We save animals and help our neighbors care for the pets they love.
At Friends For Life, every animal matters. Founded in 2002, Friends For Life introduced the no-kill shelter model to Houston – saving animals regardless of their breed, age or condition.
Houston-grown, we’re here to help our neighbors care for the pets they love.
We’re not finished until every animal has a safe home. Until then, we’ll be innovating, improving and tracking results to find the most effective ways to save lives.
How we’re different
Every Animal Matters
We save animals regardless of their origin, breed, age or condition. Many shelters refuse strays, animals from private citizens, or even entire breeds. Instead, we are guided by a simple principle: Every Animal Matters.
Rooted in our community
No shelter is an island. We lean on our community to fuel our work. In return, Houston community relies on us. Here are some programs that help lift our neighbors:
- We gave away 5,500+ free spay/neuter surgeries (and counting) through our Fix Houston program. The result: There will be 100,000 fewer animals coming into Houston shelters.
- Friends For Life Animal Food Bank (Houston’s first!) provided our neighbors with 50 tons of pet food last year.
- During Hurricane Harvey, we responded to the City’s call. The Mayor needed us to manage pets at the George R. Brown Evacuation Center. We set up the country’s first-ever shelter where people stay together with their pets. The success of our effort set an example for future disaster planning.
We keep score
We look at data to track our progress and make decisions. From TNR mapping to measuring training clicks, we rely on evidence to help us fine-tune our best practices.
We see our work as a 3-legged stool:
- Rescue, rehabilitate and adopt (Wellness, Behavior, Adoptions)
- Reduce animal births (Fix Houston)
- Help our neighbors with their pets (Thinking Outside the Shelter)
When deployed together, these programs lead to a systemic change. We envision the day when all animals have homes, and shelters become resource centers for the community.
Board of Directors
Advisors to the Board:
- Executive Director & Founder — Salise Shuttlesworth, J.D.
- Operations Manager — Marilyn Oliver, LVT
- Adoption Manager — Pam Newton
- Development Director — Lena Lieb, MPA
- Volunteer Manager — Savannah Moore
- Wellness Manager — Erin Stewart, LVT
- Accounting Manager — Karen Cavanagh
- Events Team — Sharon Spencer
- Donor Relations Team
- Communications & Marketing Team
We have been partnered with PetSmart on South Shepherd for years and love having the cattery there as an outlet to find even more homes for our adoptable cats. With a recent total remodel, the space is now open for us to host small events that include the resident cats!
El Gato is Houston’s first and only cat cafe. There, you can mingle with our adoptable cats in a fun, cozy setting. There’s a cafe and a food menu, as well as a variety of events. El Gato does require a booking fee, paid to them, to visit the space – see their website for more details.