Who We Are
Who We are
Our leadership team features compassionate people who love animals and aspire to make a lifesaving impact within our community. We are a group of individuals who commit our time and skills toward creating a no-kill Baytown, where at least 90% of the homeless pets within Baytown's local municipal shelter are saved from the risk of being euthanized. Keys to achieving this are: sustainable community-based programs and services, collaboration with a network of local and national animal welfare organizations, local legislation and political advocacy, and rallying the support of our community to create a city that caters to the needs of pets and people alike.
Jay Garrett Jr.
Founder, board member
Jay Garrett, Jr. founded A Life to Live in 2014 out of his passion and vision for creating a nonprofit animal welfare organization that would bring no-kill to the City of Baytown.
“In 2014, I pulled Baytown’s shelter statistics and ran the numbers, and I was in immediate disbelief – 92% of cats and 68% of dogs were being killed. In that moment, I knew that I could start something that would make a difference. No matter what obstacle, I was going to start saving lives,” says Jay.
In July of 2017, Jay authored and presented the City of Baytown City Council with a no-kill resolution. In September of 2017, City Council unanimously adopted the resolution which committed the City of Baytown to achieving no-kill status by 2025.
Since A Life to Live’s establishment in August of 2014, A Life to Live has been an integral part of increasing the municipal shelter’s save rate from 20% to over 80% – a difference of 60% and thousands of lives saved in less than 5 years.
"It's been through the recruitment of like-minded, pet-loving and passionate people that we've been able to implement local sustainable programs that focus on lifesaving solutions for pets and people within our community. We wouldn’t be where we are today without the help of our community – rescue partners, the City of Baytown, local corporations, volunteers, and many animal-loving supporters have been the reason for our continued lifesaving success in changing the history of animal welfare in Baytown.”
Jay served as A Life to Live’s Executive Director as a volunteer from 2014 to 2018 while working in construction management in Houston. Jay graduated from the University of Houston where he studied business management, architecture, entrepreneurship and construction management.
Volunteerism and philanthropy have always been of great importance to Jay. In high school, Jay served as the Lieutenant Governor for Key Club for the Texas-Oklahoma District and was awarded the President's Volunteer Service Award, signed by former President Barack Obama. Jay currently serves in local civic and professional organizations in Baytown and holds a position on the City of Baytown's Animal Control Advisory Committee where he is actively working to update and implement localized animal welfare legislation. Jay was recently named a finalist for Citizen of the Year and was recognized as a top leader in the local 24 Under 40.
Jay is the proud father of Olivia, a beautiful 3-year-old daughter he affectionately calls Olly. Like her father, Olly is already a strong animal advocate. Jay also shares his home with his three dogs, Penny, Riley and Bentley, and his cat, Macchiato.
In 2018, Jay joined Best Friends Animal Society as a Manager of Lifesaving Shelter Operations and embedded as the Shelter Manager at Palm Valley Animal Center in Edinburg, Texas. When he accepted this role, there were more animals dying at Palm Valley than any other shelter in the country. In 2017, the dog and cat intake at Palm Valley was more than 32,000 and their save rate was 33%. Jay helped improve lifesaving so that by the end of 2018 the save rate was more than 52% – an increase of more than 4,900 dogs and cats lives saved.
Jay is now based in Houston as the Sr. Program Manager for Best Friends where he is working with a team of passionate people to increase lifesaving throughout Harris County while also overseeing the construction of the newest Lifesaving Center for Best Friends.
Eric retired in 2015 after working 33 years in the petrochemical industry for ExxonMobil. During his career he filled roles as Mechanical Engineer, Technical Leader and Supervisor locally and in world-wide support positions. Eric grew up in Baytown and lived most of his life here. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Louisiana State University in 1981, he and his wife Aileen married and moved to Baytown and have lived here ever since. They have three grown children, Christopher, Danielle and David. Pets have always been a big part of Eric's family life. His family had dogs during the majority of his years growing up. As an adult, dogs and cats have been a part of the family ever since Eric and Aileen bought their first house. In 2003, Eric and Aileen began fostering dogs in addition to having family dogs. They fondly remember each of the fosters that have passed through their home on the journey to their forever homes.
DR. Adrian Knowles
BOARD MEMBER, VETERINARIAN
Dr. Adrian Knowles is a new Houston resident. Originally from Tampa, Florida, she received her veterinary doctoral degree at the University of Florida. While there, her studies focused primarily on shelter medicine and animal cruelty. She was very involved in the University of Florida Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program where she also served as foster coordinator for two years. In addition, she had the pleasure of interning at various shelters and rescues, including the Jacksonville Animal Care and Protective Services and the ASPCA in New York City. She also participated in a monthly TNR program at the University of Florida. Since 2017, Dr. Knowles has operated as the head surgeon at the Houston branch of Emancipet, a nonprofit low cost veterinary clinic. Recently, she adopted one of her patients, a kitten named Russell, who is loving his new home. Dr. Knowles has enjoyed working with A Life to Live, and she looks forward to furthering A Life to Live's life-saving success by serving and supporting A Life to Live's efforts in any way possible.
ADOPTION Team Lead
"My love for animals started at a very young age; I’ve always been passionate about them and had a strong relationship with every animal I came across. I find it very hard to walk by any animal without touching or meeting them! I have always felt drawn to them because they are the most selfless and pure-hearted creatures on this earth. They never judge, and only ask for love and affection in return. I wanted to join A Life to Live because helping save animals makes my heart so full. Their lives are so short lived and I want to be a part of making sure they receive every ounce of happiness they deserve. I wish for all these sweet animals to have a home where they are safe and cared for. I’m thankful that every day I get to come home to my four-legged love, Enzo, who is always there for me on the good and bad days to put an instant smile on my face and fill my heart. The unconditional love that he shows me day in and day out inspires me to help others find their fur-ever friend!"
FOOD BANK Team Lead
"Serving pets and the community has been my passion for more than 6 years now, ever since I started a local nonprofit called Baytown Animal Food Pantry. For years, I've been committed to serving senior citizens that are a part of the Meals on Wheels program, most of which are on fixed incomes and homebound or disabled, and need our assistance with providing food to their furry friends. Seeing the smiles on the resident's face, knowing that their pets are going to be cared for in their home with a belly full of food for another month, and realizing the life-saving impact that we have on these families in need, is what drives me to do more. Through my involvement in animal welfare in Baytown, I came across A Life to Live and immediately resonated with one of their impact statements, "... life-saving programs that revolve around the goal of saving lives and keeping pets and their people together." For years, I've kept in contact with the team of leaders. Now, I'm one of those leaders. I had the opportunity to jump on board to run the Food Bank Program where I'll be able to significantly multiply the number of people and pets that we serve through monthly food disbursements to family's in need, ultimately saving the lives of hundreds of pets throughout our community and adding real value to people's lives, by keeping them and their pets together, for life."
data Team Lead
“I have had a love for animals for as long as I can remember. Growing up we had a Dachshund and she was the sweetest. I had a love for horses and riding growing up. Over the years we've had dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, fish, and an iguana. Most of my dogs and cats have been rescues. When Jay started A Life to Live in 2014, I became a supporter and started visiting most of the events. Two years ago, I lost two of my dogs within three months. Three days after the loss of the last one, the Baytown Animal Shelter was full and there was a little Chihuahua-mix that was going to be euthanized by the end of the day. It just so happened that it was birthday that day, so we went and picked him up. I feel very strongly that pets are a part of the family. They bring so much unconditional love. The bond with a pet is something special. A few months ago, I decided I wanted to be more involved with A Life to Live and the no-kill mission that I feel so strongly about. I began volunteering at events and then was offered and happily accepted a leadership position. I believe that through education and community involvement we can make Baytown no-kill by 2025. I am so excited to be a part of this organization. Saving lives runs in my family genes as my sister is a Humane Education Director and past Volunteer Coordinator in South Carolina. Together, we will make a difference and lives will be saved.”
Foster Team Lead
"I have always loved all animals. I was horrified as a child to learn that animal shelters didn't really mean that's where animals were sheltered. I adopted a dog from the shelter as an adult, but I still remember the one I liked but couldn't take. Years later, after I lost my old dog, I decided to stick to cats. The Baytown shelter had an adoption event and I saw a sweet, well-behaved brindle lab-mix named Precious. She was only 6 months old. It made me sad to see such a young dog owner surrendered, especially with that name. I was lobbying for a friend to take her, and considering adopting her myself as a backup plan. I'd been in contact with the shelter about her. But, due to an email mix up, she was put to sleep. I was horrified to learn that innocent soul was gone. The next time a rescue friend posted a dog whose time was up on Facebook, I drove to meet her. She went home with me soon after and she now adores my cats and helps socialize my foster kittens. After I retired, I saw a post on Facebook for A Life to Live and the need for kitten fosters. I didn't think I'd be able to foster, since one of my cats is FIV+, but I learned all that's needed is a spare room and time to love some extra kittens. I'm delighted to be able to work with a group that's making a difference in the lives of animals in Baytown."
If you're interested in joining our team of volunteers, start by completing our volunteer application. We're always looking for passionate leaders within our community who are committed to our life-saving cause. The more people we can get to work toward a common goal, the more successful we'll be, and the more lives we'll save.
A Life to Live is an incorporated 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in Baytown, Texas. © 2019 A Life to Live. All rights reserved.
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 873 Baytown, Texas 77522
Our lifesaving successes are made possible in part by our passionate partners: