Category: “Success Stories”

Rio: How one Dog Won a Forever Home!

Rio: How one Dog Won a Forever Home!



On June 11, 2012 Texas Animal Guardians pulled six puppies from a small shelter outside Lockhart, Texas. Among them, a sweet terrier mix named Lakota. There were approximately 12 puppies in that kennel. Lack of foster space prevented us from removing all of them. Sadly, that left many innocents behind, including Lakota’s twin brother, Rio.

Lakota visited Pucci Grooming Salon in Wimberley where owner Jessica saw him and fell in love with him. She wanted to adopt him for her son’s 8th birthday. But Lakota was already spoken for. Jessica was assured that Rio, his twin, was still at the shelter waiting. And, now that Lakota was leaving there was space for Rio. By this time, it was July 30, 2012—Rio had been waiting a long time.

On August 2, 2012 TAG set out to pull the rest of the pups left behind. Sadly, Parvo reared its ugly head and tore through the exact kennel Rio was housed in. All the pups were slated for immediate euthanasia. Now that TAG was finally able to get him and the others out, it appeared hopeless. Thankfully TAG works with a fantastic group of Rio_August_3_2012veterinarians at the Canyon City Animal Hospital. They agreed to place Rio in isolation for 14 days. With that assurance, the shelter allowed TAG to pull Rio.

The days ticked by slowly, dragging on and on. Rio was shut up, with no more than necessary contact. He howled, he cried, he was totally miserable. Fourteen days were up. No Parvo! At last, his release day arrived. BUT this experience had taken its toll on the now 4 ½ month old pup. He was already shy, now he was fearful. He couldn’t stand to be left alone. It took a lot of behavior modification work to help him through this. Thankfully Rio rallied and eventually became a helper with other fosters who had issues—a self-appointed therapy dog to other dogs.

By now, it’s September and Jessica’s circumstances had changed. She adored Rio but adopting a puppy was no longer an option. Rio was adopted out twice, each time it failed. He just appeared miserable without his foster family and the dog pack he’d grown accustomed to. After two failed adoptions, Rio was removed from the available adoption list. He became a permanent foster. Rio had a  home with his foster family, as long as he needed it.

Throughout the years Rio was a regular at Jessica’s grooming salon. All of them loved him there. Then, almost three years to the date, Rio entered the salon with his foster pack for their regular “spiff up and groom.” On that day, Jessica approached Rio’s foster with a question, “Would you consider giving him up?” And with that question everything changed for Rio. He was going to enter the family he’d always been intended for. This time, it was going to stick!

RioAdoptDayRio with the family he was always intended for.

Hit by a Car! Taken to Shelter! Puppy had no Hope.

Hit by a Car! Taken to Shelter! Puppy had no Hope.

image010Montana laid in a cold, steel kennel for ten days with a broken hip and no treatment or pain medications.

He was listed with ACS as Spot and had a number. That’s really all we knew about him. They indicated he wasn’t walking but emphatically stated he did not have any major fractures. At the time, Texas Animal Guadians foster homes were full but we pulled him anyway. He was transported to our veterinarians at Canyon Animal Hospital where he immediately received pain management care, good food, some love and hope for a brighter future.

Dr. Keith Leakey took one look at the x-rays and stated, “that’s a MAJOR fracture! Broken hip, fractured pelvis.” No wonder he wasn’t walking. His hip repair surgery was arranged for the next day.

MontanaIt was a long road to recovery but eventually Montana started playing like a pup and acting like a pup. There were setbacks, there were frustrations but this boy was a super dog throughout it all. And then one day, he met his person, a sweet lady in Austin, and he fell in love. They are now living a good life together and all the past has been put behind him. Nothing but bright skies ahead.




Many of the animals received into our adoption program need expensive medical care. Your tax deductible contribution helps pay for this. Won’t you please consider a small donation to help needy animals get well? This gives them a chance at adoption and a new life. Thank you in advance!

Owner Didn’t want injured Kitten!

Owner Didn’t want injured Kitten!

Badly Injured Kitten was dropped off at a Low Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic.

Owner said they didn’t want her!

Hill Country Animal League in Boerne, Texas is a low cost spay/neuter clinic, not a shelter. That didn’t stop a person from entering the clinic to drop off an unwanted kitten. The kitten was suffering from multiple conditions, including dehydration and chronic starvation. The most alarming one was the horrible wound on her backside. Left untreated the wound became infected and abscessed. Sarabi_HCAL_3

Despite all the pain, all the strange sights and sounds, the little kitten was calmly sweet. Thankfully Texas Animal Guardians Director, Penny Solis was there to accept the kitten. The HCAL team began immediately to treat her wound. After that, she was placed on IV fluids and given a high-calorie, high protein diet.

Texas Animal Guardians put out a notice on Facebook requesting our FB friends to name her. The winning choice was Sarabi. After that, she became known as Queen Sarabi and things Sarabi_HCAL_2started going uphill for the previously unwanted kitten. She has since been adopted into a wonderful home.











Many of the animals received into our adoption program need expensive medical care. Your tax deductible contribution helps pay for this. Won’t you please consider a small donation to help needy animals get well? This gives them a chance at adoption and a new life. Thank you in advance!

Eye Infection Causes Kitten to Lose Eye

Eye Infection Causes Kitten to Lose Eye


Kitten was Hopeless, Starving and Needing Medical Help

Twiggy and her litter mates were living in an RV park off the kindness of people who are not much better off than they are. All were suffering from chronic upper respiratory infection and all had various forms of eye infections. Unfortunately, Twiggy’s eye ruptured and she needed immediate urgent care. We did our best to help these kittens and their cousins with antibiotics but helping that many requires quite a lot of money. Therefore we had to select the ones requiring the most immediate care. In this case it was Twiggy. Twiggy went on to recover and she was transferred to our adoption program. Thankfully someone overlooked her physical defect and focused on her sweet personality. She lost an eye but gained a whole new, wonderful life.



Many of the animals received into our adoption program need expensive medical care. Your tax deductible contribution helps pay for this. Won’t you please consider a small donation to help needy animals get well? This gives them a chance at adoption and a new life. Thank you in advance!

Abandoned Kitten Found in a Shoebox!

Abandoned Kitten Found in a Shoebox!


Abanonded five-week old kitten was found inside a shoebox with mishappen leg Marcel, was an abandoned kitten placed inside a shoebox. He was only five-weeks old when he came to us. This tiny, sweet boy has a misshapen hind leg. It didn’t appear to bother him since he used it without limping or signs of distress. X-rays revealed a healed-over double fracture. Since he was managing fine on the leg, our vet stated that no further treatment would be necessary. Then something odd happened: Marcel developed mysterious infections in other parts of his body. When treated with antibiotics the infections went away, only to reoccur.

Marcel was admitted into veterinarian care for further observation. Dr. Leakey suspected that perhaps the root cause of these infections is in the healed-over fracture. However amputation is radical and irreversible. Therefore, before moving forward with surgery Dr. Leakey recommends bringing Marcel to a local feline expert who might shed some light on this mysterious condition. Marcel

We chose to not amputate Marcel’s leg. However, we never did find out the root cause of his mysterious infections. Marcel went on to enter the Texas Animal Guardians adoption program. He has grown into a handsome kitty and lucky for him a nice lady adopted him along with two other cats that have also have medical needs. Thank you for being an angel Sara!






Many of the animals received into our adoption program need expensive medical care. Your tax deductible contribution helps pay for this. Won’t you please consider a small donation to help needy animals get well? This gives them a chance at adoption and a new life. Thank you in advance!

Abandoned Kitten Receives Hope and Life

Abandoned Kitten Receives Hope and Life
Texas Animal Guardians helped this starved kitten regain his health

Starved and emaciated

Abandoned Kitten Barely Hanging on to Life — Survives and is Finds Love

Indy was found sick, weak and starving. He hardly had strength to keep surviving. Severely dehydrated, emaciated, and suffering from multiple skin conditions his fate was hanging in the balance. He weighed only .06 pounds. He was immediately admitted into Canyon City Animal Hospital. There he was placed on IV fluids, antibiotics and nutritional care. He responded very well to this treatment.

Texas Animal Guardians helped this litte starved kitten recover

He barely weighed 1/2 pound

Yet, he still had issues. The skin infections and ringworm caused skin loss, particularly around his ears, where it peeled off completely. Thankfully new skin formed. His fur began to thicken up. He gained weight: from .06 lbs to 2.5 lbs. Now, the only thing standing in his way to complete recovery (and his forever home) was a lingering upper respiratory infection. Indy still remained hospitalized at Canyon City Animal Hospital for several weeks.

Indy was taken home to be nursed back to health by Texas Animal Guardians Director, Penny Solis. He received continued medication, high-protein, calorie diet and tender loving care. He gained strength, started playing and acting like a kitten and soon he was well enough to be released into the Texas Animal Guardians’ adoption program.

Shortly after Indy was released into our adoption program he found his forever home!


The skin on his ears was peeling off

Indy, fully recovered, discovers what it's like to be a kitten

Indy, being a kitten for the first time in his life

Many of the animals received into our adoption program need expensive medical care. Your tax deductible contribution helps pay for this. Won’t you please consider a small donation to help needy animals get well? This gives them a chance at adoption and a new life. Thank you in advance!


Samaritan Saves Shiloh

Samaritan Saves Shiloh
Shiloh, shown here with Althena, the woman who rescued her from certain death.

Shiloh shown with her rescuer


Shiloh, a five month old puppy, was destined to become road kill at the hands of her owner.

But somewhere, an angel must of have been watching over her. That fateful day when she was being repeatedly kicked by a man on the side of the road, a woman on her way to work noticed. She pulled over, parked her vehicle and implored the man to stop. Of course this only infuriated the sub-human, who could only be described as a heartless lunatic.

His reaction? He picked up the helpless pup by its front and back legs, in a hog-tied fashion, and began to swing it back and forth, threatening to toss the whimpering pup into oncoming traffic.

At this point, the woman was frantic. She telephoned 911 but they offered her no help. Then in a last ditch effort, she enlisted the aid of a nearby road construction worker. Thankfully, the worker was able to distract the man long enough for the woman to grab the pup and slip it into the backseat of her car. She wasted no time driving away from the scene.

dog-shiloh-in-poolOnce she had the dog in her vehicle, she noticed that something was wrong with its front leg. “It’s probably broken,” she thought. Unable to afford the medical care required to help the dog, she contacted Texas Animal Guardians (TAG). We arranged for Shiloh to be examined by our veterinarian. The veterinarian discovered that her front leg had sustained previous injuries which caused a severe infection. There was no sign of bone breakage.

Even so, the doctor suspected that Shiloh’s nerves were damaged. We were all hopeful that once the infection subsided, she would regain the use of her leg. Unfortunately, that was not the case.  Due to the neglect and abuse at the hands of her former “owner,” she had to have the limb amputated.

But the story has a happy ending: Shiloh is such a brave and happy girl, that she doesn’t even notice! She runs and plays just like any other four-legged dog. In fact, she smiles, wags her tail, and has a terrific attitude about life. We think she’s one of the greatest dogs we’ve ever met. She certainly is one of the bravest.

Shiloh is now living a happy “dog’s life” with her new family in New Braunfels, Texas.

Many of the animals received into our adoption program need expensive medical care. Your tax deductible contribution helps pay for this. Won’t you please consider a small donation to help needy animals get well? This gives them a chance at adoption and a new life. Thank you in advance!

Happy Endings are all that Matter

Happy Endings are all that Matter
Indigo hospitalized for Parvo

Indigo hospitalized with Parvo

As March drew to a close, the Texas Animal Guardians’ team was elated. In one week there were six adoptions! There was a sense that all was well with the world. Then everything went topsy-turvy: Recent arrivals of puppies were infected with Parvovirus.

Canine Parvovirus is a familiar bane to all rescue groups. In 2011 it hit many organizations particularly hard. This is partly due to the hardy nature of the virus: It can survive for months outside the body. It’s also due to the ubiquitous nature of the virus: It’s pretty much everywhere! Texas also suffered a long drought in 2011. With no rains to dilute the virus, concentrated pockets remained in the environment.

Any dog or puppy with a weakened immune system is going to be in danger of contracting it. Shed through feces, the virus incubates in the body of a Canidae for a period of three to ten days. The virus enters any member of the Canidae family (this includes coyote, wolf, dogs, foxes) orally. Symptoms show up as lack of appetite, lethargy, vomiting and severe (often bloody) diarrhea. The survival rate of an infected puppy is very low.

Fischer -- held by Megan -- at Canyon City Animal Hospital

Fischer held by Megan, Canyon City Animal Hospital

In the case of our new arrivals, they were naturally stressed. So it’s not surprising that their immune systems were weak. Initially, two puppies displayed symptoms. These were rushed to our veterinarians at Canyon City Animal Hospital. They were immediately admitted. (A third puppy did not make it to our veterinarian in time. Sadly, she died on March 25.) The virus does not succumb to antibiotics. No amount of treatment will eradicate it from the body. The only hope is to support the organs with fluids, anti-nausea medications, and antibiotics to protect against secondary infections. All we could do was hope and wait.

In the meantime, we worried about the rest of the puppies. There were a total of seven puppies (of various ages) with our group. Although they were pulled at different times, they were all removed from the same shelter. Each group of pups was kept isolated from the rest but still; there was a high probability that they had all been exposed to the virus.

It’s plain to see that Missy wasn’t feeling well.

Thankfully, the two hospitalized pups were responding well to their treatment. After four days they were released into our care. We named them Indigo and Missy. They were still very ill. Indigo ended up with secondary infections: puppy strangles and demodectic mange. Both pups, particularly Missy, continued having intestinal problems.

Shortly after their release, another group of three puppies came down with Parvo symptoms. As before, two showed symptoms while the third lagged one day behind. So, two more pups were hospitalized, the third (who was not as sick as the other two) was treated at home by the foster mother. This time, the symptoms of the two hospitalized pups worsened. At this point, our hope was waning. The pups’ fate hung in the balance as we waited for them to turn the corner towards recovery. With daily visits we checked on them, monitoring their progress with anxiety.

As the days ticked by the pups remained in a state of limbo. Finally the veterinarian, Dr. Keith Leakey, allowed us to bring them home. The third puppy was responding well to her foster mother’s care. But according to Dr. Leakey, the two placed in his care were hit with a particularly strong strain of the virus.

While Missy and Indigo were moving along with their recovery, the two ill pups had only just begun their journey. They were kept in strict isolation. At this point we still did not name them, fearing the worse. There were many setbacks, numerous visits to the vet’s office, and long nights nursing them. Eventually, we were seeing two puppies recovering their puppy hood! At last we could name them: Fischer and Cierra.

As an organization, this incident cost us, not only monetarily but also emotionally. We were literally drained. It was as if this insidious virus had infected the organization, causing the demise of everything we worked so hard to build. But the real trauma wasn’t the organizational cost; it was the damage to innocent puppies. Naturally, we were grateful that the outcome was good. We might have lost all the puppies! Instead, only one lost her life but that was far too many in our opinion.

We weren’t certain Cierra would recover.

The difficult decision was made to halt pulling any new puppies. According to our vet’s recommendation we would need to wait a minimum of 9 months. The Parvovirus affected our group in another way. It was evident that we were not equipped to handle such large numbers of animals. As much as we wanted to, it was simply too risky to shelter so many dogs together at one time. This could be considered a wake up call. We now needed to concentrate our efforts on securing these little ones great homes.

Thankfully that was the easiest part of this whole ordeal! Something short of miraculous happened. Fantastic families stepped forward almost immediately and scooped the pups up. You would have thought they were waiting in the wings for this exact moment to adopt a new puppy. A negative turned into a positive, at least for these little guys. We could only be grateful that they had survived the worst ordeal a pup could ever go through. Now they are living wonderful lives with people who love them.

Many of the animals received into our adoption program need expensive medical care. Your tax deductible contribution helps pay for this. Won’t you please consider a small donation to help needy animals get well? This gives them a chance at adoption and a new life. Thank you in advance!

Little Pup’s Story

Little Pup’s Story

Vizla Mix Abandoned by Owner …


My name is Ana, and until a short while ago, I would never have believed that I would end up as a rescue angel …

Let me begin by providing a little background information by saying that my husband and I have 2 dogs, an 8 year old yellow lab named Colby and a 2 year old pit bull terrier named Castro. We also have a 13 year old cat named Lady.

Little Pup and Her Bone

I was at my capacity with animals with just Colby and Lady when Castro came along a few years ago. Thank God for Castro’s sake that he is the sweetest dog I have ever met and he fit into our pack so well that there was no way he was going to the shelter—especially because at the time we were living in Louisiana where there is a kill policy on all pit bulls.

So the day I met Little Pup, my husband and Castro were out of town. I have to disclose that moments before seeing Little Pup I was thinking about the burdens of having animals and I swore I would never take in another pet. God works in mysterious ways, because literally minutes later I saw Little Pup—all curled up in someone’s yard looking lost and scared. I began to speak to her very gently and told her it was okay that she could approach. She stood up and I noticed she had sores on her body and was very malnourished. She came forward and I told her it was okay that she could come with us if she wanted.

Little Pup’s New Dad

That was all it took. She understood me no doubt because she perked up and had a hop to her step. She was wagging her tail and so excited to be joining us on our walk. At this point I was not sure what the outcome would be, all I knew was that I could not leave her.

She followed me all the way home where I gave her food and water and let her play with Colby. I was already running late to work so I went ahead and left with her in the back yard with the gate open so she could come or go. I was still unsure of the situation and did not want to freak her out by locking her in the backyard.

On my way to work I was already calling shelters and sending emails for support. During my lunch hour, I returned home and there she was, curled up on my front porch. When she recognized me she became so happy, and honestly, I was happy too that she had not left—because I knew I was going to help her on her journey. That evening I did everything I knew to do to try to find her a home, including searching lost dog websites, making phone calls, taking photos, and sending more emails. I had to leave her outside because I was not sure if she was contagious, the last thing I needed was to be treating all my animals for some sort of illness.

Happy Little Pup Playing

The next day I took her to my vet for a checkup and treatment. I also gave her a bath and started her on antibiotics. She was the most hyper dog I have ever met so I was eagerly awaiting my husband and Castro’s return, for I knew she and Castro would have a ball together! Boy, was I right on the money! They played themselves silly.

When I first found Little Pup I was eager to find her a home as soon as possible. But, as time went on, I saw how well she was recovering and enjoying her time with our family. Suddenly, I became more particular about her destiny. For example, I had several people inquire and actually had one lady come to the house to meet her … but I was not willing to let her go. This was somewhat confusing, because I knew I did not want another dog—especially with such high energy. But at the same time, I was not going to give her to just anyone.

My main support throughout this time was Gyvel Young with Texas Animal Guardians. She was always so supportive, friendly and considerate of everything we were going through. At one point, my husband and I decided we may want to keep Little Pup. However; in the back of my mind, I knew I could not permanently handle another animal. Even though we were able to incorporate Little Pup into our pack—including learning to respect the 13 year old cat—my work schedule and current life situation didn’t mesh with the idea.

During this time, I prayed a lot and knew that the story would end up just how it needed to end up. One day, I received a call from Gyvel who told me about a family that wanted to adopt Little Pup. This time, I knew it was my duty to let her go and continue on her journey. Her new home would be able to meet all her needs … and they even had a playmate waiting for her.

I am so grateful for Texas Animal Guardians and the support and advice they gave me during the whole process. I couldn’t be happier with the outcome and have no doubt in my mind Little Pup is exactly where she needs to be. I am blessed to have been a part of her journey …


Editor’s Note: Ana has since accepted a volunteer position on the Texas Animal Guardians’ Advisory Board. She serves in this capacity as a volunteer legal counsel. We are grateful to know her and appreciate her help with legal advice.