their Saturday morning. We enjoyed sharing our story with others who support our cause.

Written by David Berkowitz, Public Relations Coordinator with A Life to Live.

Keeping Memories Alive Through Donations

Jay Garrett

From the day she got her Pekingese puppy 13 years ago, Julia (Judy) Faye Carter and China Doll were inseparable.

“She just loved that dog. She treated her like a child. She probably had 10 beds in the house for her. She had her groomed all the time. That was her pride and joy,” said Judy’s daughter-in-law, Wanda Caples Carter.

Judy was an animal lover who was active in the Baytown community for many years. She passed away on June 8 at age 87.

An unselfish decision by Judy and her family will help keep Judy’s memory alive through the good works of A Life to Live.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to our organization.

“She didn’t want people buying flowers or spending money on things like that. She wanted to make a difference. Since she wasn’t able to foster, she felt that asking people to donate to A Live to Live was the perfect way to give back,” Wanda said.

Judy always had a soft spot for animals in need. Especially dogs. It’s how she and China Doll met.

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“China had a problem with one of her eyes, and the person Judy got her from was maybe even thinking about putting China down as a puppy. But my mother-in-law was like, ‘No, no. We’ll take her.’ China continued to have eye problems off and on, but Judy always took care of her. She wouldn’t have had it any other way,” Wanda said.

Judy became aware of A Life to Live when Wanda took her to one of our adoption events. She said that Judy was impressed with the volunteers and the way they cared for the dogs and cats.

“That really made an impression on her. And when I shared more about the organization and the wonderful work that it does, she was just in love with it,” Wanda said. “She was a big supporter of the goal to create a no-kill community, where all the animals are given a chance to be saved and live a full, productive life.”

While A Life to Live counts on the support of donors throughout the year, Judy and her family’s generous act is especially meaningful.

“To learn that they want to honor her memory through donations to A Life to Live was very humbling and incredibly kind,” said Jay Garrett, founder and executive director of A Life to Live. “Judy was known for celebrating life through her numerous donations to local programs and schools. I'm moved by her charity, her kind heart and the compassion shown by her family to celebrate her life by donating to save the lives of homeless pets within the Baytown community.

“We are thankful for the Carter family’s support of our organization over the past three years and their continued generosity. Our prayers are with the family as they remember and celebrate the life of their loved one.”

Helping animals in need is something that runs in the family.

Wanda has been an animal activist and rescuer for years. She has fostered countless dogs, and makes sure they receive proper medical care before finding good homes for them.

“I have eight dogs of my own. Some of them are handicapped. They were really abused dogs. I’m very attached to them,” said Wanda, whose daughter also has eight dogs. “So our whole family, we just love dogs.”

Judy’s granddaughter and family are now taking care of China Doll.

“We took China to see her the day before she passed. As we put her on the bed, Judy smiled a slight smile. It made me cry because I know she loved her so much,” Wanda said.

Read more about Judy’s life.

If you would like to help save homeless dogs and cats in the community, please consider making a donation to A Life to Live.

Written by David Berkowitz, Public Relations Coordinator with A Life to Live.

Summer Fun at the Library

Jay Garrett

Public libraries are about so much more than books these days.

While encouraging everyone to read remains a priority, they connect with communities — especially kids — in a variety of other ways.

A Life to Live was invited to be part of a fun event recently at Stratford Branch Library in Highlands.

To go along with the library’s summer reading program theme of “Build a Better World,” local children transformed T-shirts into braided toys for our adoptable pets.

Tables were filled with strips of T-shirt material. With a little instruction from library staff, about a dozen children produced a pile of colorful rope-like dog toys that they donated to A Life to Live.

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“A lot of the activities we’re doing this summer aren’t just about building things with Legos. It’s about helping to solve problems and doing things for people around us. In this case, we’re recycling T-shirts and making toys for dogs in need,” said Mandy Sheffield, branch librarian.

One of our dogs (Coco) and three of our kittens (Jacob, Ruth, Naomi) were on hand to inspire the kids, who were having a cool time indoors on this hot afternoon. Terri Fitch, our outreach coordinator, also brought along her service dog, Gemma.

When the kids weren’t making toys, they were having fun holding and petting the animals. The kittens were, well, kittens. They scampered down the aisles and explored the book collection. One even took a few minutes to enjoy the book, “Five Black Cats,” with one of the kids.

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Terri took this great opportunity to share information with the children and their parents about A Life to Live’s mission, services and upcoming events.

Thanks to the staff at Stratford Branch Library for inviting us to join their summer fun. We had a blast, and so did the kids, judging by the smiles on their faces.

Written by David Berkowitz, Public Relations Coordinator with A Life to Live.

Helping Those in Need and Their Pets

Jay Garrett

For many people living on a fixed income, there is often no wiggle room when it comes to having something they may want versus something they truly need.

But thanks to a new collaborative outreach effort with Baytown Housing Authority, A Life to Live is ensuring that some local residents and their pets are able to breathe a bit easier.

“The idea developed from our desire to help pet owners within our community who are in financial need or on fixed incomes,” said Jay Garrett, founder and executive director of A Life to Live. “They may not have the luxury to afford a microchip for their pet. Or they may not have transportation to one of our microchip events where we offer a limited number of free chips.”

So A Life to Live began bringing the microchips directly to these pet owners and their four-legged companions.

On Sunday morning, June 11, we set up shop in the community building at Edison Courts, 1100 N. 10th St. There, trained team members provided free microchip implants to several dogs belonging to residents.

Along with the microchips, we also provided free pet food to those who needed it. It comes from our food bank program, which is supported entirely through donations from individuals and community partners.

“When you have families that are on fixed incomes, the joys of having a companion animal are often viewed as a luxury that they cannot afford,” said Cora Lanclos, property manager for Baytown Housing Authority. “So it means the world to our residents to know that there are options and agencies out there that can make their lives and the lives of their pets a priority.”

Baytown Housing Authority provides subsidized housing to low-income families, seniors and people with disabilities at several properties in Baytown. A Life to Live is planning similar outreach visits to Alexander Place Apartments, Olive Courts and Sam Houston Place.

“My dog, Buddy, just turned 5 months old. Getting him microchipped was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. If he ever gets lost, I feel good about my chances of getting him back safely,” said Edison Courts resident Patrick Kelley, a youth pastor with Dream Church in Baytown.

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A microchip is a permanent ID for pets. It cannot fall off, weather or be removed. A microchip that is registered and up to date with accurate contact information can save a pet’s life.

At community events throughout the year, A Life to Live offers free and low-cost microchips for dogs and cats.

We provide these opportunities to:

• help owners recover their lost pets,

• decrease the number of pets killed in local shelters,

• free up kennel space in local shelters for animals that are truly homeless,

• decrease the amount of taxpayers’ money spent on euthanasia, and

• decrease the chances of an owner’s stolen pet from being re-homed or sold.

Check our calendar for information on upcoming microchip events. Some are held in partnership with local veterinarians.

Contact A Life to Live if you’re interested in sponsoring future microchip events.

Thanks to Cora Lanclos with Baytown Housing Authority for helping us plan the events at Edison Courts and the other properties. Also, thanks to Jessica Perez, public housing specialist, who was on site Sunday to help us interact with residents.

Written by David Berkowitz, Public Relations Coordinator with A Life to Live.

All it Takes is a Chip To Save

Jay Garrett

It happens to the best of us.

You open the door to take out the trash, and your dog or cat makes a break for it. So you drop the garbage bag and hightail it after Fido or Fluffy.

If you’re lucky, he or she responds to your immediate command to stop. But if more effort is required, and your animal tracking skills are a bit rusty, there could be trouble.

Sometimes, despite our best efforts to keep them safe in our homes, our pets go missing. That’s where microchips come to the rescue.

A Life to Live’s Chip to Save program provides residents in our community with free and low-cost microchipping at events throughout the year. One such opportunity came on June 11 at PetSmart in Baytown.

Pet owners and their dogs of all shapes and sizes were lined up prior to the 10 a.m. start. The first 10 received their microchips absolutely free. Ten others got theirs for the low cost of $15.

Our veterinary team partners from Abshier-Meuth Animal Hospital were on hand to administer the chips, while keeping the animals calm during the brief process. About the size of a grain of rice, the microchip is implanted beneath the pet’s skin between the shoulder blades.

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We registered each chip to ensure that if the pet ever gets lost, accurate contact information will be available to reunite the pet with its owner.

So far this year, A Life to Live has microchipped more than 200 pets. That’s up from about 150 in 2016. We have provided half of all those microchips free.

“I wanted to get my dogs microchipped so that in case they ever do get out, there’s a good Samaritan out there who will scan them and bring me back my babies,” said Kristie Vaughan, who had her dachshunds, Kona and Lodi, microchipped.

Kristie Vaughan with Kona and Lodi.

Kristie Vaughan with Kona and Lodi.

Kristie is quite familiar with A Life to Live, as she has a cat that was adopted from our organization. “My mom adopted it last July and gave it to me for my birthday,” she said.

We obtain our chips and register them through the Found Animals universal database. Found Animals, which is one of our non-profit partners, has a mission to “put pets in homes and keep them there — because all pets are meant to be with good people.”

A microchip is a permanent ID for your pet. It can’t fall off, weather or be removed.

Each chip contains a unique number used to identify animals when scanned by a shelter or vet. The number is then used to find the owner’s contact information in the registry.

There are no fees associated with the chip registration, profile updates or ongoing use of the database system.

Visit our Chip To Save page for more information on how you can get your pet chipped. We’d love for you to sponsor or donate toward our next event, and help us recover pets and save more lives.

In addition to the microchipping event, A Life to Live had a host of adoptable pets on hand at PetSmart. By day’s end, two dogs (Freckles, Cali), two puppies (Zuma, Peanut) and one kitten (Hope) were going home with new owners.

Freckles and smiles!

Freckles and smiles!

Hope and the girls! 

Hope and the girls! 

If you’re interested in adopting a dog or cat, check out our adoptables page.

Written by David Berkowitz, Public Relations Coordinator with A Life to Live.

Advisory Committee Meetings Provide Venue to Suggest Improvements

Jay Garrett

For A Life to Live’s no-kill mission to become a reality, our hand-in-hand working relationship with the City of Baytown is key.

Animal Control Advisory Board Meetings take place at the City of Baytown's Health Department, located at 220 West Defee Avenue, and are open to the public. 

Animal Control Advisory Board Meetings take place at the City of Baytown's Health Department, located at 220 West Defee Avenue, and are open to the public. 

To further that effort, Jay Garrett, founder and executive director of A Life to Live, serves on the Baytown Animal Control Advisory Committee.

“My role is to encourage and promote the implementation of life-saving programs and processes by educating city management, council, board members and staff about no-kill solutions that are being successfully used throughout the country,” Jay said.

“These programs have proven to not only save lives, but also are cost effective and sustainable. In addition, they have the ability to increase the morale of animal services employees and the public.”

Jay was appointed to the six-member advisory committee in September of 2016. Immediately into his appointment, starting at the first group meeting in January of 2017, he suggested a number of actions to support the no-kill effort.

During a committee meeting on May 3, 2017, he presented further improvement opportunities for Baytown Animal Services.

Key discussion topics included:

• Unnecessary euthanasia

• Leadership decision-making

• Physical and operational facility improvements

• Policies and procedures

• Public education efforts

Many of the points he raised were based on recommendations of a subcommittee, which conducted an independent review of Baytown Animal Services in Fall of 2015 and made suggestions to City Council.

While Animal Services Director Kevin Cummings presented some improvements made during the past fiscal year, Jay believes there is much more work to be done.

“The City of Baytown is way behind the curve when it comes to animal welfare. Statistically, when comparing the percentage of animals that leave our facility alive to the number of animals that are euthanized, we have a higher kill rate than the City of Houston,” Jay said.

“Based on the huge differences in Baytown’s human and pet populations compared to Houston’s, we have an opportunity to control our outcomes and manage our programs and processes in a much more refined manner.”

A Life to Live continues to do its part to save lives through animal rescue, volunteer programs, foster coordination, trap-spay/neuter-return, and a comprehensive adoption program.

“We’ve acknowledged the issues. We’ve identified the solutions. Now, life-saving programs and processes need to be put in place by the City of Baytown,” Jay said.

“We’re here to serve and be part of the solution. But, Baytown needs to take a life-saving stance and make the commitment to end the killing of healthy and treatable animals. We would like the city to put its foot down and declare that they are committed to saving lives.”

Written by David Berkowitz, Public Relations Coordinator with A Life to Live.

The below are exerts from Christopher James' article within The Baytown Sun, which was published the day following the above referenced committee meeting.