May 2009

Letter From the Executive Director

Friends and Supporters,

The Center has been open for three months now and life is finally starting to return to a normal cadence. Our Puppy and Pet Dog Manners classes are filling up each time and everyone that attends classes seems happy and content. We are slowly but surely developing a volunteer base to help with running the center and we have even stocked our pet boutique with some high quality and durable toys and leashes.

Now that everything is fairly under control, our Board has started to focus once again on outreach activities that fit our mission of Making Dogs a Part of the Community. In April we hosted two free community events – our Grand Opening Party and a Bow Wow Reading Dog celebration. Our publicity for the Reading Dog event has lead to requests for more Bow Wow Reading Dog teams at local libraries and schools. Now we just need to train more teams so that we can meet the demand!  We have also started to plan for the expansion of our after school programs for the deaf community. 

Our Rescue team is going to host a meeting of all Austin area rescue groups on Friday, May 8. We have long held the belief that by working in cooperation with all rescue groups, we can achieve greater success in reducing the number of dogs (and cats) euthanized in our area shelters. We are quite delighted that the Center can be used to further the achievements of all rescue groups in our area.

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In This Issue

Letter From the Executive Director

Pet Therapy Spotlight
Rescue Operations
Training Classes
Community Outreach Events
So although funding is still needed and still an issue for us, we are making progress towards reaching a sustainable model that will allow us to rescue more dogs; train, place and support more pet therapy teams; expand our program offerings for the deaf community; and, provide more community events and activities.
These past few months, while they have been a whirlwind and I have never worked harder in my life, have provided me the opportunity to work with some truly amazing and dedicated volunteers who have so much to give to our community. We are now positioned to increase our presence in the community.
I feel blessed and honored everyday to be a part of this organization.

Together, we are making a difference.


Debi Krakar, CPDT
Executive Director 
Austin Dog Alliance
BTW:  If you are interested in volunteering or fostering, please plan to attend our Volunteer Orientation on Wednesday, May 13 at 7:30.  RSVP to Debi@AustinDogAlliance.org

Pet Therapy Spotlight

Did you know that dogs could R.E.A.D.? Well, Bentley can! He's a certified Intermountain Therapy Reading Education Assistance Dog (that's R.E.A.D. for short) and a member of the Austin Dog Alliance's Bow Wow Reading Dogs. He's also a Delta Society Pet Partner dog. Move over Lassie!
Bentley loves having the children at Cox Elementary read to him. He's been a pet therapy dog for the last 4 years. He also loves to visit all the great people at Sagebrook Assisted Living and Ashwood Assisted Living centers. Bentley's mom, Debbie Williams says "Bentley is a true Collie, sensitive to everyone's feelings which makes him perfect for children who are feeling a little sad or left out. He has a way of knowing their feelings and noses his way into making them feel better!"
Currently, Debbie is the coordinator for all the Bow Wow reading dog teams.
Besides the pet therapy work, Debbie runs a ministry called Bags of Hope that supplies homemade bags filled with toiletries and other special items to children in residential treatment centers who are victims of severe abuse and neglect.
Debbie has found Bow Wow Buddies to be a very rewarding experience. "I learned to accept all children as they are and not put big expectations on myself or the child. It is about patience and acceptance...it is Bentley and the children who have taught me this valuable lesson!"
Bentley says it's all in a day's work. Now let's go read! Woof!
Fun Fact: The very name Bow Wow Reading Dogs came from Debbie, who was also the very first team member. 

Rescue Operations

Rescue is one of the most rewarding aspects of our organization, but also one of the riskiest and most expensive.

When you go to the shelter to pick up a dog, you instantly get a feeling that the dog knows you have saved him. The dog looks up at you with almost instant adoration. It is as if he knows that without you, his fate is sealed. These dogs are so happy to be out of the shelter that they very quickly adapt to your home and lessons in manners. They so want to please! Fostering is a bit like getting a new dog or puppy, that initial excitement and wonder of “what will it be like,” over and over.

Almost equally fulfilling is the moment when a special family comes to meet the dog and you see the connection happen right before your eyes… this family, home, person IS this dog’s forever home. When the match is perfect, the dog seems to know and the family gets this glow on their face. It’s a look that makes your heart sing. You know that the dog and family have chosen each other.

    Echo in the shelter         Echo in Foster Care
The before and after photos (above) show Echo when she was in the shelter… you can just read the fear in her eyes and in her body language. And then, after just a couple of days with her foster family, her smile is from ear to ear! Echo was adopted to a family with two adorable little boys who will grow up knowing the unconditional love of a fabulous dog all because one foster family said “yes” we have the room and will make the time to love one scared puppy.

Fostering is like an addiction. You crave the feelings you get at rescuing and then matching a dog with a family. It’s the most wonderful natural high.

The hard part of rescue is the financial aspect. Unfortunately, since our policy is to only adopt out healthy, fully vaccinated, heart worm negative and spayed or neutered dogs, our adoption fees don’t completely cover the cost of providing vet care.

Puppies especially can be very expensive. For example, right now we have two pups in our program that just can’t seem to kick an upper respitory virus. They have been on several rounds of antibiotics and still, they don’t get better, but they don’t get radically sick either. Their immunizations appear to be helping them fight the virus, but it’s a long process. (Big thanks to fosters Michelle, Stacy and Rhywnn for caring for these special puppies.) They both also needed to be treated for thread worms, spayed and given all their vaccinations. One of the pups has a hernia and will need additional surgery when she is well enough. The other pup has a few spots of ringworm.  These pups will cost us hundreds more than our adoption fee.  They are adorable, charming and will make a wonderful addition to a family in Austin.  We just wish they cost a little less to get them healthy enough for adoption.

Rewarding and expensive, that’s rescue.

If you would like to help with rescue, we always welcome foster homes! We will coach you through the process and provide everything you need… you just provide the love and dog kibble. Additionally, financial donations to help out when adoption fees don’t cover vetting costs are always needed.  To learn more about fostering, please contact our Rescue and Adoption Director, Megan Kazda at Megan@AustinDogAlliance.org


Training Classes

There are lots of classes to choose from, so come in and learn a new skill, teach your dog some much appreciated manners, or think about becoming a pet therapy team. The classes support our rescue and pet therapy efforts and are run by our team of highly qualified instructors.  Check out their biographies on our website, you will be quite impressed with their training and proffesional qualifications.  They also make the classes lots of fun for human and canine alike!

For a complete listing, go to our website www.austindogalliance.org.  For more information any class, please e-mail Debi@AustinDogAlliance.org

    Puppy Pre-School - Starts May 5th. Class runs for 6 weeks on Tuesday evenings, 6:30 to 7:30pm.

    Pet Dog Manners  - Starts May 5th. Class runs for 6 weeks on Tuesday evenings, 7:30 to 8:30pm.


    Pet Dog Manners (Canine Good Citizen) - Starts May 7th. Class runs for 6 weeks on Thursday evenings, 7:30 to 8:30pm.


    Pet Therapy Seminar - Saturday May 9th (one day only). Class runs from 1:00 to 3:30pm.


    Pet Therapy 6 Week Class - Starts May 11th. Class runs for 6 weeks on Monday evenings, 7:30 to 8:30pm.


    Pet Dog Manners and Alerting - Starts June 22nd. Class runs for 8 weeks on Monday evenings, 7:30 to 8:30pm.


    Tricks, Games and More Summer Camp - Ages 9 to 16. Multiple start dates beginning in June. Camp runs daily from 8:30 am to 3:00pm.  (Session 3 is sold out, only a few spots remain for the other two sessions.)


    All About Dogs! Summer Camp - Ages 6 to 9. Multiple start dates beginning in July. Camp runs daily from 9am to 12pm (noon). 


    We also offer open floor practice times for Rally (6:30 on Wednesdays) and Canine Musical Freestyle (6:15 on Mondays).  Both of these sessions are monitored by instructors who a titled in their sport.  For general open floor practice times, please see our Hours page. 


Community Outreach

Check out our website for detailed information on these and other Austin Dog Alliance events!

Paws for Alert - is an innovative after school educational program designed to bridge the communication gap between students who are deaf and their hearing peers.
The mission of Paws for Alert is to provide opportunities for students, deaf and hearing, to come together to develop skills in socialization, responsibility, communication and community service through the training of hearing dogs.
Students pair up (deaf with hearing) and together they work on communication strategies by training service dogs. The goal is to foster shelter dogs, train them to be service dogs for the deaf, and make them available for adoption to members of the deaf community.
Here are Jana Kiefer and Madison White working with Angel (our hearing dog in training) to sit and stay.
Training sessions currently take place at one of the local schools and participation is limited to students from neighboring schools. In the fall, we are very excited to announce that Paws for Alert will open its doors to students from the entire Austin community by offering training sessions at the ADA Training and Adoption Center. 
Paws for Alert has two critical needs. First, students will need transportation to the ADA Training and Adoption Center from their schools. Many of the students who are deaf are not residents of the district where they attend school. They are bussed to the deaf education cluster site to receive the services they require. Over the next several months, we will focus on raising the funds needed to provide transporation.  We are also working to hire additional instructors for this program. 
Second, long term foster families are needed for potential hearing alert dogs.  The commitment is about 4-6 months.
If you would like more information about our Paws for Alert programs or would like to sponsor a service dog in training, please contact the Paws for Alert Director, Carolyn Honish at Carolyn@AustinDogAlliance.org

Diva Dog Red Carpet Runway Fashion Show & Book Signing - Divine Diva Studio launches the release of their new book “Scenes from the Life of a Glamorous Poodle: True Confessions of a Diva Dog” with a very special event hosted by Central Market North located at 4001 North Lamar Blvd. Austin.

Featured will be a Red Carpet Fashion Show with one of a kind living art creations on dogs. The talented artists behind these divine canine works of art are Mavi Vaselli Martine and Tony Franza who formed “Divine Diva Studio”. The process done on the Diva Dogs is all natural, non-toxic and when combined with intricate sculpting of the fur creates the most beautiful and stunning effects on these proud models!

Fashion show begins promptly at 7:30 pm immediately followed by the book signing.

A portion of the proceeds from the book signing sales will be donated to Austin Dog Alliance. 

For more information on this unique art form please visit www.DivineDivaStudio.com.
Fetching Art for Dog Lovers - Join us from 7 - 10 pm on June 6th, 2009, for our "Fetching Art for Dog Lovers" fundraising event at the Quattro Art Gallery inside the Roger Beasley Audi dealership.  
Guests will be treated to an evening of fine and dog-themed art from local artists, food, drinks, raffle prizes, and other entertainment.  All the works of art will be available for purchase thru a silent auction.  Proceeds from this event will benefit the rescue and pet therapy programs of the Austin Dog Alliance.   
Tickets are now available online and at the following locations starting Tuesday, May 5.  Tickets are $35 in advance or $45 at the door. 

Griffith Animal Hospital - 3407 Northland (at Balcones Dr), Austin
Griffith Animal Hospital Cedar Park - 2105 Cypress Creek, Cedar Park
Dogadillo - 12912 Hill Country Blvd., Suite F-155, Austin (the Hill Country Galleria)
Cedar Park Regional Medical Center - 1401 Medical Parkway, Cedar Park (near 1431 and 183A)
Mud Puppies - 12233 FM 620 N., Suite 110-A, Austin (in Lake Creek Village)
Romp N' Run Ranch - 3901 CR 175 (Sam Bass Rd), Leander
Roger Beasley Audi - 12971 Pond Springs Road, Austin
Roger Beasley Saab - 12925 Pond Springs Road, Austin
Roger Beasley Volvo - 6375 E. Highway 290, Austin
Roger Beasley Volvo - 7501 S IH 35, Georgetown

We welcome the following donations for this event: art for the silent auction, raffle prizes and door prizes.  Donations are tax deductible.  

Contact Ryan Miller, Director of Marketing and Development (Ryan@AustinDogAlliance.org or 512-897-8498) or Debi Krakar (Debi@AustinDogAlliance.org or 512-335-7100) for more information about this event and sponsorship opportunities.
Designed by MDesigns
Austin Dog Alliance
12129 RR 620 Suite 401, Austin, United States
Tel: (512) 335-7100 Website: http://www.austindogalliance.org/
Email: debi@austindogalliance.org