Dog Adopted On a Whim Catalyzes a Major Career Change

When she visited the humane society to adopt Tzuki, she had no idea she’d one day run the place.

every gift saves lives

every gift saves lives

Jenie + Tzuki

In January of 2006, my recently divorced sister wanted a dog, so I went with her to an adoption event for the Humane Society of Tom Green County. I had no intention of adopting, as I was getting married in three months. But then I met Tzuki.

"She’s a natural-born leader: it didn’t take long for her to assume the role of “boss lady” in our home."

She was a mess but she stole my heart, and I adopted her. Tzuki has always been the perfect dog. She loves to play and has a little streak of wild independence, but she also knows when it’s time to cuddle and just enjoy being close. She’s a natural-born leader: it didn’t take long for her to assume the role of “boss lady” in our home. We adore her. Her personality is just as complex as any human’s and she is her own girl.

Two years after we adopted Tzuki, in April of 2008, my husband and I were at home watching the local news with her by our side. The lead story was about a cruelty case involving 69 shih tzus. The authorities had saved the dogs from deplorable conditions. They were matted, malnourished, and some had deformities. They were scheduled to be destroyed because they were not thought to be adoptable.

My husband and I had no knowledge of rescue, yet we looked at Tzuki and imagined her in that situation. We sprang into action, contacting local and national rescues, city council members, and animal control authorities. With the help of experienced, national rescuers, we saved them all. All 69 dogs were eventually placed in loving homes.

Because of that successful effort, I was asked by the Humane Society of Tom Green County if I would be interested in the position of Executive Director. I jumped at the opportunity, knowing I could help more dogs like Tzuki.

Nine years later, I am still working as the Executive Director of the Humane Society of Tom Green County, which is now doing business as Concho Valley PAWS. We have grown from a small, unknown organization that saved 30-50 animals per year to a well-identified organization that rescues, rehabilitates and rehomes more than 1,000 cats and dogs annually. We now provide 1,200 free and low-cost spay and neuter services for pets of low-income households. And for the first time in our community’s history, we are working with the City of San Angelo to embrace a citywide lifesaving initiative.

Through our combined efforts, the shelter has drastically improved save rates. We still have a way to go, but the transformation is amazing. Thousands of pets have been rescued because of our efforts, and it all started with Tzuki. Adopting her changed everything.

Each year, the Petco Foundation invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Jenie Wilson won Humane Society of Tom Green County in Texas a 2017 Holiday Wishes award. a 2017 Holiday Wishes award.