Clear the Shelters Dog Was ‘the One’ for Texas Family

Clear the Shelters
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When Pepperjack was brought in to the Galveston County animal shelter in Texas City, Texas, the center’s director was sure this “good looking” yellow Labrador Retriever would be adopted quickly.

Animal control officers found Pepperjack wandering the streets and took him in as a stray on June 20, 2018. Shelter employees scanned the dog, estimated to be approximately 1 year old at the time, for any identifying tags or possible microchip, but didn’t find anything.

The shelter’s veterinary technician named the pup Pepperjack and six days later he was cleared for adoption after no one claimed him. It would take nearly two months, however, for Pepperjack to find a forever home.

“I was shocked he was here for so long,” said Amber Adams, director of animal services at Galveston County Animal Resource Center.

Adams told NBC Pepperjack “was the best thing ever.” She described him as well behaved and smart, and “loved to do things for treats.”

Pepperjack was also very “good looking.” Adams said the shelter doesn’t normally come across yellow Labs that are as close to pure bred as Pepperjack, and she was sure he’d get adopted fairly quickly. After posting photos of Pepperjack to the shelter’s social media platforms, the attractive dog garnered tons of “Likes” and comments, but no serious adoption inquiries, Adams said.

Pepperjack’s charm even landed him on the pages of People magazine. He was featured in a July 2018 issue with other adoptable pets ahead of NBC and Telemundo Owned Stations’ annual Clear the Shelters animal adoption campaign. But still, the national spotlight wasn’t enough to get Pepperjack adopted.

Adams said it is generally more difficult for pets to find homes during the summer months as there is an overall decline in adoptions because families are usually traveling. 

But “timing is everything,” as the old adage goes, and that slump turned out to be beneficial for one North Texas family who was looking to adopt a Labrador. John and Cindy McGowan, of Santa Fe, saw a picture of Pepperjack online and knew he was the one as soon they met. 

“We fell in love with his sweet disposition and his love to fetch balls,” said Cindy McGowan. “We knew he was the one for us.”

The McGowans adopted Pepperjack during last year’s Clear the Shelter’s event and renamed him “Jake.” They said it didn’t take long for their newest four-legged member to fit into their family and hearts. 

“He quickly made friends with our older dog Toby, although Toby makes sure that he is recognized as the elder authority of the two,” John McGowan said.

In the year since he was adopted, Jake has learned how to swim and loves traveling to the family’s lake property. And while some shelter pets are reluctant to trust humans, John said Jake loves people, both young and old, and makes news friends easily. He’s also eager to please his new parents. 

“He is always by Cindy’s side when she goes out to the barn to take care of the horses. It’s as if he is curious about what she is doing and trying to figure out how he can help,” John said.

The McGowans said they have had several Labs over the years and had actually lost their last two older Labs a few months before adopting Jake.

“We feel very fortunate to have found Jake. He is a sweetheart and a very special part of our life,” John added.

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Valley Animal Center - Adopt a Cat

Valley Animal Center - Adopt a Dog

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Cat House on the Kings Adoption


Miss Winkles Adoption






85 Temperance Ave. Clovis, CA 93611


103 South Hughes Ave, Fresno, CA, 93706


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29016 Highway 99


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  • Towels and blankets - Shelters are often cold and animals like to have a blanket to curl up on. Towels are a big help to dry animals off after being bathed or if they come in wet. Towels can also be used to line the bottoms of cages. The towels or blankets don't have to be brand new or in perfect condition. The animals won't mind, as long as they're usable.
  • Canned and Dry Food for Cats and Dogs-Healthy - Healthy pet options for nourishment
  • Kitty litter and cat boxes - Cats go to the bathroom- a lot. Shelters are constantly using bag after bag of litter. Their supply runs out fast.
  • Puppy or kitten formula and nursing bottles - Sometimes there are situations where a young puppy or kitten who is not weaned gets separated from their mother. In these situations they need puppy or kitten formula to survive.
  • Old newspaper - When you're done with your newspapers you usually just throw them away or recycle them, right? You could help animals at no cost to you if you just save up your old newspapers. Newspapers are used in the bottoms of cages. They get soiled quickly, so they're in constant demand.
  • Collars, harnesses, and leashes - Dogs who are taken out on walks need a leash and collar or harness. The shelter loses some because adopted dogs often go home with their leash or harness.
  • Grooming supplies - Grooming supplies can include shampoo, brushes, combs, haircutting scissors, etc. Dogs and cats often come in dirty or end up getting dirty. Grooming supplies can keep them fresh, clean, and adoptable.
  • Toys - You would get bored if you had to lay in a crate alone all day, wouldn't you? Animals in shelters get bored, too. It keeps the animals from being so lonely and bored and allows them to get exercise. You could go out and buy new toys, or you could donate toys your pets or children may have not gotten much use out of. It's as simple as that.
  • Crates and carriers - Animals need to be transported somehow, and the cost of multiple crates and carriers can add up quickly. You can donate ones you stopped using that are still in good condition or you could go buy one for a decent price. This helps the shelter tremendously.
  • Paper towels and cleaning supplies - There are a lot of situations that get messy, so paper towels are a big help.
  • Hand wash and hand sanitizer - People who work at shelters need to keep their hands clean for their and the animals' health.
  • Laundry detergent, fabric softener, and bleach - Towels and blankets get soiled often so the washing machines are being used a lot
  • Dog and cat beds - this can offer the animals a soft place to lay instead of a kennel or cage floor.
  • Heating pads - Many animals come in cold or are young and need warmth. Heating pads can replace a mother's warmth.
  • Copy paper and pens, pencils, post-it notes and staples - You can't forget about all the paperwork that has to be done. Donating these items makes it so the shelter doesn't have to buy them on their own.
  • Garbage bags, mops, brooms, and sponges - The shelter uses these every day and clean up supplies can get expensive.
  • Food bowls - As new animals come in, the shelter needs new places to put food. Having an adequate supply could mean life or death for an animal in a shelter.
  • Rubber and latex gloves - A lot of messy stuff happens and gloves are necessary to lessen the spread of germs.
  • Plastic shopping bags - Plastic bags can be used to clean up dog mess and to store things in.

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