Clear the Shelters Dog Was ‘the One’ for Texas Family

Clear the Shelters

When Pepperjack was brought in to the Galveston County animal shelter in Texas City, Texas, the center’s director was sure this “good looking” yellow Labrador Retriever would be adopted quickly.

Animal control officers found Pepperjack wandering the streets and took him in as a stray on June 20, 2018. Shelter employees scanned the dog, estimated to be approximately 1 year old at the time, for any identifying tags or possible microchip, but didn’t find anything.

The shelter’s veterinary technician named the pup Pepperjack and six days later he was cleared for adoption after no one claimed him. It would take nearly two months, however, for Pepperjack to find a forever home.

“I was shocked he was here for so long,” said Amber Adams, director of animal services at Galveston County Animal Resource Center.

Adams told NBC Pepperjack “was the best thing ever.” She described him as well behaved and smart, and “loved to do things for treats.”

Pepperjack was also very “good looking.” Adams said the shelter doesn’t normally come across yellow Labs that are as close to pure bred as Pepperjack, and she was sure he’d get adopted fairly quickly. After posting photos of Pepperjack to the shelter’s social media platforms, the attractive dog garnered tons of “Likes” and comments, but no serious adoption inquiries, Adams said.

Pepperjack’s charm even landed him on the pages of People magazine. He was featured in a July 2018 issue with other adoptable pets ahead of NBC and Telemundo Owned Stations’ annual Clear the Shelters animal adoption campaign. But still, the national spotlight wasn’t enough to get Pepperjack adopted.

Adams said it is generally more difficult for pets to find homes during the summer months as there is an overall decline in adoptions because families are usually traveling. 

But “timing is everything,” as the old adage goes, and that slump turned out to be beneficial for one North Texas family who was looking to adopt a Labrador. John and Cindy McGowan, of Santa Fe, saw a picture of Pepperjack online and knew he was the one as soon they met. 

“We fell in love with his sweet disposition and his love to fetch balls,” said Cindy McGowan. “We knew he was the one for us.”

The McGowans adopted Pepperjack during last year’s Clear the Shelter’s event and renamed him “Jake.” They said it didn’t take long for their newest four-legged member to fit into their family and hearts. 

“He quickly made friends with our older dog Toby, although Toby makes sure that he is recognized as the elder authority of the two,” John McGowan said.

In the year since he was adopted, Jake has learned how to swim and loves traveling to the family’s lake property. And while some shelter pets are reluctant to trust humans, John said Jake loves people, both young and old, and makes news friends easily. He’s also eager to please his new parents. 

“He is always by Cindy’s side when she goes out to the barn to take care of the horses. It’s as if he is curious about what she is doing and trying to figure out how he can help,” John said.

The McGowans said they have had several Labs over the years and had actually lost their last two older Labs a few months before adopting Jake.

“We feel very fortunate to have found Jake. He is a sweetheart and a very special part of our life,” John added.

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Clear The Shelters

Shelters near you


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) - Thousands of pets are looking for their forever homes and News Channel 8 is On Your Side helping to make that happen in the Tampa Bay area.

We are teaming up with hundreds of shelters across the country to host Clear the Shelters, a nationwide pet adoption drive on Saturday, August 17, 2019, to help find loving homes for animals in need.

More than 150,000 pets found their forever homes since 2015.

Now is the time for shelters to register by completing the online application located here. Organizations interested in participating in Clear the Shelters must complete the Commitment Registration form to ensure proper verification of all interested participants.

When registering, please make sure you select the TAMPA-ST.PETERSBURG-SARASOTA, FL region. This will put your shelter on our CLEAR THE SHELTERS online map, driving families to your shelter. 

Here are the local shelters that are offering no-cost or reduced-fee adoptions for this event:

  1. Citrus County Animal Services - 4030 S. Airport Rd, Inverness
  2. Humane Society of Polk County - 3195 Dundee Road Winter, Haven
  3. Barking Out Loud Rescue, Inc - 300 N Lake Drive, Lorida
  4. Paw Warriors, Inc. - 355 Spring Time Street, Spring Hill
  5. SPCA Florida - 5850 Brannen Rd S, Lakeland
  6. Friends of Strays Animal Shelter - 2911 47th Avenue North, St. Petersburg
  7. Pinellas County Animal Services - 12450 Ulmerton Road, Largo
  8. SPCA of Hernando County - 9075 Grant St, Brooksville
  9. Humane Society of Tampa Bay - 3607 N Armenia Avenue, Tampa
  10. SPCA Tampa Bay - 9099 130th Ave North, Largo
  11. Highlands County Sheriffs Animal Services - 7300 Haywood Taylor Blvd, Sebring
  12. St. Francis Animal Rescue - 1925 S. Tamiami Trail, Venice
  13. FLUFF Animal Rescue - 11220 Park Blvd N, Seminole
  14. Manatee County Animal Services: Palmetto Shelter - 305 25th St W, Palmetto
  15. Manatee County Cat Town - 216 6th Ave E, Bradenton
  16. Pasco County Animal Services - 19640 Dogpatch Lane, Land O'Lakes
  17. St. Francis Society, Inc. - Pet Smart - 12835 Citrus Plaza Dr, Tampa
  18. The Humane Society of the Nature Coast - 7200 Mobley Road, Brooksville
  19. Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center - 440 N. Falkenburg Road, Tampa
  20. Humane Society of Manatee County - 2515 14th Street W, Bradenton
  21. Save Our Strays Inc. Safety Harbor, FL - 3223 San Jose Street, Clearwater
  22. Polk County Sheriff's Office Animal Control Section - 7115 De Castro Rd, Winter Haven
  23. Hernando County Animal Services - 19450 Oliver St., Brooksville
  24. Bishop Animal Shelter SPCA of Manatee County, FL - 5718 21st Ave W, Bradenton
  25. Humane Society of Pinellas, 3040 State Road 590, Clearwater

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