Monday 20 Feb 2017

Happy Tales

We often hear inspirational stories about pets that we have helped from our fosters and new adoptive families. These are the stories that motivate us to continue our efforts to help individual animals and to improve animal welfare across all aspects of our mission.

If you have a story to tell, perhaps a personal experience with your pet, mail or e-mail your story to GAO, P.O. Box 1684, Georgetown, Texas, 78627 and you may see it here.



Melly and MeI had never had a dog of my own before, as I have always been and forever will be, a “cat lover.” But when I moved into a house with over 2 acres of yard in Georgetown, TX, I knew it was time to take the plunge and welcome a dog into our family of 4 cats.

Every week I would look in the newspaper at the pictures of pets available at the local animal shelter and one day when I opened it, there she was looking back at me! I had envisioned a tan or blonde dog, probably small, so that I could cart her around with me, but this dog who had spoken to me through those loving and yearning eyes was large and black. She was also about 7 years old and had been found living in a field. Some kind person took her to the Georgetown Animal Shelter, where she stayed for 5 long weeks.

When I asked a volunteer why they had held on to her for so long, she said, “Because she’s such a wonderful dog.” And indeed she is. My daughter, who had been an adoption counselor at her local shelter, warned me that a cattle dog would need to be walked a lot and would have a lot of energy, which could add up to trouble in a household full of cats. But when the shelter described her as a “couch potato” they were right. She is also every inch a lady with impeccable manners and endless patience when it comes to my ‘kitties.’

When I fostered a tiny white kitten last year, Melly let the little one sleep on her tail ! In fact, all of my cats walk under Melly’s tummy and arch their backs up for a little rub as they go. So now this confirmed “cat lover” is a “dog lover” too. Melly is the love of my life and I can’t imagine being without her. Since she is older now, I know that we may not have too many more years with her and I know for certain that on the day she goes to heaven, a big chunk of my heart will go with her.

~Maggie Smallwood


Rio OutsideI had a great experience with my first long-term foster. Previously, I had fostered puppies, which are easy, in my opinion – they are fun and get adopted quickly. Rio is the first adult dog I’ve fostered, and he spent five months with me.

He grew up with at least one littermate and his mother in relative isolation. The three of them were kept in a run for a long period of time, where their male owner only visited a few times a week. By the time they were surrendered to a shelter, they were living fairly wildly in a backyard with the ex-wife of the owner. Rio was so poorly socialized that the wife thought he was deaf. He wouldn’t make eye contact with humans, and he trembled in new environments.

Over the next months, I worked on encouraging eye contact and human touch and just helping him acclimate to living as an inside dog. He had to overcome his fear of doors and get used to various noises, using a doggy door, being brushed and crated (for housetraining purposes), among other things. But I never thought it was anything but a joy to have him live with me and my two dogs. It was so rewarding to see him gain confidence and trust. I miss him terribly but know that he will continue to thrive in his new forever home.


Rio on the sofa

Lovely Rio A little wild but mostly acquiescent. Pointed white nose poking cautiously through the dog door. Little pouches where your smile is hidden. Shy eyes gaining confidence. Sleepy brow. Stretching full out, back paws flipping over. Bouncy gait. Play bows. Racing around the yard with gleeful athleticism.