Take a look at Elliot. This gorgeous purebred Labrador retriever arrived at BARC on New Years Day. His characteristics scream lab—friendly, active, loves to fetch, silly. I spent about 30 minutes with him Sunda0979427-elliot1ay taking photos and getting to know him so he could be marketed in this week’s BARC Starz email that features highly adoptable dogs. Lab rescue was also working to try to spring him from the shelter. Options—a lot more options than some shelter dogs have.

Isn’t he great? Don’t you think there’s a family out there who would just adore such a smart, attractive boy?

Oh, I failed to mention. He’s dead. That’s right. Twenty-four hours after receiving confirmation from Dr. O, the head vet at BARC, that Elliot would be ready and available to be featured in BARC Starz, she euthanized him due to “illness.” I spent half an hour with this dog two days ago. Firm stool, no coughing or sneezing, no injuries. In addition, this dog was fully vaccinated on intake and heartworm negative. So why, exactly, did Elliot have to die, Dr. O? Unfortunately, she has yet to provide a response.


One more bit of proof that Houston’s City Pound, BARC, is truly a disaster.

BARC’s head vet, “Dr.” Eunice Ohashiegbula-Iwunze (Eunice Ohashiegbula-Ozuzu), had her vet license suspended in New Jersey after she provided poor care that lead to the death of three dogs in 2003-2004. Oh, and she failed to mention it on her employment app with BARC. Apparently, a couple of years before, she also received a fine associated with poor care and poor record keeping.

Houston, the fourth largest City in the country, and this is the best we can do? How many times have I asked myself that very question when thinking about BARC?! Yeah, it’s a lousy job. But it’s also a job where you have a chance to make a difference and bring an ailing and backward program into the current century. It’s an opportunity to be a hero, a leader, a forward thinker. But the City of Houston hires an incompetent butcher and two-time loser? Houston animals and Houston tax payers deserve better.

A Bayou by any Other Name

November 7, 2008

After first moving to southeast Texas, it took me a while to realize a bayou is kind of a fancy word for a drainage ditch.

How pretty could a drainage ditch possibly be? Lately, I’ve spent more time walking the paths along the bayou with one of my dogs and I’ve come to realize and appreciate the beauty of a bayou. 

The bayou in my neighborhood is a channelized (paved) one, but there’s still an amazing amount of animal life around it. Seeing egrets are herons are an everyday occurrence. Once I saw what I thought was a stray dog, but it turned out to be a coyote. Turtles the size of toilet seats sun themselves on the concrete embankment. Last weekend, I saw a hawk on the sidewalk looking under my fence. At night, opossum cut through my yard and bats fly overhead. All of this under the shadow of downtown Houston. It’s really quite amazing.

Friends of BARC is holding a pet adoption event in the Bed Bath & Beyond parking lot at 3102 Kirby at West Alabama on Saturday, March 29 from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. This is a great opportunity to see some of the great dogs and cats available from BARC. Download the flyer.

Can’t make it to this event? Visit the BARC shelter. You’re sure to find a furry friend while savings a wonderful animal in need!

On Sunday, October 7, 2007, at 4:00 p.m., bring your beloved pet to Houston’s downtown Christ Church Cathedral Bishop’s Courtyard for a blessing in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals, founder of the Order of the Franciscans, and a poet. Pets will receive a St. Francis medal for their collar.

I’ll be there getting my foster dog, Wrigley, blessed. We need all the help we can get. 🙂

The Cathedral is a beautiful and historic church in downtown Houston. My husband and I were married there three years ago. If you go, check out the stained glass and woodwork.

Where should I begin?

February 8, 2007

I spent most of the day trying to decide if this whole blog thang is for me. I mean, who gives a crap what I might have to say? Will this be like so many other blogs–they start with a bang, then maybe a post or two every six months, if that? I think the turning point in my decision happened after I read the latest on Animal Attraction, Lisa Foronda’s old blog.

The post was bad news–BARC (Bureau of Animal Regulation & Care, Houston’s city pound) is packed to the gills with dogs needing homes. What was so disappointing is that huge amounts of info was missing from the article–Like where’s BARC? How can I contact them? What is the cost of adoptions? Where can I see photos of these animals? Who should I contact about sponsoring or fostering a dog? This blog is on a news web site which I assume is managed by journalists. Leaving out such important facts is just bad journalism. You can see by the comments to that post that there are people who want to help, but have a lot of questions.

I guess that’s where I think I should come in. I’m an animal lover and advocate. I give money to and volunteer with animal welfare organizations. I’ve just started volunteering with BARC. BARC, like most shelters, needs help in so many ways. Maybe I can provide some of the info people need to give shelter pets a second chance and to keep from having pets end up in shelters.

We’ll see how it goes.