Skip to main content

In the 16 years I’ve worked with One Tail at a Time, I’ve visited many animal shelters. I’ve seen fancy humane societies with flat-screen televisions, water features, and state-of-the-art kenneling. I’ve also seen drab, cement shelters without a single bell or whistle, just struggling to keep the lights on. I thought I had seen it all. And then I walked into Presidio Animal Shelter.

Located in far West Texas near the Rio Grande River, Presidio is a small city of just 4,426 people, 43% of whom live below the poverty line. The first thing I noticed when walking into the shed that doubles as the city animal shelter was a tiny puppy in a windowless corner without food or water. We had been warned that it was tough there. The air conditioning doesn’t work, there are no volunteers, and the Animal Control Officer is always “out of office.” On this particular Wednesday afternoon, the dogs hadn’t been out of their kennels in 14 days.

Presidio is both the norm and an anomaly. It’s the norm in Texas – a state that struggles with high shelter intake and low shelter resources. Over 74,000 dogs and cats are euthanized in Texas shelters annually. It’s an anomaly because of the hard work of a dedicated team of rescuers called The Underground Dog who have been making magic happen by saving as many dogs as possible from that little shelter and others like it.

The Underground Dog became our transfer partner just a few years ago. Through them, we have met so many wonderful dogs who have found wonderful homes in Chicago. Recently, they shared that they were struggling and were unsure how to move forward to create a lasting change. Without resources or sustainable models, they simply couldn’t keep navigating the treacherous landscape of far West Texas animal rescue alone.

Knowing that this would mean the dogs of Presidio and the surrounding counties would have no reprieve, we simply could not let this happen. So we didn’t let it. One Tail at a Time Chicago and One Tail at a Time Portland have partnered to sponsor our third sister and officially launch One Tail at a Time West Texas.

In 2008, One Tail at a Time Chicago was formed to help serve our city and beyond. Since then, we have saved over 10,000 animals and delivered mutual aid services to even more pet guardians in need. When establishing OTAT Chicago, core values emerged: progress, collaboration, and a commitment to the most vulnerable.

It seemed only natural that our sister organization, One Tail at a Time Portland, would form under the same values just a few years later, in 2015. Since then, we have worked independently but connected by our shared values. Sharing resources and inspiration to push each other to save more lives daily. So when the opportunity came for our third sister, One Tail at a Time West Texas, it felt right. From the foundation built by The Underground Dog, One Tail at a Time West Texas has emerged – a new chapter full of hope, promise, and sustainability.

Through financial support, mentorship, and sharing of everything we have learned along the way, we have pledged to empower a sustainable rescue model in one of the places that needs it most. One Tail at a Time West Texas will make lasting changes in our country’s toughest shelters through local fostering, local adoptions, spay/neuter services, community support to pet owners in need, and sustainable revenue.

The launch of our third sister organization will not only save West Texas lives but also help Chicago and Portland focus on their own communities. By increasing local adoptions and support, we will decrease the need to transport animals out of Texas and into our communities.

One Tail at a Time West Texas is a place of hope. And we hope you’ll join us. You can find ways to support West Texas on our website or email [email protected] with requests to learn more.

Note: One Tail at a Time Chicago, One Tail at a Time Portland, and One Tail at a Time West Texas are legally and financially independent of each other. We share a joint mission, value set, and branding to hold each other up while we travel the arduous journey of animal rescue. Donations made to One Tail at a Time Chicago for the West Texas project will either funnel directly to West Texas or help support the veterinary care of West Texas dogs that are transported into our care. Email [email protected] with any questions about donating to help West Texas!