An occasional series about Virbac’s Every Pet Project (EPP) and the animal charities it supports.
By Malcolm Mayhew
Earlier this year, a pit bull mix named Peaches received a wonderful early Christmas present: a new home.
Her road to happiness, however, was a bit rocky. Peaches had been abandoned by her original owners and left to fend for herself. When she was rescued, she was malnourished and sick - and not particularly fond of people. On top of that, she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. It was highly unlikely that she would get adopted.
But through the efforts of a unique non-profit organization based in South Texas called Three Little Pitties (TLP), Peaches is currently living her best life. The organization rescued and rehabbed Peaches, then relocated her to a foster home.
“Now she is living with a foster who is giving her the best end-of-life care,” says TLP employee Suzanne Schaefer. “She can live out her days warm, fed and knowing she is loved.”
Named after the nickname for pit bulls, Three Little Pitties is a unique animal rescue based in South Texas. It was co-founded in 2017 by Alayna Goodson, who now serves as executive director. Since receiving its non-profit status in 2018, TLP has rescued and rehomed roughly 2,500 animals a year - not just pit bulls either, but all types of dog breeds, and even cats, too.
Three Little Pitties is a large operation. To better serve current and emergent needs, they recently moved to a 2 ½ acre property that includes a 2,000-square-foot house. The home was renovated to include intake and reception areas, a medical suite with surgical space and recovery room, an x-ray area, and fenced-in play yards. When needed, dogs are provided professional behavior training in areas such as leash walking and manners.
For cats, there’s a large barn filled with kennels, cat towers, play tunnels and toys.
The staff of Three Little Pitties includes two full-time veterinarian technicians and one part-time veterinarian who provide routine in-house and out-of-house medical care for every admitted animal, Suzanne says. This includes vaccines, deworming, flea and heartworm prevention, heartworm treatment, dental care, medical care and surgery for illness and injury, spay and neuter, labs, and x-rays. Many of the animals, like Peaches, have been abandoned or abused.
Here at Virbac, we know that many rescue organizations like Three Little Pitties depend on donations. That’s why we started the Every Pet Project, a program in which we reward two animal charities a month with $2,500 - all to help them make an even bigger difference in the lives of pets in their care.
Based in Friendswood, Texas, a small town about 30 minutes south of Houston, TLP is among the charity organizations that received an Every Pet Project donation. The funds were donated earlier this year and will go toward “nursing huts,” temperature-controlled sheds designed specifically for pregnant dogs, Suzanne says.
What makes TLP different from many rescues is that, in addition to boarding and finding foster homes, it finds foster homes that can offer hospice care.
“We have 125 active fosters and many of them want to take in senior animals or those that have terminal illnesses,” Suzanne says. “These fosters are a real gift to us. They want to make sure these particular animals spend their last days being happy and comfortable.”
The organization, which utilizes hundreds of volunteers, is also unique in that it rehomes animals thousands of miles away. Suzanne, who serves as the non-profit’s assistant to the director, says a truck transports several animals to their new homes once every three weeks.
“Houston is one of the worst cities in terms of animal overpopulation,” she says. “But not in the northwest and Canada, which is where we place the majority of our animals. Our specially equipped USDA-certified semi-truck transports between 80 and 160 cats and dogs to locations in Canada, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, and Colorado.”
Back home in South Texas, the organization also does a lot of community outreach, offering mobile and in-house spay/neuter services for owned and feral animals and free immunizations for animals in underserved neighborhoods, Suzanne says.
“Grants like the one from Virbac help us to move forward with our mission,” she says. “They’re vital in helping us continue to take in and help as many animals as we can.”
Every pet, everywhere, deserves a life of care. To nominate your favorite animal charity - an organization that works hard to make sure pets are cared for and get the protection they need for a happy, healthy life - please visit our Every Pet Project page. For more information about Three Little Pitties, please visit their Facebook page.