Our Work

We help communities save more lives faster. We work with animal shelters, rescue groups, volunteers, and animal advocates to incorporate methods of lifesaving that have saved more than 60,000 pets in Austin alone since 2008. We are a partner, leader, and true resource in lifesaving to all communities we work with.

Local, National, and International Work

Austin Pets Alive! is the local shelter and parent organization for American Pets Alive! and Human Animal Support Services. When Austin Pets Alive! (APA!) was reborn as a rescue organization in 2008, and made Austin the largest No Kill city in America, we knew we were onto something big. What we didn’t expect was that people all over the world would want to learn about how we’re saving more than 95% of Austin’s pets, and that they’d come in droves, asking for our help saving animals in their own communities.

Today, what started as a largely volunteer-led initiative to end the euthanasia of healthy and treatable pets in one city is now an international organization helping pets and people all over the globe. Here are just a few of the ways APA! is changing the face of animal welfare and helping end needless euthanasia.

Austin Pets Alive!, funded through donations and a small number of grants, rescues the pets from the Austin city shelter who are at risk of euthanasia or death due to medical or behavioral reasons. These include orphaned puppies and kittens; pets with contagious and potentially fatal illnesses like parvovirus, distemper, and panleukemia; animals who have suffered neglect or other traumatic experiences and need a safe place for rehabilitation; senior and geriatric cats and dogs with chronic medical conditions; and all other pets who need an emergency lifeline. We also save thousands of animals from surrounding counties and other parts of Texas each year, relying on massive foster, volunteer, and donor support. Our motto is ‘Helping people, help pets,’ and we’ve saved nearly 100,000 animals over the past decade.

We also manage the APA! Positive Alternatives to Shelter Surrender program (APA! P.A.S.S.), a state-wide support network for pet owners facing barriers to keeping their pets. With more than 12,000 followers, the P.A.S.S. program responds to about 1,000 requests for help each month and is able to keep most pets in homes, deferring thousands of pets from shelter intake each year.

American Pets Alive! (AmPA!) is the national arm of APA!, and focuses on helping shelters implement our best practices in order to achieve No Kill in their own communities. Our team of experts travel the U.S. to shelters with high euthanasia rates and lack of funding to provide consultation, hands-on training, and recommendations. In 2021 alone, AmPA! has provided support to more than 150 shelters across the United States. For organizations in crisis who need transport assistance, AmPA! assists with transport planning, partnering organizations with receiving partners, and even transporting some pets through Austin. We use data-driven programs, practices, and tools to help communities save lives faster. The AmPA! best practice resources are accessible on our website for any shelter to implement lifesaving programs today. AmPA! also publishes frequent blogs and produces topic-specific webinars, all designed to teach shelters how to save more lives in their own communities.

Maddie’s® University provides remote learning opportunities for thousands of animal welfare professionals around the country. Class topics range from managing a shelter medical clinic, to feline lifesaving, to big dog adoptions; and courses are taught by experts in animal welfare. In-person learning opportunities were previously provided on-site at Austin Pets Alive!, but due to the impacts of COVID-19, the apprenticeship learning opportunities have been conducted online at Maddie’s® University since early 2020. AmPA! is funded primarily through support from Maddie’s Fund®. #ThankstoMaddie

Human Animal Support Services (HASS) is APA!’s most recent endeavor - a first-of-its kind, international collaborative of animal shelters and animal welfare professionals who believe we can and must do better for pets and people. With more than 1,000 professionals, 22 pilot shelters, 500 partner organizations, and individuals from 50 U.S. states and five nationals involved, HASS aims to transform animal services, supporting and protecting the bond between pets and people. The HASS elements are the building blocks for this change and dozens of HASS working groups are tackling the tough problems that cause pets to enter shelters in the first place. Historically, APA! has been focused on achieving live outcomes for pets who have already entered the system, but with HASS, our attention is focused on reducing shelter intake, serving more pets in their communities, and helping families stay together.

International Work. APA! provides guidance and support to animal welfare organizations around the world. Based on the enormous success of our American Pets Alive! Shelter and Rescue Support group, we have started two international social media groups. The first is focused on connecting people to resources about treatment and care of pets with distemper and the second aims to connect animal welfare professionals to share ideas, get help, and find professional support. In addition to online support, we frequently present at international conferences and seminars, and host visitors from other nations to tour APA! and participate in our learning opportunities. HASS has also established an international ambassador program to highlight individuals that are leading the movement in other countries.

Our Programs

American Pets Alive! provides flexible opportunities for in-depth education as well as hands-on training in the proven most-effective strategies, developed by Austin Pets Alive! and Austin Animal Center. We also offer expert support for communities implementing these strategies, as well as during crisis events.

“It was fantastic. I enjoyed it so much and took away more valuable information than I ever thought possible. To me, you [Lorian] and Ann are the best of the best in rescue. I thank you as does all of the Eastern Madera County SPCA. You have made an imprint on my life that I will be forever grateful for.”

Maddie's® Dog Foster Program Apprenticeship Student

“You come to this conference one day and you feel like you are leaving an expert. The encouragement this conference gives you is [only] matched by invaluable experience.”

American Pets Alive! Conference Attendee

“While participating in an apprenticeship at APA! I learned more effective and cost saving ways to better serve the animals in our care, while also providing established protocols and procedures to staff members. I was able to more easily and clearly create a framework for common symptoms and illness.”

Maddie's® Clinic Apprenticeship Student

“Being able to take home standard operating procedures from a city that focuses on maintaining no-kill is a game changer in bringing our community forward from the animal control mentality to engaging the entire community in achieving high standards of animal welfare.”

Maddie's® Lifesaving Leadership Masterclass Student

People are the Solution

We've solved a social problem in Austin and this success is in no small part due to the partnership between Austin Pets Alive! and Austin Animal Center. Nothing is impossible when communities come together.


The Austin Model includes a comprehensive medical program, detailed guidelines for establishing and maintaining volunteer programs — including foster, development and marketing/PR teams and best practices for decreasing euthanasia, keeping pets out of the shelter, establishing a specialized program, and much more.

Thursday March 28th, 2019

The Transparency Checklist: How to Know if Your Community’s Animal Shelter is Truly Transparent

Inspired by Kristen Auerbach's 2019 presentation at the American Pets Alive! Conference The word...