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.


$25K Match Challenge For Heartworm Treatments

Love is in the air at San Antonio Pets Alive! In the spirit of Cupid’s favorite holiday, an anonymous donor with a huge heart has offered to match all donations for heartworm treatments made between February 1st and Valentine’s Day (up to $25,000). Donations will help save the lives of all our dogs that have tested positive for heartworms, including this adorable senior Border Collie blend named Lou.


The average cost of care and treatment for a heartworm positive dog is $150. In 2014, SAPA! took in more than 100 heartworm positive dogs like Lou, with new ones coming through our doors almost every day. Heartworm disease is curable with the proper treatment, but without it many of these dogs won’t be able to survive.

Heartworm positive dogs have a considerably longer wait to find a home because of the cost and stigma they carry with them. Gifts during the match challenge will not only be doubled, but will help these deserving dogs become more adoptable and eventually find their way into a forever home. $50,000 will allow SAPA! to save countless lives through emergency medical care, starting by funding treatment for ALL heartworm positive dogs in 2015!

Our generous donor will double every donation made through February 14th. DONATE NOW to help give Lou and our other heartworm positive dogs a second chance at life!

Online fundraising for Have a Heart Match Challenge
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How to Find a Shelter Pet That Fits Your Lifestyle

We know the excitement you feel when you meet a cute, cuddly, ball of fur. It can be hard to say no to sweet a face waiting for a forever home. You may also feel a sense of urgency to take it home immediately upon meeting the animal, either because it just feels right or because you’re afraid someone else will take it if you don’t.

As much as San Antonio Pets Alive! wants every animal to find a loving home, we encourage all pet parents to take their time when selecting their new family member. We know it’s hard to be patient, but going slow and ensuring a good fit is better for you and the animal in the long-term. When pets are adopted hastily and don’t turn out to be what the adopter expects, they are often returned to the shelter. This is confusing for the animal and takes up space we greatly need to save animals from euthanasia.

The adorable cat pictured below, Eddie, was adopted through SAPA!, but he was returned because the owner had an allergic reaction to him. Fortunately, this wonderful couple adopted him at our Petco Ingram location, giving him a third chance at having a happy forever home.

Eddie the cat

Here are some tips to make sure you find a pet that’s right for your lifestyle:

1) Consider how much time you really have.
As cute as a tiny puppy is, the reality is they need tons of time and attention. And as fun as large dogs are, they need plenty of exercise. Think realistically about how often you are home and how much time and energy you have for a pet. If you don’t have time for a young puppy, consider an adult dog or a cat. When you meet a dog or cat at the shelter you’re interested in, make sure to spend plenty of time playing with it to get a sense of its energy levels. You may want to come back another time to see if their energy level is the same (you may have caught them when they were tired or very excitable the first time).

2) Be realistic about how much space you need.
If you’re looking at cats, do you have a good spot for a littler box? If you’re thinking about a dog, do you have a yard or a nearby area where you can run them out for bathroom breaks? Think about how much room you have and what size animal will be most comfortable in your home.

3) Think about your family.
If you’re married or in a relationship, make sure your partner is on board and has the same expectations about the type of pet you’ll get. If you have kids, make sure they are comfortable with pets and have a chance to meet the pet before you adopt. With small children, be wary of dogs that tend to jump.

4) Consider other important factors
As Eddie’s story shows, knowing whether or not you have pet allergies can be very important! Other things to consider: Are you prepared for pet hair in your house, or if you get a non-shedding dog, regular trips to the groomer? Do you know who will watch your pet when you leave town? Has your landlord approved you getting a pet? Are you ready for the vet bills? Think about all of the other factors that could affect whether you’re ready for a pet and whether this particular animal is right for you.

5) Consider adopting from a foster
Are you very picky about the type of dog or cat you want? You may be better off adopting a pet from a SAPA! foster parent rather than one of our shelter locations. This is because an animal in foster care has been living in a real home anywhere from a few days to a few months. The foster parent can offer great insight into the animal’s personality, energy, and behavior, and this valuable information can ensure a better fit. Most of our foster animals are listed on our website. You can also ask a staff member at one of our locations for information on foster dogs that might be a good fit for you.

Are you considering adopting a dog or cat as a Christmas gift? San Antonio Pets Alive! sells gift certificates that will allow the whole family to select the perfect pet together. Buy yours now at any SAPA! location!

Raphael is Walking Again!

Remember Raphael? After being thrown from a car and hit by another, he has undergone multiple surgeries including a front leg plate, spinal fracture fused and broken jaw repaired, and has been in physical therapy while in a foster home. He has improved drastically and is now ready for adoption! This poor boy has been through so much, but your generosity allowed us to provide him with the care he needed to get back on his feet and running around with all of the other dogs. Help us share his story and encourage others to support SAPA!

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The Big Give

What is The Big Give? A community wide, 24-hour day of giving that will take place from midnight to midnight on May 6, 2014.

Why Give to SAPA during The Big Give?

– Life-saving Programs- In response to the thousands of healthy dogs and cats that are killed each year because the city runs out of space, SAPA! is working to increase capacity and adoption marketing through foster home recruitment, satellite adoption centers, and our new facility the Paul Jolly Adoption Center and has saved over 14,000 animals in a little over 2 years!
– Neonatal Kitten Nursery- As a solution to the 2,000 neonatal kittens that are killed because they are difficult to bottle feed, we created a neonatal nursery.  In 2013, we saved 50% of those kittens through our innovative Kitten Nursery.  In 2014, we hope to give them all a chance to reach an adoptable age.
– Parvovirus Ward- As a solution to the 800 puppies who are exposed to the life threatening virus, Parvo, we created a Parvo ICU Ward that isolates these puppies so that it cannot be spread, and then medically treats them for the 7 days it takes to clear the virus.  Once they test negative, they are immediately adoptable and healthier than ever.  This ground breaking ward saved over 500 puppies last year.
– Ringworm dogs and cats- As a solution to the 400 cats and kittens who enter the city shelter with Ringworm (a form of Athlete’s Foot) and were killed due to the contagious nature, SAPA! has created a Ringworm Ward that isolates these cats for their treatment, and then returns them to the adoption floor within 4 weeks.
– The Injured and Ill- As a solution to the 1,000 dogs and cats that are killed at the city shelter annually due to injuries sustained by cars, SAPA! is building a Medical Triage Center that will give all of these pets a chance at life through medical foster care, life saving treatments, and hospitalization.

SAPA!’s mission is to save every life! This includes the sick, the injured, the elderly, the orphans, and the abandoned. Please help us continue our life-saving mission by donating on May 6th!

Learn how you can donate on May 6th!

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

© San Antonio Pets Alive!