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The first time I saw Tally, she was just a thumbnail image on the San Antonio Pets Alive (SAPA) website. She was a cute dog, so I saved her picture along with a few others, not thinking much of it. Then I kept scrolling.

The next day was a Friday, and after work, I stopped by to visit the animals at Pets Alive. I enjoyed visiting the dogs and walking them through Brackenridge Park, but I never seriously considered taking one home. That day was different as soon as I walked in the door.

There was Tally – I recognized her from the website. A little Jack Russell mix with a teddy bear face. All of the other dogs were so excited, jumping and barking at the new person. Tally sat there, looking at me through the glass.

Tally the Dog

She had her head to one side was totally quiet amidst the chaos of the shelter. It was like she was expecting me. I took her outside to the Pets Alive visiting area, where she perched on my knee, giving me the same quizzical look. She kept nudging me with her nose and tilting her head, as if to say, “Well, you found me. Are we going home now, or what?”

How could I say no? I brought her home the next day.

That quiet little dog came through the door of my apartment and her whole body language changed – she was wagging her tail, running around and realizing she was home. She let out one delighted bark, startling herself with her own excitement. Almost immediately she fell asleep on the most expensive piece of furniture I owned, but it was okay. I was incredibly happy to have her.

Sleepy Tally


Tally’s story is just one of the incredible rescue tales to come out of Pets Alive. She was picked up on the side of I-35 by the city, who believed she’d been abandoned there by a previous owner. She was heartworm positive, which in many places means automatic euthanasia for a dog. Instead, San Antonio Animal Care Services took her to San Antonio Pets Alive. She was just one of 98% of pets that San Antonio and their partner organizations rescued safely this year.

Not only did San Antonio Pets Alive take her in, they covered the entire cost of heartworm treatment after I took her home. Heartworm treatment costs an average of $1000, and without it, Tally would surely have died a slow and painful death. Instead, the SAPA free clinic provided Tally with the antibiotics and injections she needed to protect her heart. They even gave her medicine to help handle the pain and nausea of heartworm treatment, which clinics sometimes skip to save money.

SAPA and the clinic also gave me mountains of invaluable advice as a first-time dog owner. They taught me what to feed her, how to treat her itchy skin, how to keep her joints healthy and what to expect from my regular vet. This advice was all provided for free and helped me make smart decisions for Tally moving forward. Instead of providing Tally with treatment and then moving along, they empowered me to be the best owner I could be for Tally. I could tell they really wanted Tally to have a happy, permanent home.

Happy Tally

Adopting Tally was a monumental decision, and her health problems made it a much bigger responsibility than I had imagined. I couldn’t have done it without Pets Alive. They helped me long after I took her home and made sure I had the right resources to make her a happy, healthy dog. Now she has healthy skin, a healthy heart and a huge personality – so much different than the shy little dog I took home.

I am forever grateful to San Antonio Pets Alive for bringing us together. The cliche of “who rescued who” is true: my life is so enriched by this goofy dog that thinks she’s secretly ten sizes bigger, who wants nothing more than for me to sit down so she can crawl into my lap. She’s my running buddy, my little shadow and my best canine friend. San Antonio made our relationship possible, just like they help so many dogs find families every day.

If you’d like to learn more about SAPA and other organizations that find homes for dogs and help their owners afford to care for them, consider attending Pawderosa Ranch’s Fur-Ever Paris gala. The proceeds will benefit these and other organizations that help San Antonio remain a No-Kill city.

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