By PAMELA CODY
Special to the PRESS
Few sights are more heart wrenching than lost and homeless animals. The Rio Grande Valley has a staggering number of homeless animals, with most shelters filled to capacity. Every day, hundreds are euthanized due to lack of available space and resources.
However, there are organizations like the Friends of Animal Rescue, whose mission is to reunite lost pets with their owners and help find new homes for the many stray animals that come through their doors. Located on South Padre Island, they recently hosted their 1st annual Tails on the Beach, touted as a celebration of man’s best friend. Director of Operations Sherry Pindard talked about the goal of the event. “We want to get animals out of kennels and into homes,” she said. Pindard stressed, “This is not a fundraiser – it’s a true community event with 5 different Valley shelters working together for a common cause.”
Pindard spoke about the Friends of Animal Rescue’s success. “We have around 600 animals come through every year, and we have an 86 percent success rate of reuniting pets with their owners – I think that’s pretty good,” she stated proudly. The Friends of Animal Rescue has a 100 percent success rate of adopting out animals. “This December will be our 5th anniversary, and we’ve gotten over 500 animals adopted during that time,” she reported.
Scores of locals and visitors attended the event with their pets, with many expressing support for the organization. Jeffrey and Christa Williams, visiting from Seabrook, Texas with their two dogs Muffett and Polly, stumbled onto the event by chance. “We just happened upon this by accident, but we gladly support these types of organizations because we love animals,” Jeffrey said. Sisters Yvonne and Yvette Perez of Los Fresnos, Texas, were in attendance with their two rescue dogs, Theodore and Lucy. “Lucy travels with me all the time – shelter dogs make the best pets!” she declared. They got their dogs from B.A.D. (Brownsville Animal Defense) and were looking for a companion dog for their father.
Pindard spoke glowingly about all the organizations and individuals who helped bring this event to fruition. “We are 98 percent volunteers,” she said. Pindard, along with co-emcee Shane Wilson, brought a variety of adoptable dogs and cats onto the stage during their presentation, and thanked contributors, including the Brownsville Animal Regulation and Care Center, the Harlingen Humane Society, the Isabel Y Garcia Animal Shelter and the Laguna Madre Humane Society.
Numerous individuals who provide animal services were present, such as Dr. Sara Stephens, who offered heartworm testing and micro-chipping, and local artist Carol Plumb, who did dog portraits for donations. There was also a children’s corner, a therapy dog presentation, and a pet parade.
Robert Rodriguez from Customs and Border Control, accompanied by his German shepherd, gave a presentation about basic training principles, and pointed out the fact that many of their search dogs come from shelters. “Just because a dog’s at a shelter doesn’t mean it isn’t a great dog,” he said. He spoke of the bond he has with his canine partner. “This dog comes home with me at night, he goes everywhere with me. When he retires, he’ll come home with me for good. We’re a team,” he said emphatically.
Pindard reported that six dogs and two cats were adopted as a result of Tails on the Beach. Friends of Animal Rescue is a non-profit organization, and accepts monetary donations as well as items for their resale shop, located in the same building, located at 4908 Padre Blvd. For more information, call (956) 772 – 1171.
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