One of my earliest childhood memories and family traditions came every holiday season when we visited the Houston Galleria. We would fight through the large crowds not to shop for gifts, but to visit my grandfather who was volunteering for the Houston SPCA.

For almost 30 years during the holiday season, mall shoppers and visitors have had the opportunity to interact with the charming, iconic window displays that feature adoptable cats, kittens, puppies and small dogs. This event has given thousands of orphaned, abused and neglected animals a new place to call home. My grandfather never missed an opportunity to volunteer for an event, and this tradition helped teach me the importance of community stewardship.

My grandfather never missed an opportunity to volunteer for an event, and this tradition helped teach me the importance of community stewardship.

The Houston SPCA has always been aligned with our families passion for animals. Each year their team helps more than 50,000 animals, including cats and dogs; horses and farm animals; small mammals; and native wildlife. We are proud to help usher in a new era of changes taking place at their headquarters that will help improve their team's ability to rescue even more mistreated animals.

Their team has a master plan that will allow members of the community to visit one centralized campus that will be equipped to serve all animals. Key elements of the first phase of their master plan include:

  • A fully equipped Education Center to support expanded humane education and volunteer training programs
  • Expansion of the Animal Adoption and Resource Center to showcase adoptable pets and provide an inviting place to educate visitors about animal care and welfare
  • Appropriately designed spaces for environmental education programs for all ages
  • Outdoor multi-purpose arena with seating for 300, suitable for humane education programs and demonstrations. 
  • Expansion of the wildlife rehabilitation and care center, providing more space designed specifically for temporary house and care of birds, mammals and reptiles
  • Green space and dog parks for visitors
  • A dormitory that will house 13 veterinary students on our campus
  • Flight cages for the rehabilitation of songbirds, raptors, and seabirds
  • Administrative space to increase operational efficiency and performance 

A later second phase of construction will focus on renovating and expanding the current shelter and veterinary hospital into a full-service, wellness support hospital for rescued animals.

If this is something that interests you, we would highly recommend a visit to their campus and perhaps set aside a little time to volunteer. We could all learn a thing or two from the amazing work their team is doing every day to help rescued animals. And be sure to keep an eye out for the holiday adoption displays in the mall, perhaps you can start a new tradition of your own.

Houston SPCA

The Houston SPCA, founded in 1924, is Houston's first and largest animal protection organization and shelter. Our mission is to promote commitment to and respect for all animals and free them from suffering, abuse, and exploitation. We provide the most comprehensive array of animal adoption, shelter, rescue, rehabilitation and other programs and services in the Gulf Coast area.

In fact, the Houston SPCA serves two times the number of animals and provides a wider scope of services than any other animal care organization in the region. We intervene on behalf of more than 50,000 animals each year, including cats and dogs; horses and farm animals; small mammals; and native wildlife. The Houston SPCA is a private, non-profit charity, funded entirely by donations, which receives no funding from the government, United Way or other animal groups.

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Sean Couch

Strategist & New Philanthropist at the J.W. Couch Foundation

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