How Astro became a part of the GETT family
"I have always been passionate about animals. But it was Astro who won my heart.
I work hard as the General Manager of GETT North America. The same was true when the pandemic hit in March 2020, suddenly forcing my sister to be stuck with me in Houston with all flights to Germany cancelled. I had little time for her, so we thought of an activity we could do together that would be both enriching and meaningful.
We went to the local animal shelter to see if any dog needed a foster home, immediately falling for a husky whose known personality traits seemed a perfect match for us. His name was Astro.
We decided to take Astro in.
Astro’s previous owner had abandoned him, making him revert into a so-called survival mode. He was extremely exhausted, displayed a kennel cough, was malnourished and had a pungent smell. I must point out that dogs in these shelters have a difficult time sleeping because of the constant noise and stress levels. Despite his being hungry, he barely ate, which is why I resorted to hand-feeding him with home-cooked food. That luckily worked well.
In the first week he stayed with us, he tore a chunk out of a friend's pants, showing us that he had what is called fear aggression. After yet another week under my foster care, the shelter had found an adoptive family. We were honest with the new owners, calling attention to his known triggers. Unfortunately, the new owner was bitten the very first day, which, to Astro’s misfortune, made a euthanasia appointment unavoidable. After fighting hard to prevent the sentence from being carried out, he was ultimately referred back to the shelter and quarantined. By law, a bite results in a 10-day quarantine observation period.
Consequently, Astro was taken off the foster program, so I was not allowed to take him back home. The shelter can put down dogs that are not adopted. Things weren’t looking too good.
I refused to believe our efforts had been in vain and used these ten days to gather all my strength and deliberate. I contacted 120 no-kill rescues, only to receive one rejection after another. Then, when I had lost all hope, a miracle happened. Houston Cares Animal Rescue was willing to help us.
They were Astro’s, no, our salvation!
With Houston Cares Rescue now the official owner of Astro, I was finally able to pick him up and take him home after two long weeks.
But the next challenge was already on the horizon: Astro tested positive for heartworm. The poor fellow had adverse reactions to the ensuing treatment. Already severely debilitated from his illness, he then suffered from a chronic gastrointestinal condition for six months and even had to be admitted to the ER with pneumonia.
His life was hanging by a thread.
His behavior issues proved persistent. At first, it took a long time until he was brave enough to even make eye contact with new people. Three months had to pass before he accepted a toy and four months before he attempted his first bark. Then, after five months, he finally uttered a howl – the very vocalization huskies are known for best.
By the end of these dramatic six months, Astro was set to be adopted again. I met with the future owner several times to ensure a safe transition. The new owner, however, was diagnosed with cancer, halting the adoption process indefinitely.
Due to Astro's health and behavioral problems, there were no other potential adopters. I worked with him every day to help him build his trust in people and improve his health. That included giving him his medication up to 7x a day, even at 3 a.m., and taking him out for several bathroom breaks at night.
I gave him all the love I had inside.
I took care of Astro by myself for the first half year I knew him, then I met my boyfriend. He immediately took Astro into his heart, and the dog has been an integral part of our lives as a faithful companion ever since. We made it official when we adopted him five months ago. We are both grateful for this brave dog and humbled by his emotional rollercoaster ride. Today, Astro is in good health and his response to fear has improved tremendously.
My story is meant to show why standing up for those in need is so important."
If you answered "Yes" to any of these questions, there are many ways to get involved with Houston Cares.
Learn more: www.houstoncaresrescue.org