Don’t let my fabulous fashion sense or line of fine wines fool you, my life hasn’t always been so charmed. I know what you’re thinking, “Celebrities, they’re just like us…except for the fame and all.” Well, I’m here to tell you that my road to celebrity was a lonely and scary one. That is, until I met a few good SNIPSA people.

So there I was, ten years ago (I really shouldn’t be giving away my age), wandering the streets of San Antonio, starving, homeless and desperately in need of love. Somehow I got really lucky and a SNIPSA human recognized my sad state, scooped me up and took me home. At the time I had no clue what these SNIPSA humans were all about and it was hard to trust people. Back in those days, San Antonio was euthanizing more strays than any other city in the nation, over 50,000 of us. Can you picture dog catchers armed with metal collars, catching and throwing helpless animals into the backs of caged vans and transporting them to certain death? That’s how the strays in the streets of San Antonio were treated.

I soon began to trust my SNIPSA human and her unconditional love and it renewed my faith in people. But I never forgot the streets and will admit that I was terrified of being alone. I might have been a teeny bit hard to live with at first because of what my therapist calls “abandonment issues.”

After a couple of stays in with foster families, I found myself with Shannon. She helped me understand why I hated to be alone all day, especially during the holidays. I was used to being crated or locked outside during family gatherings. Instead, Shannon put me in her own bedroom, which made me feel safe and loved. I’m a little sorry to say that the street life left me anxious and I took it out on something called “Venetian blinds.” With wood scattered all over her room, I stopped to realizing what I’d done. And I knew Shannon would send me away again.

Maybe it was the holiday spirit or just the hang-dog expression on my regretful Benji-like face, but Shannon didn’t send me away that day. Instead, she patted my head and began to teach me about “house rules.” I was eager to listen and learn. I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I turned out to be a great family dog. I loved all of the other cats, dogs and tiny humans who shared my new home. But I never did forget my street life and all of those poor stray souls still out there.

How could people in San Antonio not make room for one of these pets in their own homes, just like my Shannon had? Something had to be done and the SNIPSA humans were doing it. They opened their homes and have encouraged hundreds of others to do the same. They have fostered over 7,000 stray cats and dogs, rescued from kill shelters and the tough streets to rehome all of them with loving, responsible foster families and also in forever homes. Ten years later, San Antonio is well on its way to becoming a No-Kill City.

I am pretty proud to say that I am so good at following the house rules that Shannon gave me an official title at SNIPSA. Other dogs and cats look up to me and I know I look good as the official SNIPSA Mascot. And as the Mascot of SNIPSA, I’d like to stress the ever increasing importance of recycling, not just paper and plastics, but pets. Remember that you can always buy new, but wouldn’t it feel so much better to embrace the pets that are already here? The dogs and cats who, just like me, don’t have much of a life without you. Have I made you feel guilty yet? Good. I may be a “Rescue,” but I’m also a celebrity now, which means you should listen to me. It will make you feel so good and your “like new,” rescued pets will thank you for it. Trust me.

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