Dogs Everywhere In South West Tucson & pima County Arizona - From Strays Running About On Tribal Lands - To Mexican's Coming Across The US Boarder To Sell Puppies
Day 12/ 13 – Tucson – August 12/13
Deanna Vollano, Producer
Day 11 and 12 was dedicated to getting from San Antonio to Tucson. A very interesting thing we came across was a “border crossing” within the United States. In fact we encountered 2 along the way. It was an odd feeling to stop at border patrol and declare our citizenship in Texas and Arizona!
Our mission in Tucson was primarily to gather our own preliminary information on the stray dog situation in the city as well as Pima County. Our first stop was the Mission San Xavier on tribal grounds. The Mission itself is beautiful and peaceful with a mountain shrine next to it. We came across 3 loose dogs on-site. Two of the dogs were on the backside of the mission and they seemed to belong there. However, it is difficult to tell without having spoken to anyone, whether they are truly stray, or live on the Mission property and are taken care of. We saw a few other strays on the tribal land as well that were not near any dwellings.
We moved on to combing neighborhoods on the south side near the airport. In a very random pattern we came across no less than 10 small dogs roaming the streets in a one block radius; another single dog on the street, outside of a closed fenced lot. This dog was wary of us, but not afraid. We saw a handful of other strays during our drive. Remember, we came across these dogs without any guidance from local rescues or authorities. This indicates to us that there appear to be some loose dog issues in the city of Tucson. If these dogs are owned but loose, or community dogs, it begs the question of spay and neuter. Are these dogs spayed and neutered or are they roaming and re-populating the streets? We don’t know, but we would like to investigate the area further.
As evening drew near and we ended our search, we passed through an intersection where we spotted a car parked on the corner with people holding “puppies for sale” signs. We turned around and went back to investigate. I took my camera and talked with them. They agreed to allow me to film the interaction. A small boy was holding a Rottweiler mix puppy in hopes that I’d want to buy him for $30.
After some questions, I found that the girl and 2 small boys (not sure of the relationship, could be brothers) came to town to sell 3 puppies and that the mamma and the dad were at home with the girl’s mother. They couldn’t afford to take care of the puppies, and have little money, so the sale of the puppies would help them financially. There was also a beautiful gray pit bull (Princess) next to the car which was owned by the girl’s boyfriend who was sitting in the car until the end of our visit. I asked if there were other puppies and the young boy went to the car and retrieved another from the floor of the backseat. The girl let me know that she had sold the third one shortly before our arrival.
I didn’t notice it while I was filming but apparently the car had a license plate from Mexico. This group of people was so kind to me; they had very good intentions, but my guess is that the family is uneducated and likely doesn’t know about resources to assist them with spaying and neutering their dogs. This situation and my interactions with these people have really been imprinted in my head. I won’t soon forget them.
Day 14 – Los Angeles – August 14
WA2S Films made it to the west coast!
This is where we leave John Robinson to be our west coast producer and to help coordinate our Google / YouTube studio space that we have gained access to as a YouTube - Google Non Profit partner. We had a wonderful journey together and we wish to thank everyone involved in working with us in each city! We made new friends and re-visited old ones.
Thank you for sharing your stories and passions with us. Over the coming weeks, stay tuned here and on the WA2S Films YouTube Channel and WA2S Facebook page and watch those stories come to life through film.
San Antonio - A City With A Progressive Idea To Curb the Killing of More Than 25,000 Pets on The Street Each Year
Day 8 & 11 – August 7 & 10 – San Antonio
Deanna Vollano, Producer
Our morning began with a visit to the San Antonio Humane Society. Their Director of Communication, Seamus Nelson, gave us a tour of their facility. It was clear to see immediately upon entering the complex that it is a clean, well-cared for facility, with a lot of great people working there. The shelter is a no-kill shelter and holds over 200 animals on a daily basis.
As quickly as animals are adopted, however, they are replaced by incoming owner surrenders or strays being brought in. During their stay, the animals are very well taken care of. For the dogs, their kennels have shared outdoor space with a grassy area so they can learn and/or be trained to use the grass as their rest room. There is also a trainer on staff to help teach dogs simple commands such as “sit.”
All of these things make them more adoptable. The cat house is open and airy; they put the older cats in the front by the entrance in hopes that adopters will give them a chance. The kennel facilities and grounds are kept impeccably clean and there is such an apparent pride in the facility by all who work here; it’s a pleasure to see!
SAHS has an education center as well. They are in the middle of summer camps for kids. We observed the 5 year olds camp and were fortunate to be there during a visit from Sea World. Handlers brought 3 animals for the children to learn about and even touch; an armadillo, a possum, and a wallaby. For 5 year olds they were quite engaged in the program and asked some very intelligent questions. This center is used for a lot of different types of education throughout the year. We were pleased to have Felicia Glenn a writer and consultant in San Antonio join us for the rest of our visit.
SAHS has a very large volunteer base and they provide much needed assistance throughout the year, to the tune of 15,000 man hours! Per Seamus, there is no way that the staff could make up that many hours of work. The volunteers are indispensable. That afternoon we witnessed some very dedicated volunteers shifting crates from one storage area to another in an effort to have things better organized. It was an extremely hot afternoon but the volunteers had a task to do and they did it. SAHS has over 1,000 volunteers that do things like this project, they help bathe and walk dogs, the make reminder phone calls for appointments, and even clean up the poop! It is obvious that SAHS has a wonderful base of volunteers that support them.
One of the most fun things I learned about at SAHS is their El Rey Fido contest culminating during the San Antonio Fiesta in April. I was drawn to the photos of the King and his court! This is a fundraising effort beginning in November and culminating with the coronation in April. The top fundraiser’s dog is King and the next top 4 fundraiser’s dogs become the court. Each is rewarded with a beautiful hand-crafted robe. $88,854.29 was raised in 2015; this is definitely fundraising fit for a king! I know my dog would love wear one of those gorgeous robes!
After lunch WA2S scouted about San Antonio to see what the stray dog issues were. We did find some dogs roaming the streets in neighborhoods. As always, it’s difficult to know whether these dogs are feral, owned but loose, or community dogs. We are very interested in learning more about the stray dog situation in San Antonio.
We proceeded to visit San Antonio Animal Care Services. Matt gave us an impromptu tour of their facility and again, we were very impressed. One thing I noticed was that while walking through the kennels, which were filled with dogs, the dogs didn’t go crazy and start barking when we went by. I truly believe that this is a sign of well-cared for dogs that are used to interacting with people.
We visited on free micro-chip day which was awesome to see. San Antonio combines micro-chipping with licensing of dogs which makes them pioneers in this field. What a wonderful way to take care of two things at once! There was a line of dogs and their owners waiting to take advantage of this opportunity. The staff handled everything with skill and kept the line moving. It was obvious that the workers at ACS truly cared about the work they do. In fact our guide Matt told us that he “loves” working here. We were impressed with the facilities, staff and programs at ACS.
Our time in San Antonio was split, so on Monday morning we enjoyed some time with Gavin Nichols of the San Antonio Area Foundation. We learned so much from him regarding programs and issues in the city. We were very impressed with the evolution Gavin has facilitated in regards to San Antonio’s dog issues. We hope to be back soon to help survey the city and create awareness films! Thank you San Antonio for a wonderful visit!
5 Puppies, 3 Rescuers, A Sick Euthanasia Pull, A cross-County Pick Up of 10 Dogs Headed To Wisconsin In A Very Typical HalF-Day in The Field With Houston's K911 Rescue
Day 7 – August 6 – Houston
Deanna Vollano, Producer
Day 7 of our journey finds us meeting the Houston K-911 Rescue team of Anna, Katie and Nicole for their daily rounds. We met them feeding 3 strays that were new to them. None of the three dogs were in poor condition or injured and in fact looked really good. In fact, the gentleman dog was quite attracted to one of the ladies…..
The next order of business was to rescue some puppies. We stopped in front of a house and when Katie started talking about Chocolate the dog, that they had spayed and returned to the family, a light-bulb went on, well 2 of them.
This was the house of a dog that I photographed under a pick-up truck last December when we were in Houston. She was too shy to come out then, but now she was happy to visit with us. In another moment I realized that we were at the same spot where we came with Forgotten Dogs of the Fifth Ward to feed Mr. Woolsworth! It became very familiar when the toddler puppies came running out to say hello. So we were back at the house of a family who seems to have too many dogs to handle.
The first step was to retrieve the brand new puppies which were laying in a pile underneath a dog house in the yard. There were 5 tiny puppies that Katie skillfully removed. They were only a few weeks old at best. When Anna realized that the puppies didn’t have teeth yet, she knew that they had to find their mama and take her with them as they were still nursing. The problem was that she had not come out to greet us and we couldn’t find her. In the meantime the toddler puppies were providing entertainment for all!
After a short time, the matriarch of the family that owned the dogs, found the mama and brought her to us. She said that K-911 Rescue could take all of them. She also agreed to allow K-911 to neuter a large male dog that was tethered in their yard. She trusts them because they took Chocolate to be spayed and did indeed bring her back. Katie, Anna and Nicole will work on placing the other toddler puppies but for now, they’ll live right where they are.
With mom and her puppies safe in a crate in the car, we went to check on some dogs at Dodson Park. This is a high traffic area for stray dogs and today was no different. A new addition to the area was a female medium size dog and she was sweet as can be. Anna didn’t know if she’d been recently dumped but it was clear that she has had puppies at least once if not more. Anna was quite afraid that this sweet dog could be taken advantage of if left on the streets for any length of time. WA2S filmed a plea with Anna and the dog (now called Brandy) for an adopter. Anna explained that K-911 would find her, pick her up and have her spayed, micro-chipped and given shots, all free of charge for anyone who wanted to adopt her. They will also transport the dog if the family were out of state. She is a sweet, docile dog and I hope she has a good ending to her story.
Katie and I then separated from the group and went to Harris County to pull a dog. K-911 usually only pulls from the streets but this one tugged at their heart strings and was going to be saved. Katie came out with a beautiful gray pitbull. This dog had a micro-chip however it was registered in New Hampshire and none of the contact information was up to date. Next stop was Aldine Animal Hospital to drop our friend Herbie off for some care. Once Herbie was checked in we picked up Nick, who was being transferred to K’s Mutt Hut for boarding. K-911 has a great relationship with K’s Mutt Hut and uses this facility for any longer term boarding before a foster becomes available. They absolutely don’t mind that it’s an hour drive to get there because it’s such a quality and accommodating facility.
Once Katie and I dropped off Herbie and picked up Nick (who by the way is quite a lover, and helped drive) we met Anna and Nicole at the Enterprise truck rental location. Not only were Anna, Katie and Nicole doing their typical rounds, but they were also preparing to transport 23 dogs from Houston to waiting families in Wisconsin; this is what the truck was for. At that point Nick got in the truck along with mama and her puppies for the one hour drive to K’s Mutt Hut. Upon arrival I understood immediately why K-911 loves this place; it looked to be a lovely facility with very caring staff members. Mama and her puppies, along with Nick were unloaded but we would not be returning empty handed! 10 dogs were loaded into the crates in the truck that were to be included in the freedom ride to Wisconsin.
This is the kind of busy day that is so typical for Anna, Katie and Nicole. They are on the streets, rescuing dogs and finding forever homes for them. It takes a special person to dedicate their time to the street dogs. I’m so impressed and respectful of what they do. Now it’s time for WA2S to move on to San Antonio.
Look for many new rescue videos to post from this half day in the field with Houston's K911 Rescue. Subscribe to WA2S Films YouTube Channel to see videos the day they are released: http://www.youtube.com/WA2Sorg
To adopt any dog from Houston K911, reach out to Anna Barbosa here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Houston-K-911-Rescue/397319573781764