When you step out of your car before you even walk through the doors of Pets Fur People in Tyler, Texas, you immediately feel things are different at this animal shelter. There is an overwhelming sense that this place is much more than an animal shelter – it’s more like an orphanage. “Everything we do is for the animals”, said Gayle Helms, Executive Director for Pets Fur People – “they come first – our work is a labor of love – it’s a passion we all share.” The property is landscaped to perfection with lots of colorful and fragrant flowers and plants thanks to dedicated volunteers. The atmosphere and staff are friendly, helpful, happy and loving. It wasn’t always this way says Ms. Helms.
In the early 1960s local residents discovered the horrendous and unacceptable conditions at the city run animal impound facility and began plans to form the Humane Society of Smith County. The doors to the Humane Society’s animal shelter opened in 1968. This small animal shelter was the only facility in a 1,000 square mile radius where animals seized by animal control agencies brought those animals. It also was the only animal shelter open to the public where stray, sick, and unwanted animals could be brought.
In 2008 this non profit animal shelter changed its name to the Humane Society of East Texas with plans to become a no kill animal sanctuary. The Humane Society reached its goal of becoming a selective admission, no kill animal sanctuary January 1, 2010. Until then, the Humane Society had received over 376,000 animals at their animal shelter. 69,000 of those animals were placed in new homes. City and County government paid the Humane Society a fee for housing, adopting and humanely euthanizing animals during their association. This moral decision to no longer euthanize animals cost them approximately $200,000 a year in lost revenue from those contracts.
Their goal now is to save lives not take lives and find quality homes for adoptable dogs and cats. Not only is the Humane Society of East Texas helping animals in their community, they are also positively impacting the lives of the new pet owners who have adopted animals from them. The Humane Society of East Texas averages 70 dogs and 25 cats at any given time at their animal sanctuary and they boast of adopting 90 dogs and cats each month. All dogs and cats, age permitting, are spayed or neutered before they go home to their new family. Their adoption fees; $130 for dogs and $115 for cats, includes all vaccinations, micro-chipping for identification purposes and when adopted, the new pet will receive a free gift of 30 days of pet health insurance.
Renovations are now underway on an existing kennel at Pets Fur People that will be transformed into living quarters to 14 large breed dogs. The kennel will be specially designed for the needs of large dogs including rubber flooring mats to eliminate soreness and stress on their feet and legs. Large breed dogs usually have longer stays at Pets Fur People – thus the need for extra care for those big guys and girls during their stay. Additionally plans are underway for a new dog park open to the public, exercise yards for the shelter dogs and a new memorial garden.
Adoption hours are Tuesday through Sunday 10 am until 5 pm – closed each day
1-2 pm for lunch. Visit Pets Fur People online at www.petsfurpeople.org or contact them at 903 597-2471.