APA! PASS Program

Guest post by Shorey Russell

In February 2016, Austin marked five years of maintaining No-Kill status – an accomplishment that every Austinite should be incredibly proud of, but one that many of us also realize puts us in the spotlight for setting an example. The municipal shelter and many rescue organizations work together for this incredible 90 percent+ live outcome rate, and Austin Pets Alive! (APA!) continues to play a critical role in this achievement. Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing insights into the innovative and comprehensive programs APA! has developed specifically to serve key demographics of animals that are typically euthanized in shelters.

One program we want to highlight is the Positive Alternatives to Shelter Surrender (PASS) program. PASS provides individual consultation, education, troubleshooting, and financial support to Central Texans in need so that they have the option to care for or keep their pets rather than surrender their pets to the city and county shelters in Central Texas.

Did a family member pass away leaving pets behind with nowhere to go? Is your dog facing a medical emergency that could mean you have give her up? Did a neighbor move away and leave their indoor cat behind to try to figure out how to survive outdoors? Has an acquaintance suddenly become homeless but has pets they need to care for? These are precisely the types of circumstances that the PASS team encounters on a daily basis. Using social media as the primary marketing platform, two volunteers work to help:

  • fundraise for pet deposits and pet medical care
  • find pet food donations to those in need
  • rehome animals within the community
  • find emergency boarding

PASS has helped prevent shelter intakes every year since its inception, and more importantly, has kept families together and saved animals’ lives.

2015 – Animals Helped By PASS Program
Emergency Boarding/Private Fostering 98
Adopted through Marketing/Networking 310
Medical Fundraising Assistance 7
Food Donations 15
Pet Deposit Fundraising Assistance 9
Other/Miscellaneous 97

One touching way the PASS program helped a dear pet started in California. David O. was coming to Austin to undergo cancer treatment. David didn’t want to give up his beloved cat, Maddie, during this very challenging time so he heard about the PASS Program in Austin and reached out for help. Luckily, PASS found a private foster home to step up to keep Maddie for three months during his treatment, even allowing him occasional visits. David has vowed to pay it forward and is currently getting stronger with Maddie by his side.

“Oh my gosh, my experience with you guys was so outstanding,” said David.”The truth is without your help we wouldn’t have our family member with us. She would’ve had to be put up for adoption and that would’ve been devastating to our family…I had complete confidence that my cat was in a loving home getting excellent care. I can’t thank you enough.“

As more and more communities around the country become ready for change in the mission to become No Kill, programs such as PASS provide a great example of how basic networking and developing community resource pools can truly make a difference.

You can read more about the daily workings of the PASS program by liking their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/apapassprogram/?fref=ts. Watch this lifesaving and family-saving program at work!

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