Tag Archives: dog

Adopt Don’t Shop!



Originally published online for Texas Lifestyle Magazine 🙂


I was recently in the market for a new puppy and WOW! I had no idea how intense the adoption process could be here in the Austin area. Do your research, be patient, and be prepared to fall in love with more animals than you could ever possibly fit into your entire house.

Austin is incredibly pet-friendly, so I shouldn’t have been surprised by the vast number of shelters in the city: Austin Animal Center, Austin Pets Alive, and Austin Humane Society are the frontrunners.

First of all, definitely check out the websites and all of their listed adoption availabilities, but don’t limit yourself to that—go in person as soon as you can! Shelters receive animals (young and old, canine, feline, and more) daily. There’s no telling what could happen when you go look on site—someone could be dropping off a litter of kittens at that exact moment, and one of those sweet whiskered friends could be perfect for you. Shelters will set up in front of pet supply stores frequently, but that’s such a small percentage of what you’ll experience at the shelter itself.

On the other hand, some of the baby fur balls are in foster care, which means you can’t meet them until you fill out an adoption application, contact the foster family, and set up a meet-and-greet. Yes, application. As in, you might have to “interview” for the pet of your dreams! Apparently, adopting a pet can be quite similar to adopting a child, and I get it—shelters want their animals to live in the most loving and caring environments as possible. Don’t get discouraged by the meticulous process—it’ll be worth it once you’re home with your new pup or kitty.

Not sure if you’re ready to adopt? Volunteer at a shelter! You can walk, feed, bathe, and play with animals who could really use some one-on-one attention. Plus, you’ll get to know the shelter better and be able to get a more in-depth view of the animals’ personalities.

Finally, don’t forget, there are tons of surrounding small towns with shelters that aren’t really advertised. I wound up adopting the most beautiful lab mix from Seguin Animal Services after a friend of mine shared this Facebook post announcing a total of eight “Christmas puppies” that were ready for a safe home.

Here’s our adorable Abby today, a month later: (top photograph)

We are so happy that we adopted—it’s tragic to think about the life Abby would’ve had if the shelter hadn’t found her or if she would’ve never been adopted. Before visiting the shelters, I was researching buying a lab puppy from breeders—so glad I didn’t go this route. Save yourself hundreds of dollars and save a pet’s life—adopt don’t shop!



About the author: Alysha Kaye is a high school English teacher in Kyle, TX and recent author—her debut novel The Waiting Room is available on Amazon and at BookPeople. When she’s not wrangling 9th graders, she’s blogging, reading, or exploring Austin.

For more, follow her on Twitter @alyshakaye7 or check out her website: http://www.alyshakaye.com


Mardi, like Mardi Gras


That’s what I always tell people—“Mardi, Like Mardi Gras”—when they ask what our dog’s name is. I just don’t want them thinking it’s “Marty”…even though it’s really pronounced the same. Plus, they just gotta know the whole story, about how we rescued him from Katrina (it wasn’t just people who evacuated to Texas). Mom and Dad were coming up with the most awful New Orleans-themed names…Gumbo, Jambalaya, Moon Pie. And then of course there’s Mom telling my racist grandfather that she’d adopted a black baby from Louisiana. Priceless.

Anyway, it’s strange how an animal can be such an integral part of your family. I never had any brothers or sisters growing up, so our pets were always siblings of sort. I was super close to Mardi, but I guess I only just realized that, after he passed away last night.

He was acting a little sick all day, and when my parents took him to the vet, they said a mass on his spleen had ruptured and there was nothing they could do—they had to put him down.

I got the news while I was on my way home and just…lost it. My parents are even more upset—they’re the ones at home with him every day, spoiling him rotten.

This one particular memory keeps floating back in pieces today—of Mardi comforting me a few years ago. I was sobbing, so much so that I had sunken onto the floor beside my bed. My dad had just told me that he was really sick—prostate cancer. He’s fine now, thank goodness, but at the time, all I could think of was the worst possible ending. Mardi kept nudging me with his wet nose, whimpering a little, licking a few tears. He sat next to me and I hugged his furry neck and I felt, momentarily, better.

Some people think it’s insane to grieve for a pet just as we grieve for lost grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends…but mourning after the loss of love does not come with a rulebook.  Love is love.

And Mardi, you were definitely loved, little brother.

Miss you.