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

Clear the Shelters
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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 from Aug. 1 through Aug. 31, featuring virtual pet adoptions to make it easy for people to donate online to participating shelters and rescues.

More than 150,000 pets found their forever homes since 2015 and we want to add to the number.

Find a shelter near you:

  • Pasco County Animal Services, 19640 Dogpatch Lane, Land O'Lakes
  • Paw Warriors, Inc., 355 Spring Time Street, Spring Hill
  • Pinellas County Animal Services, 12450 Ulmerton Road, Largo
  • Cat Haven Rescue, Inc, 1231 Bruce B. Downs Blvd, Wesley Chapel
  • Cat Haven Rescue, Inc - Pasco, 8529 Little Road, New Port Richey
  • SPCA Tampa Bay, 9099 130th Ave N, Largo
  • Bishop Animal Shelter SPCA of Manatee County, 5718 21st Ave West, Bradenton
  • Hernando County Animal Services, 19450 Oliver Street, Brooksville
  • SPCA Florida, 5850 Brannen Rd S, Lakeland
  • Barking Out Loud Rescues, Inc, 300 N Lake Drive, Lorida
  • Precious Paws Rescue, Inc., Citrus County Florida, 5164 S. Florida Avenue, Inverness
  • Humane Society of Pinellas, 3040 State Road 590, Clearwater
  • Hernando County SPCA, 9075 Grant St, Brooksville
  • St Francis Society, PO Box 261614, Tampa
  • Humane Society of Tampa Bay, 3607 N Armenia Avenue, Tampa
  • Rebels Rescue, Petco 136 S. West shore Blvd, Tampa
  • SPCA Suncoast, 7734 Congress Street, New Port Richey
  • Friends of Strays Animal Shelter, 2911 47th Avenue North, St. Petersburg
  • Florida English Bulldog Rescue, P.O. Box 754, Odessa
  • The Humane Society of Polk County, Inc, 3195 Dundee Rd, Winter Haven
  • The Humane Society of Sarasota County, 2331 15th Street, Sarasota
  • Hands Helping Paws Rescue Inc., 53 W Bay Blvd S, Lake Wales
  • Humane Society of Manatee County, 2515 14th Avenue W, Bradenton
  • Highlands County Sheriffs Animal Services, 7300 Haywood Taylor Blvd, Sebring
  • Manatee County Animal Services, 305 25th St W, Palmetto
  • SPCA Suncoast, 7734 Congress Street, New Port Richey
  • Citrus County Animal Services, 4030 S. Airport Rd, Inverness
  • St Francis Society, PO Box 261614, Tampa
  • FLUFF Animal Rescue, 9400 SEMINOLE BOULEVARD, SEMINOLE
  • SPCA Tampa Bay, 9099 130th Ave N, Largo
  • Polk County Sheriff's Office Animal Control, 7115 De Castro Rd, Winter Haven
  • The Greener Side Haven, Inc., 3892 N Lecanto Hwy, Beverly Hills
  • Humane Society at Lakewood Ranch, 26920 Gopher Hill Road, Myakka City

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