Saturday, June 25, 2011

Artwork for AC Doggy Haven

Volunteer artist Christian Navarette has completed the artwork for the AC Doggy Haven mural project and other volunteers have attached the artwork to the walls of the outdoor courtyard. The murals are wonderful depictions of Barrio Dogs' work in Houston. Now when the dogs, staff and volunteers at Doggy Haven go outdoors to the courtyard, they are surrounded by colorful artwork. Stop by and have a look! Also, don't forget the volunteer opportunities at AC Doggy Haven during the next several weeks.

Barrio Dogs for Better Communities - AC Doggy Haven Project

We have made a lot of progress on the AC Doggy Haven Project and are excited about the transformation. Thanks for your support!  However, there is still much work to be done and your help will be welcome at future volunteer days: 
Sunday, 6/26 – 12:00PM to 4:00PM
Sunday, 7/3 - 12:00PM to 4:00PM
Sunday, 7/10 - 12:00PM to 4:00PM

AC Boarding & Grooming
c/o AC Doggy Haven Project
226 Winkler, Houston, TX 77087
Late last year, we had broken ground on a new project at AC Boarding & Grooming, and we’re excited to get started turning their backyard into a haven for our animals and theirs. Because of very few volunteers and resources we were not able to complete as planned. But now, we feel we are blessed with more help and interest in seeing this project through. Volunteers had already begun clearing the land for the groundbreaking, digging up stumps and weeds, but there is continued work needed in the way of landscaping, cleaning and painting.

If you can’t volunteer but want to donate:
How to Give: PayPal or Google, via
How to Volunteer: Ernie Zenteno @ 1 415 244-3001 or email:

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Barrio Dogs Educational Programs

Barrio Dogs, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) based in Houston’s Greater East End that began in 2010.  Our purpose is to educate and raise awareness about appropriate animal care in low-income neighborhoods through community-based interventions including canine therapy programs, youth education, and community outreach. We are proud to announce the success of a variety of our programs this past year.

First, we succeeded in providing a number of educational presentations at Browning Elementary School on animal welfare issues such as heart worm prevention and disease, proper pet care and the importance of spay/neuter.  Presentations were made to 4th and 5th grade classes and included activities that the students could participate in to help them retain the things they were discussing. 

Second, Barrio Dogs Tales to Tails program was very well received both at Browning and Cage Elementary schools. Tales to Tails involves individual students reading to a Rescue Education Ambassador Dog (R*E*A*D*) on a one-to-one basis which provides participants with a comfortable environment free from stress and criticism. The program focuses on those who are struggling with their reading skills with the idea that providing a stress-free environment and an opportunity to read at their own pace will give students a stronger sense of confidence and self-esteem. At Cage Elementary, 1st and 2nd graders participated in four 15-minute sessions once a week while at Browning Elementary, the program worked with four 3rd grade students once a week with 20-minute sessions for 6 weeks. Jennifer Washam, Barrio Dogs Education & Therapy Coordinator, brought her R*E*A*D* Chloe to each of these sessions and noted a progression in confidence by all the students. The teachers at Browning and Cage Elementary as well as Cage's librarian also noted that many of the students showed more confidence in the classroom after participating in the program.

Third, Browning Elementary 4th and 5th grade students participated in Barrio Dogs first Read-a-Thon. For a period of two weeks in April, students kept a record of how many 15-minute reading sessions they completed and accepted donations for their efforts. The students enjoyed an ice cream social to celebrate the end of the event and awards were given to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd top readers from each class. Also, an award was given to the students who collected the most funds from each class. The event was a great success and the money raised went towards the Barrio Dogs' educational programs as well as animal-related books for the school’s library.

Lastly, Barrio Dogs enjoyed a unique opportunity to participate in a Spring Festival at J.R. Harris in May. Gloria Zenteno, Barrio Dogs' founder and Jennifer Washam, along with her therapy and education dog Chloe, represented Barrio Dogs during the event. They met many wonderful students, teachers and parents and appreciated the opportunity to share Barrio Dogs educational mission. 

Barrio Dogs looks forward to the opportunity to work again with the schools this coming fall. With such a great launch to Barrio Dogs' first year in our various missions, we are hopeful that we will have a wonderful growing year ahead. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Barrio Dogs for Better Communities - update

The Ortegas, our adopted family, are making huge progress incorporating their new pet, Cookie, into their home. Our support team, Gurukarta Khalsa and Jennifer Washam, has been spending time educating the family on proper nutrition, the importance of flea and heart worm preventive, kennel training, leash walking and more. They also have a good understanding of the importance of getting Cookie spayed. 

There are many families who can benefit from support like this. We would love to work with more families like the Ortegas but it takes resources. We encourage you to find a family in your community that can benefit from this program and to support them. For more information, contact us at

Meadowlake Pet Adoption

Here is a great video of our pet adoption at Meadowlake Pet Resort on May 28, 2011 featuring some of our fabulous Barrio Dogs!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Barrio Dogs for Better Communities

Barrio Dogs for Better Communities is dedicated to creating possibilities and providing opportunities for a better quality of life for animals and their families. We feel that many times there is love for these animals but people may not have the necessary resources for proper animal care or education.

Meet our first adopted family of 2011. We plan to work with the Ortega family and their rescue Cookie.  We hope that one-on-one education sessions with the parents and children will end up with a family that does not give up on their family pet.  

We want to help more families like the Ortega’s. For more information on how you can help, email us at

Remo's Story

Helen Cirrone did not take no laying down. When she found a very neglected, heart worm positive dog, she asked Barrio Dogs if we could help. Sadly, we have had to say no to many and could not help poor Remo. However, Helen was able to raise enough funds for his heart worm treatment, network his story to many and ended up with a home for Remo. Helen Cirrone is a hero. We can’t say it enough - you would be surprised what you can do yourself for an animal. Be you own hero. Way to go Helen! 

Remo’s Story by Helen Cirrone

On April 13, 2011, my husband Peter and I went for our evening walk with our dogs around 7:00 p.m. While coming down Seamist toward W.12th Street, I noticed a dog curled up who lifted his head and looked at me. I kept walking because I had my American Bulldog and wasn’t sure how he would react towards a stray dog.

When we got home, I immediately got a bag of dog food, a jug of water and a bowl. Peter decided to drive only because he knew if I took my car, there was a good chance of this stray dog coming back home with us. When I placed the food and water down I walked across the street to give this dog, which I named Remo, some space to eat calmly. We could see his ribs and noticed several scars on his face and body.  
After he ate and drank an entire bowl of water, I decided to approach Remo who was quite shy; he had his tail tucked in but didn’t run away from me. I patted him on his head and he licked my hand so I knew he wasn’t afraid of me. I noticed he was neutered so I thought maybe he was lost and had a microchip and I could soon reunite him with his family. But the problem was Peter had already informed me that “we could not bring this dog home”.

Well, here comes a car driving by with a lady who asked if the dog was okay. When I told her that I was just feeding him, he was a stray, she said this area has become a drop off for dogs. She said it’s so sad and then drove off. 

After Remo finished his meal, I was sitting next to him and giving him some loving and he was giving it right back to me. Here comes that lady again only with her partner and a cute little boy. They came out and looked at Remo and thought he was a cutie too. They asked what we are going to do with this dog? I said I cannot take him home; I have two dogs and a not-so-big backyard. I did mention that I’ve done volunteer work for Barrio Dogs of Houston and could contact them to see if they could take him in.

Well these ladies, Adrienne and Tracy and little Owen said “We have a backyard. We’ll take him in until you find out”. I then reached out to Gloria Medina Zenteno, the founder of Barrio Dogs, and told her what was going on. She unfortunately told me that the shelter that houses the rescues was out-of-space but if I could find a foster home, she would pay for the first vet office. 
On April 15, 2011, I took Remo to the vet and after his exam and tests (he had no microchip) I was told he tested positive for heart worms. The vet tech told me the cost of the treatment would be $600.00! I reached out to friends, family and my husband too and I had the $600.00 within two days.

Remo had his first heart worm treatment on April 25th and his final treatment on May 27, 2011. During this time, Remo became a foster at the home of Adrienne, Tracy and Owen and their three little dogs. The family loves Remo and he loves them right back. Even their three little dogs didn’t seem to mind sharing the yard and home with Remo.


We created adoption flyers for Remo and posted them at the local Petsmart, Petco and even on Craigslist. Adrienne had a couple of calls but when she mentioned that Remo was heart worm positive and is in treatment, they weren't interested in him.

Well, on Monday May 9, 2011, I received an email from Adrienne saying that there was no way they could let Remo leave their home! The family decided to adopt him. Little Owen who has three little female dogs was so excited to have a large male dog.

I visited Remo at his “forever” home on Monday May 16th and he is looking so good. He is quite an independent dog who likes to play with his rope and enjoys his rawhide chews. Remo follows Adrienne around the house and Owen showed me how Remo can sit. 

I want to thank everyone who donated funds toward Remo’s heart worm treatment, thank Dr. Palmer and her staff at Gulfgate Animal Hospital and Gloria with Barrio Dogs who has a great non-profit organization. Thanks to Adrienne, Tracy and Owen who opened their hearts and home to Remo. Without them, Remo would still be roaming the streets.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Adopted Part 3

Many best wishes to our Barrio Dogs and their new families!

Our little girl Misha has been adopted by this amazing family

It's official! Winkler's foster family has adopted him.

5th Ward Puppy Thrown From Car

It is hard to imagine that someone would throw a puppy out of a vehicle but we hear it more and more every day. A very caring man from the Fifth Ward of Houston who already has many rescues in his care witnessed a  puppy thrown out of a car like garbage. He called Natural Pawz in the Heights where he buys food for his animals and asked if they could help.

When he called, Barrio Dogs was having a Pet Adoption at Natural Pawz and we sadly had to tell him we couldn't take on another rescue. Natural Pawz was nice enough to let the puppy we named Jensen participate in our Pet Adoption and soon a very caring family arrived. They are owners of a Staffordshire Terrier that sleeps in the house and is considered a family pet. They had no doubt Jensen could be a perfect match for their home and adopted him!  

We want to thank Francisco Valtierra for saving Jensen and Barrio Dog volunteers Susan Ward and Helen Cirrone for hustling to find a home for this sweet boy. A big thanks to all the staff of Natural Pawz for letting him hang out with the Barrio Dogs. He is one lucky boy!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

No More Chains

It’s official! Otis is Barrio Dogs' poster dog for “NO MORE CHAINS”. Otis was found in the Third Ward, Houston with severe neck wounds. According to the vet, this was a senseless act of chaining a dog to the point where his neck started growing into his collar/chain. Thank goodness Otis managed to break away and was discovered by a caring rescuer, Estelle Mack. When found, he was starving and bleeding from these wounds. With the help of Hearthstone Animal Clinic and sponsored vetting by Barrio Dogs, Otis had surgery for his neck and has been vaccinated and neutered. He is heartworm positive but is well on his way to a better life.

Barrio Dogs gets numerous emails about chained dogs and sadly, we cannot take them in. What we do promote is encouraging residents to report these situations to the authorities. Click here for more information about reporting animal cruelty. Part of the Barrio Watch Dog Program is to empower residents to help resolve the situation for the benefit of these dogs and their community. Otis is free from his chain now but we know we are only touching the surface of this problem. There are many animals suffering like this every day. It is everyone's responsibility to report these senseless crimes. 

We have to say no to so many but have decided to take Otis into our program in hopes that he can be a symbol of “NO MORE CHAINS”. We hope you join us on the campaign of no more chains. Please help us share this story and feel free to post his poster anywhere and everywhere to educate many communities to make a change.

We are also asking for your continued support of Otis and appreciate all that you can do. PayPal or Google: or mail a check payable to Barrio Dogs of Houston, P.O. Box 230677, Houston, TX 77223-0677.

Thank you!

AC Doggy Haven-A Project of Barrio Dogs for Better Communities

Late last year, we broke ground on a new project at AC Boarding & Grooming and we’re excited to get started turning the backyard at the facility into a haven for our animals and theirs. Progress on the renovation has been slow but now we feel we are blessed with more help and interest in seeing this project through. Volunteers have already begun clearing the land for the groundbreaking and digging up stumps and weeds but there is continued work needed in the way of landscaping, cleaning and painting.  Our volunteer artists are near completion on the doggy artwork and our goal is to have the facility in tip-top shape when the artwork arrives.

Facility location and volunteer schedule are as follows:
AC Boarding & Grooming
c/o AC Doggy Haven Project
226 Winkler, Houston, TX 77087

Volunteer Days
Sunday, 6/12/11 – 10:00AM to 2:00PM
Monday, 6/13/11 – 10:00AM to 2:00PM

Sunday, 6/19/11 – 10:00AM to 2:00PM
Monday, 6/20/11 – 10:00AM to 2:00PM

Sunday, 6/26/11 – 10:00AM to 2:00PM
Monday, 6/27/11 – 10:00AM to 2:00PM

If you can’t volunteer but want to donate, you can give via PayPal or Google at  To volunteer, contact Ernie Zenteno @ 1 415 244-3001 or email  

Inside kennel rooms need to be cleaned and painted
Artist Christian Navarette with art plans

The area is coming together but there is more work to do