KYLE — PAWS Shelter and Humane Society in Kyle cares for dogs and cats thanks to donations and volunteers.
A sign outside PAWS Shelter and Humane Society, located on East FM 150 in Kyle, reads, “Urgent need for bleach and dry dog food.” The no-kill animal shelter is a nonprofit organization able to care for dogs and cats through donations of money, time and supplies.
“These are the basics we go through every day,” said Melanie Cambron, a PAWS board member who began volunteering for the organization in 2005 and donates 40 hours per week to the shelter. “We have wonderful, generous people who drive by, see the sign and help out how they can.”
PAWS was founded in 1986 and adopts out more than 1,000 animals each year. All cats and dogs are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, microchipped and behavior-tested prior to adoption, and an application process aims to ensure the right families take home the pets that are the best fit for them.
Recently, a PAWS favorite—11-year-old Timon, a small, curly-haired dog with congenital heart failure and failing sight and hearing—was adopted. At the news that Timon found a home, Cambron became tearful with joy.
“This is huge,” she said. “Most people just run away when they hear his age and ‘congenital heart failure.’”
But Timon is an exception to the general age and health of animals at PAWS.
“We want people to know that shelter dogs aren’t broken,” Cambron said. “Homeless, but not broken.”
It is not uncommon for adoptive families to send photos and emails to the shelter. Cambron and two staff members—Jacqueline Smith and Michelle Bender—shared photos of a large black pit bull mix lovingly dubbed “king of the couch” by his new family.
“He was kind of a handful before,” Bender, a veterinary technician, said. “I really think it was the Cell Dog Program that [settled him down].”
The Cell Dog Program, officially called Pawsitive Education Training Solutions, or PETS, is run twice a year in conjunction with the Kyle Correctional Center near PAWS.
After a selection process, inmates undergo two weeks of classroom training before beginning six-week, 24-hour-a-day care of the dogs. A paid trainer works with the handlers and dogs twice a week.
The benefits, Cambron said, are mutual: The dogs are loved, socialized and trained, and the inmates learn about responsibility.
The program is entirely funded by donations: $300 covers the cost of one Cell Dog, while $3,000 covers a whole class. People can donate to the program specifically or PAWS in general via a drop-box at the shelter or online.
The shelter’s most-needed donations include dog food, cat litter, bleach for cleaning, pet beds and flea and tick medicine.
But the organization’s greatest need, Cambron said, is more volunteers, and there are many ways to get involved.
“We have one lady who comes and feeds the cats every day,” she said. “Other people like to walk dogs. This is truly a group of people who felt a calling.”
PAWS Shelter and Humane Society
500 E. FM 150, Kyle
Sun. and Mon.: Closed
Tue.: 11 a.m.– 6 p.m.
Wed.–Sat.: 11 a.m.–5 p.m.