Do you know how many small breed dogs are euthanized in your community shelter?  In Austin in 2008, it was many more than would have been expected (roughly 500).   Did you know that nearly ALL of them are saveable and although many are marked “aggressive”, they rarely are?

Lexy Bonge is a homegrown Austinite. She is a graduate of Lake Travis High School, just up the road from where she spends countless hours hustling to save all the lives as Assistant Dog Program Manager. Her passion for animals brought her to Austin Pets Alive! in 2010. She got her start working with the cats as a volunteer, but quickly found out her true love was working with the dogs. Big and little, most of them misunderstood in one way or another, the dogs can count on Lexy to give them a sense of peace and love in a scary and stressful environment. She specializes in the scared and shy dogs (and kindly refers to them as “gremlins”), but tries to maintain an unbiased love for them all. She is a proud parent of two of these “gremlins” herself as well as four reptiles. She is the go to girl for doggy tangles as she is a grooming wiz, and often finds herself helping her friends and coworkers with nail trims here and there even in her off time.

Nebraska-native Samantha Pollard fell in love with dog rescue when she began fostering in college. She moved to Austin in 2009 and worked with various local rescues until learning about Austin Pets Alive! in 2011. Samantha is a member of APA!’s dog behavior team and teaches a weekly training for other volunteers on how to handle shy and fearful dogs in the shelter. Like many APA! volunteers, she fills multiple roles within the dog program, including walking, fostering, and writing bios. Samantha lives in Austin with her husband and three dogs, including one stereotypical APA! alumnus – a sweet-as-can-be senior, seizure-prone, half-blind rat terrier with a bum leg and constantly-collapsing trachea.

Together they know a thing or two about handling the littlest dogs that hit the euthanasia list for “behavior problems.” Lexy and Samantha will share with you what APA! does to evaluate these “lap sharks”, gain their trust in a very small amount of time, and save their little lives.  They will also discuss how to set them up for success in the shelter, in a foster home, and in a forever home.


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