Thousands of animals in our area are in need of homes. That's why NBC 5 and Telemundo 39 are partnering with 69 animal shelters and rescues from Dallas-Fort Worth to Clear the Shelters.
Finding forever homes and clearing overcrowded shelters has been a nationwide effort for five years, but it all started at NBC 5 in 2014.
NBC 5 and Telemundo 39 employees have been involved in the effort to Clear the Shelters from the beginning, not just telling stories of pets needing forever homes, but also choosing to adopt pets to add to their family. Here are their stories:
NBC 5 Anchor/Reporter Brian Curtis & Nala
"I adopted Nala two years ago from the Humane Society of North Texas during Clear the Shelters 2016. Nala, a Great Pyrenees/cattle dog mix, had two sisters who had already been adopted, so she was sad and alone when we found each other.
"As soon as I scooped her up, she gave me the first of a million kisses, and it was a done deal. Nala has been the perfect addition to our family that includes two other rescue dogs, Wheeler and Ocho.
"Over the past three decades, we have rescued a total of eight dogs. Ocho, our eighth rescue, hence the name, was also adopted during Clear the Shelters 2016. My first sweet little boy came from the SPCA of Texas."
NBC 5 Anchor/Reporter Meredith Land & Tiny Teddy
"My 10-year-old daughter, McCall, had been asking for a dog for at least three years. With two full-time jobs, a younger son and strange hours (me), we put the furry friend off. I always said, 'When everybody is out of diapers, we'll get one.' Every Christmas, McCall would ask for a dog, and Santa always brought her a stuffed animal dog.
"In 2017, McCall broke me down and I went to visit the folks at SPCA of Texas in Dallas. I told them that my daughter really wanted a Yorkie. They said they would keep their ears open, but it wasn't too likely.
"Weeks later, I got an email from Maura Davies at the SPCA saying a pregnant female Yorkie was one of 117 animals seized in October from a puppy mill in Hunt County. After two boys and a girl were born, I went to the SPCA, held all three and my heart melted when one of the boys clung to me and snuggled me with his fluffy fur.
"It just felt right. Two days later, I picked him up while my children were in school -- I shot video of my daughter meeting him.
"Tiny Teddy has filled our hearts with so much puppy love.”
NBC 5 Anchor/Reporter Kristi Nelson & Nicky and Kenzie
"Both of my dogs are rescues, and they have lived long, healthy lives.
"I found my first dog, Nicky, at the SPCA in Dallas. He actually picked me. With a roomful of people milling about, he looked straight at me and started barking. When I took him out of his pen, he jumped onto my lap and curled up. I had to take him with me.
"I found Kenzie, my West Highland terrier, online. She was in the care of a local rescue group, they'd saved her from a kill shelter — reportedly on the day she was set to be euthanized. She was malnourished and very skittish, but she's become a very loving, devoted pet, and I love her so much!"
NBC 5 Sports Director Newy Scruggs & Rosie
"After the passing of my dog of 13 years I knew my kids wanted another dog, but I couldn't bring myself to get another one for over a year. My daughter, Sienna, saw all the Clear the Shelters stories on NBC 5 and declared she wanted a new family dog. I was not real excited to take my three daughters to the event. Considering they can't agree on a place to eat I thought, 'How were we going to pick out one dog together?'
"I was at work and happened to notice pets coming out of one of our news studios. This cute skinny boxer was one of the shelter pets they just featured on TV promoting Clear the Shelters. I asked if she was available and was told that she was. I said 'I want her, just let me send a picture of her to my wife first.' I knew she and my kids would want her because they like boxers. My wife called crying, happily; and they immediately went to the Irving Animal Shelter to fill out the pet adoption paperwork.
"We brought Rosie home two days later. Irving Animal Shelter informed us she was a 'bait dog' with almost a dozen scars. Now, she is our beloved family member. She is friendly with kids; and I call her my wife's security dog because she follows her around like she is doing security detail for the governor."
Texas Sky Ranger's Ames Meyer & Pepper
"Before I met Pepper he already had his name. My Grandma and Grandpa had a farm in Indiana and I would stay with them during summer break. They had a dog named Pepper. We were best buds. I followed him and he would follow me. One of our favorite things to do was swing for hours on an old wooden swing. I knew I wanted another Pepper.
"Six years ago, when I visited East Lake Pet Orphanage (ELPO) looking for a kitten, they brought out Pepper and we connected immediately. He was four months old when I adopted him.
"I live in a small apartment so for his exercise we go for walks with his leash or go to pet friendly stores. He is more like a dog which is why I call him my 'Pepper Dog.' He does dog tricks like, sit, shake, high five, lay down, roll over, ring the bell... to name a few.
"He even has his own hat with his face embroidered on it that we are selling. All the proceeds go to the orphanage where he was adopted from. Giving back to the ones that took care of him. You can follow his daily activities on Instagram @the_only_pepper_the_cat."
Telemundo 39 Anchor/Reporter Norma Garcia & Khaleesi
"Khaleesi was surrendered while we were doing Clear the Shelters last year. She was not ready for adoption yet but I asked to hold her because she looked very sad. I used her in our last live shot as an example of the many beautiful dogs that needed homes. She held on to me with such tenderness that it was impossible to let go.
"My husband was on the fence about adopting a puppy so my co-anchor and the production team FaceTimed him to show him the puppy and persuade him. It worked!
"I filled out paperwork for her adoption that Saturday and the adoption was finalized three days later. She recognized me immediately when I went to pick her up. In essence she adopted me and it was love at first sight.
"Khaleesi just finished obedience school. She responds to 'besito' and gives me a kiss."
Telemundo 39 Anchor/Reporter Carlos Zapata & Pandora and Vanjie
"We met this mother-daughter duo at an adoption event hosted by Paw Support, an animal rescue organization in DFW. Don't tell 'The Girls,' but we were actually going to meet another dog available for adoption at this event, but these two caught our eyes and quickly captured our hearts.
"We found out that a year earlier, their previous owner was unable to take care of them and abandoned them at a local animal shelter. Paw Support placed them in foster care, and it was very apparent that they were strongly bonded to each other, so the rescue organization would only allow them to be adopted together. And anyone who has met them can see that instantly—they are each other's best friends and ultimate protectors.
"Motherly Pandora is very sweet and patient with the younger, rambunctious Vanjie, who is always ready to play or steal whatever toy Pandora has at the time. Pandora puts up with this for a while, but at a certain point, she has had enough. Then, in what must be a universal language between parent and child, Pandora gives Vanjie the look, and she quickly leaves mom alone and finds something else to do."
Telemundo 39 Anchor/Reporter Nancy Leal & Fina, Milly and Filemon
"I adopted my 'family' of donkeys four years ago during the Clear the Shelters campaign. Another anchor/reporter was doing a story about donkeys that were from the border. There were 170 donkeys from the border that were going to be slaughtered for their hides and meat. They were saved by a rescue group that then was able to distribute them to multiple shelters. Twenty of the donkeys made their way to North Texas.
"I was looking for an animal to add to the family and enjoy the high grass our land had to offer. I went in to adopt a young donkey to raise and when I arrived I was informed that the baby donkey came with not one, but two mothers; and they couldn't be separated because the baby was still nursing and the second mother was providing supplemental nourishment (most likely because she lost a baby during the trauma of the ordeal). I couldn't turn away then and had an instant donkey family.
"They all have their own personalities and, as you might suspect, they are donkeys so they often are stubborn, but they will do anything for carrots and apples. I love them so much and have helped raise Filemon with his two mothers the past four years.
"They are getting ready to move to a bigger space so they have more land to roam and rule. I have a great college friend who is re-homing them on his ranch this fall. I will still be able to visit them and go hang out with them during my time off, but this will give them more space to roam and enjoy life."