A newer and larger vision is needed, a vision in which shelters hold themselves accountable for meeting demanding performance standards that preserve life—not destroy it.
Edward Duvin, Father of the No Kill Movement
Friends For Life: Changing Houston History Forever
Historically, Houston has killed more animals in our shelters than in almost any city in the U.S.The Houston shelter model had been unchanged since 1924.
If ever there was an unlikely and tough proving ground for this revolutionary, No Kill, LEED model of sheltering, it is Houston. Founded in 2002 with a vision of offering real, sustainable alternatives to killing homeless animals, Friends For Life has become the fastest-growing shelter in Houston.
Our state of the art LEED facility has raised the bar for what shelters can and should be. Our unique programs raise the bar for the ways that a shelter can and should relate to the peopleof a community.
We are the shelter of the future.
It's About Strategy
Our programs combine to form a comprehensive approach to innovating to save lives. From blockwalking door to door to give away free spay/neuter services so far preventing 13,000 animals from being born, to creating the first Thinking Outside the Shelter program in Houston to support people in holding onto their animals in tough times, we are different.
Lasting change is about investing in the community. Simply shipping the animals off to another location after Houston citizens are frustrated and hopeless enough to take them to animal control is digging a hole in a bucket of water. But reach those citizens before that point and you have created a conversation and level of trust that is what will make lasting change in Houston.
Our job, as we see it, is to invest in Houston infrastructure as a shelter partner. We create a dialogue with neighborhoods in which a shelter becomes the first call they make for help—not a last ditch drop.
Houstonians need and want help with the animals in their homes and neighborhoods. People line up at 5am having sometimes walked more than a mile to get their animals spayed or neutered on our free surgery clinic days.
We mentor 22 other shelters and have brought Houston a desperately needed, multi-faceted strategic No Kill program.
We have Redefined Adoptable
75% of the animals adopted into homes through Friends For Life would be on the “unadoptable” list at other area shelters. We accept animals regardless of age, breed, medical need. Basically, we live our motto painted on our lobby wall in huge letters:
Every Animal Matters.
Fix Houston Initiative
Get Service to People. Invest in a Sustainable Approach.
We forged the first and only public/private partnership with the Houston city shelter in 91 years of shelters in Houston to bring free spay/neuter/wellness to the community. Through our Fix Houston program, we hold free surgery days and we fund cat surgeries and the city funds all dog surgeries. The sustainable answer to Houston’s stray problem is not to wait until the animals are born and citizens are frustrated enough to drop them at animal control and then step in to ship the animals out of state to uncertain futures. The sustainable, strategic answer is to get services to people before they get animals to us.
Since the Fix Houston program was launched in 2013, we have prevented over 13,000 cats from being born.
“I am especially proud of the first-ever public/private partnership in which Friends For Life and BARC have joined forces to offer free spay/neuter and wellness services. Since the beginning of the program in 2013 hundreds of surgeries have been performed. Houston is a progressive city and these progressive programs are a part of that. “ ---Mayor Annise Parker