Taking your dog to the beach is fun for both you and your pup. But sometimes your dog bolts and gets away. Bad people sometimes bring their dogs and cats to the Texas coast to leave them.
Cash got lucky
That’s probably what happened to Cash (short for Johnny Cash), a four-month old Australian Shepherd mix. He was eating out of a garbage can outside the Denny’s on South Padre Island, his stomach distended. Cash was very lethargic. Some caring Islander drove him up Padre Boulevard to the South Padre Island Friends of Animal Rescue storefront. After seeing a vet and getting treated, he recuperated nicely surrounded by two-legged and four-legged companions.
A tiny and humble animal rescue group
The southern tip of the longest barrier island in Texas (and the world) will be overrun for most of March by Spring Breakers. In April, Semana Santa (Easter Holy Week) will bring thousands of families from throughout the Rio Grande Valley and Mexico to the beach.
South Padre Island Friends of Animal Rescue storefront will take care of the lost or abandoned animals like Cash. Others are like Hope, hit by a car and left on the road until somebody carried her to the Friends. Now minus her front leg, Hope is a bit of an island celebrity. And this tiny and humble no-kill animal rescue is a happy and uplifting place. It’s not the big budget organization that runs depressing, late-night commercials of sad-eyed dogs and cats who then haunt your dreams.
Hop-a-long Hope at the South Padre Island Friends of Animal Rescue
Like an animal lending library
If you plan on visiting the island this year, stop by and feel the love. Or better yet, sign up to take one of the dogs out for a daily walk around the neighborhoods. If you are more particular to cats, check out a kitten and take her or him back to your condo for a little mutually exhaustive playtime with the kids.
A few paid staffers and many local volunteers keep the animals happy, healthy and engaged while the dogs and cats wait to be reunited with their families or find new owners to love.
Resale Shop smells doggy
Friends of Animal Rescue exists on a shoestring budget funded by donations and quirky events like the annual Dog Gone Wedding and Puppy Bingo. Their Rescue Me Resale Shop takes up the front half of the shelter. Meowing, barking and a doggy odor permeates the place. That can take a little getting used to but hang in there. It is a beloved charity and some island stores send brand new, out-of season-merchandise to the resale shop. Plus there are plenty of traditional thrifting treasures like my vintage Ramone’s t-shirt.
Cats to cuddle, tummies to rub
The best part is that the Friends love you to handle their dogs and cats. Carry a kitten while you thumb through the purses. Rub a dog’s tummy while your sort through the line
You could even take a dog down for an afternoon on the beach as a conversation starter with people who walk by. You never know what lasting relationship it could lead to.
Lots of happy endings
South Padre Island Friends of Animal Rescue took in 616 animals in 2016 and reunited or adopted out 588. I saw few dogs there on my visit in February of 2017 so looks like the happy endings continue. If you want an antidote to the sad-eyed animals on the late night commercials, watch this video of animal love. It is an amazing group of people and animals do a lot with very little.
Reunited and new families thanks to South Padre Island Friends of Animal Rescue