Meet Tulip

Meet Tulip

It is our pleasure to introduce you to sweet Tulip!  We knew Tulip was special when we looked at her adorable little face, but upon first glance we had no idea how special Tulip was.  She has had more challenges than a newborn baby should have to endure, but our SAPA! village has stepped up yet again to help us save her life.

After an assessment by our foster manager,  we discovered that tiny Tulip suffers from a condition called Swimmers Syndrome. Swimmers Syndrome is a musculoskeletal disorder that generally appears in puppies at about 2 - 3 weeks old, or around the time that they start to walk. It is characterized by a flattened body and splayed legs.  Sadly, without intervention, it can be fatal to the puppies that are affected by it. Without treatment, their chest can become flattened under the weight of their body and they can lose the ability to eat.

SAPA! sprang into action, determined to do everything we could to help Tulip survive.  First, we called on our life-saving network of skilled medical fosters to try to get Tulip the care she needed as fast as possible and get her on the road to recovery. In a matter of hours Tulip had been bottle fed and was beginning physical therapy with a harness and leg bands to strengthen her legs and save her fragile life. The puppy has been placed with a dedicated medical foster who is devoted to ensuring her survival.

At San Antonio Pets Alive!, we too often see animals like Tulip who, without our intervention, would perish.  We can only rescue puppies and kittens with these acute medical needs with your help. It takes a village to care for these babies, and SAPA! Village we need you!

Consider becoming a guardian today, and help to ensure puppies and kittens like Tulip get the care they need, because together - We Save Lives!


Courage Makes Something Happen

You are generous.  We know this because you are a supporter of San Antonio Pets Alive!  Not every person offers their hard-earned money to animals in need – but YOU DO.  In fact, these animals you give to are so in need that their very lives are not guaranteed.  They are among the most “unwanted,” the most victimized, the most terrified animals in this city.  Many people think saving them is not even important—but YOU DO think their lives are worth saving.  So do we.  

In this holiday season as many focus on getting, SAPA! is especially grateful for your focus on giving.  And yet, as animal-lovers like you know, bigheartedness it is not a wholly human quality.  Sometimes it takes a dog like Courage to teach us all what gratitude, selflessness, and forgiveness really look like.

Courage came to SAPA! in July.  He was starving, hurting, and scared.  Several injuries were immediately apparent, including road rash and deep cuts and bruises.  Closer inspection revealed that he also had burn marks dotting his body – singeing away his white-and-brown fur to reveal painful pocks of damaged skin.  They were cigarette burns.  Courage had been a victim of cruelty.  This type of cruelty doesn’t touch everyone’s lives.  Some of us are lucky to avoid it entirely.  Some only see it through someone else’s eyes.  On this day in the sweltering summer, those eyes belonged to Courage.

Courage, for all his heartache, was repaid by humankind with a spot on death row.  All in a line of people who had seen him agreed that he was unsalvageable.  He was scheduled to be killed.  There was only one person left to see Courage before that happened — only two eyes that could save Courage from a certain death.  Gratefully, they belonged to a SAPA! employee.  She intervened on Courage’s behalf, and a new life for him began to emerge.

Courage had to be carried out of the facility in his rescuer’s arms – the sizeable dog too emaciated and weak to even walk a short distance.  While Courage’s face revealed that he was sad and in pain, there was something else in his face too.  His eyes shone as his wounds were cleaned and his pain was eased.  He stopped flinching at the gentle touch of SAPA!’s devoted veterinary technicians.  He came to look fondly at the caretakers who brought his food three times a day.  Regular feedings had never been part of Courage’s world.  Now he could rest, assured that his next meal was secure.  What Courage’s eyes showed was something like hope.

In a matter of days, Courage was wagging his tail, playing with his new friends both dog and human alike, and responding with kindness as he was treated with kindness.  Were it not for his fresh scars and hip bones pointing sharply beneath his skin, it would be easy to believe that Courage had always enjoyed the quality of life that SAPA! supporters like you insist upon.


Courage was eventually adopted and his new family loves him so much.  Courage’s story is not an extraordinary one at SAPA!, but only because SAPA! saves almost 7,000 lives a year.  Each animal has a story and is treated as an individual.  All of them show us how generous animals are as they reciprocate love even when it is a brand-new experience.  


We can save thousands of “Courages” by following his example and opening our hearts, plus opening our homes and opening our wallets.  Will everyone who reads Courage’s story care enough to get involved?  Sadly, we know from experience the answer is no.  But we also know: YOU DO.


Krystal Mathis
Development Director
San Antonio Pets Alive!

A Message From Maureen E. O’Nell, SAPA! Executive Director

You Create It! (1) (1)

Dear SAPA! Village,

Thank you all who were able to join us at our Homecoming Event this past Saturday!  We celebrated our move in to the Everyday Adoption Center at the PetSmart in Windcrest.  Several leaders from PetSmart Charities came to town to celebrate with us and capture some footage of all of the hoopla.


Bubba graced us with his presence for the ceremony as his adoption was official just before he and Sissy were crowned King and Queen.

It was a day filled with joy and anticipation about our future.  In a short speech, I gladly addressed the group to offer my own reflections.  This is what I shared:

“If you want to predict the future, create it.”

“Two months ago my two dogs and I arrived in San Antonio so I could serve as the Executive Director for SAPA!.  I knew about the reputation of the treatment of dogs and cats in San Antonio.  I had read about the Bailout.  I knew having been in animal welfare, if you are pushing to protect dogs and cats, you are an agency going through rapid change; not always easy to manage.

And, I knew the it.

SAPA! is founded on the tenet that killing is not the solution.  We are obligated to create life saving solutions.

I had my game plan.  I was going to meet everyone, learn San Antonio, evaluate and design processes.

On day three I learned we no longer would have the use of our largest tool, the adoption center.

Now what!?!

The it was the same.  We continued to exist to save lives. Now we came to the create part.

I watched the worried faces and felt the fear and anxiety rise.  We were terrified of not being able to save the lives of those most vulnerable.

My plan flew out the window.

We had already started our conversation with PetSmart Charities about the Everyday Adoption Center.  It was clear this alone would not allow us the same strength.  We started to talk about other tools and decided a mobile unit was needed.  A brilliant partnership was being formed.

We still have a lot of creating to do at SAPA! We need to build more partnerships.  We need to raise money.  We need to learn new processes.

The it isn’t going anywhere.  The it is because all of you: Volunteers, staff, donors, partnerships, foster, our community. You save lives.

Today we celebrate the launch of a catalytic partnership with PetSmart Charities. We celebrate community. We continue to look to our future…………

Because folks, IT IS OURS TO CREATE!

maureen signature (1)

We Met Our Match!

Greetings Supporters and Friends!

Happy 2016! Thanks to an anonymous donor, who matched all donations up to $50,000, and all of our amazing supporters, we were able to raise a total of $100,000!

We can’t thank everyone enough for all of their generosity and for helping us ensure a great start to 2016!

Spend $16 to lose 20 lbs

Through the month of January SAPA is dedicated to helping adopters reach their weight loss goals and keep their New Year’s resolutions. Dogs make ideal work out buddies and are great for getting you walking, running, playing and moving. Large dogs make the best motivators and through the month of January all dogs over 30lbs are on special for $16. Much cheaper than a gym membership and much more rewarding.

Creativity Saves Lives!

Are you a designer? Want to see your work on shirts all over San Antonio?

During the month of January SAPA! is hosting their very first ever t-shirt contest. We are calling on local designers to submit designs to be judged by the public. The top three finalists will have their designs printed on SAPA’s 2016 shirts to be sold at both off and on-site events and worn by our supporters. For more information visit

Employee, Volunteer, Foster Appreciation!

IMG_1131IMG_1134Thank you to all of the employees, volunteers, and fosters that came out to Alamo Beer on the 30th to celebrate the holidays with us. We had a lot of fun and listened to some great music and drank some great beers! Thank you to Jeff Jacobs Band for being generally amazing! ThankZK - LOGO TM you to Alamo Beer for hosting us and especially General Manager Susanna Wilson for helping us so much in organizing the event, and thank you to Zoe’s Kitchen and their Catering Manager, Jason Kopchak for providing us with so many yummy things to eat and drink. We had a great time and we are so thankful for all of the support we have received from individuals and businesses in 2015, we truly couldn’t do what we do without you.

Here’s to a 2016 full of saving lives!

Capone’s Story

Capone - Day 1

Capone, on the day he came to San Antonio Pets Alive

The animal rescue world is challenging on the best of days. We see the broken and unwanted of the City of San Antonio on a daily basis. One of the most unforgettable of those days was 5 weeks ago, when Capone walked through our door. He was starving, with patches of hair missing, broken teeth, and his ears jagged and cropped. It was evident that this pit-bull/mastiff mix was intended to be used in a fighting ring, but was discarded. The reason he was discarded soon became evident, as Capone didn’t have an aggressive bone in his body. The San Antonio Pets Alive Clinic Director, Gabby Uresti described him as having “a heart of gold…even though his body was weak all he wanted was to give kisses.”

Capone at his evaluation

Capone and the evaluator from Service Dog Express

Immediately, the medical team at San Antonio Pets Alive went into action. Capone began treatment for his hairloss, and was put on a healthy diet to get his weight back up. Due to his condition, he was placed in a foster home to regain his health. Throughout his recovery, we knew he was special. It was suggested that with his docile, attentive nature, he might do well as a service dog. So we reached out to the wonderful folks at Service Dog Express to see if he might be a good candidate for working as a service dog for Wounded Warriors and Civilians with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).

Capone and Gabby

Capone and Gabby Uresti, on the day he passed his evaluation

Friday, October 30, 2015 – The day finally came. Thanks to the San Antonio Pets Alive medical team and Capone’s foster family, he was healthy and ready for his evaluation. The trainer from Service Dog Express worked with him for an hour. They ensured he was willing to be petted and touched on all parts of its body, including back legs and face. He went on walks around other dogs and people, and was more interested in his “person” than on the other distractions. He showed no signs of aggression at all, and was very responsive to the evaluator’s affection. Not only did Capone pass, the evaluator was BLOWN AWAY! We were told that he would be a phenomenal service dog and would change a Veteran’s life, just by being him. His profile is now up on the Service Dog Express website, and he is waiting in his San Antonio Pets Alive foster home to be matched with the Veteran that needs him.

Days like this. Dogs like this. This is why we do what we do.

“I am beyond humbled and thankful that I had the opportunity to help Capone heal, and now I get to be a part of something amazing! There are many more tears to come but they will all be happy tears and I cannot wait for the day he meets his forever human, even though he will take a piece of my heart with him, forever.” – Gabby Uresti, Clinic Director at San Antonio Pets Alive

If you know of a dog that you think would be suitable as a service dog, please contact Service Dogs Express for an evaluation.


SAPA! Gets Sappy With KLEENEX!

Have you seen the new Kleenex viral ad campaign yet? Does anyone look familiar??

San Antonio Pets Alive! is THRILLED to announce our participation in Kleenex’s new “Messages of Care” social media campaign, and our happy pal Chance was more than ready to be in the spotlight! Chance and his pet parents Stacey and Michael are the focal point of Kleenex’s latest ad, and within the first 24 hours of the videos’ release on Facebook Chance already had MILLIONS of new fans from around the world.

You can check out the full video below. Get ready for the happy tears to start rollin’! (It’s a Kleenex ad for a reason, you guys.)



Kitten Season is in Full Swing!

As everyone probably knows, late Spring thru early Autumn is considered “kitten season”.  While nothing is cuter than a baby, the lack of care and the sheer number of stray and unwanted kittens can quickly overwhelm neighborhoods and shelters.  Adult female cats can start reproducing as young as five to six months of age, and will go into heat cycles every 14-21 days until they are pregnant.  Not only do stray cats experience danger from everyday occurrences such as traffic and other animals, but lack of food and shelter can also cause problems for a new mother and her litter.

Thankfully, San Antonio is starting to recognize the ever growing issue of unwanted stray and feral cats, and is offering many more resources to the public concerning these problems. When litters are discovered, and once kittens are weaned or surrendered to ACS so SAPA! can come in and place them in our Neonatal Kitten Nursery, their outlook is considerably brighter. Unfortunately, the mothers are often overlooked, and while their kittens hopefully go off to find happy homes, they remain pregnant season after season. That’s where we step in.

Our mission is to rescue the mothers and kittens together, as the survival rate is much higher when the kittens can be nursed naturally. Once that first step is taken, we work to promote spaying and neutering-which helps by preventing overpopulation while still saving moms and their litters from euthanasia. Please consider volunteering some of your time to SNAPA! to help cats and kittens during this busy season-volunteers for the Neonatal program, foster homes, bottle feeders and donations are always needed and appreciated!


-Roxanne Reeves

The Big Give S.A. 2015 Is Just Around The Corner!

Tuesday, May 5 at 12:00AM marks the official start of The Big Give S.A. 2015! What is The Big Give, you ask?

The Big Give S.A. is a 24-hour online giving day that will take place from midnight to midnight on May 5, 2015. The purpose of this community-wide giving challenge is to increase public awareness of the impact local nonprofits make in addressing our community’s social challenges, bring nonprofits and donors together to expand online giving, connect people to the causes that move them the most, and, of course, make giving fun!


  1. INVEST strategically in San Antonio’s nonprofits
  2. DRIVE the community forward through collective impact
  3. LEVERAGE giving with matching funds and prize incentives

This sounds great and all, but what does San Antonio Pets Alive! have to do with it?

2014 was the introductory year for The Big Give S.A. In one day, the city raised over $2 million for local nonprofits, more than doubling their goal of $1 million. San Antonio Pets Alive! participated as one of The Big Give’s registered nonprofits and had the most unique donors for a large organization, raising over $28,000 for San Antonio’s pets!

Our goal this year is to crush last year’s total, and we need your help to do it! On May 5, visit The Big Give S.A. to help us raise awareness and funds for San Antonio Pets Alive!.

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for live updates on our progress during The Big Give, and get in on the action to help us spread awareness!

  • Twitter: Tweet us @sapetsalive for a chance to receive a puppy gram at your office! To show our appreciation for our donors, we will be sending “Puppy Grams” to a few of our lucky supporters throughout the day. Let us know where to go and who to ask for, and an adorable surprise might just be coming for a visit!
  • Facebook: We’ll be posting event details, personalized thank you’s to our donors, and a video every hour telling one puppy’s story as he is given a second chance at life.
  • Instagram: Post pictures of you and your rescues and tag us @sapetsalive! We’ll be “regramming” some of our favorites and posting some of our stories as well.
  • SAPA! Website: Watch our live puppy cam while you work! We’re streaming live, all day from our puppy room at our Petco Adoption Center. Is there anything better than spending your day with a precious little pup?? We dare you to find out for yourself!

Join us at the following locations to celebrate The Big Give throughout the day on May 5! We’ll be enjoying some of the best pet-friendly dining in the city as we raise excitement about getting involved with such a great cause!

  • Bakery Lorraine: 7am-10am, raffle ticket sales and donation station
  • TopGolf: 10am-2pm, special games and competitions can be played/entered for a donation to SAPA!
  • Chipotle at The Quarry: 2pm-6pm, a portion of every sale will benefit SAPA!
  • Canyon Cafe: 6pm-9pm, raffle ticket sales and drawing
  • The Lost Bar & Grill: 8pm-11pm, Karaoke for a Cause

Click here to participate in THE BIG GIVE S.A.!

Claudia the Cali Girl

Claudia has been with SAPA! for 221 long days, but when the wonderful Petco Foundation decided to help us find homes for some of our long-term stays (pets that have been at our shelter for a particularly long time), it only took three days for her to find a forever home!

Claudia made the move to her sunny new home in beautiful San Diego, California. Her adopter, Meagan, was so excited to bring Claudia home, and Petco made an amazing contribution by sponsoring her entire adoption, flight and all! Congratulations to both Claudia and Meagan, we couldn’t be happier for you both!

So You Found Newborn Kittens. Now What?

It’s not uncommon to find a litter of kittens, especially during the warmer months of the year. It’s hard to fight the urge to pick the cute, helpless babies up and take them home with you, but there are several reasons to stop and think before you take action.

  • Look for their mother. Before you touch the kittens, make absolutely sure their mom isn’t coming back for them. 90% of the time, the kittens only seem like they’ve been abandoned, and in actuality their mother is just out searching for food. Stand far away from the kittens while observing the area, keeping in mind that their mother won’t return for quite some time if they sense your presence.
  • Check for any immediate danger. Are the kittens in an unsafe area? Is inclement weather likely in the near future that could disrupt their health? If not, the best thing you can do is leave them alone as their mother is the best chance they have at survival. You can come back and check on them later to make sure they are being taken care of.
  • If the mother returns…you can rescue them all together, or help keep the mom well-fed and sheltered until the kittens are old enough to be weaned (around 6 weeks). Make sure their food and shelter are in separate places; they won’t want to attract other cats to the area where they sleep.
  • If the mother doesn’t return…the kittens should be relocated and bottle-fed until they are old enough to be weaned. If you are able to provide them with the attention and care they need, we have lots of resources to help guide you through the weaning process. If you don’t feel you are able to adequately care for them, you can contact our Neonatal Kitten Nursery or surrender them to the city shelter, where we will step in to keep them healthy until they are ready to be adopted.

Learn more about our Neonatal Kitten Nursery here!

Mail-in your donation: P.O. Box 830006 San Antonio, TX 78283

© San Antonio Pets Alive!